Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Going Bowling, 2010-11 Edition

Every year the Guru gets bombarded with bowl matchup questions and emails, and every year I ask that you wait 'till November before even thinking about making any plans.

Why? Do you remember who was No. 1 in the first official BCS standings? That was just three weeks ago.

Any speculation and projection before we go back into standard time is more than premature. Even now, things are still pretty fluid. Though we do know this:

TCU is one victory away from an undefeated season.

Right, we know the Horned Frogs still have an exhibition game against New Mexico in two weeks. But for all intents and purposes, a TCU home victory this Saturday over San Diego State - a good team, to be sure, but not in TCU's league - will punch TCU's ticket to a BCS bowl game.

You have to like the Frogs' position. At worse, they'll have the Rose Bowl, not bad to have the granddaddy as the consolation prize. And if either Oregon or Auburn should falter - and it's looking very likely with the Tigers, given the Cam Newton mess - TCU will play for the BCS national championship.

With that as the backdrop, here are the Guru's first BCS bowl projections for the season, with conference tiebreaking rules sprinkled in throughout:

BCS National Championshp Game
Oregon vs. TCU

The Ducks still have a couple of tests left on their schedule, particularly the season finale Civil War game at Corvallis, but they look pretty invincible right now. TCU won't lose, so the only question is how badly the Frogs would beat New Mexico, which lost to Oregon, 72-0, in the season opener.

Rose Bowl
Wisconsin vs. Stanford

The Rose Bowl will be thrilled to see the Frogs in Glendale, which means it will be free and clear to choose whomever it wants to replace the Pac-10 champ.* And Stanford would be a no-brainer, since ToR (that's Tournament of Roses) wants to preserve the Big Ten-Pac-10 matchup. Wisconsin owns the inside track to the Big Ten title, unless Ohio State loses to Iowa.

Here's how it would shake out in the Big Ten:

If Wisconsin, Ohio State and Michigan State all finish 7-1 in conference, the team with the highest BCS ranking would get the Rose Bowl bid. Neither Ohio State nor Michigan State will pass the Badgers if they don't lose.

If Wisconsin, Iowa and Michigan State all finish 7-1 in conference, then Michigan State wins the tiebreaker.

If Ohio State and Michigan State both finish 7-1 in conference, it also goes to the BCS rankings. The Spartans will not pass the Buckeyes there.

All other two-way tie scenarios would favor the winning team in head-to-head matchups: Wisconsin defeated Ohio State and Iowa. Michigan State defeated Wisconsin but lost to Iowa.

Sugar Bowl
LSU vs. Boise State

The Tigers would win the SEC West only if Auburn loses its two remaining games (against Georgia and at Alabama), and given the Newton distraction, it may very well happen. Since there's a dearth of quality BCS conference teams to choose from, and a rematch of LSU vs. Ohio State in New Orleans isn't all that appetizing, the Sugar Bowl may decide to bite the bullet and invite the Broncos, taking a third BCS buster in four years (following Hawaii in 2008 and Utah in 2009).

If the Sugar passes on Boise State here by picking (most likely) a Big Ten team, then the Broncos will be effectively boxed out of a BCS bowl game.

Orange Bowl
Virginia Tech vs. Alabama

If Auburn loses its last two games and Newton gets suspended, as is possible, then the Orange Bowl will opt for two-loss 'Bama over two-loss Auburn, bringing Nick Saban back to South Florida for the first time since he bailed on the Dolphins. None of the two-loss Big 12 teams or one-loss Big Ten teams would be more attractive than the defending national champion. And the Orange Bowl hasn't had an SEC team there since 2002.

Fiesta Bowl
Nebraska vs. Pittsburgh

The price you pay for hosting the BCS national title game is you get stuck with an absolutely crummy game (unless you're the Rose Bowl). Fiesta does not even get a choice here as it must grab the Big East champion. If you're checking out this week's BCS standings, you'll find that the highest-ranked Big East team (Pitt) is not only behind non-AQ teams such as TCU, Boise State and Utah, but also the top team in Conference USA (Central Florida) and MAC (Temple). Yet, the Big East continues to hum along as an AQ conference.


* The Rose Bowl isn't obligated to take Boise State if TCU advances to the BCS title game. According to BCS executive director Bill Hancock:
That's because if it loses a team to the championship game, the Rose Bowl is obligated to take the automatic qualifier from the non-AQ group, if it is available. TCU would be the automatic qualifier from the non-AQ group, but it would not be available since it would be in the championship game.

In that example, Boise State would be eligible to be selected at-large by any bowl, including the Rose.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think you underestimate Boise State's chances to finish in front of TCU.
Right now it is a pretty large gap, but:
1) TCU is 10-0, Boise State is 8-0. This gives TCU an artificial boost in the computer rankings.
2) TCU has just defeated #5 Utah and got a nice boost in the polls.

However, at the end of the season:
3) TCU and Boise State will both be 12-0.
4) Boise State might have beaten an AQ champion.
5) Voters might remember that Boise State beat TCU at the end of last season.
6) TCU's success will be a distant memory - as you note, they play their last meaningful game this week.

The Guru said...

No, I can tell you unequivocally that Boise won't jump TCU in the BCS standings, and here's why:

Your arguments 3-6 are completely irrelevant. They will have no impact on the polls and TCU will stay ahead of Boise there.

As for 1-2, Boise also will not jump TCU in the computers:

1) TCU's remaining opponents, SDSU (#44 Sagarin) and New Mexico (#155) won't hurt them at all. Auburn played Chattanooga (#120) and didn't drop in a single computer. Late in the season, one game against a weak opponent won't make that much of a difference.

2) Boise's remaining opponents are collectively worse: Nevada (#25) and Fresno (#60) are OK, but Utah State (#102) and Idaho (#113) are horrible. The Broncos will not get a bump in the computers playing that schedule.

Pete P said...

Thanks for setting anonymous straight. Boise folks have been living this myth for some time and Jerry Palm has been pimping this idea for awhile, along with a slew up ESPN folks who need to protect the value of their Friday night game.

Boise is in greater danger of falling behind in the computers (3 teams tied at .770, just .02 behind Boise) than catching TCU.

Anonymous said...

It is no myth, you can check it out for yourself.

The colley matrix offers you the chance to check out what happens if you add games, see here:
http://www.colleyrankings.com/playgod.html

Right now TCU is #2, Boise State #5.

Now give Boise State two wins against Nevada and Idaho to make both teams 10-0. The result:
Boise State at #2, TCU at #3.

tiesto82 said...

Anon. You aren't factoring in the wins and losses the remainder of their opponents will have. For instance, utah's loss to notre dame alone will drop TCU below LSU in the matrix

Anonymous said...

Boise is better than TCU. The TCU victory over Utah last week looks a lot less impressive after Notre Dame destroyed Utah today. That said, it's going to be Oregon vs. Auburn in Arizona come January.

That Boise vs. LSU match up would be awesome though!

Anonymous said...

This is the worst post the guru has ever made. There is NO way - under any scenario at this stage in the season - that Auburn would suspend Newton. Anyone that knows anything about the NCAA knows the never move that quickly. Why does the guru have such a anti-SEC Bias? Remember the article about the SEC "stranglehold" on the BCS being over? I'll be the guru is oh so sorry AU ruined his party.

Anonymous said...

Guess the SEC is not going to give up their hold on the BCS!! WAR EAGLE!!!

Anonymous said...

There is no way a 2 loss Alabama will go over a 1 loss Ohio State. Ohio State has one of the largest, wealthiest fan bases in the country.

Anonymous said...

There is no way a 2 loss Alabama will go over a 1 loss Ohio State. Ohio State has one of the largest, wealthiest fan bases in the country.

Anonymous said...

"The Guru said...

No, I can tell you unequivocally that Boise won't jump TCU in the BCS standings, and here's why:

Your arguments 3-6 are completely irrelevant. They will have no impact on the polls and TCU will stay ahead of Boise there."

Check it out, you're unequivocally wrong, Guru...

Anonymous said...

Your comment in forecasting post is completely inaccurate.

If Wisconsin, Ohio State and Michigan State all finish 7-1 in conference, the team with the highest BCS ranking would get the Rose Bowl bid. Neither Ohio State nor Michigan State will pass the Badgers if they don't lose.

OSU finishes with Penn State 6-3, Iowa 7-3 and Michigan 6-3. I'm 100% confident that OSU will pass Wisconsin in BCS standings.

How can you make a statement that OSU will not pass Badgers if they don't lose. That is totally inaccurate.

Anonymous said...

A terrible post. The claim that a two-loss Alabama team would be more attractive than the reigning king of bowl appearances and bowl attendance Ohio State is dubious even before realizing that a conference can only have two teams in the BCS. So, no, Alabama will not be playing in the Orange Bowl, or any other BCS Bowl, barring further chaos.

Nostical said...

Hey Guru, as much as some dont like it, The Big East deserves it's BCS spot as much as any of the 6 AQ Leagues. Check Big East in All Bowl Games over last 5 years. By the way, check how UConn clocked Sourh Carolina in last years Bowl Game. And now SC is playing for SEC title? Who is overrated?

Anonymous said...

Well, 17 days later and this post is garbage. Bama with 3 losses now.

Randy said...

Guru,

Would you please revise your projections now?

Bill Brown said...

Well, TCU DID jump over Boise now, didn't they?

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