This blog has moved to a new home! You can now find it at http://www.cbssports.com/general/bl
See you there!
Posted on: March 10, 2012 11:53 am
This blog has moved to a new home! You can now find it at http://www.cbssports.com/general/bl
See you there!
Posted on: January 11, 2012 5:52 pm
The final 1-120 ranking is posted. Guess someone forgot to tell the computer that they gave away a crystal football Monday night. Oklahoma State is the top rated team in the final rankings. Maybe we can send them a football made of computer chips.
The rankings don't care about trophies. It's based on strength of schedule and a how a team performed against that schedule. Bowl games get no special weighting. In fact, bowl games are so much like exhibition games that if anything, they should be weighed less.
The Cowboys benefitted from a schedule that only had three opponents not play in the post season. It also helped that they often won big, because margin of victory is a factor (to a point). They also didn't play any FCS teams.
LSU stays ahead of Alabama, and that is also based on a stronger schedule over the full season than Alabama did. Head-to-head gets no special treatment in the ratings, although they split two games, with LSU winning on the road and Bama winning on a neutralish field.
I'm sure Alabama will shed no tears after finishing third in these ratings. They went home with the trophy. So, Roll Tide, y'all.
Posted on: December 21, 2011 12:22 am
Edited on: December 21, 2011 12:23 am
The Mountain West has applied for an exemption that would allow it to become an AQ conference for the next two seasons. They base that in part on their performance over the last four years, and in part because of an exemption granted to the Big East in the past. So let's look at the numbers.
The league is measure in three categories: highest rated team, average computer ranking of all teams, and a score based on teams in the top 25. It is measured over a four year period, based on this year's membership. Therefore, Utah and BYU do not count, but TCU and Boise State do, even though Boise was in the WAC the last three years.
The reason the MWC didn't qualify for AQ status outright and has to apply for an exemption is that the league is good at the top, but has no depth. The league does well in the two categories that measure top of the league performance. It is fifth in the highest rated team category, and has a score of 60.2% in the top 25 category (only 33% was required to apply for exemption).
In the category that measures all teams, the league is a distant seventh, with an average computer ranking of 61.3. The Big East is sixth at 50.2.
The problem is, the top two MWC teams in the rankings the last four years have been TCU and Boise State. Without them, the numbers aren't nearly as good, and both teams are leaving. TCU is already gone. The Broncos have just one more year. San Diego State is also leaving at the same time as Boise State. Fresno State, Nevada and Hawaii will join.
Without TCU and Boise State, the MWC would be the ninth rated league in the highest rated team category, an even more distant seventh in the average computer category (67.1) and would score only 6.9% in the top 25 category. Among the new lineup, only Nevada (15th) and Hawaii (24th) finished in the top 25 of any season in the last four years, both in 2010.
Those are numbers the presidents can't ignore, and the reason why the league won't get its exemption.
The Mountain West document states that the Big East was granted an exemption after the 2007 season to retain its AQ status. While I don't doubt that, I have been told repeated by Bill Hancock that there is no provision for removing AQ status from a league, which is why the Big East's status isn't in doubt for the next two years, so I am confused as to why such an exemption would have been necessary in 2008. In any event, the only category the Big East fell short in was the top 25 percentage, where it scored 49.11%, just below the 50% requirement. The MWC, even with it's current membership, cannot say is just barely missed in the category in which it failed to meet the standard.
The new Bigger East, which along with the Mountain West schools, has added Houston, SMU and UCF from Conference USA, is doing ok for the first two years of the cycle that the new members will count for, which is the 2010-13 seasons. The league is fifth so far in the high ranking category and a very comfortable sixth in the average computer rankings. They only score 29% in the top 25 category, but only three leagues, the SEC, Big Ten and Big 12 are doing better than 50% so far.
Of course, if this turns out to be true, all this will be moot.
Posted on: December 5, 2011 12:06 am
Edited on: December 5, 2011 8:30 am
It was close, relatively speaking. Oklahoma State came up .0086 short of catching Alabama. That is the closest No. 2 and No. 3 have been since the BCS formula was changed for the 2004 season. In 2006, Florida beat out Michigan by .0101, which was coincidentally the last time we debated the merits of a rematch.
OSU ended up 74 points short of what it needed in the Harris poll to finish ahead of the Tide. That's still a decent sized number. So, it's not like we were in a position where one or two voters could have impacted the outcome.
I can almost always explain why a team got picked for a bowl (it's my job, after all), but I am stunned by the selection of Virginia Tech for the Sugar Bowl. There were, of course, higher rated teams available, but we all know that rankings don't really mean much. It's about selling tickets and creating an attractive matchup.
The Hokies haven't traveled especially well to the Orange Bowl in recent years. They aren't necessarily a great TV draw. They lost their conference championship game, which is usually perceived as a big negative by the BCS bowls. I can't think of anything they have over Kansas State.
Boise State might have traveled well too, although they are considerably farther away. Even Baylor, which was eligible to get picked, would have at least given us Denard vs RG3.
Virginia Tech's selection seemed to be a last minute change too. The Sugar appeared to be committed to Kansas State initially.
TCU didn't make it. The Horned Frogs finished 18th, same as they were last week. I felt that three of the teams ahead of them that lost this week had to fall behind them, and that they couldn't get jumped by Clemson or Baylor in the polls. They got the first part. Houston, Georgia and Oklahoma did drop behind the Frogs, but Clemson jumped them. If TCU and Clemson switched point totals in the polls, TCU would have finished 16th and qualified for the BCS.
Houston dropped like a rock after losing to Southern Miss. The Cougars fell from sixth to 19th.
Posted on: December 4, 2011 10:09 am
Edited on: December 4, 2011 12:43 pm
UPDATE: The coaches poll point totals at the top have been revealed. Oklahoma State pulled to within 32 points of Alabama. As you can probably deduce if you read the bit below, that's not good news for the Cowboys.
OSU will now need to pass Alabama in the Harris poll and lead by at least five points to finish No. 2 overall in the BCS. That seems unlikley, with the way poll voters tend to group-think, but you never know with those wacky Harris folks.
Also, even though it doesn't count, the AP poll has Alabama No. 2 as well, although by a closer margin than the coaches have.
TCU did get a little help in that the Frogs are ahead of Houston, Georgia and Oklahoma, but Clemson jumped them, so that hurts. We haven't seen those point totals yet. I will update the BCS ratings projections chart when we see the full poll.
The media (in general, not everyone) seems to be throwing its weight behind the notion of moving Oklahoma State up to No. 2 and giving the Cowboys a shot at LSU instead of having a rematch Alabama. This comes after they have spent the last two weeks making it very clear that the only worthy opponent for LSU was, in fact, the Tide.
I don't have a vote, but I can tell you what the people who do will have to do to make that happen.
Oklahoma State trailed Alabama by 342 points in the Harris poll and 166 in the coaches' poll. With the current computer projections, the Cowboys would have to be the mathematical equivalent of 28 points behind in Harris and 15 back in the coaches' poll. A little of that ground gets made up with the natural fall of Virginia Tech in the polls, but that's still an enormous gap to make up. Voters would simply have to decide they don't want a rematch and move OSU up, not only past Alabama on some ballots, but Stanford also, which started the week ahead of the Cowboys in both polls. We'll have a much better idea when the coaches' poll is released in a few hours.
For some perspective, the only other time something like this happened was in 2006, when the voters moved up Florida past Michigan to avoid a rematch after the Gators won the SEC title on the final day of the season. That year, Florida entered that last week trailing the Wolverines by only 86 points in the Harris poll and just 40 in the coaches' poll.
TCU has to get to 16 to earn an automatic spot in the BCS. Again, I don't like the way the numbers are shaking out for TCU. It doesn't look like the Frogs will make up much ground at all in the computers. Going into this week, TCU was No. 17 in each poll, right behind Michigan, but the gap in the point totals was huge -- more than double the number of voters in each poll. That's like being two spots in the rankings behind instead of one. It also means that the teams that lost ahead of them in the polls -- Georgia, Michigan State, Oklahoma and Houston -- may slot into that gap between them and the Wolverines.
TCU will probably need at least three of those teams to fall behind them in both polls to have a decent chance to get to 16th overall. The Frogs also have to watch their backs and hope Baylor and Clemson don't leap(horned)frog them. Michigan State (close loss) and Houston (high ranking to begin with and better record) have the best chance of staying ahead of TCU.
Posted on: December 4, 2011 2:16 am
Edited on: December 4, 2011 6:18 pm
BCS and bowl projections are up for this evening. Before the official release, we will see the coaches' poll , which will help clarify things further, but I believe the Harris poll isn't released before the final rankings come out.
I am still projecting LSU-Alabama for the title game, but Oklahoma State had a good night. The biggest thing that happened was Virginia Tech losing, which gives the Cowboys one less team between themselves and the Tide. OSU will also get a little computer boost from its win over Oklahoma and will most likely finish ahead of Alabama in that component.
After that, it's up to the voters. They may be impressed by 44-10, but it is a lot to ask (and predict) that voters will suddenly move the Cowboys up high enough to take advantage of their computer ranking. Such a move would be unprecedented and quite atypical of voter behavior.
In 2006, when voters changed their mind and elevated Florida over Michigan, the Gators deficit was quite a bit less than the number of voters in each poll. Oklahoma St started this week a whopping 342 points behind Alabama in the Harris poll and 166 back in the coaches' poll, which is nearly three times the number of voters in each poll. The Hokies' loss will help some, but it will take a significant voter epiphany to put Oklahoma State close enough to Alabama to overtake them.
It looks like Michigan got the help it needed to qualify for the at-large pool. I don't think it looks good for TCU though. The voters will really have to come to the Frogs' rescue, and that doesn't seem likely.
So, with that in mind, I now have Kansas State in the BCS instead of TCU.
Posted on: December 3, 2011 8:18 pm
Edited on: December 3, 2011 8:59 pm
LSU's 42-10 victory over Georgia for the SEC title puts the Tigers in the BCS title game as the No. 1 team.
Alabama also clinched a BCS berth because there is no realistic scenario that would put the Tide any worse than third. Obviously, at No. 2, they will play LSU for the championship, but even at No. 3, the Tide would automatically qualify (See Rule 6).
The loss by Georgia also helps both Michigan and TCU, as each looks to move up two spots in the rankings and qualify for BCS games (likely against each other).
West Virginia is also expected tp make the BCS after Cincinnati beat Connecticut 35-26, creating a three-way tie for the Big East championship. The tie is broken by BCS standings, and West Virginia is projected to be the highest rated team.
Posted on: December 3, 2011 3:56 pm
Edited on: December 3, 2011 3:57 pm
Houston lost its shot at the BCS with style. Southern Miss won the C-USA title 49-28.
That knocks Houston out of the BCS. It was such a bad loss, it might even knock the Cougars out of the at-large pool (not that it matters -- they wouldn't get picked). A blowout like this could cause a precipitous fall. They might even fall far enough to help out Michigan.
Now, the clock is on TCU. If the Frogs win today and can move up two spots to 16th in the BCS rankings, they would automatically qualify for the BCS as the highest-rated non-AQ conference champion. TCU is up 21-3 in the first half as I type this.
If TCU is unable to move up two spots, it opens the door for a Big 12 team (Bedlam loser, especially if Oklahoma State, or Kansas State) or even Boise State.
The day is still young. This could change again.