theknightswhosay

Posts Tagged ‘Central Florida’

CFP Response and SEC Wednesday #10

In Bowls, College Football, College Football Playoff, General LSU, History, Rankings Commentary, SEC Wednesdays on November 2, 2016 at 7:27 PM

A little later than I prefer, but I thought some Eastern Time sports fans may be up due to the baseball.

I honestly wasn’t surprised by anything in the CFP rankings, so that’s why I didn’t write a special blog last night. I do have something I wanted to rant a little bit about before getting to the SEC Wednesday blog though.

I was confident a team with a loss was going to be in the top 4. Obviously I had Ohio St. in the top 4, but A&M was a very close fifth. I guess they felt more comfortable with a loss to Alabama than a loss to Penn St. for obvious reasons.

Although I have them very high—and I’ve discussed why multiple times—I wasn’t expecting Western Michigan to be in the top 20, but I’m encouraged they were ranked at all since the CFP is notoriously skeptical of Group of Five teams.

I’m also encouraged WMU is the top Group of Five (G5) team.

I’m not sure what it will take for the committee to buy into the G5 teams more. Maybe it just needs to try harder to appoint people from G5 backgrounds. G5 teams have won a lot of games out of conference against major teams. They’ve done well in the major bowls in the past. I wanted to just give a list of the results. Pre-bowl records in parentheses:

2015 – Houston (12-1) 38, Florida St. (10-2) 24
2014 – Boise St. (11-2) 38, Arizona (10-3) 30
2013 – Central Florida (11-1) 52, Baylor (11-1) 42
2012 – Florida St. (11-2) 31, Northern Illinois (12-1) 10
2010 – TCU (12-0) 21, Wisconsin (11-1) 19
2009 – Boise St. (13-0) 17, TCU (12-0) 10
2008 – Utah (12-0) 31, Alabama (12-1) 17
2007 – Georgia (10-2) 41, Hawaii (12-0) 10
2006 – Boise St. (12-0) 43, Oklahoma (11-2) 42 (OT)

The G5 teams usually had one fewer loss than the opposition. I would point out that Northern Illinois and Hawaii had atrocious schedules and only got so high on account of their record.

It pre-dated this blog, but I can assure you I was a Hawaii detractor the whole year in 2007, and you may remember how I felt about Northern Illinois. I had the Huskies 17th (behind Florida St.) going into the bowls that year. I had stronger loss penalties than I do this year, so now they would be even lower. It’s not worth the trouble of searching, but I believe I said here that they weren’t really 17th-best.

I’d also like to mention that Northern Illinois went 1-1 against P5 teams in 2012, but the win was against Kansas, which finished 1-11. In 2007, Hawaii’s only game against a P5 opponent was a close win over a Washington team that also finished with a losing record.

This year, by contrast, it appears that both Western Michigan and Boise St. have defeated at least one eventual P5 bowl team apiece. Northwestern still has to win two games, but Purdue and Illinois only have two conference wins combined. The Wildcats also play un-ranked Minnesota, which has the same conference record (3-2) as they do. Western Michigan and Boise St. are both 2-0 against P5 opponents regardless.

SEC Wednesday

Last Week

The first three games got my hopes up before disappointing me.

Unfortunately, the Texas A&M defense allowed a touchdown after holding the other Aggies to 3 points over the first three quarters. This caused the closest New Mexico St. game against an SEC team other than Kentucky in several years.

Georgia hung tough for a half, but I was very surprised the Bulldogs were shut out by the Gators in the second half.

I knew when South Carolina scored in the fourth quarter, Tennessee most likely was not going to beat the spread, but I thought the Vols would come back to win until the very end.
Thankfully the reverse happened with Auburn, who trailed after every quarter but the fourth, which they won 13-0 to beat the spread.

I mentioned Kentucky earlier. The Wildcats are still not a great team, but they’re beating the spread every week. I don’t know what the bookies were thinking with Missouri.

Similar to last week, I was 5-1 in picking winners and 2-3 against the spread. (Mississippi St. won an FCS game against Samford.) This brings my records to 64-12 overall and 30-35-1 against the spread.

SEC WED

Next Week

Rather than wasting words, I’ll just let you know when I pick an upset win below.

I’m picking Georgia Southern to beat the spread of 27.5 against Ole Miss. It could be a blowout, but the Eagles took Georgia to overtime last year. Ole Miss beat a similar team in Memphis this year but only won by 20. Also this year, Georgia Southern’s only game against a P5 opponent was a 35-24 loss to Georgia Tech.

Despite falling short of the spread against New Mexico St., I think Texas A&M wins by at least 14 this week. The Aggies beat Auburn by 13 (on the road) and Arkansas by 21 (at a neutral site). The only thing that worries me is that the Aggies only won at South Carolina by 11. I’m put somewhat at ease by what I think is the most similar Mississippi St. game, which was when they hosted Auburn about a month ago and lost by 24.

Vanderbilt is a decent team that has fought admirably in the Commodores’ three conference losses so far, but they haven’t played an opponent as good as Auburn yet. If you can lose in Atlanta by 31, you can lose on the Plains by more than 26 (even). Also, I think Arkansas is better than Vanderbilt (albeit not by a whole lot), and I don’t need to recount what happened to them a couple of weeks ago.

Speaking of Arkansas, the Hogs host Florida, which is now on track to win the SEC East. The Gators even have a loss to spare. Arkansas should be fresh after a week off though, and Florida hasn’t performed that great on the road (loss to Tennessee by 10 and beat Vandy by 7). Gators by 3, which is less than the 5.5-point spread.

I think South Carolina is improving and Missouri is getting worse. If it were @Missouri, I’d think about it, but Gamecocks -7 all day long.

With Tennessee, I’ll just go with the win of course since there is no ESPN line for FCS games.

Georgia is favored by 2 over Kentucky. Although the Wildcats always seem to disappoint in the end, they’ve treated me well the past few games while picking Georgia has been a disaster most of the year. Kentucky to win.

Marcus Randall, not to be confused with JaMarcus Russell, may have engineered the "Bluegrass Miracle" in 2002 but could not even get the Tigers on the board against Alabama that year.

Marcus Randall, not to be confused with JaMarcus Russell, may have engineered the “Bluegrass Miracle” in 2002 but could not even get the Tigers on the board against Alabama that year.

Alabama is favored by almost an overtime-safe margin (very rare to win by 8 in OT), so I have to take LSU. The worst two LSU teams of the Miles tenure (2008 and 2014) both lost to the Tide in overtime at home. Other recent home games in the series for LSU were a loss by 4 in 2012 and a win by 3 in 2010. I really don’t think this will be the worst LSU does in the series at home since 2002.

I can’t countenance LSU losing to Alabama again, so I’ll tell myself it won’t happen this year even though the prudent pick is Alabama to win. The best argument I have is the gambler’s fallacy: LSU has to win a marginal game against Alabama at some point; and as I said, I don’t think this is the first team to lose by more than one possession at home to the Tide since 2002, which incidentally was Nick Saban’s worst team at LSU (8-5). I’ve plugged it a few times, but for more on the LSU-Alabama series, you know what to do.

Possible LSU-Florida Resolutions

In College Football, General LSU on October 12, 2016 at 6:45 PM

This is a little bit long. Feel free to browse the headings. SEC Wednesday will be posted tomorrow or possibly Friday and possibly in conjunction with other previews.

First I wanted to mention the passing of Mike VI. His last day outside (meaning outside of his den, not outside of his enclosure) was Saturday. At least there wasn’t much time between him being a seemingly normal happy tiger and the end. Saturday Down South had a nice spread about him as well.

Even though Mike VI didn’t seem to enjoy the stadium much, it will still be sad to have a home game on Saturday without him. He and Mike III (1958-76) both enjoyed national championships in their first football seasons, so maybe whoever Mike VII is will be a good luck charm in his first year as well. Weird that within just a few months, LSU had to get a new head coach, a new Voice of the Tigers, and now a new tiger. Too much change for my tastes.

Les Miles visiting with Mike VI in a picture Miles posted on Twitter in May.

Les Miles visiting with Mike VI in a picture Miles posted on Twitter in May.

I also want to express condolences and/or best wishes for those truly affected by Hurricane Matthew, before I start criticizing.

Background: It was NOT necessary to postpone the game to another weekend.

SB Nation writes: “Nine Floridians died in Hurricane Matthew. The direness of the forecast, combined with Florida’s potential loss of home game revenue, should trump any conspiracy theories about the Gators postponing the game because they’re scared of losing and falling in the standings. (Yes, those theories exist.)”

It’s not a conspiracy theory. It’s the only reasonable explanation the game didn’t get played like the other relevant games. Florida had an insurance policy for the game. I don’t think they lost very much if anything. How much would they gain by playing in the SEC Championship game and potentially a CFP bowl? There was never a “dire” forecast for Gainesville. I don’t know if they think Florida is the size of Connecticut or what.

This was the cone (the area of potential travel) for the hurricane at approximately the time the decision was made on Thursday.

This was the cone (the area of potential travel) for the hurricane at approximately the time the decision was made on Thursday.

How many deaths were there in Gainesville? How many were there in Tampa, where a game was played Saturday? How many were there in Miami Gardens, where a game was played Saturday? How many in Boca Raton, where a game was played Sunday? How many in Columbia, SC, where a game was played Sunday (under what appeared to be partly cloudy skies)? Even if someone did die in one of those places, they didn’t die because a game was going to be put on the next day. People die every day.

The implication that if you played the game Saturday, Sunday, or Monday lives would have been put at risk in a meaningful way is silly. If that is the case, why did all these other schools risk death?

A few thousand in the Gainesville area lost power and there was a light drizzle at some point. In other words, an unremarkable day in the Deep South. If my power were out, I’d be more likely to want to go to a game in my town personally. How is it that the risk to life and limb was so high in Gainesville but not in places that were both closer to the storm and closer to the Atlantic? There could have been a major tempest in Gainesville, and how would that have prevented playing the game on Sunday or Monday?

There was a game scheduled for Orlando (Tulane @ UCF) that was moved to another week, but it happened to be a mutual bye week for the two teams involved. I’m not sure they wouldn’t have played it had that convenient option not been available.

Location of major games and the approximate path of the hurricane.

Location of major games and the approximate path of the hurricane.

The only reasonable conclusion to reach is that Florida didn’t want to play the game. They had major injuries on defense, the starting QB was coming off an injury, and they didn’t want to play LSU and get banged up some more. Also, they got to watch Tennessee lose, and if the Vols lose next week (against Alabama), Florida will be poised to win the East by half a game. There are just too many coincidences for anything else to make sense.

If there were genuine concern about playing it in Gainesville, they should have expressed a willingness to move the game. Instead they delayed and delayed a final announcement until late in the day on Thursday. Before that announcement, they insisted the game would be in Gainesville on Saturday as scheduled.

Baton Rouge was also available.

LSU was available to play the game either at home or away any time (within reason) on Saturday, Sunday, or Monday, with or without hotel rooms. LSU also offered to pay the Gators’ travel expenses and provide hotel space had they chosen to play in Baton Rouge.

I get not wanting to play a road game (not that I buy the idea that there was any reason not to play the game in Gainesville on Sunday), but I would imagine at least a few Florida fans would have made the trip. The campuses are about 8 hours apart by car if one obeys the speed limit, but there are a lot of Florida fans in between Gainesville and Baton Rouge. About 5 of the 8 hours of travel are within the state of Florida. It being a large state school, I imagine there are a plenty of supporters and alumni who would have had much more comfortable driving distances. I’m from Louisiana, and it’s not uncommon to come across Florida fans there as well. I say that because I think they could have gotten a lot more Florida fans than normal into Tiger Stadium.

So there is almost nothing LSU wasn’t willing to do to get the game played Saturday, Sunday, or Monday. The only problem was Florida. LSU AD Alleva did say the ultimate decision to postpone the game was made by SEC Commissioner Sankey, so he refused to get too critical in a radio interview I heard, but I’ve also read elsewhere the commissioner doesn’t have authority to schedule an uncooperative team for a different date.

Other examples of rescheduled or moved LSU games

The Tigers didn’t have a great home-field advantage when they played South Carolina in a relocated game last year, and that was a fan base much less likely to make the trip anyway. Not as many people show up to impromptu home games. Given the prices, I don’t blame any season-ticket holder who isn’t willing to pay another penny toward a football game that the season ticket package doesn’t cover.

After Katrina, LSU moved what was supposed to be a home game to Tempe, AZ, to play the Sun Devils. Arizona St. donated the profits, but from the football side of things, it was a definite road game.

There are a couple of other things of note from that season.

The LSU-North Texas game, which was supposed to have been the opener, was rescheduled to October 29. Was that a mutual bye week? No, another team (ULM as I recall) had to move its schedule around.

Also, due to Hurricane Rita, the LSU-Tennessee game (which happened to be the home opener for one Les Miles) was postponed to a Monday. Given all the evacuees from Katrina still in the area, Tennessee had to fly in before the game and fly out after the game.

Like Tennessee did with its 2005 trip, LSU also offered to go to Gainesville without using hotels.

Remaining scheduling options

Since the decision to postpone the game indefinitely, LSU has been less in a mood to bargain with Florida. I’ll talk about where LSU’s position is right or wrong.

One idea was that LSU should cancel South Alabama, Florida should cancel Presbyterian, and LSU @ Florida could be played on 11/19. There is absolutely no reason to buy a team out and lose a home game. It’s ridiculous. It costs the local economy in the hundreds of thousands of dollars to lose a home game, and many businesses desperately need every game given the kind of summer Baton Rouge had. Also, that was supposed to be Senior Night. But I’ll talk below about potential alternatives for LSU keeping the 7 home games (3 of which have already been played and another this weekend).

I do fault Alleva for what he said about playing Florida on 10/29, LSU’s scheduled bye (this would involve moving up the Georgia-Florida game a week, but that decision should have been made already if it’s going to be made). He said he doesn’t want to play if Alabama isn’t going to play on that day. Well, Joe, Alabama isn’t going to play on that day. Georgia doesn’t want to go along with it anyway, not that they have a good excuse other than obstinence. Something about arranging for extra seats to be brought in. I don’t know why that can’t be done on 10/22 instead of 10/29. The Jacksonville Jaguars do have a game, but most stadiums can make changes like that in 24 hours.

Having a bye hasn’t done us much good the last few Alabama games, has it? But I do understand not wanting to play @Florida one week and to host Alabama the next. Not to mention that I don’t think Ole Miss on 10/22 will be a picnic either.

I made a proposal that would allow LSU to play the Arkansas game on 10/29 instead, but I don’t know if that’s too much better.

Brett McMurphy made a proposal that might work. It wouldn’t give Alleva the desired home game on 11/19 or the bye before Alabama, but it would have two good selling points: (1) It would be what should be an easy home nonconference game before Alabama instead of a road conference game the week before Alabama, and (2) LSU would not lose a home game.

However, it would involve some other teams. First, Georgia Southern and Georgia St. would have to move their game from 11/19 to 11/26, when they are both free. This would enable the Georgia St.-South Alabama game to move from 10/29 to 11/19, which in turn would enable LSU to host South Alabama on 10/29. This frees up 11/19 for LSU, when they can play Florida, provided Florida cancels its game with Presbyterian.

There is a similar arrangement that could take place with South Alabama, Georgia State, and ULM switching some games around instead of involving Georgia Southern.

Perhaps some of these teams can be tempted with future schedule considerations (and corresponding substantial financial incentive) with LSU and Florida.

There is another option which seems like it would make Alleva happy but perhaps not Florida. Both the South Alabama-LSU and Florida-Presbyterian games are canceled and LSU plays Florida on 11/19, BUT the game is played in Baton Rouge instead of Gainesville.

Future Years if Game is in Baton Rouge

I know no one would think it’s fair for Florida to go to Baton Rouge three years in a row (although this is their fault), but I have an idea to resolve that. Instead of LSU playing @ Tennessee next year, they host Tennessee and play @ Florida. The scheduled Tennessee @ Florida game would be played in Knoxville instead. That way everyone keeps 4 home games and 4 road games in the conference schedule. Just reset the home and home at that point. So LSU would start playing @ Florida (and Florida @ Tennessee) in odd years, and at home in even years. The non-annual SEC East opponent can be a road game for LSU in even years going forward. Tennessee’s non-annual SEC West opponent can be a road game in odd years going forward.

Changing even to odd is not unprecedented. Mississippi St. went to LSU in 1991 and 1992. Kentucky (which used to be an annual series) went to LSU in 1987 and 1988, and LSU went to Kentucky in 2001 and 2002. Alabama went to LSU in 1991 and 1992. LSU went to Ole Miss (actually Jackson) in 1991 and 1992, and Ole Miss went to LSU in 2001 and 2002. I’m sure there were many such situations that did not involve LSU as well.

Anyway, personally I hope the game gets played even if it involves LSU giving up the bye week and not having a home game on the 19th, but I don’t really want the game to be played if it means LSU having one fewer home game this year. If the game does not get played, something needs to be done about the division championship rules, at least for this season.

Week Four SEC Preview

In College Football, General LSU, History, Me, Preview, SEC Wednesdays on September 25, 2015 at 11:44 AM

This won’t be the full “SEC Wednesdays” feature I have planned, but I thought I’d start off with comments and predictions of the coming week so I’ll have more to talk about when Wednesday gets here.

Central Florida @ South Carolina

South Carolina’s season hasn’t been pretty so far, but it’s been better than that of Central Florida, who has lost to both FIU and Furman (as well as Stanford) to start the year.  Despite this, the Gamecocks are only favored by 15.  Perhaps it was due to the fact that they didn’t win easily in their only win, only scoring 17 in that contest with a maximum output of 22 points in the loss to Kentucky.

Still, I think this is by far the worst opponent the Gamecocks have faced and expect them to win something like 31-10.

LSU @ Syracuse

This is also a tough one.  Not that I think LSU will be sweating out the fourth quarter like they did in the game in Starkville, but 24 points is a large spread to expect a road team to beat, especially when it will be 11 a.m. Central at kickoff.

I'll have to get up early if I want to see the kickoff live.  I am excited the Tigers will be playing at this venue...

I’ll have to get up early if I want to see the kickoff live. I am excited the Tigers will be playing at this venue…

But these uniforms hurt my eyes already. Imagine how much worse they'll be when I'm just waking up.

But these uniforms hurt my eyes already. Imagine how much worse they’ll be when I’m just waking up.

Even the 2007 LSU team that won the BCS championship struggled at Tulane early, and that was a short trip with a relatively friendly crowd.  Also, Tulane was a losing team of the CUSA that year.  Syracuse isn’t guaranteed a bowl berth out of the ACC this year, but I still think we can assume they’re a good bit better than Tulane was in 2007.  LSU still eventually won that game 34-9, but the Tigers were more pass-oriented with Matt Flynn under center (he threw for 258 despite the slow start).  I’d expect something similar to score I picked for South Carolina above even if things go well, so I would take the points.  I could be wrong though. I would have taken the points for the Auburn game as well.

Southern @ Georgia

ULM @ Alabama

I don’t think it’s even worth discussing whether Georgia will beat Southern or Alabama will beat ULM (despite what happened in 2007).  I don’t have a line for Georgia, but I know Alabama is favored by 38.  The Warhawks lost to Georgia by “only” 37, so I’m not sure I see Alabama beating ULM by 38.  I’d take the points.

Tennessee @ Florida

I usually lean against favored road teams.  The line is only 1.5 though, so it’s essentially a pick ’em. The Gators did a good job to win by 5 at Kentucky, but I have to guess Tennessee would have won by more than that given the Vols defeat of Bowling Green by 29.  Florida also didn’t play great at home against East Carolina, winning by only 7.

Texas A&M vs. Arkansas (Arlington, TX)

Texas A&M is favored by 7.5 on a neutral field against Arkansas.  Arky kept it close last year, but I’m not seeing the same fight they had last season.  A&M has done significantly better, including comfortably beating Arizona St. on another neutral field.  I would take the Aggies minus the points.

Vanderbilt @ Ole Miss

Vandy has done well in this series in recent years, but I don’t see them doing so well against this Ole Miss team on the road.  I don’t know that Vandy is much better than the Fresno St. team the Rebels beat by 52, so I’d take Ole Miss minus the 25.

Mississippi St. @ Auburn

LSU just beat both of these teams, and obviously the Bulldogs did better against the Fighting Tigers, but maybe the location (and it being LSU’s first game) had something to do with it.  This is a very good line.  I would pick Auburn by 3.  That puts them just over the line of 2.5.

Missouri @ Kentucky

The Wildcats are favored in this one.  Might have something to do with the Tigers’ underwhelming performances against Arkansas St. and Connecticut, but after the last couple of years I’m not underestimating Missouri in conference play.  As I mentioned, Florida won by five in Lexington, and I don’t see the Gators knocking it out of the ballpark against the likes of East Carolina.  I’ll take Mizzou and the points.  I also think they’re the more likely victor even though they haven’t beaten the Wildcats for 29 straight years like the Gators have.

Twitter

I am not really an expert at Twitter and as you might guess, I’m not a huge fan of the character limit.  If you want to read my tweets, my handle (I also don’t like the whole nomenclature of Twitter) is @TheBayouBlogger.

I had an interesting exchange with Chris Low (@ClowESPN) about Bear Bryant today.  Low mentioned the Bear visited the Mississippi St. locker room to congratulate the Bulldogs after they ended a long Tide winning streak in 1980.  I mentioned a story I liked after another rare Alabama loss.  I guess there was a weekly local football show, and the homer announcer said something like, “Well coach, I guess the Lord just wasn’t on our side in that one.”  Bryant uttered in a low tone: “The Lord expects you to block and tackle.”

Low is probably my favorite writer for ESPN.  He’s certainly better than anyone they typically put on TV to cover college football.

Week 2 College Football Rankings 2014

In College Football, Rankings, Rankings Commentary on September 7, 2014 at 1:39 PM

Rank/team/previous

1 Auburn 1
2 Oregon 3
3 Oklahoma 4
4 Florida St. 2
5 Georgia 5
6 Alabama 6
7 LSU 9
8 TX A&M 10
va tech
9 Va. Tech —
notre dame
10 Notre Dame —
BYU_Logo_1969-1998
11 BYU —
12 Ole Miss 15
13 Clemson 13
14 USC 8
15 Louisville 20
16 Mich. St. 11
17 Stanford 14
18 S Carolina 16
19 Ohio St. 7
20 Arizona St. 17
21 Baylor 21
22 Florida 22
23 Duke 23
24 Penn St. 25
25 N. Illinois 24

Out of rankings: (12) UCLA, (18) Texas, (19) Michigan

Earlier rankings:
Preseason
Week 1

Comments:
It will take me a little while to think of and compose my next “column” to write, so I’m just going to do the rankings now even though it’s only been a few days since I released the last rankings.

Auburn hasn’t really played anyone, but I thought they had enough coming back to leave them in the top 2 in preseason, then I moved them into #1 last week and have no reason to make a change again.

I also don’t like to rank a new team #1 for the first time lightly. I’ve never ranked Oregon #1. If Auburn loses and Oregon keeps winning by convincing margins, they may earn that spot soon.

I moved Florida St. below both Oregon and Oklahoma. I was surprised that Louisiana Tech, whom the Sooners beat in Week 1, won on Saturday. Tulsa also beat an FBS opponent in its other playing week. Oklahoma dominated both teams. So the Sooners have been about as impressive as possible being that they have yet to play a major-conference opponent.

LSU and Texas A&M each moved up a couple spots. It’s not because it matters to me whether they won by 40 or 70 this week; but Ohio St. lost, and USC had probably the most pathetic win over a ranked opponent I’ve ever seen.

I couldn’t justify keeping anyone else ahead of the three big winners, Virginia Tech, Notre Dame, and BYU. I may have been wrong about them being competitive, but I can’t imagine Texas and Michigan are as bad as Rice and Connecticut (whom Notre Dame and BYU beat by similar margins in Week 1), but their opponents deserved credit for making them look that way. I was a lot more confident in Ohio St. being a deserving ranked team, so that’s why I put Virginia Tech highest of the three (and why the Buckeyes are still in the top 20). I put Notre Dame second because I considered them a lot more strongly for the top 25 going into the season, but it was a close call.

Ole Miss went up a few spots. They still haven’t had a true home game, and they did all you could have asked them to do on the road against rival Vanderbilt, which has has some success against the Rebels in recent years.

South Carolina didn’t really do anything wrong this week, but the three new teams had to push some winning teams down. Same goes for Arizona St.

I was able to keep the next three in place after easy wins.

I moved Penn St. up a spot because I’m skeptical Northern Illinois is a top-25 team after that Northwestern performance. But at least it’s not two extremely questionable games, which is what happened to both Washington and UCLA, two other undefeated teams that I ranked in the preseason and have since removed. I’m open to bumping the Huskies if a team like Tennessee (which plays Oklahoma) wins, but I’m thinking that’s highly unlikely. East Carolina (could be a let-down for the Hokies) and maybe Virginia (not saying that’s any more likely than Tennessee) are the only others I see that could get themselves ranked by beating a ranked team.

The winner of Central Florida and Missouri will be a strong candidate next week.

That UCLA-Texas game lost its luster in a hurry, but maybe an impressive UCLA win could get them back in the top 25. An impressive Texas win probably would not be enough for the Horns to return.

If Playoff System Existed Last Season

In Bowls, College Football, Rankings Commentary on July 26, 2014 at 3:15 PM
Expected top 4 had the College Football Playoff system been in effect last season.

Expected top 4 had the College Football Playoff system been in effect last season.

First off, there needs to be a better way to describe this. The “playoff” is four teams, but there was a championship game under the BCS and you could describe the other major bowls as “BCS bowls” without confusion. CFP (college football playoff) bowls maybe? I guess I’ll call them that.

If you’re not aware, there is a three-year rotation for the semifinals. Year 1: Rose and Sugar. Year 2: Orange and Cotton. Year 3: Fiesta and Peach. So I’m going to go through all three possibilities using last year’s pre-bowl rankings.

The Top Four

Going by the BCS standings, this is how the semifinal would have looked last year:

Rose: Florida St. vs. Michigan St.
Sugar: Auburn vs. Alabama

However, I don’t think it would have happened that way. I think given that Alabama did not have a particularly strong non-divisional schedule (Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia Tech, Colorado St., Georgia St., Chattanooga), did not win the conference, and lost its final game, they would have been seeded no higher than 4th. When the loss takes place isn’t stated as a criteria, but I can’t imagine that wouldn’t influence the results.

I don’t think Stanford, which had the toughest schedule according to many and which won its conference, would have gone ahead of Alabama, but that’s another possibility. I would have picked Stanford myself.

I’ll just go with Alabama though for this exercise. I think making them #4 instead of #3 would have been a significant enough departure from all the major polls.

Year 1: Semifinal

So this is what I think the semifinal actually would have been:
Rose: Auburn vs. Michigan St.
Sugar: Florida St. vs. Alabama

Year 1: Other CFP Bowls (those bowls in the rotation but not semifinals in Years 1, 4, 7, etc.)

The Orange Bowl is the only one where we have any guidance really since the ACC #1 goes to the Orange Bowl if it’s a year where the Orange Bowl is not a semifinal. In this case, it’s actually the ACC #2 since the ACC #1 obviously would have made the semifinal. I think with a fairly highly-ranked alternate of the same conference, the Orange Bowl still would have picked Clemson. The other Orange Bowl spot is for and SEC or Big Ten #2 or Notre Dame. I don’t think they would have fought the Cotton Bowl over Missouri, and Ohio St. was a very attractive pick, so actually, that’s the one relevant bowl that I don’t think would have changed.

Orange: Clemson vs. Ohio St. (actual match-up)
Cotton: South Carolina vs. Oklahoma
Fiesta: Stanford vs. Baylor
Peach: Central Florida vs. Missouri

Year 2: Semifinal

Cotton: Auburn vs. Michigan St.
Orange: Florida St. vs. Alabama

Year 2: Other CFP Bowls (those bowls in the rotation but not semifinals in Years 2, 5, 8, etc.)

It’s a little more straightforward not to have the Rose and Sugar as part of the semifinals. My understanding is that in Years 2 and 3, the SEC takes the highest non-semifinal Big XII and SEC teams no matter what, and the Rose Bowl takes the highest Big Ten and Pac-12 teams no matter what.

To editorialize for a moment, I don’t know why the Rose and Sugar would be paired as semifinals. It should be like Sugar Fiesta one year, Rose Peach the next, and Orange Cotton the next. That way you’re only disrupting one major bowl arrangement at a time. In the years that the Pac-12/Big Ten game doesn’t take place, there should still be the SEC/Big XII game and vice versa.

Sugar: South Carolina vs. Baylor
Rose: Stanford vs. Ohio St.
Orange: Clemson vs. Missouri
Fiesta: Oklahoma vs. Central Florida

Year 3: Semifinal

Fiesta: Auburn vs. Michigan St.
Peach: Florida St. vs. Alabama

Year 3: Other “Playoff” Bowls (those bowls in the rotation but not semifinals in Years 3, 6, 9, etc.)

These years will be the most restrictive since there are three bowls with pretty specific formulas.

Sugar: South Carolina vs. Baylor
Rose: Stanford vs. Ohio St.
Orange: Clemson vs. Missouri
Cotton: Oklahoma vs. Central Florida

All years: Other Bowls (rough guess)

I looked at the anticipated bowl lineup and used my best guess as to how it would have worked had next year’s bowls all been in place last year. Keep in mind that there were two more bowl slots among the major bowls since last season, there was a national championship game made up of two separate teams, but this season it will be made up of winners of bowl games. Oklahoma St. would have been bumped in my estimation so it would not have played in the Cotton Bowl. The Peach Bowl will be very different, so neither Duke nor Texas A&M would have been under consideration for the new CFP bowls. In the case of Texas A&M, however, I think their spot in what will be a major bowl would have been taken by another SEC team: in this case South Carolina. So that would leave the Big XII and the ACC with another team for the remaining bowls, pushing the other teams of that conference down the ladder.

I do think some of the bowls would have been the same due to regional interests. It made sense to have two Louisiana teams in the New Orleans Bowl, for instance. It made sense to have Maryland playing in Maryland and North Carolina playing in North Carolina. The bolded teams are those who were bowl-eligible but did not actually play in bowls last season. There were a record number of bowl-eligible teams last year, so I’m not entirely sure there will even be enough bowl-eligible teams next year. I guess the NCAA will cross that bridge when it comes to it.

This is just an informal sort of exercise, so don’t make a big deal out of it. I’m going by what I’m told the rules will be next year as far as the preferred conferences, etc. Most conferences do not fill all their contractual slots though. I wasn’t always sure which bowls would have gotten the #8 team from a given conference and which would have had to find another team.

New Orleans: Tulane vs. ULL
New Mexico: Washington St. vs. Colorado St.
Las Vegas: USC vs. Fresno St.
Idaho Potato: San Diego St. vs. Buffalo
Camelia (new; Montgomery, AL): Ohio vs. Troy
St. Petersburg: Middle Tennessee vs. South Alabama
Boca Raton: Toledo vs. Florida Atlantic
Miami Beach (new): BYU vs. Texas St.
Poinsettia (San Diego): Utah St. vs. Navy
Bahamas (new): Northern Illinois vs. Boston College
Hawaii: Oregon St. vs. Boise St.
Russell Athletic (Orlando): U. Miami vs. Ball St.
Armed Forces (Ft. Worth, TX): East Carolina vs. Louisville
Heart of Dallas: North Texas vs. UNLV
Military (Annapolis, MD): Marshall vs. Maryland
Pinstripe: Notre Dame vs. Rutgers
Sun (El Paso): UCLA vs. Texas
Holiday (San Diego): Nebraska vs. Arizona St.
Liberty (Memphis): Rice vs. Western Kentucky
Texas: Texas Tech vs. Mississippi St.
Detroit: Pittsburgh vs. Minnesota
Independence (Shreveport, LA): Arizona vs. ULM
Music City: Ole Miss vs. Georgia Tech
Belk (Charlotte): North Carolina vs. Cincinnati
San Francisco: Washington vs. San Jose St.
Outback (Tampa, FL): Iowa vs. Georgia
CapitalOne (Orlando): LSU vs. Wisconsin*
Tax Slayer (formerly Gator; Jacksonville): Duke vs. Texas A&M
Alamo: Oklahoma St. vs. Oregon
Valley of the Sun (Tucson, AZ): Michigan vs. Kansas St.
Birmingham (formerly BBVA Compass): Vanderbilt vs. Houston
GoDaddy (Mobile, AL): Bowling Green vs. Arkansas St.

*It may have been the case that due to the fact that LSU plays Wisconsin to start this season, this match-up would not have been made. It’s possible that Georgia would have leapfrogged LSU, leaving the Tigers playing Iowa anyway. But as I said at the top of the section, it’s just sort of a rough guess. I left LSU there because they were apparently seen as the more desirable team. Also, some may recall Miami played Florida St. in a bowl game in 2003 only to play them again at the start of the 2004 season.

Final Top 25 & SEC Commentary

In Bowls, College Football, Post-game, Rankings, Rankings Commentary on January 7, 2014 at 6:28 PM
Florida St. and Auburn switched spots again.  Michigan St. and Missouri moved up after the Spartans beat Stanford.

Florida St. and Auburn switched spots again. Michigan St. and Missouri moved up after the Spartans beat Stanford.

Some people might think I’m upset about the SEC’s dominance over the BCS title game coming to an end (as is the game itself of course), but I’m really not. Like I said initially, I’m glad it’s not Saban or Meyer with another trophy.

I am indeed happy for Jimbo Fisher. He had his fingerprints on the development of a lot of quality programs, especially in the SEC, over the years. Even if Florida St. had lost, it’s really a tribute to him that they were in the game in the first place. Even though the ACC wasn’t great by any measure, it’s remarkable to win 14 games and only really have two in doubt much into the second half.

I’m not really a huge Malzahn fan, but I have gained some respect for him as well. I initially thought he was just a silly high school coach whose goofy plays would be exposed, but I’ve learned that his ideas are rooted in the study of the game’s history. I’ve also learned that he’s not just presenting the same plays over and over again. He finds new wrinkles and ways of running the offense that keeps defenses offguard. Whatever one has to say about the differences in competition, Auburn was the team that was luckier to be there, so I don’t feel it’s a huge injustice that they lost, although I’m not sure there has been a team in the title game that has faced that level of competion in the history of the BCS championship apart from that 2011 LSU team that also lost.

I don’t think Florida St. would have made it through the 9 SEC teams Auburn faced without a loss, but I also don’t necessarily think they would have lost more than once. Had the ’Noles played in the SEC, they may well have ended up BCS champions anyway. I don’t think that’s true of any of the other challengers the SEC has faced over the last few years.

Florida St.’s win should serve to remind some hardcore SEC fans that maybe one or two of those semifinal slots should go to non-SEC teams every year.

I’m in no way soft-pedaling the fact that this was a great year for the SEC though, and I don’t just mean going 7-3 in bowl games (one of the three was with a backup quarterback).

I have South Carolina 7th partly because I consider the loss to Tennessee pretty bad, but whether it’s top five or top seven, having three SEC teams in that group is about as good as you can hope for. I also have Alabama in the top 10, as do both polls. So that’s twice as many top 10 teams as the Big XII and four times as many as the other BCS conferences. I have Texas A&M a bit lower than the polls, but LSU and A&M are also consensus top 25 for a total of six. I also have the Pac-12 with six, but they’re mostly toward the bottom, and there aren’t teams like Vanderbilt (which is ranked in both major polls), Georgia, and Ole Miss with strong arguments in the Pac-12 either. If you look at the top 50 (or simply consider all those receiving votes in either major poll), the SEC has ten teams to the Pac-12’s seven.

The ACC and Big XII only have 5 teams apiece in the top 40, although both polls had Texas Tech #30. Even if you count them, a larger percentage of SEC teams is still in the top 40 than Big XII teams. Also to look at the lower teams, this is how I rank SEC and Big XII teams that fell outside of the top 70:
83. Florida (SEC)
89. TCU (Big XII)
96. Arkansas (SEC)
101. West Virginia (Big XII)
102. Iowa St. (Big XII)
103. Kansas (Big XII)
104. Kentucky (SEC)

So of the group above, 40% of the Big XII is there but only 21.4% of the SEC. I think that makes a big difference on the schedule, especially since every Big XII team who’s not among those four faced them. South Carolina was the only team to play all three SEC teams on the list above, which is another reason I only have them 7th in the overall rankings.

Anyway, I’ll have more to say another time, but these were just my first thoughts upon the completion of bowl season.

2013 Final Top 25

rank / team / prior

1 Florida St. 2
2 Auburn 1
3 Mich. St. 4
4 Missouri 7
5 UCF 10
6 Stanford 3
7 S Carolina 11
8 Oklahoma 12
9 Ohio St. 5
10 Baylor 6
11 Alabama 8
12 Clemson 17
13 Oregon 16
14 Louisville 18
15 Arizona St. 9
16 UCLA 19
17 LSU 20
18 Okie St. 15
19 USC 25
20 N. Illinois 13
21 Fresno St. 14
22 TX A&M —
23 Notre Dame 24
24 Washington —
25 Duke 21

Out of rankings: (22) Wisconsin, (23) Georgia

All 126 teams

Prior rankings:
Preseason
Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4
Week 5
Week 6
Week 7
Week 8
Week 9
Week 10
Week 11
Week 12
Week 13
Week 14
Pre-Bowl

And if I get enough responses, I might do a Blogger Poll again.

Bowl Projections

In Bowls, Post-game, Rankings on December 7, 2013 at 11:35 PM
The final BCS championship with be decided on  January 7.

The final BCS championship with be decided on January 7.

The BCS Standings have not been released yet, so I’m going to use my own rankings.

BCS Bowls

BCS National Championship Game:
(1) Auburn
(2) Florida St.

Rose Bowl:
(3) Stanford
(4) Michigan St.

Orange Bowl:
(5) Ohio St.
(12) Oklahoma

Fiesta Bowl:
(6) Baylor
(10) Central Florida

Sugar Bowl:
(8) Alabama
(16) Oregon

Other Selected Bowl picks

CapitalOne Bowl:
(7) Missouri
(22) Wisconsin

Alamo Bowl:
(9) Arizona St.
(31) Texas

Outback Bowl:
(11) South Carolina
(39) Nebraska

Cotton Bowl:
(15) Oklahoma St.
(20) LSU

Holiday Bowl:
(19) UCLA
(53) Texas Tech

Chick-fil-A (Peach) Bowl:
(17) Clemson
(28) Texas A&M

Gator Bowl:
(23) Georgia
(31) Iowa

Discussion
Unless I’m misled by reliable sources, BCS bowl selection will proceed as follows. (The italicized section is the way it works. My guesses as to what will happen are in plan fontt.)

(1) #1 plays #2, based on the BCS Standings. There is almost no doubt the two teams will be Florida St. and Auburn. Florida St. is the only unbeaten team in major college football. Auburn has clearly had the best schedule among one-loss teams and won the SEC over Alabama and Missouri, who would both be in the top 5 had their seasons ended before playing Auburn.

(2) If the #1 team would otherwise be designated for a certain bowl game, that bowl gets a replacement pick. I’m pretty sure the #1 team will remain Florida St. since they were #1 going in and won convincingly. So that means the Orange would get to pick first. I think they’ll pick Ohio St. That’s the best team not in the BCS Championship or Rose Bowl, and they bring fans to games pretty well. There is an agreement not to pick the #2 team from another conference, so I don’t think Alabama would be going here.

(3) If the #2 team would otherwise be designated for a certain bowl game, that bowl gets a replacement pick. The second bowl to pick will be the Sugar Bowl. Despite a great season by Missouri, Alabama is a better draw. Most people already regarded Alabama as the better team before Missouri’s loss to Auburn. Unfortunately, there are only two teams allowed per conference.

(4) Remaining slots will be selected based upon the rotation for a given year. In order to pick an “at-large” team, slots must be available for the automatic bids.

(4a) Orange My guess is the Orange will jump at an opportunity to recall the old days of picking Big 8 champions and go with Oklahoma. They could pick Clemson instead, but other than not losing to anyone but South Carolina and Florida St., what has Clemson really done? Also, I know South Carolina is a crazy football state, but they’re just not on the same level.

(4b) Sugar You might remember that a week ago people were saying that for the second selection, the Sugar would have to decide between UCF and Northern Illinois. That would have been true had Northern Illinois won; but since the Huskies lost, that opens up another at-large slot. Clemson might have a good argument here, but I think people would be more excited about Oregon. It wasn’t too long ago that Alabama was #1 and Oregon was #2. I think that would be a more exciting match-up. Ducks fans probably wouldn’t travel as well as Clemson Tiger fans though, so I’m not 100% sold on this.

(4c) Fiesta Unless the Orange or Sugar pick Central Florida, the Fiesta Bowl will have to. Baylor automatically goes as a result of winning the Big XII.

As to the non-BCS Bowls, there is more leeway.

Last year, a very good SEC team that lost the Championship for its second loss went to the CapitalOne Bowl, which is meant to be the top SEC non-BCS bowl. I expect the same this year.

Although conceivably Missouri could lobby to be in the Cotton instead of LSU, usually the Cotton goes to an SEC West team; and I think the Cotton would be happy with LSU, which has been a good draw in Arlington a few times recently, including playing Texas A&M in the Cotton a few years ago and playing Oregon and TCU to start the year in 2011 and 2013, respectively. Les Miles vs. Oklahoma St. would of course add some intrigue to the game.

Although Texas was one win away from the Fiesta Bowl, I think it would only be fair if it is the #4 Big XII team selected with its two non-conference losses. So that slot is the Alamo Bowl, which is of course in Texas and should be happy to have them. Arizona St. is pretty close for a Pac-12 school, so they’ll be a good pick to play the Longhorns. The Pac-12 #2 (or top available after the BCS) has gone to the Holiday Bowl before, but that’s not the way it works now from what I understand.

South Carolina always seems to end up in the Outback Bowl, but it’s a result of being in the SEC East and not one of the top 3 selections when there are two SEC teams in BCS bowls. I don’t see another logical place to put them. There is some talk of LSU going to the Outback Bowl if Missouri goes to the Cotton and frees up the CapitalOne Bowl for South Carolina, but I don’t think that’s fair to either the CapitalOne Bowl or to LSU. LSU was brushed aside for the Cotton last year in favor of A&M despite having beaten the Aggies. But Texas A&M wasn’t given the option of the “better” CapitalOne Bowl, which got Georgia. Iowa beat Nebraska, but they’re both 5-3 and I would think the Outback would go with Nebraska for its well-known supportive fan base.

I mentioned the Holiday Bowl earlier. They may pass on UCLA to vary things up a bit, but I suspect they won’t. It just seems to make too much sense. It’s also possible that the Alamo and Holiday could switch Pac-12 teams, but I don’t think that would be an improvement for either. If Oregon does not get into a BCS bowl, they may bump either UCLA or Arizona St. to the Sun Bowl. The pickings in the Big XII start to get slim, but Texas Tech looks like the best possibility. Kansas St. is another.

Texas A&M has been slotted for the Chick-fil-A bowl for a while, particularly by those prognosticators who didn’t pick them to beat Missouri. Since the time it was the Peach Bowl, this has been known for fun, competitive games, and I don’t think Clemson would disappoint. The Tigers won by a single point last year, but I don’t think the bowl would be enticed by Duke. It’s basketball season at that school.

Georgia has had an up-and-down year and they play in Jacksonville every year anyway, but I still think the Gator makes a lot of sense given its proximity to the state of Georgia. I think enough Georgia fans live far enough away to get hotel rooms and so forth, but they’ll still show up in big numbers. I’ve seen Michigan projected here, and they’re always a good draw too. I’m hoping the politics don’t allow the Wolverines to pass up Iowa and Minnesota, who both finished with better records. It wouldn’t shock me though.

All-Blogger Poll Week 14

In Blogger Poll, College Football, Rankings Commentary on December 6, 2013 at 2:23 PM
See below

See below

Sorry for getting this out late. I was waiting on responses longer than usual (there are only 5 entries this week), and it just wasn’t possible to do this yesterday.

It’s contentious toward the top. Voters that really like Auburn seem not to like Ohio St. and vice-versa. Florida St. still got a majority of the #1 votes and got #2 votes from both Ohio St. supporters for the top spot. No. 4 was interesting because two voters had Alabama two spots below Missouri, and another had the Tide two spots ahead of the Tigers. The other two had Alabama one vote ahead. So three of the five did think the Tide should go in front. That’s why they’re on top in the image above.

The Pac-12 seemed to benefit the most from the absent voters as all three teams moved up significantly even though they were all supposed to win and Oregon didn’t even look good doing it.

LSU was “jumped” by Central Florida and Oklahoma, who also gained four spots. LSU remained #17 though.

Duke went up the most, improving by six spots. Clemson and Wisconsin fell eight spots apiece after losses. Fresno St. only fell six spots.

Georgia also gained several spots to get into the top 25 (although they’re still significantly behind those other Bulldogs in points), in part because of Auburn’s win over Alabama. Georgia is ranked for the first time since Week 7. Texas rejoined the top 25 after a two-week absence. It didn’t take much to become ranked this week, as there was a lot of disagreement over who the last couple of teams should be.

All-Blogger Top 25

rank/team(first place votes)/total points[last week’s rank]

1 Florida St. (3) 123 [ 1 ]
2 Auburn 118 [ 4 ]
3 Ohio St. (2) 117 [ 3 ]
t4 Alabama 108 [ 2 ]
t4 Missouri 108 [ 6 ]
6 Stanford 92 [ 9 ]
7 Okie St. 86 [ 7 ]
8 Mich. St. 84 [ 8 ]
9 S Carolina 81 [ 10 ]
10 Arizona St. 78 [ 11 ]
11 Oregon 72 [ 15 ]
12 Baylor 68 [ 13 ]
t13 N. Illinois 66 [ 14 ]
t13 Clemson 66 [ 5 ]
15 Oklahoma 56 [ 19 ]
16 UCF 53 [ 18 ]
17 LSU 51 [ 17 ]
18 Duke 37 [ 24 ]
19 UCLA 36 [ 23 ]
20 Wisconsin 34 [ 12 ]
21 Louisville 27 [ 21 ]
22 Fresno St. 21 [ 16 ]
23 Georgia 12 [ ]
24 Texas 9 [ v ]
25 Notre Dame 5 [ 25 ]

Others receiving votes: Minnesota 4 [ v ], USC 3 [ 22 ], TX A&M 3 [ 20 ], U. Miami 3 [ ], Iowa 2 [ ], Washington 2 [ ], Ball St. 1 [ v ]

(v = received at least one vote last week but was unranked)

Previous rankings:
Week 6
Week 7
Week 8
Week 9
Week 10
Week 11
Week 12
Week 13

Time to Talk Turkey

In Bowls, College Football, Rankings Commentary on November 26, 2013 at 9:38 PM

By turkey, of course I mean football and the coming bowl season. The bird isn’t anything to get excited about really, but it can make an excellent sandwich to accompany football-watching.

First of all, I wanted to remind my All-Blogger voters to get their submissions in. About half of the ballots are still missing. None will be accepted after the first game kicks off on Thanksgiving, which is right about the time I plan to post it.

LSU-Arkansas (Friday on CBS) will be an afterthought among all the interesting games in the next few days, but I originally wrote this blog back in 2006, and it’s what touched off my successful (for me, anyway) Rivalry Series. So if you have any interest at all, please check it out.

Sometimes I wonder if articles are written for Bleacher Report just to annoy me. I used to suspect the same thing of Sporting News. Not me in particular, but they want to get under fans’ skin to get more hits. Brian Pedersen is a “Featured Columnist” on the site, and based on the way his “Which Teams Got Screwed in Week 14 Standings?” column is written, he doesn’t understand how the BCS rankings work after 15 years. The rankings will cease to exist in a couple of weeks. Have some respect.

• explain why Clemson (10-1) got passed by Missouri in the latest standings, despite both teams winning? Yes, Clemson moved up from seventh to sixth

> So let me get this straight. Getting “screwed” means not moving up ENOUGH after beating an FCS opponent? Does it not occur to him that Missouri beat a ranked Ole Miss team. Maybe there are times when beating a ranked team should move you ahead of someone even if that other team doesn’t lose. Is that so hard to imagine? I know a few other teams beat Ole Miss, but let’s review who they were: Alabama, Auburn, and Texas A&M. Ole Miss has beaten LSU, Texas, and Vanderbilt. Even if you’re not convinced Ole Miss is a good win, let me float this idea: Maybe Clemson shouldn’t have been ahead of Missouri in the first place. This doesn’t convey a highly fundamental misconception of the BCS. Maybe he figured the pollsters would penalize Missouri for what they knew would be a boost in the computers, I don’t know. But wait for it.

> He then mentions South Carolina didn’t lose ground after a similar game. NEITHER DID CLEMSON! He also mentions LSU climbed after beating an FCS opponent “and not just because teams above it lost”. Staying at 13th isn’t climbing. Missouri lost to a team called South Carolina. Guess what Clemson can do if they belong ahead of Missouri?

• But did the (Baylor) Bears‘ loss to Oklahoma State—arguably the hottest team in college football right now and currently ranked seventh—justify dropping from fourth to ninth?

>> Falling 5 spots after being blown out seems reasonable to me. LSU was in the Alabama game until the fourth quarter, and they fell 8 spots. This is the same guy who tries to argue there is a double standard in favor of the SEC. If anything, if you’re further down to begin with, losing to a top team shouldn’t hurt you as much.

>> Another big complaint seems to be that Stanford—which beat Arizona St., Washington, UCLA, and Oregon—passed up the Bears. Let’s review Baylor’s best four wins: Oklahoma… Texas Tech, Buffalo, Kansas St. Utah went downhill since beating Stanford, but they’ve played all the best teams of both divisions (not to mention BYU and Utah St., both of whom they beat) and some of the losses were very close. Stanford just happened to be their lucky game. South Carolina might pass Baylor if they beat Clemson (which would at worst be their second win over a 2-loss team). I think that MAYBE trumps Oklahoma and Texas Tech perhaps?

Michigan State (10-1) is locked into the Big Ten title game, where it will have a chance to earn an automatic BCS bid if it were to beat Ohio State in Indianapolis in two weeks.

>>> And best of luck to them. What’s the problem? Oh, they DIDN’T pass up the likes of Clemson and Baylor. So, the team that stays behind Clemson and Baylor got screwed. Clemson and Baylor also got screwed by not staying ahead of all the teams they had been ahead of. Wow. South Carolina is also ahead. He then mentions how Michigan St. should get more credit for winning its division. Baylor isn’t in a division. Michigan St., unlike Clemson, isn’t in a division with Florida St. Maybe he has a point with South Carolina (which won’t win its division unless Missouri loses to Texas A&M), but not if South Carolina beats Clemson.

Fresno State (10-0) gave its home crowd a powerful sendoff by putting up 69 points against New Mexico on Saturday, getting 820 yards of total offense and seven touchdowns from superstar QB Derek Carr [but fell behind Northern Illinois]… You can probably chalk that up to NIU getting ESPN exposure on weeknights the past two weeks, while FSU was on the lesser-watched CBS Sports Network.

>>>> This is that one shining moment you’ve been waiting for. I seriously doubt a whole lot of voters dropped Fresno St. In fact, their points in both of the BCS polls went UP (maybe a little less than Northern Illinois’); but you know those computers? They don’t get impressed by scores, because the NCAA mandated that the computers couldn’t factor that in. They also don’t care what channel the games were played on. They care that Northern Illinois beat a team with only one other loss (Ball St.) and then another (Toledo) who had been 7-3. Before beating New Mexico (3-8), Fresno St. had a bye week. Those mean computers want you to prevail over actual competition. For shame!

There was some griping about Central Florida and Duke, not completely without merit. But it’s just reality that when it’s 2/3 human polls, they’re not going to start supporting teams that have been out of the spotlight as quickly as you might like. Central Florida wasn’t realistically going to go ahead of undefeated Northern Illinois and Fresno St., but they don’t have to worry about that since all they have to do is win their conference anyway. Duke (with two losses) is behind a few teams with three losses. Maybe they have an argument to be ahead of USC, UCLA, or both; but do we have to pretend the SEC West is roughly equivalent to the ACC Coastal?

Finally, he complains about Cincinnati, with the worst schedule in college football other than possibly Old Dominion, which played mostly FCS schools. Cincinnati was absolutely destroyed by Illinois. The Illini have three other wins, but none of those victories were against teams with a single FBS win of their own. The Bearcats also lost to South Florida, whose one other FBS win was over Connecticut. Cincinnati did beat SMU, Rutgers, and Houston in consecutive weeks, but that doesn’t make up for those losses. The best win before those? 3-7 Memphis.

The same guy also did the bowl projections for this week. I know this will come as a shock to fans of the Stanford Cardinal, but even if they beat Notre Dame, the chances of playing for a national championship are approximately 0. He also assumes Texas will beat that great Baylor team he complains about and play Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl since LSU has three losses. Uhhh, Texas A&M does too; and furthermore, he projects Missouri to beat the Aggies! I had been wondering who to cheer for in this game since I think I might like to see South Carolina play Auburn or Alabama more than Missouri, but it’s clear now. The thought of LSU getting passed up for the Cotton Bowl again despite beating A&M again is a bit frustrating for me, so I’ll be cheering for all three SEC Tiger teams.

My Top 25 Week 11

In College Football, Rankings, Rankings Commentary on November 10, 2013 at 2:44 PM

top25-week11

Comments

I updated by LSU/Alabama series page. Feel free to get your top-25 votes to me.

I finally decided to allow Florida St. to be #1, although Alabama nearly passed up the Seminoles. I expect Syracuse will count for just a little more than Mississippi St. will, but Auburn and the SEC championship should more than make up for the difference going into the last two games if both stay undefeated. Florida St. finishes the year against Florida and will play the ACC Championship, most likely against Virginia Tech. (Miami, Duke, and Georgia Tech are all tied with the Hokies in conferences losses, however.)

Also, I sort of have more of a focus on the top 2 and top 4 anyway. I don’t think anyone is going to rely on me as the great oracle of college football to make such decisions, but I like to imagine that my ratings would pick a good top 2 for national-championship purposes or a good top 4 for national-semifinal purposes.

I feel vindicated about Stanford though. My ratings are not about who is going to beat whom necessarily, but they do serve as a reminder that teams don’t always earn their rankings in the major polls, not even after 10 weeks of play.

Baylor won’t be high enough for most people’s tastes, but again, they have plenty of potential points on the table with Texas Tech, Oklahoma St, and Texas still to play.

Major shake-ups took place toward the bottom of these ratings.

One reason Texas A&M shot up so high was the fact that the Aggies have played Alabama but not LSU, Vanderbilt but not Florida, and Auburn but not Tennessee. LSU and Texas A&M are in the same division though. They play in just under two weeks.

Minnesota’s improvement might seem a little more than is deserved, but by finally beating a competitive team in Michigan, Nebraska’s stature as an opponent increased considerably. The Gophers beat the Huskers two weeks ago. It also helped that numbers 14, 19, 21, and 24 all lost, while #22 and #25 earned wins that were worth very little.

Wisconsin, Virginia Tech, and UCLA got fairly decent wins. (I didn’t mention Arizona St. earlier, but since they technically beat Wisconsin, they got a boost from that prior win as well as their one-point win over Utah. USC’s improvement has also helped the Sun Devils. Sometimes it is better to be lucky than good.)

Texas hasn’t done anything really impressive lately, and I’m not sure Ball St. has done anything impressive at all (although I guess winning 7 in a row is nothing to sneeze at), but they’ve both been lingering just out of the top 25 for a few weeks, seemingly waiting for other teams to lose.

This is the first time LSU has been out of the top 25 in nearly five years (Jan. 2009).

Top 25

rank / team / prior

1 Florida St. 2
2 Alabama 1
3 Stanford 3
4 Ohio St. 4
5 Auburn 6
6 Missouri 5
7 Baylor 11
8 Fresno St. 10
9 Clemson 8
10 Oregon 7
11 Arizona St. 17
12 TX A&M 20
13 S Carolina 13
14 UCF 23
15 N. Illinois 16
16 Mich. St. 15
17 Oklahoma 9
18 Okie St. 18
19 Minnesota —
20 Va. Tech —
21 Miami 12
22 Wisconsin —
23 Ball St. —
24 Texas —
25 UCLA —

Out of rankings: (14) Notre Dame, (19) Houston, (21) LSU, (22) Georgia, (24) Michigan, (25) Louisville

All 126 teams

Prior rankings:
Preseason
Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4
Week 5
Week 6
Week 7
Week 8
Week 9
Week 10