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Monday, September 19

 

ATL Email Exchange: Sorting out the BCS Top 6

The following is an email exchange between ATL contributors Peter Bean and Travis Richmond.

Travis to Peter:
A friend and I are already getting into this debate. Of course it's early, and these things usually work themsevles out, BUT...


Assume:

1. USC runs the table and wins the Pac 10.
2. Texas also goes undefeated and beats a Top 25 team (Iowa State?) in the Big 12 title game.
3. LSU/Florida winner runs the table in the SEC and beats a Top 10 team in the SEC title game to cap a perfect regular season.
4. ACC champ is also undefeated, beating a Top 15 team in the first ACC title game. Top candidates at this point are VaTech and FSU.
5. Louisville wins the Big East with a perfect record.
6. Ohio State does not lose another game and wins the Big 10 with an undefeated conference record. Their only loss is to Texas.


Now rank the six BCS teams, with the top two playing for the national title.It's not as easy as you think.

--Travis--

Peter to Travis:
Maybe I need to hear your thoughts, because to me, it's easy, in that order:

1. USC, 2. Texas 3. Florida/LSU 4. ACC champ 5. Louisville 6. Ohio State

Convince me otherwise.

--Peter--

Travis to Peter:
Ok, hear me out. I may be in the minority on this one, but hear me out:


1. The SEC has four teams in the top 10. How can anyone not say that is the toughest confernece? If you agree that the SEC is in fact #1, how can you deny an unbeaten conference champ from the toughest conference a spot in the national championship game? There. I said it. I'm reserving one of the sports in Pasadena for an unbeaten team from the SEC.
2. USC looks like they should be in the NFL, but how we we know? The Pac 10 is always weak. Cal (13), Az. State (18) and UCLA (25) are in the top 25, but that'sit. And you know no other team in the Pac 10 is going to be in the top 10 at the end of the season. What I'm saying is, when you look at an 11-0 USC, who will their biggest win against? Notre Dame?At the same time, how do you not let the two-time champs play for history?
3. Texas should start rooting for OU now. I know I've been downrioght giddy at the troubles in Norman, but it's not helping our rep. Plus A&M's loss to Clemsonhurts, too. Thank GOD we scheduled Ohio State this year, or we'd look like Louisville. Texas Tech and Iowa State are the only other Big 12 teas in the top 25. It's also a godsend that ISU beat Iowa or it would be just us and Tech, and I think Tech is a gimmick program that would lose to most other teams in the top 25.I think it's a very real possibility that Texas could be the only team from the Big 12 in the top 20 at the end of the year. We have to pray Ohio State keeps winning, becuase if Ohio State is somehow 8-3 like Big 10 teams always are, we're in trouble. Our big winbecomes not so big.
4. Don't count out the ACC. VaTech and FSU don't play in the regular season, and if they are both undefeated and meet for the ACC title, I'd say the winner of that game has a strong claim at going to Pasadena.
5. I agree with Louisville. They suck. I just threw them in there. Even if they are undefeated, I'd take a one-loss team from one of the Big Five conferencesover them.


So here's my rankings (assuming what I said in the first email happens):
1. SEC (undefeated champ)
2. Pac 10 (undefeated USC only)
3. ACC (undefeated champ)
4. Big 12 (undefeated Texas only)
5. Big 10 (undefeated champ or 1-loss Ohio State)
6. Big East (undefeated Louisville only)

--Travis--


Peter’s response:
Aha! Now I see where you’re coming from. The point of a rational analyst. That explains it completely. Fortunately for Texas, the college football postseason is an irrational system, despite all the BCS proclamations to the contrary.

Let me give you an analogy. It’s crude, but it works. Back in 1992, this lovable lumpy veteran for the Atlanta Braves named Terry Pendleton was voted Most Valuable Player of the league. It was silly on any objective analysis. Barry Bonds had a better season by any metric you might want to use. (Bonds has won seven MVPs, and it’s not a big deal, but bear with me.)

And, actually, this happens all the time, and not just to my favorite players. A couple of years ago Miguel Tejada won the AL MVP in a year where, despite having an amazing year himself, he was statistically inferior to Alex Rodriguez by every measure, defensively and offensively. Believe me when I tell you that I hate Alex Rodriguez.

What’s the commonality between MVP voting and the BCS? Both systems often produce irrational results biased by human voting. Herein lies the problem with your argument. While you very well may be able to make that exact argument at the end of the year, history tells us that it’s not the way things will actually unfold. Here’s the real story.

1. USC (undefeated Pac 10 champ) If they run the table, they’re going to the Rose Bowl. Period. They’ll be #1 in every human poll and, trust me, the computers will treat them very well. It’s a no-doubter, whether they’re worthy of it or not.
2. Texas (undefeated Big 12 champ) One need only look to last year, when Oklahoma, despite winning a relatively mediocre Big 12, was the #2 team over Auburn. Why? Mostly because that’s how they’d been voted, all year long. They were consensus #2 and remained so. It’ll happen again this year.

In a rational system, where computers could take into account margin of victory, and where voters, say, waited to vote until October 1st, and where pre-conceived notions didn’t rule day, we could have a rational analysis of the teams and who deserves to be in the national title game.

But that’s not how things work. Just as the best baseball player doesn’t always win the MVP, sometimes (often times) the best college football teams don’t get ranked correctly. It’s a crazy, irrational system that’s produced bizarre national title games (Nebraska 2001 anyone?) and heaps of controversy. It’s not going away until we get a playoff and we can throw the best eight teams into the ring for a real championship tournament. Until then, we’re left with history to guide us, and history is on our side. It’s certainly possible that the weak Big 12 will knock the AP #2 team out of the national title game, but after USC was snubbed two years ago (despite being ranked higher in the human polls), they tweaked the system and the safeguards now favor us tremendously.

--PB--

Comments:
I think that an umdefeated ACC team would not bounce an undefeated Texas from the #2 spot, the ACC is not a strong enough conference to overcome the momentum that Texas has. It is going to take a large amount of force to move undefeated Texas from that #2 spot. That being said, an Udefeated Flordia or LSU has a very strong argument as to why they should be #2 and could potentally move Texas. #1 will not leave USC until they lose no matter what happens.
 
Travis is right, the ACC will end up being a stronger conference this year than the Big 12 and maybe the strongest in the country. The ACC has Florida St, VA Tech as the premier teams this year with Miami, Ga Tech, Boston College, and Clemson not that far behind. I would argue that all six of those teams are better than every Big 12 team save Texas right now.

And the SEC is strong as well, with Florida, Georgia, and LSU leading the charge. Tennessee is just a step off.

It is early, but let the debates begin. If USC and a team from the SEC or ACC run the table, Texas could easily be on the outside looking in.

My BCS update coming tomorrow.

-AW-
 
The hypothetical BCS is fun and all but to get back to reality the rice game was a joke. By the way there were so many scores picks that were damn close. Also the spread was dead on. I had Texas 52 Rice 13. Of course I should have factored in Texas missing at least 1 extra point, as well as Rice getting the ball in our red zone and coming away with 0 points.
Maybe Chizik hasn't had to coach against an option offense, or we just didn't even care enough to learn how to defend it, but apparently no one has the pitch man in the Chizik defense era. I bet Brad Smith and Missouri will take notice. Rice stopped running the option after the Huff fumble recovery for the touchdown, but they shouldn't have. They were consistently picking up 5 or 6 yards every time the pitch man got it.
Also we had some coverage issues, but Rice didn't have the receivers or the qb's to take advantage. But there were some openings. The coverage issues I can attribute to the fact that our defense probably didn't really give a damn. However, not picking up the pitch man on a wishbone offense is assanine. There were several examples of the qb getting outside the end and the safety or OLB trying to play both the qb and the pitch and effectively handling neither. That player is supposed to pick one, and hit the hell out of him.
Offensively it is pretty hard for me to make a serious evaluation. We all know Jamaal is a stud, but I can confidently say that there was not a single player on that squad who could start for Texas, and maybe one DE who could play second string. They looked like the Texas scout team. Vince was not sharp with his throws, but again he didn't need to be.
There is not really much else to say, so I will conclude with some questions for the ATL staff:
What is the story on the new guy doing kick offs? He actually kicked one in the end zone. Are we going to set some NCAA record for missed extra points this year?
-Holt
 
Although the ACC is probably the better conference this year in comparison to the Big 12, I still dont see it as strong enough to move an undefeated Texas. Florida St hasn't impressed me yet in their wins. VA Tech is good, and I would say has the best chance of winning, baring another drug charge for their QB. Miami is a couple of plays away from being 0-2, although I still think the Buffs are not pulling a win out of Miami. GA Tech, BC and Clemson are all ok, but will probably end up as top 15 - 30 teams all year.

Holt is right though, our special teams are still a problem and will probably come back to haunt us this year.
 
Wells,

You know I am a Canes guy, so I can let you get away with that comment. I counter, Miami is a couple of plays away from being 2-0 and ranked in the top 5. Miami lost at Florida St but in my best unbiased opinion looked like the better team. Miami is not a national championship team this year. Texas has the Miami look of old. But that said, the ACC teams 1-6 are significantly better than 1-6 from the Big 12 (Texas, Tech, ISU, A&M, Colorado?, Missouri?). The more I think about this, and I can't help myself, the more I think we could have BCS problems if more than two teams run the table.
-AW-
 
This is silly. My guess is there will be no more than three undefeated teams at the end of the year.

One of em will be Louisville, but no one cares. The other two will be from SEC, ACC, Big12 or Pac 10. Three of the top Big Televen have already lost, so I'm not worried about them.

What seems more likely of a clusterF is if USC is the only undefeated and there are a ton of one loss teams.

Who gets #2 then? My guess would be whoever lost last, like Ohio St, Miami or Michigan.
 
Just to prove how easy Texas' schedule is, Horns fans have the luxury of looking past the next nine games and trying to predict whether or not they'll be in the Rose Bowl. Is LSU looking past Tennessee, Florida, Auburn, Alabama to the first wek in December? Um, no. Is USC looking past road dates at Arizona State, Oregon and Notre Dame and a rivalry game against a sharp-looking UCLA team? No.

Texas only makes the Rose Bowl if they absolutely blow out every team they play. That's how weak their schedule is. It's only the third week. A lot can happen. Vincent Young can tweak his ankle and the team all of a sudden relies on Nordgren. Reggie McNeal could look like, well, Reggie McNeal and beat the Horns Thanksgiving.

My pick this weekend: LSU 31, Tennessee 7
 
Fredoom Dip - that is absurd. I promise you the Texas football team is not looking past a dangerous Texas Tech team, nor A&M, and they sure as hell will never look past the OU game as long as we are five losses deep on them.
What you are witnessing Freedom Dip is Texas Fans doing what intelligent college fans do: prognasticating about the potential quagmires that will inevitably result from the joke, which is the BCS.
Are you not curious as to what will happen if there are multiple undefeateds?
My earlier post to this board was not about the BCS because I wanted to hear ATL's thoughts on the damn game this weekend thinking I would spur them on (apparently not). However I do find this BCS speculation both educating and entertaining. So ship it Dip.
-Holt
 
Holt,

Sorry I didn't respond earlier to your comments/questions. I actually wasn't able to see much of the Rice game. However, I know that Mack decided to go with Pino at Ohio St for everything except for punting, which McGee kept after the La Lafayette debacles. We had tremendous success in Columbus, two for two on extra points and three for three on field goals.

For the Rice game, Pino once again kicked the extra points (6/7) and the field goals (1/1). McGee handled the punting but Greg Johnson took over some of the kickoff duties. No word on if that was for practice or if Johnson will continue his duties against Missouri. I will keep my ears open.
-AW-
 
If you think an undefeated SEC team would get voted into the national championship (as it should) you probably didn't pay a whole lot of attention last year! Of all the undefeated teams remaining at the end of last season Auburn had the hardest schedule by a mile - they still got snubbed.

Even if an ACC or SEC team runs the table, Texas is in a very similar position as Oklahoma was last year. They have a high preseason ranking due to a strong finish the year before, Heisman hype, lots of media coverage, and a relatively easy road. If I were rooting for Texas to make the final I'd just hope the combination of Vince & no losses keeps the media's attention long enough.

For a team to beat that they'd need a lot, including a sexy story. Urban in Florida or VickJr at VaTech are about the only two I see as having an outside shot at that, but for either of those programs to make it through the season undefeated would take a lot.

Go Vandy!!!
 
much like the rest of the country...most of you are underestimating the ACC...they had 7 teams in the top 25 until 4 of them played each other last week...at the moment the ACC is tougher than the Big 12...possibly the toughest conference in the country.

after saying that. If FSU and VT run the table and wind up playing in the ACC title game both team will be in the Top 5 (FSU running the table will include beat UF who's already there). With that I think VT would have the best shot at going to Pasadena...FSU having to schedule The Citadel isn't going to help that SOS which kept Auburn out of the title game last year (who incidently had the Citadel on their schedule as well)

so if VT runs the table and wins the ACC I have a feeling that they would jump Texas. I don't see LSU going undefeated...I think Georgia has the best team in the SEC and currently they are behind everybody in question.

needless to say...the BCS will get it right

www.fantasysportswire.com
 
I am going to post this, even though it is so low on the blog that most likly no one will read it.
The Big 12 is most likly the 4th best conference behind the SEC, ACC, and Big 10. That does not matter. What does matter is if one team goes undefeated from any of those conferences, can they jump an udefeated Texas. The answer to that is yes, but on LSU and Flordia. ACC is ok, but an undefeated Va Tech doesn't do it.
And Wiggo, Miami and FSU are both good teams, but neither of them looked even close to being able to play like Texas or Ohio State.
 
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