until Texas vs Kansas

Tuesday, October 25


Looming Computer Problems?

The national pundits are starting to come around. Texas picked up first place votes in both polls that go into the BCS on Sunday. We even picked up two first place votes in the AP poll, not that it matters. We are even number one in the latest BCS rankings. Dennis Dodd of CBS Sportsline, Pat Forde of ESPN, and Lee Corso of ESPN College Gameday already have the Horns in the Rose Bowl. The computers love us. The pollsters love us. The Rose Bowl officials want us. This is the best Texas team most of us have seen in our lifetime. Is there any reason to worry? Bear with me. There is a small one. Consider this the ATL Devil’s Advocate.

The BCS computers really love us. Right now our six computer rankings are first, first, first, first, first, and second. And at least for a week, Texas is the number one overall team in the BCS. If we keep winning and winning handily, it is extremely doubtful that pollsters would drop us to number 3 behind Virginia Tech. Lucky for us, the polls account for 2/3 of the BCS number. So, we should have a mathematical advantage over Virginia Tech in at least two of the three BCS components for the rest of the season. We could however suffer from this point forward in the computers.

Our next three opponents are bad. Actually, they are horrible. We will likely be favored by more than 35 points in each of our next three games. Oklahoma State, Baylor, and Kansas have a combined 1-11 record in the Big 12. According to the latest
Sagarin Elo-Chess rankings (the ones used for the BCS), our next three opponents are the 12th, 9th, and 11th best teams in the Big 12. Also, according to Sagarin, our strength of schedule is currently 30th. USC’s is 24th and Virginia Tech’s is 55th. All six BCS computers value who you play and who you beat. Some use the date and location of the game as well. Some don’t. Our computer strength and lead over Virginia Tech is likely to slip. It won’t matter if we win our next three games 150-10. The computers will be judging our whole season that will now include very bad teams. As we slip, Va Tech is likely to rise, if they keep winning. The Hokies play Boston College, Miami, Virginia, and North Carolina to close the season. Current Sagarin Rankings of those opponents 17, 12, 43, and 40 respectively. Our last four are ranked 81, 53, 64, and 29. And don’t expect A&M to stay that high. They should beat Iowa State at home to go 6-2. But then the Aggies travel to Lubbock and Norman before we visit to end the season. A&M will most likely be 6-4 with one win coming over Texas State. Virginia Tech could also be helped by an ACC championship victory over Florida State more than Texas would be with another victory over Colorado or Missouri.

So what does this all mean? Likely, nothing. Texas should win out, including the Big 12 championship game and remain a solid number two in the polls. Given that it would be very difficult for Virginia Tech to jump us in the BCS. BCS expert Jerry Palm said the other day that Va Tech would have to average two spots ahead of Texas in the computers for it to be close. Currently, Va Tech is about two spots behind us in most computer rankings. And if USC and/or Va Tech drop a game, which is not that unlikely, then Texas can book nonrefundable tickets for Pasadena. But if all three win out, there is a small chance Texas would be headed to the Fiesta Bowl. More likely, Virginia Tech would be this year’s Auburn only adding kindling to the playoff fire. Georgia and Alabama have outside shots of winning out. But without Shockley, I don’t see Georgia doing it. And I still think LSU is better than Alabama and will represent the SEC West.


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