Sunday, November 16, 2008

Non-BCs: Hope for OSU loss

It's quite simple. Non-BCS teams should hope for OSU losses. If both Oregon State and Ohio State lose, the path is clear for a second non-BCS team to be an at large team. Going down to the top 18, to take in those at the cusp of the at large pool, things are fairly clear. A whole bunch of SEC and Big12 teams are there, so each conference is likely to get an at large bid. For other conferences, the Big East doesn't appear until 19 and the ACC at 22. Even if there are some severe upsets, it would be almost impossible for an at-large team to make it in from either of those. The only worrisome teams are the three Big10 teams and USC sitting in the top 18. Since #8 Penn State and #15 Michigan State play each other, that should sort itself out, leaving one of those outside the at-large pool. A Penn State win would keep Michigan State out. A Michigan State win could actually help the non-BCS. That would give the championship to Ohio State, and make it unlikely that a second Big-10 would be chosen at large. There is also the remote possibility that Michigan State could stay at #15 after the win. However, an Ohio State loss to Michigan would really be the only full-proof way to keep a spot free.
The Pac-10 is more worrisome. If USC gets upset, then they will be out of there. Their remaining games are rivalry matches against UCLA and Notre Dame, so there will be some intensity. However, those two teams are clearly overmatched by USC. Should Oregon State win out in its next two games, they will get the Pac-10 spot, and USC will surely get the at-large spot.
If there is a second at-large spot, it looks like the BCS representatives would be the BYU-Utah winner and Boise State. Ball State has slipped out of the top-14 (due to a fall in computer rankings). However, their next two games against solid MAC opponents should bolster those rankings (if they win.) TCU has a game remaining against a solid Air Force team, so they may have a chance at sneaking up to the top 14 (and like Ball State, have never played in a BCS game. Should Utah win, they could get the pick over Boise State.)
As it stands now, one non-BCS team will definately playing in a BCS bowl. Utah and BYU both have just their rivalry game remaining, and the winner will surely be in the top-16 and above the highest ranked ACC or big east team.

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