Sunday, November 30, 2008

Who should play in BCS bowl games?

Assuming that USC beats UCLA and Oklahoma beats Missouri, the pool of possible at-large teams will include the loser of the Florida-Alabama game, Ohio State, TCU, Ball State, Boise State, Texas, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State. With the Big 6 conference champions and Utah filling 7 spots, that leaves 3 at large spots. If USC loses to UCLA, they will likely fall out of at-large consideration. If Missouri wins, Texas will likely jump to one of the top 2 spots, making no other big-12 team eligible for the BCS. (and leaving 2 remaining at-large spots)

Who should fill the final spot? One simple metric is to look at the quality of teams they have beating (as well as the ones they have lost to.) Simply looking at bowl eligible teams, Boise State has beating 8 teams that can go to the post season, and has no loses. Florida has also beaten 8, but would have two loses (1 to an unranked Mississippi, and another if it loses the SEC title game.) If Alabama loses the SEC title game, they would be next in line with 6 wins (and a loss to a top 4 team). Texas would be next with 6 wins, and a loss to a top 7 team. That would take care of the three at-large picks. (Boise State, the SEC loser and Texas)

Of course, looking at most predictions, it looks like Ohio State is likely to grab the spot from Boise State. After all, its all about money, rather than performance. One way to twist it around would be to give the top 12 teams 50% of BCS payout, and then give the other 50% to the actual participants. At least it would equalize the money, and those that don't play in the game could still earn a nice paycheck.

Another interesting note: if Florida beats Alabama, none of the possible at-large teams will have any loses to teams outside the BCS top 10. On the other hand, all of the conference champions (except Oklahoma) would have loses to teams outside the BCS top 10. Do we really want to keep the automatic conference champion qualification?

Quality wins of at large teams:

Boise State: 8 bowl eligible
Oregon: 9-3
Hawaii: 7-5
Nevada: 7-5
Louisiana Tech: 7-5
Freson State: 7-5
Bowling Green: 6-6
San Jose State: 6-6
Southern Miss: 6-6

Florida: 8 bowl eligible (loss: unranked)
Georgia: 9-3
Florida State: 8-4
Hawaii: 7-5
Miami: 7-5
LSU: 7-5
South Carolina: 7-5
Kentucky: 6-6
Vanderbilt: 6-6
Tennessee: 5-7
Arkansas: 5-7

Alabama: 6 bowl elgible
Georgia: 9-3
Mississippi: 8-4
Clemson: 7-5
LSU: 7-5
Kentucky: 6-6
Arkansas State: 6-5
Arkansas: 5-7
Tennessee: 5-7
Auburn: 5-7

Texas: 6 bowl eligible (loss: #7)
Oklahoma: 11-1
Missouri: 9-3
Oklahoma State: 9-3
Rice: 9-3
Kansas: 7-5
Florida Atlantic: 6-6
UTEP: 5-7
Arkansas: 5-7
Colorado: 5-7

Texas Tech: 5 bowl eligible (loss: #2)
Texas: 11-1
Oklahoma State: 9-3
Nebraska: 8-4
Kansas: 7-5
Nevada: 7-5
Kansas State: 5-7

Ball State: 4 bowl eligible
Western Michigan: 9-3
Central Michigan: 8-4
Navy: 7-4
Northern illinois: 6-6
Akron: 5-7

Ohio State: 4 bowl eligible (loses: #5, #8)
Northwestern: 9-3
Troy : 7-4
Minnesota : 7-5
Wisconsin: 7-5
Illinois: 5-7

TCU: 3 bowl eligible (loses: #2, #6)
BYU: 10-2
Air Force: 8-4
Colorado State: 6-6
UNLV: 5-7
Stanford: 5-7

Oklahoma State: 3 bowl eligible (loses: #2, #3, #7)
Houston: 7-5
Troy: 7-4
Missouri: 9-3
Colorado: 5-7

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