29 November 2008

The Envelope, Please ...

(From BCS Guru)

(Late update added to provide more robust data, the analysis remains unchanged)

This is probably the most difficult projection the Guru has ever had to do. But here goes ...

No. 2 SHOULD BE Oklahoma.

But will it be? That's entirely up to the voters.

Logically, Oklahoma should be No. 2. But if the BCS is about logic, then it wouldn't even exist. And with all these voters - 175 in all, if they all vote - having foisted upon them a responsibility that they neither desired nor deserved, there really is no telling where they're going to go.

Nevertheless, they're asked to decide on the Big 12 tiebreaker, as the winner of the South Division will be determined by the BCS standings, among Oklahoma, Texas and Texas Tech. Whoever gets into the Big 12 title game will be the prohibitive favorite to beat Missouri and have the inside track to the BCS title game, against the SEC title game winner between Florida and Alabama.

Well, let's examine those three Big 12 South contenders, side-by-side:

1. Against Big 12 South teams:

Oklahoma Beat ...

at Baylor, 49-17
at Oklahoma State, 61-41
at Texas A&M, 66-28

Cumulative Score: 176-86
Point Differential: +90

Texas Beat ...

Baylor, 45-21
Oklahoma State, 28-24
Texas A&M, 49-9

Cumulative Score: 122-54
Point Differential: +68

Texas Tech Beat ...

Baylor, 35-28
Oklahoma State, 56-20
at Texas A&M, 43-25

Cumulative Score: 134-73
Point Differential: +61

Advantage: Oklahoma.

2. Against all other common opponents:

Only Kansas played all three and this is how it fared:

Lost to Texas Tech, 63-21
Lost to Texas, 35-7
Lost at Oklahoma, 45-31

Advantage: Texas Tech.

3. None-conference opponents:


Chattanooga (I-AA), 1-11
No. 16 Cincinnati (Big East Champion), 10-2
at Washington, 0-11
No. 14 TCU, 10-2

Cumulative Record: 20-15 (I-A only)
Bowl Teams: 2


Florida Atlantic, 6-6
at UTEP, 5-7
Arkansas, 5-7
Rice, 9-3

Cumulative Record: 25-23
Bowl Teams: 1

Texas Tech

Eastern Washington (I-AA), 6-5
at Nevada, 7-5
SMU, 1-11
UMass (I-AA), 7-5

Cumulative Record: 8-16 (I-A only)
Bowl Teams: 1

The Sooners did play at winless Washington, but they beat two teams expected to be in the top 15 of the BCS standings. In total, OU beat four teams ranked in the projected BCS top 15. Or put it another way, these 15 teams had a total of 18 losses, and OU is responsible for doling out four of them, twice as many as Texas, Texas Tech and USC, the only other teams with multiple wins vs. the top 15. Advantage: Oklahoma.

4. Head-to-head: Texas wants to talk about beating OU, 45-35, true, but this is not a pure head-to-head situation, it's a three-way tie and a circular argument. Texas Tech has to be included in every discussion because we're trying to break a three-way tie. That Oklahoma routed the Red Raiders is a credit to the Sooners, not an opportunity to dismiss Tech.

And just for logic's sake, the fact that Texas beat OU on a neutral field is a classic non-sequitur. One may deduce that Texas would've beaten OU in Austin, but nothing more - so essentially each team WOULD'VE won at home. The following is how these three teams did against each other, the research courtesy of our friends at Saurian Sagacity:


Points Scored: 100
Points Against: 66
Net Points: 34
Total Yards: 1060
Total Yards Against: 844
Net Yards: 216


Points Scored: 78
Points Against: 74
Net Points: 4
Total Yards: 812
Total Yards Against: 1014
Net Yards: -202

Texas Tech

Points Scored: 60
Points Against: 98
Net Points: -38
Total Yards: 985
Total Yards Against: 999
Net Yards: -14

Taken in its totality, it's rather obvious that Oklahoma is the most impressive in the head-to-head results. Advantage: Oklahoma.

If last week's poll results stay relatively stable - given that every team in the top 10 either won or was idle - this is how the computer rankings should break down:

1. Alabama (.970), 2. Texas (.960), 3. Oklahoma (.940), 4. Florida (.880), 5. Utah (.830).

And the BCS standings would look like this:

1. Alabama (.987), 2. Oklahoma (.926), 3. Texas (.921), 4. Florida (.909), 5. USC (.797).

The biggest loser this weekend, without a doubt, is USC. The Trojans not only don't have a shot at the BCS title game, their AP title hopes also evaporated with Oregon State's loss to Oregon. By being forced to play in the Rose Bowl against Penn State, there is little chance for USC to claim the AP title, as opposed to a Fiesta Bowl matchup against either Oklahoma or Texas.

So, assuming the voters actually do their homework and not go nuts or conspiracy-happy, here's the Guru's projection of the penultimate BCS standings:

1. Alabama, 2. Oklahoma, 3. Texas, 4. Florida, 5. USC, 6. Utah, 7. Penn State, 8. Texas Tech, 9. Boise State, 10. Ohio State, 11. TCU, 12. Ball State, 13. Cincinnati, 14. Oklahoma State, 15. Oregon.

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