23 November 2008

'Horns No. 2, But For How Long?

(From BCS Guru)

After Oklahoma gutted Texas Tech on Saturday, the Big 12 South debate officially raged on. Will Texas hold off Oklahoma for the coveted No. 2 spot, assuring a berth in the Big 12 title game? Or will OU overtake UT, despite having lost to the Longhorns on a neutral field?

The latest BCS standings still favor the Longhorns, but here's a message before you start humming "The Eyes of Texas": Don't get too comfortable.

Just how thin is Texas' advantage over Oklahoma? If the Sooners move up one spot in three of the computers, then they'd be ahead of the Longhorns. Or, if about a third of the voters decide to swap OU ahead of UT on their ballots, that'd do it, too.

The former is far more likely to happen than the latter, as Oklahoma plays at No. 13 Oklahoma State whereas Texas faces woeful Texas A&M at home. There's much more room for Oklahoma to improve its computer rankings while the 'Horns are basically "maxed out." Texas also wants to pay particular attention to the Alabama game, as an Auburn win in the Iron Bowl will certainly provide the computer boost that OU needs - IF the poll results stay relatively static.

So the big question is, will Texas hold Oklahoma off for one more week? Adding to the intrigue is the fact that Texas coach Mack Brown has a vote in the coaches poll whereas OU coach Bob Stoops does not. Not to call his integrity into question, but since it's a secret ballot, what's to stop Brown from putting OU as low as 10th on his ballot?

Sitting in wait is No. 4 Florida. With games against Florida State and No. 1 Alabama remaining on the schedule, the Gators should be able to move up the standings - particularly with Texas and Oklahoma in a deadlock, potentially splitting valuable votes. An Oklahoma upset loss to Oklahoma State would clear the path for Florida, though it might not be entirely necessary.

The team that's doomed is No. 5 USC. Even with a couple of upsets in the final two weekends, there is no conceivable way for the Trojans to climb into the top 2, thus a spot in the BCS title game. USC's weak computer rankings will not alter much with games against mediocre Notre Dame and UCLA left - and that weakness will torpedo USC's quest even if it finishes in the top 2 in the human polls. The only way the Trojans can win the 2008 national championship is via the AP poll.

A split championship? Yep, that possibility is alive and well. But that's a topic for another day.

No comments: