Decomposing The BCS

The penultimate BCS standings are out, and there are some interesting numbers to look at.  First of all, Oklahoma did edge ahead of Texas, so the Sooners win the 3 way tiebreaker for the Big XII South and will play Missouri for the auto-bid, and the shoe will be on the other foot.  Last year the Tigers needed a win over Oklahoma to preserve a spot in the national title game; this year Oklahoma is in that role.  What I find interesting is that Oklahoma and Texas are 1st and 2nd in the computers and that Alabama is 3rd and Florida, 4th overall, is 6th in the computers (behind one loss Texas Tech and undefeated Utah).  Overall, Alabama has a .9713, Oklahoma .9351, Texas .9223, and Florida .8851.  What I am getting at is that everyone has kind of assumed that the winner of the SEC-C will make the national title game.  Obviously Alabama would stay #1 if they win.  While they might very well jump Texas with a win, I don’t think it can be flat out assumed that Florida would rise further than 3rd.  The Sooners, Longhorns, and Gators are all tightly bunched in the Harris and USA Today human polls, so trouncing Alabama to get to a strong #1 in the human polls would be key.  Otherwise, would beating the Tide be worth enough to jump at least Texas Tech and Utah in the computers?  If the answers are no across the board, we could be looking at a Red River Shootout rematch in Miami on January 8th.  The other interesting angle is that Texas could end up losing the battle but winning the war.  By that I mean that with losing the BCS standings war this week, Oklahoma gets to play for the conference title.  But that also means they have to play a 13th game and win their 12th.  Should they lose, Texas will surely vault them and be in Miami playing whoever wins the SEC-C.  I’ll also mention that Oklahoma and Texas are currently very close in the standings.  While I assume beating 9-3 Missouri won’t hurt the Sooners in the computers, if its a sloppy win and the human voters start to lean more heavily south of the Red River, remembering who won in mid-October . . .  Still a lot to watch for with one week to go.

Looking at the overall BCS bowl picture, Oregon St.’s loss in the Civil War puts USC in the Rose Bowl assuming they don’t lose to UCLA.  That figures to put Ohio St in at-large position, unless Rod Gilmore’s lobbying campaign on behalf of Boise St works.  If the title game is a Big XII team against an SEC team, I would look for the following:

Rose Bowl: Basically set in stone, w/ the above USC caveat: Penn St v USC

Orange Bowl: Cincinnati v ACC Champ

Fiesta Bowl: Texas/Oklahoma v Utah or Ohio St.

Sugar Bowl: Florida/Alabama v Ohio St or Utah

Title game: Alabama/Florida v Oklahoma/Texas

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