In light of the constant debating/arguing over who is deserving to be in the BCS title game (is anyone?) here is my humble breakdown of the teams that most people will be discussing, in order of their BCS rank going into today.
3. Ohio State
Top wins: vs. 9-3 Wisconsin, at 8-4 Michigan, at 8-4 Penn State.
Loss: vs. 9-3 Illinois.
Biggest positives: only one loss, no real bad losses, a conference championship, a lunatic fan base.
Primary negatives: no real awesome win, loss came pretty late, a fan base of loons.
Synopsis: No one wants to see these guys here unless they bleed scarlet and grey, but they deserve this. Illinois is a good team that will likely be in the BCS and while the Buckeyes lost late, they haven’t lost as late as some other teams on the list. A no-brainer.
Top wins: 9-3 Florida on a neutral site, vs. 8-4 Auburn, vs. 7-5 Kentucky.
Losses: at 9-4 Tennessee, vs. 6-6 South Carolina.
Biggest positives: Peaking at the right time with 6 straight wins, play in a strong conference, hot girls all over the place.
Primary negatives: didn’t win its division, much less conference, a loss to South Carolina that turned bad once the Gamecocks decided to end the season with a five-game skid.
Synopsis: According to the numbers going into this week, Georgia should move up to No. 2, right? Not so fast. In a similar situation last year, Michigan – a highly-ranked team with an impressive resume that didn’t win its conference – was passed over while idle by a Florida team which won its conference. I see that happening again.
Top wins: at 7-5 Texas A&M, at 6-6 Oklahoma State, at 6-6 Colorado
Loss: 11-2 Missouri at a neutral site.
Biggest positives: Only one loss. A prolific offense. A mascot that looks like Toucan Sam.
Primary negatives: No real power win whatsoever (see top wins), a joke of a non-conference schedule.
Synopsis: The Jayhawks were a heck of a story and if the BCS is slavish about only have undefeated and one-loss teams, then maybe KU has a shot. But the Jayhawks somehow avoided three of the top Big 12 teams (Oklahoma, Texas, Texas Tech) and lost to the other one (Missouri). Their schedule is just too weak to make in with a loss.
6. Virginia Tech
Top wins: 10-3 Boston College at a neutral site, at 9-3 Clemson, at 9-3 Virginia
Losses: at 11-2 LSU, vs. 10-3 Boston College
Biggest positives: Conference champion, both losses were to top competition, avenged one of those losses.
Primary negatives: ACC isn’t regarded as tough conference, loss to fellow competitor LSU was a 48-7 defeat.
Synopsis: The Hokies probably have a better case than Georgia and Kansas, as they won their conference and have a great combo of good wins without losses to grossly-inferior competition. However, the way they lost to LSU eliminates them. With the Tigers in the discussion, its absolutely asinine to put the Hokies ahead of a team with the exact same record that destroyed them in their only meeting.
Top wins: vs. 11-2 Virginia Tech, vs. 9-3 Florida, 9-4 Tennessee at a neutral site
Losses: vs. 8-4 Arkansas, at 7-5 Kentucky
Biggest positives: Conference championship, more “quality” wins then anyone else, a coach with the nickname of “Lesticles”
Primary negatives: Questionable losses to average competition, tendency to play down to competition, a fanbase that is 80 proof by kickoff.
Synopsis: Say what you want about the Tigers. Their coach does mouth off, they do have an inordinate amount of drama around them and they play in a conference that is probably overrated. However, they have more heads on the wall than anyone else and they own a 48-7 win over Va. Tech, who otherwise would have a similar resume. If I had to guess, LSU moves up to No. 2 and plays in the title game.
Top wins: at 10-2 Arizona State, vs. 8-4 Oregon State, at 6-6 California
Losses: at 8-4 Oregon, vs. 4-8 Stanford
Biggest positives: Peaking down the stretch, conference champion, the Oregon loss came with a backup quarterback
Primary negatives: Lack of sizzling wins after ASU, historically bad Stanford loss
Synopsis: If the question was “Which team do you not want to play?” then a surging USC would be at the top of this list. And while the Oregon loss is better than it looks because it came when the Ducks still had Dennis Dixon, the Stanford loss is by far the worst of any contender. You lose a game like that, you don’t get a national title shot. It’s that simple.
Top wins: 11-2 Missouri at a neutral site, vs. 11-2 Missouri, 9-3 Texas at a netural site.
Losses: at 8-4 Texas Tech, at 6-6 Colorado
Biggest positives: Gave Missouri its only two losses, a conference title, Texas Tech loss was heavily influenced by injury to QB Sam Bradford
Primary negatives: bad loss to Colorado, relatively weak non-conference schedule
Synopsis: If I had my druthers, I would give this team the nod over LSU. They have two elite wins (albeit over the same team) and unlike LSU, can reasonably say that their losses was somewhat influenced by injuries. However, the SEC bias will likely keep LSU ahead of Oklahoma. The Sooners will get close, but there’s no cigar for them this time.
No. 12 Hawaii
Record: 11-0 (pending tonight’s game)
Top wins: vs. 10-2 Boise State, vs. 8-4 Fresno State, at 6-6 Nevada
Losses: none as of 10:20 p.m.
Biggest positives: Only undefeated team, exciting offense, good karma from Boise State’s victory over Oklahoma last season.
Primary negatives: Non-BCS conference team with a laughably bad non-conference schedule. Used to be known as the Rainbows.
Synopsis: I think it’d be fun to see the Warriors, if they don’t lose to Washington, be in the national title game. But honestly, they needed to play someone in the non-conference schedule. They weren’t able to set up games against marquee opponents, and the WAC isn’t good enough to bump them up into title contender status.