Breaking Down the Current BCS Championship Game Situation

Who will make it to New Orleans?

The BCS standings currently have LSU at No. 1 and Alabama at No. 2. There is a lot of speculation currently on sports message boards and in the media about who will get the No. 2 spot in the BCS championship game should all the teams in the BCS top 6 win out. So, being one to follow the crowd, I’ve decided to share my thoughts on the subject. Here’s how I see it playing it out if everyone wins their next games with only Alabama done for the regular season.

LSU vs. Houston
This would be my personal choice for the game, but I know it’s not going to happen. Houston has not had a schedule that is comparable to the other teams in the Top 5. Their toughest test is their game with against Southern Mississippi, which hasn’t happened yet. The win over UCLA might seem good, considering that UCLA is in the historically powerful Pac 10 (I’m using the old names because I’m old), but UCLA is 6-6 and was manhandled by Texas. However, the main reason this won’t happen is that the BCS voters believe that it will not earn the ratings, attendance, or revenue the BCS is seeking.

LSU vs. Alabama
This is not likely to happen despite Alabama’s resume, which includes strong wins against Penn State, Arkansas and Auburn. Normally, the mistakes of a young quarterback would not mean much in most games, but the fact that McCarron came up short against LSU at home will be used as the reason that Alabama should not be in the game. The real reason, however, is that LSU vs. Alabama would end up being too regional and not the moneymaker that the BCS seeks, even though they have as much right as Oklahoma State (and some would argue more right) to play in the game.

LSU vs. Oklahoma State
This is the most likely scenario. Unlike LSU vs. Alabama, the game will have nationwide appeal and Oklahoma State’s resume is very similar to Alabama’s. They will have only one loss, to Iowa State, and when people make what I consider silly arguments that losing to a team ranked in the Top 30 is exactly the same as losing to a team ranked #1, then Oklahoma State is the top choice. Also, they will have beaten Oklahoma, which is a tough team, whereas Alabama will have been idle and a lot of these rankings are based on recent history.

LSU vs. Stanford
This is a long shot. Stanford, too, has only lost one game. I would argue that their loss is better because it was to a team ranked in the Top 10 at the time, whereas Oklahoma State’s wasn’t. I am firmly of the belief that not all losses are equal, much like Sagarin or Kenpom. This game would also have nationwide appeal, which is good for revenues. However, the perception that the Big 12 Conference schedule is tougher than the Pac 10 schedule and the fact that Stanford despite its 1-loss record will not be playing in the Pac 10 championship game is what will hold Stanford back, even though Stanford has also beaten a number of teams in the Top 50.

LSU vs. Virginia Tech
Hahahahahahahaha. The only way this would happen would be if every team ahead of them lost and Houston was given the death penalty by the NCAA next Saturday. I am probably the only person who is not a Hokie fan that would like to see this matchup only because of Virginia Tech’s history of blowing BCS Bowl Games. At least this time, it would be against the No. 1 team in the nation.

Final thoughts
So, there you have it. That’s how I see it all playing out should all teams win out. But, I don’t see that happening. I believe that Southern Miss will upset Houston and that Oklahoma will upset Oklahoma State. Then you have Stanford, Alabama and Virginia Tech all in the spotlight because Houston is the kind of team where 1 loss is equal to two losses in the Big 6 conferences. At that point, Stanford’s stock will rise and people will be clamoring for them to get in over Alabama. Will the BCS listen? Probably. It’s all about the money, after all.

Flowcharting the 2010 NCAA Tournament

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