Monday, November 26, 2007

Improbable, yes; but Impossible, hardly

Normally today I'd wrap-up the weekend but instead I wanted to leave the body of work to a scenario that most people aren't paying attention to (for obvious reasons as it is not terribly high in the percentages of possibilities).

My wife being a BYU graduate, I've come to take them as my 2nd team, as per official rules of fandom state I can, and she, who in the past 3 years has become a great football fan, has asked me a simple question that I decided to tax myself over: What would it take for BYU to make it to a BCS bowl game??

I thought it maybe easy to dismiss this with a "they won't realistically get in", or maybe quickly finding out they can't, but alas, thus was not the end result of my research as they can very much make their way to a BCS Bowl and thus continue my hopes of bringing down the monster that is the Bowl Championship Series Championship Game. (If you know me you know I only hate the 1 game playoff not the computers as next week I will give my plan for a 16-team NCAA football playoff)

ok so what do we know?, we know to get an automatic birth the BCS rules state that a non-BCS conference school has to:

A) finish in the top 12

B) finish in the top 16 while one of the BCS conferences winners finishes out of the top 16.

While A has a shot if enough top 18 schools lose I doubt A will happen for BYU, so lets look at B as the more realistic shot right now.

1. The Big East and Big 10 champions have already been decided and they are currently #1 West Va. and #3 Ohio State. WVU plays Pitt this week and even in a loss I doubt they drop out of top 10.
2. All SEC, Big-12, and ACC Championship games feature 2 teams currently in top 16 so concieveably none of them will drop out with a win.
3. HOWEVER Here is the shot though the Pac-10 as it is a mess. They go simply on your final record without a champ game and here is how they currently break out

#13 Arizona State 6-2
#8 USC 6-2
#17 Oregon 5-3
Oregon State 5-3
UCLA 5-3
Arizona 4-4
California 3-5
Wash. State 3-6
Stanford 2-6
Washington 2-7

Ariz. St. is playing Arizona
USC is playing UCLA
Oregon is playing Oregon State

If all the upsets happen then you would have the following final standings.

Arizona State 6-3
USC 6-3
Oregon State 6-3
UCLA 6-3

Oregon 5-4
Arizona 5-4

The way the pac 10 breaks a tie between multiple teams:
b. Multiple-Team Ties.
(1) When three or more teams are tied in Conference play, if one has defeated all others, it shall be the Rose Bowl representative. If that is not the case, a comparison of the tied teams' records against the other tied teams shall be made and the team having the best record against the other tied teams shall be the Rose Bowl representative. If two or more teams are still tied after this comparison, the appropriate two-team or multiple-team tie-breaking procedures shall be repeated among those teams still under consideration.

If at any point in the process the multiple-team tie is reduced to two teams, the two-team tie-breaking procedure shall be applied. (record against each other)
If more than two teams are still tied after comparing their records all the way through the Conference standings, the team among the tied teams with the highest ranking in the final BCS standings shall be the Rose Bowl representative.

THIS puts those four teams at:

Arizona State 2-1
USC 2-1
UCLA 2-1
Oregon State 0-3

(2) If more than two teams are still tied after the process above is completed, each remaining tied team's record against the team occupying the highest position in the final regular season standings shall be compared, with the procedure continuing down through the standings until one team gains an advantage.
When arriving at another group of tied teams while comparing records, each team's collective record against the tied teams as a group shall be used.

This is where I get slightly confused but If I've read this right, it means that we take the team highest in the regular season that isn't one of these teams and see how everyone did against them. In this case Oregon State would start the highest but all 3 teams beat them so next in line is Oregon which UCLA is the only one to have beaten. (Thanks Robert):

unranked UCLA as PAC-10 Champs!

With Arizona State starting this week at #13, it is totally conceivable that they would drop below #16 after losing to an unranked Arizona... Oregon at #17 would have lost to Oregon State dropping the ducks down giving the BYU Cougars at least 2 spots up to #17 based on the PAC-10 alone. BYU could jump some other teams if they did a great convincing job of proving they mean business against San Diego State but with SDSU at a balmy 4-7 lets assume BYU needs help beyond themselves winning.

BYU would need to make up 1 more spot for the top 16 and theres a couple ways they'd get this help: the most probable is #14 Tennessee could conceivably get knocked down if they get beat bad by LSU and then next most probable is #12 Hawaii could lose at Washington, and then the two long-shots #11 Boston College would have to get get totally slobberknockered by Virginia Tech and the same for #9 Oklahoma by #1 Missouri.

SO... while they wouldn't get an automatic berth simply getting into the top 16, they WOULD become BCS eligible. Add in a Hawai'i loss and it is automatic. So here is what we're rooting for this weekend just because it'll be ridiculous enough to be cool (and possibly give more motion to a playoff system):

Arizona beats up Arizona State
UCLA beats up on USC
Oregon State beats Oregon
BYU handles SDSU easily
LSU handle's Tennessee

and the ones not as necessary
Missouri handles Oklahoma
Virginia Tech handles Boston College

BUT just for good measure on my hatred of the non-playoff system (as I do like the BCS computer ranking system just hate that we get a 2 team playoff of 1 game) on making things chaotic lets have Pitt beat WVU, and Oklahoma beat Missouri, and Hawai'i squeak by Washington. this way we could end up with a two non-BCS teams problem with Hawai'i and BYU as well as a problem on top of the BCS.


Matthew said...

Like your post - totally agree - BCS has to go. NCAA would be so much better off with a 16 team playoff.

I would also like to see BYU in the BCS.

However, you state that AZ State beat Oregon. Sorry - but I was at the game, and Oregon bean ASU, and pretty bad, by the way.

If Arizona beats ASU (which I am rooting for), and UCLA beats USC, and Oregon St. beast Oregon, UCLA goes to the Rose Bowl as the Pac-10 representative. In that scenario, ASU will probably go to the Fiesta Bowl.

Not sure if BYU can sneak in another way, but unless AZ State wins, I don't think they will be Pac-10 Champs.

Matthew said...

Sorry - that should have been "beat" not "bean".

Allen Wedge said...

thanks for the correction, I've noted it on the post. UCLA as Pac-10 champ is even better for a BCS busting situation