NCF Nation: BCS Reaction 112512

» BCS standings reaction: ACC | Big 12 | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-12 | SEC | Notre Dame

When Kansas State and Oregon both lost in a span of five minutes Nov. 17, the loudest cheers came from South Bend, Ind.

But did you hear the barking in Georgia?

Two big obstacles in the Bulldogs’ national title quest had been swept away, leaving a clear path to Miami. Take care of Georgia Tech and enter the SEC championship game for the right to play for the crystal football. While folks in Florida and Oregon swallowed their pride and rooted for Lane Kiffin and USC to beat Notre Dame on Saturday night, Georgia didn’t have to pay attention.

As soon as Mark Richt’s team finished a 42-10 walloping of Georgia Tech, it knew where it stood. Sunday’s BCS standings merely confirmed it comes down to No. 3 Georgia and No. 2 Alabama for the right to play No. 1 Notre Dame on Jan. 7 in Miami.

There are two ways to reach the title game in the pre-playoff era. Run the table, as Notre Dame has. Or lose once and get some help along the way, as Georgia has.

This fall, no one-loss team has had the stars align more than the Bulldogs.

Think about it: They got a break long before the season kicked off because their schedule didn’t include SEC West heavyweights Alabama and LSU. And while few knew it at the time, Georgia also benefited from not facing Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M.

The Bulldogs lost a game ugly -- 35-7 to South Carolina -- but lost it relatively early, too, on Oct. 6. They benefited from South Carolina losing its next two games, but never falling out of the top 15 in the polls.

After the South Carolina game, Georgia faced only one other major test in the regular season -- an Oct. 27 date with rival Florida. Although the Gators had the more impressive résumé, with wins against LSU and South Carolina, it wouldn’t matter if they didn’t beat Georgia. They didn’t, and the Bulldogs gained the tiebreaker and an easy path to the SEC East title.

The dreaded late loss claimed Oregon and Kansas State, while other potential title contenders such as LSU, Stanford, Texas A&M and even South Carolina all suffered two losses before the stretch run, knocking them out of the race. Alabama also had a late loss but, like Georgia, won the game it needed to win (LSU).

Florida still has a much stronger overall résumé than Georgia -- wins against Texas A&M, LSU, South Carolina and Florida State -- and a stronger average computer ranking (No. 2) than the Bulldogs (No. 4). But Georgia’s head-to-head win combined with its chance to beat the defending national champ in the SEC title game ends any debate.

It would be different if, say, Stanford hadn’t lost to Washington. Or if LSU had lost only to Alabama. Or if Texas A&M had beaten LSU. If Kansas State had lost in September and gone on to run the table, Georgia could be in trouble.

And what if Ohio State, the only other undefeated team in the FBS besides Notre Dame, had been eligible for postseason play? Although Georgia continues to get the nod ahead of the Buckeyes in the polls, the voting sentiment probably would be different if Ohio State didn’t have NCAA sanctions. So that’s a bit of good fortune, too.

Georgia shouldn’t apologize for any of this. You make your breaks in the BCS race, and Georgia handled its business after the South Carolina debacle. If the Bulldogs take down Alabama, still the standard-bearer in college football, they’ll merit a spot in Miami.

The latest BCS standings show the SEC and Pac-12 are locks for multiple BCS entries. While the ACC had a very rough Saturday, No. 13 Florida State and No. 14 Clemson remain in position to go to big bowls. It’s a big week for the MAC and the WAC, as both leagues have multiple teams in the standings.

But there’s no BCS drama entering the final week of the season. Notre Dame has punched its ticket to Miami. Alabama or Georgia will join the Irish.

Georgia has walked a fairly charmed path to this point. But the toughest step is next.

Alabama, Georgia to vie for BCS berth

November, 25, 2012
» BCS standings reaction: ACC | Big 12 | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-12 | SEC | Notre Dame

The playoff era in college football doesn't begin until 2014, but the SEC championship game matchup between Alabama and Georgia on Saturday will serve as a play-in game for this season’s Discover BCS National Championship Game.

As expected, Alabama remained No. 2 and Georgia No. 3 in the newest BCS standings released Sunday night.

Notre Dame, coming off its 22-13 win over USC, is No. 1 for the second straight week. The Irish (12-0) are finished with their regular season.

The only real drama remaining is whether it will be Alabama or Georgia facing Notre Dame on Jan. 7 in Miami for the national title.

Despite four wins over teams in the top 13 this week in the BCS standings, Florida is locked in at No. 4. The Gators won 37-26 at Florida State last Saturday, but won’t have a chance to move up into the top two spots of the final BCS standings because their regular season is complete.

However, the Gators should finish in the top three, which would get them an automatic berth in a BCS bowl -- likely the Allstate Sugar Bowl.

The SEC has six of the top 10 teams in this week’s BCS standings. In addition to Alabama, Florida and Georgia, LSU is No. 7, Texas A&M No. 9 and South Carolina No. 10.

Then there were none in BCS standings

November, 25, 2012
Yes, the results of this past weekend were as bad as you thought.

The Big East went from two ranked teams to none in the latest BCS standings released Sunday night after Rutgers and Louisville lost to conference bottom feeders this weekend. That means the Big East is the only league among the six automatic qualifying conferences into the BCS without a ranked team headed into the final week of the season.


But it gets worse. Let's take a look at some of the teams that are ranked.

No. 19 Michigan (8-4)

No. 20 Boise State (9-2)

No. 23 Oklahoma State (7-4)

No. 24 Utah State (10-2)

No. 25 San Jose State (10-2)

What does it say about the strength of schedule for Louisville and Rutgers that teams from non-AQ conferences with the same number of losses are ranked -- and the Big East schools are not? What does it say that TWO four-loss teams are ranked, and Louisville (9-2) and Rutgers (9-2) are not? What does it say that two teams from the ridiculously watered-down WAC are ranked -- while Louisville and Rutgers are not?

It says nobody respects the Big East, not the human voters and not the computers.

Regardless of whether any Big East team is ranked, either Rutgers or Louisville will be headed to a BCS bowl after Thursday night's matchup between the two teams. If Rutgers wins, the Scarlet Knights go. If Louisville wins, the Cardinals are all but assured of going. In that case, the final BCS standings would determine the BCS bowl representative. Although Rutgers and Louisville are not ranked this week, a win would give Louisville the best overall record in the Big East and presumably the highest conference spot in the final BCS standings.

And just remember, the BCS standings do not stop at just 25 teams. They go much deeper than that, so the Big East will have rankings to consult if it comes down to that next weekend.
» BCS standings reaction: ACC | Big 12 | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-12 | SEC | Notre Dame

Kansas State needed a whole parade of dominoes to fall to get back in the national title race after a loss to Baylor last week.

It didn't get any of them. Every team ahead of the Wildcats in the BCS rankings held serve this week, and there won't be any BCS title drama on the final weekend of the season for the Big 12. Notre Dame will play the winner of the SEC title game.

Still, there's another story that should scare Big 12 folks near the bottom of the poll. Per BCS rules, Kent State, who lost to Kentucky by 33 earlier this season, could conceivably knock Oklahoma out of the BCS. The Big 12 really caught no breaks in this week's BCS rankings.

Rule 3 of the BCS states:
The champion of Conference USA, the Mid-American Conference, the Mountain West Conference, the Sun Belt Conference, or the Western Athletic Conference will earn an automatic berth in a BCS bowl game if either:
  • A. Such team is ranked in the top 12 of the final BCS Standings, or,
  • B. Such team is ranked in the top 16 of the final BCS standings and its ranking in the final BCS standings is higher than that of a champion of a conference that has an annual automatic berth in one of the BCS bowls.

That could mean there's one less at-large bid left, and Kent State is sitting at No. 17 in this week's poll. The Golden Flashes, who lost to Kentucky by 33 this year, face No. 21 Northern Illinois in this week's MAC title game. If Kent State wins that game, the BCS might await, and Oklahoma may have to pay the price, even if it beats TCU this week.

Rough week for the Big 12 in the BCS. There's no guarantee Oklahoma would be the team that got booted, but for now, the No. 11 Sooners are near the bottom of the BCS at-large barrel, but wouldn't have an automatic bid. A Kansas State loss might kick the Wildcats out of the BCS picture altogether, and a Sooners win would give OU the Big 12's automatic bid.

There won't be any BCS title drama for the Big 12 this year, but there will be a lot of nervousness for the league's efforts to get two teams into the BCS for the first time since 2008.

Pac-12 out of BCS national title picture

November, 25, 2012
» BCS standings reaction: ACC | Big 12 | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-12 | SEC | Notre Dame

Oregon led the Pac-12 at No. 5 in the latest BCS standings, but the Ducks and the conference have no chance to play for the national title.

Stanford, which ended Oregon's national title hopes with a win in Eugene on Nov. 17, is eighth. Oregon State is 15th and UCLA is 16th.

Stanford plays host to UCLA on Friday in the Pac-12 championship game. The winner goes to the Rose Bowl.

Oregon is a likely at-large selection for a BCS bowl, most likely the Fiesta Bowl against the Big 12 champion.

The BCS national title game will match unbeaten, top-ranked Notre Dame against the once-beaten SEC champion, which will be decided on Saturday when No. 3 Georgia plays No. 2 Alabama.

BCS standings reaction: Week 14

November, 25, 2012
After a weekend in which the ACC went 0-4 against its SEC rivals, the ACC finished the regular season in an all-too familiar place in the BCS standings -- ranked one spot behind irrelevant and two spots ahead of no man’s land.

Florida State dropped out of the top 10 after its loss to Florida and fell to No. 13, one spot ahead of No. 14 Clemson. Technically, the Tigers are still eligible for at-large BCS bid, as they qualify because they’re in the top 14, but the reality of the situation is that a two-loss ACC team is far less appealing than any of the others ranked ahead of them. The computers will never be understood, but because of this weekend’s results, it’s a moot point now.

The ACC more than likely lost its opportunity at two BCS bowl teams, and it proved in Week 13 that it didn’t deserve it anyway.

Huskers up to No. 12 in BCS standings

November, 25, 2012
» BCS standings reaction: ACC | Big 12 | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-12 | SEC | Notre Dame

The Big Ten has three teams in the latest BCS standings, a vast improvement from the initial standings when the league had zero.

But, really, only one Big Ten team's BCS ranking really matters.

Michigan lost any realistic shot at earning a BCS at-large bid with its 26-21 loss at Ohio State. Though the Wolverines are still No. 19 in the standings, thanks to a great schedule that has them 15th in the computer average, they are not climbing five more spots next week since their season is over. And no BCS bowl would be able to justify taking an 8-4 team, anyway.

Northwestern is 22nd in the BCS standings, a great testament to the job Pat Fitzgerald did this season in leading the Wildcats to a 9-3 regular season. But Northwestern isn't going to get anywhere near the Top 14 to be eligible for an at-large bid.

So that leaves Nebraska. The Huskers are up to No. 12 this week, thanks in part to losses by Florida State and Clemson. Nebraska is also 12th in the computer rankings. Bo Pelini and Big Red fans everywhere hope they won't have to worry about BCS numbers Saturday night. As long as they beat Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship game, they're going to the Rose Bowl.

But let's say that the Badgers pull off the upset in Indianapolis. Then Nebraska will be watching the BCS numbers closely, hoping not to fall more than two spots. Even with three losses, the Cornhuskers' large and devoted fan base would be very attractive to any BCS bowl seeking an at-large team. But the odds are that Nebraska will tumble in the human rankings and fall more than two spots in the BCS standings if it loses to a Wisconsin team that comes into this week's game at just 7-5.

But if Nebraska takes care of business at Lucas Oil Stadium, none of the Big Ten's BCS numbers will matter one bit.