NCF Nation: conference race 111313

Big 12 race update: Week 12

November, 13, 2013
The Big 12 Conference race is heating up. It's pretty simple -- Baylor, Texas and Oklahoma State will play each other down the home stretch of the season which will decide a champion.

Let’s quickly review the Big 12 three-way tiebreakers. They’re always worth knowing:
  • 1. The records of the three teams will be compared against each other (head-to-head competition).
  • 2. The records of the three teams will be compared against the next-highest placed teams in the conference in order of finish (fourth, fifth and sixth).
  • 3. The highest-ranked team in the BCS – unless two of the tied teams are ranked within one spot of the other. In this case, the head-to-head results of the top-two ranked tied teams shall determine the BCS bowl representative (this stems from the 2008 OU-Texas controversy).

Here’s how the conference race is shaping up:

It’s pretty simple for undefeated Baylor (8-0, 5-0). If the Bears continue to win, they’ll be crowned Big 12 champions. They could still win the league with a loss, particularly if they fall to Texas Tech this weekend or TCU on Nov. 30 because that would mean they knocked off Oklahoma State and Texas, their main competitors at the top of the standings.

Texas continues to win, even if it isn’t pretty. The Longhorns (7-2, 6-0) control their own destiny and would be Big 12 champs if they win out. If they lose to Texas Tech, they could still win the league with victories over OSU and Baylor but their odds decrease if the Cowboys or Bears knock them off. They could also set up a faux-Big 12 title game if they lose to OSU, who then falls to Baylor while UT beats Texas Tech. In that scenario, a win over the Bears on Nov. 7 would give UT the head-to-head nod.

OSU (8-1, 5-1), even with its loss to West Virginia, will win the Big 12 if it wins out. If the Cowboys lose a game, their chances pretty much disappear as its unlikely both the Bears and Longhorns drop two games in the home stretch of conference play. The next two weeks will decide the Cowboys fate as they head to Austin this weekend before hosting Baylor on Nov. 23. Even if they win both games, don’t overlook their Bedlam battle with Oklahoma on Dec. 7.

Pac-12 race update: Week 12

November, 13, 2013
Checking in once again on where things stand in the divisional races. Here’s where we are heading into Week 12.


Week 11 brought us clarity in the North with Stanford’s 26-20 win over Oregon. The path for the Cardinal couldn’t be clearer. Win. If the Cardinal beat USC this week and Cal next week, they will lock up their second straight North Division title and advance to the Pac-12 championship game with an 8-1 conference record. If Oregon wins out, it too will have an identical 8-1 record, but Stanford would hold the tie-breaker over the Ducks. Oregon’s best chance is to win out and hope for a Stanford loss along the way. Oregon State needs Stanford to lose both games and win out -- including a win over Oregon in the Civil War.


Arizona State and UCLA are still the frontrunners and both are in the advantageous position of controlling their own destinies. Those destinies, however, will clash Nov. 23 in Pasadena in a game that could crystallize the standings. But first things first, the Bruins have to get by a Washington team that has been hit-and-miss on the road while ASU hosts an Oregon State team looking to get its aerial groove back. The path for these two teams is simple -- win out, win the division. ASU is 5-1 in conference play with a key tie-breaker over USC. The Trojans and Bruins are both 4-2. USC hosts Stanford this weekend, followed by a trip to Colorado and then a home date with UCLA. USC needs to top the Cardinal, hope UCLA beats ASU (that’s right USC fans, throw on the blues next week) and then hope for an Arizona win in the Territorial Cup game. There are also tie-breaking scenarios, but USC has to win this weekend. A loss to Stanford puts the Trojans at 4-3 in conference play and pretty much out of the conversation.

As a reminder, here’s how the Pac-12 handles tie-breakers.

Two-Team Tie
  1. Head-to-head competition between the two tied teams. (a.) If no game is played between the two tied teams or that game ends in a tie, the following tie-breaking procedures would be applied:
  2. Record in games played within the division.
  3. Record against the next highest placed team in the division (Based on record in all games played within the conference), proceeding through the division.
  4. Record in common conference games.
  5. Highest BCS Ranking following the last weekend of regular-season games.
  6. Total number of wins in a 12-game season. The following conditions will apply to the calculation of the total number of wins: (a.) Only one win against a team from the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision or lower division will be counted annually. (b.) Any games that are exempted from counting against the annual maximum number of football contests per NCAA rules (current Bylaw 17. 9.5.2) shall not be included.
Multiple-Team Ties
  1. The following procedures will only be used to eliminate all but two teams, at which point the two-team tie-breaking procedure will be applied.
  2. Head-to-head (Best record in games among the tied teams).
  3. Record in games played within the division.
  4. Record against the next highest placed team in the division (based on record in all games played within the conference), proceeding through the division.
  5. Record in common conference games.
  6. Highest BCS ranking following the last weekend of regular-season games.

ACC race update: Week 12

November, 13, 2013
The ACC’s Coastal Division race has never lacked drama in November, and yet somehow the result always seems to be the same: Virginia Tech or Georgia Tech are usually the last teams standing.

This year isn’t much different.

None of the four teams remaining with two losses –- Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, Duke and Miami –- control their destinies. Each team needs somebody else to lose in order to get to Charlotte. One thing we do know: The Coastal Division winner will be playing Florida State, which has already locked up its spot in the ACC title game, but can win the Atlantic Division title outright with a win over Syracuse. A win by Florida State would give the program its eighth unbeaten ACC regular season since joining the league in 1992, but the first since 2000.

A win by Georgia Tech over Clemson on Thursday night would give the Jackets a 6-2 league record and no worse than a share of the Coastal Division title. Georgia Tech, which lost to both Miami and Virginia Tech, would need to avoid ties with both of those teams.

The only possible Coastal Division-clinching scenario this week would be if Georgia Tech beats Clemson AND Virginia Tech AND Miami both lose. That would send the Jackets to Charlotte.

Here’s exactly what your team needs to get to Charlotte:

What Duke needs: Win out and have somebody beat Georgia Tech

What Miami needs: Win out and have somebody beat Virginia Tech

What Georgia Tech needs: Beat Clemson and have Miami AND Virginia Tech lose

What Virginia Tech needs: Win out and have somebody beat Duke

The latter seems the most likely. At this point, we have the Hokies in Charlotte.

Big Ten race update: Week 12

November, 13, 2013
With three weeks left in the regular season, the contenders for the Big Ten title are dwindling. Let's take a look at who's left and what they need to do to get to Indianapolis on Dec. 7:

Leaders Division

Controls own destiny: Ohio State (5-0 Big Ten). Because the Buckeyes own the head-to-head tiebreaker over Wisconsin, they need just two more wins to clinch a spot in the Big Ten championship game.

Needs help: Wisconsin (4-1) needs Ohio State to lose at least twice in its final three games -- a dicey proposition, as the Buckeyes have yet to lose at all under Urban Meyer.

Needs a miracle: Indiana (2-3). The Hoosiers play Wisconsin and Ohio State in the next two weeks, and if they win out, the Buckeyes lost out and the Badgers dropped at least one more game, they would win the division. That's about as likely as Indiana's defense pitching a shutout.

Legends Division

Controls own destiny: Michigan State (5-0) and Nebraska (4-1). This Saturday's showdown in Lincoln, Neb., could be a de facto division title game. The winner simply would need to win its final two games for a spot in Indy. If Michigan State loses on Saturday, it would need the Huskers to drop one of their final two games against Penn State and Iowa. If Nebraska loses, it will be eliminated because of head-to-head losses to Michigan State and Minnesota.

Needs help: Minnesota (4-2). First things first: The Gophers need to win out. If Nebraska wins on Saturday, Minnesota would need the Huskers to lose one of their final two games. Then, by beating Michigan State in the season finale, the Gophers would win the division on tiebreakers. If the Spartans win on Saturday, Minnesota would need Michigan State to lose at Northwestern on Nov. 23 to have a chance.

Needs a miracle: Iowa (3-3) has a faint pulse in the division race thanks to its win over Minnesota earlier this season. The Hawkeyes would need to win out and have Michigan State, Nebraska and Minnesota all finish 5-3. They would then own tiebreakers over two of those three teams, as Iowa and Nebraska play in the season finale.

SEC race update: Week 12

November, 13, 2013
Following last Saturday’s games, the SEC West turned into a two-team race between in-state rivals Alabama and Auburn, but the East is still up for grabs with Missouri in the driver’s seat and both Georgia and South Carolina vying for the top spot.

Let’s take a look at what each team has to do in order to reach Atlanta for the SEC championship game.

Western Division
  • Alabama (9-0, 6-0) looked mighty impressive against an LSU team that has caused problems for the Crimson Tide in recent years. With that signature win behind them, Nick Saban’s bunch now has just two conference games left. First, they have to avoid a letdown this weekend when they visit Mississippi State, but the game everybody is already talking about is the Iron Bowl in three weeks between Alabama and Auburn. If the Tide win out, they’re headed back to Atlanta for the second year in a row.
  • Speaking of that Auburn team (9-1, 5-1), it still controls its own destiny in the SEC West as well. While the Tigers have been the biggest turnaround in college football, they aren’t done yet. They will have their hands full Saturday against their cross-division rival Georgia in the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry, but a win against the Bulldogs, and the Iron Bowl will turn into a virtual play-in game for a spot in the SEC championship.
  • Saturday’s loss to Alabama not only knocked LSU (7-3, 3-3) out of contention, but it also ended Texas A&M’s hopes of winning the West. The Aggies (8-2, 4-2), needed Alabama to lose if they had any shot. Even if Alabama loses out and Auburn were to lose this weekend, the three-way tie-breaker would go to Auburn because of head-to-head play.
Eastern Division
  • Missouri (9-1, 5-1) took care of business on the road last weekend against Kentucky. The Tigers, in their second year in the league, are two wins away from reaching the conference championship. However, a visit to Ole Miss and a home date with Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M still loom on the schedule. A loss would certainly hurt, but Missouri would still go to Atlanta in the event of a three-way tie with Georgia and South Carolina.
  • Between the two contenders, South Carolina (7-2, 5-2) might be in the best position because of its comeback win at Missouri last month. However, the Gamecocks need some help from Auburn this weekend. If the Tigers knock off Georgia and Missouri loses a game, South Carolina would win the East as long as it takes care of business Saturday against Florida.
  • Despite all the injuries, Georgia (6-3, 4-2) is still clinging to its chances of winning the East. But for the Bulldogs to return to Atlanta, they need an upset over Auburn, a win over Kentucky and for Missouri to lose its two remaining games. Crazier things have happened, but we’re not likely to see a rematch of last year’s SEC title game.