Brad Edwards (6:02 PM)
Greetings from Bristol! I'm sure the weather is better where most of you are. Let's talk about the BCS, so I don't have to think about defrosting my car tonight.
Josh (Baton Rouge)
With a solid win over Georgia could LSU swing any coaches or writers to put them as #2 no matter what the outcome of the USC-Oregon State game is?
Brad Edwards (6:08 PM)
Josh, from watching both teams play almost every week this season, I believe it will take more than a dominant performance by LSU to switch the order in the polls. USC will need to lose or have a sloppy win to fall from No. 2. The gap is significant enough that nearly half of the voters will need to change their ballots. As a sidebar, I can tell you that a number of LSU fans are flooding the e-mail inboxes of AP voters this week with their reasons why LSU should be No. 2. Unfortunately, they are running the risk of annoying these people to the point that they might not want to give LSU the No. 2 spot.
If USC is upset by Oregon St. and LSU falls to Georgia, which 2 loss team would meet Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl? Michigan or Georgia?
Brad Edwards (6:12 PM)
That is a tough one. I still think Michigan has the upper hand, but it's possible that Georgia could get enough of a boost in the computers to jump them. Because only 2 computers have Georgia ranked better than 8th, there is plenty of upside there.
JEFF - FORT MYERS, FL
COULD LSU PASS USC WITHOUT CHANGING THE HUMAN POLLS, OR ARE THEY MATHEMATICALLY OUT IF USC WINS?
Brad Edwards (6:16 PM)
LSU's best-case scenario is to jump USC in at least one poll, but they still have a chance even if that doesn't happen. Most of the opponent games did not go LSU's way last week, and the Tigers now must hope that a key opponent game doesn't go USC's way this week. A Notre Dame win over Syracuse would improve USC's position just enough that it would be ALMOST mathematically impossible for LSU to catch them. To have a reasonable chance without poll movement, LSU needs a Syracuse win.
If KSU beats OU, which BCS bowl do they go to and who will they play?
Brad Edwards (6:18 PM)
A win would obviously make Kansas State the Big 12 champion, and the Big 12 champ goes to the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl if it is not ranked No. 1 or No. 2. Basically, Kansas State would take the spot where everyone expects Texas to be. The opponent would likely be Florida State or the SEC champion -- whichever one the Rose Bowl did not take.
Many may not agree but, USC's schedule does not seem to back up their No.2 ranking.
Brad Edwards (6:24 PM)
There's no question that USC's schedule has not turned out to look very tough. Auburn, Notre Dame, Arizona State and Washington were all ranked in the preseason and aren't even sniffing the polls now. This, of course, is totally out of USC's control. It's not like they tried to play a cupcake schedule. The one thing that does justify the No. 2 ranking is that all 10 wins have been by at least 17 points. The opponents might not be great, but the Trojans have handled them easily as an elite team should.
What's up with the Magic? What's wrong with McGrady?
Brad Edwards (6:26 PM)
If I lived in Orlando, I wouldn't be focusing too well on basketball either.
Ronnie (Slidell, LA)
Hi, Brad..... Do you know anything about the tie-ins between the BCS and the bowls? Since the Sugar Bowl has been around much longer than the BCS, and since the Sugar Bowl is in New Orleans, LA, LSU country, are they *required* to take USC if USC finishes second in the BCS? Or can the Sugar Bowl invite whoever they choose? Obviously, a one-loss LSU team with two victories over Georgia would be the more attractive opponent for OU.
Brad Edwards (6:30 PM)
Ronnie, LSU playing for the national championship in New Orleans would produce a party second only to Mardi Gras, but the Sugar Bowl doesn't get to choose its teams. When these four games agreed to be part of the BCS, they understood that traditional tie-ins would be sacrificed every now and then. The Rose Bowl can tell you all about that. As far as which team is "more attractive" to face OU, the coaches and media who vote in the polls are currently saying it's USC.
Do you think Iowa will be in the Capital One Bowl or the Outback Bowl?
Brad Edwards (6:35 PM)
If Ohio State gives the Big Ten a second team in the BCS, which I fully expect to happen, then the Capital One Bowl will take Purdue or Iowa. My best guess would be Iowa, because the Hawkeyes traditionally take more fans to bowl games than Purdue. Whichever team isn't taken will go to the Outback Bowl.
Josh (Palo Alto, CA)
Brad: While the NY Times poll is taking alot of heat for its seeming out-of-stepness with the other computer rankings (and human polls), isn't it possible that the NYT poll is in fact a better barometer of a team's credentials then those rankings that simply seem to mimic the human polls -- and may indeed be programmed to reflect them? Put another way, didn't the BCS formula include computers to eliminate reliance on just humans?
Brad Edwards (6:42 PM)
In general, I agree with you. The mere existence of the BCS is an indicator that the "powers that be" don't believe the polls are always right. Also, it does relieve some human accountability from the equation. Most media are fine with this, because they believe they should be covering the story rather than creating the story, but that doesn't stop them from ripping the computers whenever they have a chance. I do it, too, sometimes. It's fun. As for the NYT computer, I said several weeks ago when TCU was ranked No. 25 that it was probably the most accurate assessment of that team in the BCS formula. I was, however, concerned with the New York Times having three-loss Florida ranked ahead of both USC and LSU a couple of weeks ago.
Jim Ann Arbor, MI
Who and where will Michigan be playing if USC and/or LSU loses Saturday??
Brad Edwards (6:45 PM)
Michigan will be in the Rose Bowl for sure unless both lose on Saturday. If USC loses and LSU doesn't, Michigan would play USC. If LSU loses and USC doesn't, Michigan will play either FSU or Georgia. If they both lose, there is still a chance Georgia could jump to No. 2, which would mean Michigan vs. USC in the Rose.
Bryan (Los Angeles)
All this talk about ND vs Syracuse, but no mention of Hawaii vs Boise St. Doesn't a Hawaii win favor USC as much as ND?
Brad Edwards (6:49 PM)
Great question! As far as schedule strength, Notre Dame has far more impact on USC than Hawaii does, and here's why. The BCS schedule strength formula is 2/3 opponents' record and 1/3 opponents' opponents' record. Even though Hawaii is an opponent of USC, the Trojans have two other opponents that also played Boise State (Oregon State and BYU). Therefore, the Boise-Hawaii game is basically a wash for USC in the schedule strength department. Notre Dame has a bigger impact because USC has no connection to Syracuse.
Chance Collins Tulsa,OK
Is this year's OU team really one of the greatest college teams of all time?
Brad Edwards (6:53 PM)
Obviously, the Sooners must win the national title before that claim can be made, but it's tough to ignore the numbers. Nobody will dispute the talent of the OU defense, and the argument could be made that this is also the greatest offense in Oklahoma history. It's quite an impressive combination, but we'll talk about this more if you win two more games.
Alan in Macon
If LSU beat UGA again, their strength of schedule will be worse than the day before. UGA will have one more loss. Why doesn't the BCS take into account the fact that LSU will have beaten them twice? With conference championships, it seems like a rather foreseeable event to me.
Brad Edwards (7:00 PM)
Let me clarify that the only part of LSU's score in the BCS that is negatively affected by the SEC Championship Game is the quality-win component. By beating Georgia a second time, LSU will lose most (if not all) of the .4 credit it is getting for beating UGA the first time. BUT the impact of an extra game against a top-10 team is worth far more than the four-tenths of a point that might be lost. In fact, the SEC Championship Game is the only thing giving LSU a chance to jump USC. If the season ended after the Arkansas game, LSU wouldn't have the remote chance it is still clinging to. As far as schedule strength, the BCS does not count your wins against you, so Georgia registers as a 10-1 opponent for LSU, and the Tigers do get credit for playing them twice in that part of the equation.
Kevin Blacksburg, VA
Brad, I've heard that if Oklahoma loses, they are still a lock for the national championship game. Seems kind of funny to me, since most teams get penalized for late season losses.
Brad Edwards (7:05 PM)
Mathematically, there is no way Oklahoma could lose the Big 12 title game and fall out of the BCS top two unless the voters dropped the Sooners behind a two-loss team in the polls, which isn't going to happen. Their computer and schedule strength numbers are that strong. Some people believe you shouldn't be allowed to win the national title if you didn't win your conference championship, but that's not in the BCS rules, so Oklahoma is in good shape.
Ray Ray (St. Simons, GA)
In your opinion would a Florida win have jumped them over Tennessee and into a game against LSU this weekend?
Brad Edwards (7:08 PM)
Looking at what happened to Tennessee and Florida State in the computers, I'll say it would have been close. But to get over Tennessee, Florida probably needed to climb another spot in the polls, and Miami's win would have kept that from happening. I believe Georgia would have been in the SEC title game either way.
Jerrod Dallas, TX
What if K-State beats OU and Texas finishes in the top 6 in the BCS? OU to Sugar, K-State to Fiesta and Texas an at large because of automatic bid for being in top 6???
Brad Edwards (7:11 PM)
To quote a crazy old man, "Not so fast, my friend." The BCS has a rule that prohibits a conference from placing more than two teams in those four games. A K-State win would send the Cats to the BCS as the Big 12 champ, and OU would still reach the Nokia Sugar Bowl with an at-large spot. That means Texas would fall out of the BCS -- maybe all the way to the Alamo Bowl. The Longhorns will have to suck it up and root for Oklahoma this Saturday.
Any chance LSU and UGA both make it to the BCS?
Brad Edwards (7:15 PM)
Matt, it doesn't look good for the SEC to get a second team in the BCS this year. Even if LSU is in the Sugar Bowl, I still think Texas and Ohio State are the two at-large teams. No team has ever reached a BCS game after losing in the conference championship, and I don't think the SEC will change that this year. The loser is probably headed to Orlando to play Iowa or Purdue.
Adam (Denver via Iowa City)
Mr. Edwards, Why in the heck do the computers give Miami (OH) such high rankings, when the team that beat them is given worse rankings?
Brad Edwards (7:18 PM)
Iowa is ranked behind Miami because of the Hawkeyes' three losses, and the RedHawks are highly ranked by some computers because of the success the MAC had out of conference this season. There is a chance Miami could even finish ahead of USC in one or two computers, and if they get wedged in between LSU and USC, it could have an effect on the national title race.
Greg (Wooster, Ohio)
Where will the BUCKS be and who will they play if either LSU or USC loses?
Brad Edwards (7:21 PM)
I don't think any game out there has an impact on Ohio State's bowl situation. All indications are that your Buckeyes will play Miami in the Orange Bowl, and I don't see any scenario that could change that.
The rule of no more than two teams from any conference in BCS games: What if Texas had only one loss (to Oklahoma) and was ranked #2? Oklahoma was still undefeated and ranked #1. If Kansas St beats Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship, Oklahoma could still be ranked #2 and Texas (with only one loss in this scenario) would be ranked #1. Wouldn't the BCS be forced to give the Big 12 three bids, Kansas St automatically and Oklahoma and Texas for being ranked in the top 2?
Brad Edwards (7:27 PM)
As crazy as this scenario seems, you are correct that it might have happened if Texas had not lost to Arkansas. If two teams from the same conference are ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in the BCS, and neither is the conference champion, then those two teams would be in the title game, and the conference champ would be left out.
Your daddy (jacksonville)
Nebraska lost in the Big 12 championship and played in the national championship game against Miami in 2001.
Brad Edwards (7:28 PM)
Actually, Nebraska lost to Colorado in 2001, and that loss kept them from winning the Big 12 North. Colorado beat Texas in the conference championship that season.
Michael (Portland, OR)
Why are university presidents against a playoff system?
Brad Edwards (7:35 PM)
Most university presidents (but obviously not the one at Auburn) are still trying to pretend that college football is just another amateur sport and not a big business. But they know better. They use missed class time as an argument against a playoff, but football players don't miss nearly as much school as basketball and baseball players. The truth is that a playoff would generate so much money that it would be difficult not to give something back to the players, and that would open up Pandora's Box for the athletic department. I think we will see two or four teams play it off after the bowl games sometime in the near future, because budgets are getting so tight in college athletics that presidents might not be able to hold out much longer.
Kevin (Sioux Falls, SD)
Who would be a good coach at Nebraska? Who would you hire as a coach?
Brad Edwards (7:40 PM)
I'd hire that runt Trev Alberts. He bleeds red. Heck, I guess we all do, so how could Nebraska ever have a hard time finding a coach? Seriously, though, I have no idea what direction they will go. But I assume the guy has already been picked out. You don't fire a 9-3 coach without knowing who you would rather have in his place.
Gabriela Noriega (Lakewood, California)
To whom is it more of an advantage that the BCS championship game is on turf? Oklahoma, USC, or LSU?
Brad Edwards (7:45 PM)
The turf advantage is not what it once was, since most of the fake stuff so closely resembles grass now, and all three teams are accustomed to playing on real grass. But I do know this. If you've ever spent time among 70,000 crazy Cajuns who have been drinking since dawn, you would have no doubt whose advantage it would be to play in the Superdome.
Bert (Kpt, Tennessee)
Does Tennessee have any chance whatsoever at a BCS bowl game? If so what needs to happen?
Brad Edwards (7:50 PM)
Tennessee is really hurt by having played at Miami already this season. That means they won't be an option for the FedEx Orange Bowl, and one of the other BCS games will have the SEC champion. Tennessee will probably also be passed over for the Capital One Bowl since it has been there so many times. Looks like the Vols will be making a trip to the Outback. No rules. Just right.
Sam (Clemson, SC)
Who will play against Clemson in the Peach Bowl?
Brad Edwards (7:51 PM)
Looks like it will be Florida.
Mark, Slidell, La
Please explain to me why LSU isn't regarded as one the two premier defenses in the country. I can't see how sportswriters do not see the only two teams that can play D with the Sooners are LSU and Michigan.
Brad Edwards (7:56 PM)
I wasn't aware that Michigan is considered a premier defense. The Wolverines are good, but a great defense doesn't give up over 300 rushing yards in a single game (see Minnesota). I think LSU and Georgia are the only two defenses in the same league as Oklahoma. But I break down the BCS -- not defenses -- for a living.
Jack (Dallas, TX)
What would it take for Texas to go to the Rose Bowl?
Brad Edwards (7:57 PM)
It would take USC finishing No. 2 in the BCS, and the Fiesta Bowl choosing LSU instead of Texas. The Longhorns would have to be passed over by the Fiesta to be available for the Rose.
Matt (Dubuque, IA)
Is there any chance that Iowa could still make it to the top 10 in the BCS? If so how?
Brad Edwards (7:59 PM)
If Miami (OH) and Georgia both lose this week, there's a chance. But you don't get a trophy for finishing in the top 10 of the BCS. Perhaps they could sell t-shirts.
Where are the Washington Huskies going to be come the holiday season?
Brad Edwards (8:03 PM)
Probably home with their families. Their best bowl option seems to be the Silicon Valley, and I'm hearing UCLA is the likely choice there for the Pac-10 slot.
John (Tallahassee, FL)
It appears the Colley Matrix is incorrect with the Gator's record during week 15; the website shows 7-4 but Florida beat USC to go 8-3. Please comment on this potential error and how it might affect LSU's rankings.
Brad Edwards (8:07 PM)
If I remember correctly, the Colley Matrix does not count wins over I-AA opponents, and Florida has a win over Florida A&M. That's why they show up as 7-4 rather than 8-4. It's the same reason LSU's record is listed as 10-1 rather than 11-1 (the Tigers beat Western Illinois).
Does Florida State have a chance at playing in the Rose Bowl? If not, who and where will they most likely be playing this January?
Brad Edwards (8:10 PM)
FSU has a chance at the Rose Bowl because Bobby Bowden's name and accomplishments are a good fit for a game with so much tradition. Personally, though, I think the Rose should take LSU if the Tigers are available at 12-1. They would bring many more fans than FSU, and it would set up a meeting of BCS No. 3 and No. 4. If FSU isn't in the Rose Bowl, it will probably be playing Texas in the Fiesta.
Brad Edwards (8:12 PM)
Okay, last question. My fiance just called to ask why I'm spending time with you people instead of her. I think we were supposed to meet for dinner or something.
Dave (Rancho Santa Margarita, CA)
Since LSU is probably going to lose its .4 quality win deduction how is it mathmatically possible for them to pass USC in the BCS? Even if they swap places in the computer ranks, for example if LSU ends up with a 2.0 average and USC ends up with a 3.17 average, LSU would still need to make up approx .66 pts. and I do not see how their SOS rank is going to drop 17 points under USC???
Brad Edwards (8:23 PM)
Let's start at the beginning and assume USC is one spot better than LSU in the polls. If we also assume the teams are even in losses and quality-win points, then LSU must make up that point between the computers and schedule strength. Believe it or not, if Notre Dame loses to Syracuse, LSU will finish with a stronger schedule than USC. It seems like a lot, but they can make it up. The big question is whether LSU can finish ahead of USC in 6 of the 7 computers. If Notre Dame loses, I think the Tigers can do it. And they might have enough of a schedule strength advantage to make up the difference. There's even a chance Georgia might only fall to 10th in the BCS, which would be worth another tenth of a point for the Tigers. If Notre Dame wins, however, LSU won't be able to make up much in schedule strength and would likely need to be ahead in all seven computers, which wouldn't happen. The only realistic chance LSU still has requires Syracuse to beat Notre Dame.
Brad Edwards (8:25 PM)
Thanks again, everyone. I'm sorry I can't get to all of your questions, but there are literally thousands to choose from. Please have a safe week and enjoy the games on Saturday. No matter who you cheer for, it should be interesting.
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