Let me start by saying that almost everything I write today will be true next week, as well ... because almost nothing will change in the BCS this weekend. I don't think I've ever seen a week where not a single one of the top seven teams had a game that was even remotely loseable. Hopefully, we'll get some unexpected drama.
Brad, with TCU increasing their lead on Cincinnati, what are the chances that they stay ahead and possibly get a title game spot if one of the Big Three lose?
First of all, the only one of the top three teams that could lose and open the door for TCU to reach the title game would be Texas. I have little doubt that a one-loss SEC champ would still finish ahead of TCU and Cincinnati. If Texas loses, I think it will be tight between the Frogs and Bearcats. TCU needs to take care of its business the next two weeks to make it really difficult for Cincy to gain ground in the polls. Without gaining in that part of the formula, Cincinnati can't make the jump.
Do you think Iowa is deserving of a BCS-at large berth?
Iowa is certainly deserving, but "deserving" doesn't have anything to do with how teams are selected for at-large spots. I think it's a virtual lock that either Iowa, Penn State or Wisconsin will be chosen to play in a BCS game, but the fact that Iowa went on the road and beat those other two will likely have no bearing on which team gets picked. The strike against Iowa is that its two losses would have come in the last three games.
If TCU, Cincy, Texas, Boise State and one of the two SEC teams all win out, do you know what the order of the final CPU rankings will be between the five teams?
My best guess is that the SEC champ will be No. 1 in the computers, followed by Cincinnati, Texas, TCU and Boise. The combination of Wyoming and New Mexico (TCU's remaining opponents) being so weak and Texas being able to play a 9-win Nebraska team in the Big 12 Championship Game would help the Horns finally leap over the Frogs in the BCS computers.
Is there any scenario where Pitt can play for a national championship? Lets assume they beat West Virginia and Cincinnati..what has to happen to propel them to a championship game?
Obviously, that would move Pitt ahead of Cincinnati, but I'm not totally sure it would get them past Georgia Tech on enough ballots to even become the highest ranked one-loss team. So, Georgia Tech will have to lose to either Georgia or Clemson (in the ACC title game). Aside from that, Texas will have to lose to either Texas A
If Boise State gets an at-large BCS spot, which bowl will take them and why?
I think they'd end up in the Fiesta. My best guess right now is that the Fiesta will take a Big Ten team with its first pick to sell lots of tickets, then will have a choice between Boise and TCU for the opponent. It makes more sense to take Boise, and TCU is also better off being left for the Sugar Bowl, because its fans can make that drive to New Orleans.
If Nebraska/K State beat Texas in the Big 12 championship game, does that guarantee the Big 12 two BCS bowls?
It wouldn't be automatic, but Texas would surely get an at-large bid. I think the Big 12 would be willing to miss out on the extra $4.5 million, though, to be assured of having a team in the BCS title game.
Texas loses to TAMU, Florida
If Texas loses, I think the only question is whether it would be TCU or Cincinnati against the SEC champ. Cincy would have the advantage in the computers, so it would just need to close the gap on TCU in the polls. And I mean close it significantly from what it is right now. TCU can help its cause with two more blowout wins, but the advantage Cincy has is that TCU doesn't play on the final weekend. You never know what voters might do if the Bearcats are impressive in a win at Pitt without TCU having a chance to answer on that day.
At-Large bids, who are they going to be?
My guess right now, based on the assumption that Oklahoma State will lose at Oklahoma: TCU, SEC runner-up, Big Ten team (Penn State, Iowa or Wisconsin) and Boise State.It's a tough call on the Big Ten team, but I'd lean toward Penn State getting picked by the Fiesta if it can get by Michigan State on Saturday.
Brad, who plays in the NC if TCU and Cincinnati go unbeaten and Alabama loses to Auburn but then beats Florida? Would a non-AQ school really get the nod over a one loss SEC champ?
I think Alabama goes if that happens. The teams would be fairly even in the computers, but I can't imagine too many voters ranking TCU or Cincy ahead of a one-loss SEC champ that just beat the No. 1 team in the nation.
what do you think pitt's chances are of making a BCS game?
If they beat Cincinnati, they are automatically in as the Big East champ. If they lose that game, I don't think there's much of a chance for an at-large berth.
Assuming an SEC champ vs. Texas NCG, how bad is the fallout if the bowl season ends with an undefeated non-AQ team (that played in a BCS bowl) and an undefeated Cinci (which also played in a BCS bowl)?
If the consensus top-two teams play each other in the BCS title game, especially with both going in unbeaten, I don't think there's any fallout. Don't forget that there's never been a system in college football that would have allowed any other team a shot to play for the national title with a scenario like this. An undefeated Florida, Alabama or Texas won't exactly be considered an unworthy national champ.
Who is more likely to get two teams in the BCS - the Big Ten or the Big 12?
In my opinion, the Big Ten is a lock to get a second team, as long as Penn State, Iowa and Wisconsin don't all lose again. The only way the Big 12 gets a second team is for Texas to lose the conference title game or for Oklahoma State to win at Oklahoma.
Brad, your first answer indicated that a 1-loss SEC team would still beat out TCU and Cincy? Care to elaborate (i.e., would it be because of computers, coaches poll, harris, etc.)?
If I didn't make it clear earlier, it would be because of the polls. I think the one-loss SEC champ would be fairly even with the others in the computers. My belief is that the voters would choose the SEC team in that scenario.
It seems to me that if Oklahoma State wins out they should have a good shot at a BCS berth...Only two teams can go from the SEC, so LSU is out; the loser of the Pitt-Cinci game should drop below them (possibly out of the top 14) and so if TCU, Boise and the SEC title loser all get bids, Ok State would be the next highest ranked team, and they would have to get a bump in peoples' eyes for beting Oklahoma (even on a down year). How would they compare to the Big 10 hopefuls?
If Oklahoma State wins out, it will go to the Fiesta Bowl. That's a no-brainer. The Orange probably would then choose a Big Ten team and leave Boise State out of the mix.
What would be the rationale in keeping a one-loss SEC team ahead of a undefeated TCU or Cincy?
Right or wrong, I think most voters would just refuse to believe that either of those teams could be better than the SEC champ. And don't forget that the SEC has won the last three BCS titles, and all of those teams had at least one loss. That certainly plays into it. And as much as I hate to suggest this could be a factor in the minds of some voters, it's hard to ignore the possibility that some might not want to set up a national championship game between two teams from the state of Texas.
Which of the 3 teams is most worthy of a BCS berth...Stanford, Penn State, or Iowa? Do you think people will remember the controversial officiating at Wake Forest?
If Stanford is at-large eligible at the end of the season, it won't be the loss to Wake Forest that would keep them out of the BCS. It would come down to whether Stanford fans would buy as many tens of thousands of tickets to watch their team play as some others would.
I find it interesting that most teams can be punished for weak OOC scheduling, but some of the bigger schools seem to slide right through. Honestly, politics being what they are, does Florida even have to play to be ranked #1?
This is a product of the BCS formula being two-thirds driven by the polls. If voters buy into a team before the season, it's tough for them to shake that opinion without that team losing. That said, I think Florida can legitimately be ranked No. 1 if you're judging them against the rest of the country this season, rather than judging them against last year's Gators. Several teams have a claim to being ranked first right now, but without one being obviously better than the others, siding with the defending champ is an acceptable position, in my opinion.
Are each bowl's selection people most concerned with A) TV ratings, B) people in the seats, C) reputation of the teams, or D) all of the above have equal weight in the process?
I think selling out the stadium is the priority for every bowl game. If they can do that AND provide good TV ratings for their sponsors, that's a nice bonus. I think your answers (A) and (C) are basically the same. I'd say the factor of least importance to the bowls extending at-large bids (which is not on your list) is what they did on the field to deserve it. Making money is way more important that rewarding the most deserving teams for the BCS games that aren't handing out the national championship trophy.
So, out of those 3 Big Ten teams you metioned, which is most likely to get chosen? Seems Penn State travels better than the other two.
I think all three travel extremely well. The deciding factor, as suggested in my previous answer, could very well be Penn State's national reputation, which translates to higher TV ratings than the other two. Having Joe Paterno on the sideline is a part of that.
Thanks, everyone. We'll talk about the same stuff this time next week, because nothing should change after this weekend's games.