A tame week by recent BCS standards, but still some significant developments. Let's get to it.
I saw that Auburn almost overtook Oregon in the BCS. Do you see them taking the Number 1 position back??
No, I don't. This was a result of TCU's big win jumping them over Oregon in several computers, thus causing the Ducks to weaken in the computer element. Oregon has a much stronger schedule than TCU the rest of the way and should regain that ground in the computers. The only way Oregon falls from No. 1 in the BCS is if it loses a lot of its first-place votes in the polls.
What would happen if Oregon and Auburn both lost a game, LSU wins out and gets to #3 in the polls and somehow gets to #2 in the BCS. Would LSU be able play for the championship without playing for SEC champ? Very unlikely scenario, but just curious.
LSU is absolutely eligible to play for the title without winning the SEC West. The big problem for the Tigers would be ranking high enough in the polls. My gut feeling is that the voters would elevate a one-loss team that did win its conference title (either Big Ten or Big 12).
The only chance I see LSU having of playing for the BCS title would be if voters conspired to rank them high, knowing LSU was the only one-loss team strong enough in the computers to keep a TCU-Boise State national championship game from occurring.
Is it possible that the nation's two best teams make their home in the Pac-10?
It's possible. It's also possible that TCU and Boise State are the two best teams. I see a bunch of good teams with flaws and no great team out there. If the top 10 teams played a round-robin league against each other, it would be very difficult to pick a winner. A 6-3 record might be good enough to win it.
Brad, in my opinion, the biggest travesty for this year's BCS is that a team who has lost 1 game in the past 3 years (and that by only 1 point) is on the verge of not even playing for a BCS game. Is there any hope for my Broncos?
I agree that it would be really, really unfortunate to see Boise left out of the BCS altogether. My feeling right now is that the Orange Bowl would have to choose the Broncos over a second team from the Big 12, so root for chaos in the Big 12. If there's not a big-name team available with only two losses, that helps Boise.
If Utah loses to Notre Dame, does Boise jump back over TCU in the polls?
That probably wouldn't affect the polls, but it would impact the computers and weaken TCU, giving Boise a better chance of catching the Frogs in that part of the BCS equation. Bottom line, though, BSU has to make up that ground on TCU in the polls, and it's hard to see TCU cooperating by playing a close game.
Why is the Rose Bowl selection process different this year?
I assume you're referring to the fact that if the Pac-10 or Big Ten champion is playing in the national title game, the Rose has to fill that spot with a non-AQ team if one is eligible and not also in the title game. The reason is that the BCS relaxed its qualifying standards for the non-AQ teams several years ago, making it easier for them to get a spot at the BCS table. The system, however, was only set up for those teams to find a spot in the Fiesta, Sugar and Orange bowls. Therefore, an agreement was made in the last BCS contract negotiation that the Rose Bowl would take its turn to host a non-AQ during this four-year cycle.
Where would Auburn fall among the one-loss teams if it loses to Alabama?
I think if Auburn loses to Alabama and wins the SEC title, there's a slight chance the Tigers could still play for the BCS title. Some of it depends on how strong the non-AQ teams are in the computers at the end of the year (I think Auburn would be very even with them). The rest comes down to how much voters want to see Auburn play for the national title. If Oregon is unbeaten, I think most voters drop Auburn and give TCU a shot. If Oregon has also lost a game, I'm sure some voters would elevate Auburn to attempt to prevent a TCU-Boise national title game from happening.
Do you think voters will radically change their vote on the last ballot to prevent TCU or Boise St. for playing in the national championship game.
There might be a few that would, but I can't see there being a major movement to keep one of them out of the game. Both teams have been impressive enough that I believe the majority of voters are fine with one of them being in the game. The question, as I mentioned before, is whether voters might go to great lengths to prevent TCU and Boise State from playing each other for the championship.
How much do they two less games Boise has played than TCU factor into the BCS standings? Does the number of games automatically result in some additional points?
It makes a little bit of a difference. If Boise had already played its ninth and tenth games (Idaho and Fresno State), it would be a little bit stronger in the computers right now, but I don't think it would be a huge deal. The big boost for the Broncos will come after the Nevada game. That, combined with how Virginia Tech does the next few weeks, will give us a better idea of how realistic Boise's chances of catching TCU are.
At this point, does Boise State have no chance of making it to the BCS title game if TCU wins out?
I still think there's a chance for both Oregon and Auburn to lose, which would give Boise State a higher probability of playing for the title. If that doesn't happen, I think their chances of jumping TCU are slim but not none. The biggest factor, to me, is that TCU will probably bulldoze its final two opponents and not give voters any reason to drop them on their ballots. But if San Diego State could give TCU a game, that would definitely help Boise.
You still have TCU ranked last in the 4 unbeatens on your ESPN Power rankings. No Love after going to Utah where they've never won and Kirk said they would lose?
Nice of you to notice. I actually considered moving them to No. 1, but ultimately settled on keeping the top four in the same order I've had them for the last four weeks. I think TCU is as good as anyone, but we're not allowed to rank them 1a, 1b, 1c and 1d. I considered moving them up to 3 and dropping Auburn to 4, but I went to Alabama, so that would've been more criticized than leaving TCU there.
Are SEC teams punished in the computers for their annual November feast of FCS cupcakes?
They take a little bit of a hit for it, but they always offset it by playing in the SEC title game. And they've usually built up enough schedule strength by that point that it's hardly noticeable within the computer rankings.
Alright, last question. Unfortunately, I have other work to do today.
Can Stanford get high enough in the BCS (top 3 or top 4) to get a guaranteed BCS berth?
I'd say there's a chance Stanford could get to 4 if Boise State loses to Nevada. Otherwise, the best shot for the Cardinal to reach the BCS is probably for Oregon to finish unbeaten, Auburn to lose, and TCU play the Ducks for the BCS Championship. If that happens, the Rose isn't required to take a non-AQ replacement for Oregon and is free to select Stanford.
Thanks, everyone. I'll be in Berkeley on Saturday for College GameDay on ESPN Radio, as we watch to see whether Cal can shock the nation against Oregon.
Also, if you have interest in following the latest bowl developments, BCS or otherwise, ESPN is launching an app this week for iPhone and Droid called Bowl Bound. You'll be able to get my analysis on the bowl situation on there every week for the rest of the season. Check it out.