21 November 2005

Dante's Official Doomsday Scenario

We're looking at the last regular game of the season for most schools. Some schools will have a championship game to play as well. Then there's the bowl season. This is the time of year when Dante takes a look at what's left on the schedule and how the pieces could fall into place. While looking everthing over, I always like to come up with the scenario that would be as damaging as possible to the BCS.

Since we need a lot of teams that all are equally qualified for a national title game, Texas and USC both need to lose exactly one game. That means UCLA needs to take down USC and Texas needs to lose to either A&M or (presumably) Colorado. The best doomsday scenario would be for Texas to lose the Big 12 title game. That puts Colorado in a BCS bowl. USC losing to UCLA would likewise give UCLA a BCS bowl.

That puts the following teams with automatic BCS spots:
UCLA, Colorado, Penn State, WV, VT, LSU

Now I'm still seeing USC playing the national title game if they have 1 loss. I don't see Texas sharing that fate. So add USC to the current BCS contenders. The popular choices for the last spot are Notre Dame, Texas and Ohio State. I'm looking at what's realistic here, so I'll wait until I go over the predicted BCS Bowl selection process to show you what I think would happen.

Rose Bowl: USC (1) v. Penn State (2)
Sugar Bowl: LSU (3) v. WV (6)
Fiesta Bowl: Colorado (7) v. UCLA (5)
Orange: VT (4) v. Notre Dame (8)

This happens because USC gets #1 and Penn State gets #2. Then LSU, Colorado, and VT get their anchor bowls. Orange picks next. They're going to take Notre Dame. Fiesta and Sugar would be required to take the Big East and PAC 10 winners much to their dismay.

Penn State needs to blow out USC. LSU and VT need to blow out WV and Notre Dame, respectively. This leaves LSU and VT with good arguments that they should've been the ones playing the national title game. UCLA needs to spank a Colorado team that quite frankly has no business in a BCS bowl game.

This situation is entirely possible though I admit it is very improbable. It would put every major conferece but the PAC 10 and Big East at odds with the BCS selection process. The Big 12 would not only lose out on the national title game but Texas will get glossed over for a BCS bowl to a lesser Notre Dame team. The SEC would once again have just as good a reason to play in the national title game but be left out in the cold again. The ACC would be in the same situation as the SEC. The Big 10 will get Penn State in the national title game, but will probably be sore that Notre Dame went ahead of Ohio State in the BCS selection process. The PAC 10 could even argue that Oregon should've gotten a BCS bowl but they would already be fielding 2 BCS teams. I doubt they'd complain too much.

Now here's the real juicy bit. With all those blowouts in BCS bowls, the most interesting Bowl game in the nation would be Texas v. Auburn at the Cotton Bowl, especially if Auburn could play it close. Auburn would still need to lose so Texas could argue that they should've played in the national title game but instead missed out on the BCS bowls entirely.

There's your official Doomsday Scenario. I know that there are a lot of Georgia fans on this board that won't like the idea of LSU destroying Georgia in the SEC title game, but if all we need is for Georgia to lose to get rid of the BCS, I'd be for that. I wouldn't mind seeing GA go to Atlanta to play Flordia State in the Peach Bowl.

For those of you keeping up at home, here's your offical doomsday cheat sheet for all the games that matter in this scenario:

Thurs 11/24
8PM: WV over Pitt

Fri 11/25
12PM: Texas over A&M
2:30PM: LSU over Arkansas

Sat 11/26
11AM: VT over UNC
8PM: Notre Dame over Stanford

Sat 12/3
4:30PM: UCLA over USC

SEC Title Game: LSU over GA
Big 12 Title: Colorado over Texas
ACC Title: VT over BC or FL State


At 12:02 PM, Blogger S.A.W.B. said...

There is one flaw in your doomsday scenario. USC can not lose to UCLA and still play in the BCS title game, by virtue of the 'Nebraska Rule'. UCLA, by virtue of tiebreakers, would win the PAC-10, over Oregon and USC(quick breakdown - UCLA wins the head to head tiebreaker by virtue of beating USC, and since UCLA and Oregon don't play, UCLA wins on the common opponent win, since UCLA beat USC.) UCLA would be guaranteed the PAC-10 slot. This would throw a wrench into the whole thing, and would likely slot the bowls as such:

Rose - VT (1) v LSU (2)
Sugar - USC (4) v WV (5)
Fiesta - Colorado (7) v UCLA (3)
Orange - Notre Dame (8) v Penn State (6)

While not as compelling as the three horse race you've described above, this gives us almost as compelling case for a playoff, as we have an exceedingly lackluster bowl schedule. USC/UCLA won't be rematched, neither will USC/Notre Dame. The Sugar will lock up USC with their pick, as they lose LSU to the title game. The Orange locks in Penn State with their ACC replacement. The Fiesta gets a boredom-inducing Colorado-UCLA tilt, which UCLA should win in a rout. Notre Dame travels to Miami in what may be a better game than VT/LSU in the title game, and USC gets saddled with the Big Least winner, West Virginia.

Texas screams, along with Oregon, for being left out of the process. The rest of the country is pissed at the 'Notre Dame rule' in the BCS, which allows them free access to a BCS game, should they win 9 games, and be in the top 12 of the BCS rankings.

Should USC, Penn State, and UCLA all win convincingly, we now have a four-headed monster, all with one loss, all with a fairly legitimate claim of a national championship.

At 12:08 PM, Blogger S.A.W.B. said...

Also, don't forget that Pittsburgh or South Florida could still potentially win the Big East. Pitt would need to win their game against WV, and West Virginia lose their last two. South Florida would have to lose to UConn this week, and beat WV next week. Pitt would win by virtue of beating both USF and WV, and be in a BCS bowl with a sterling 6-5 record.

At 12:47 PM, Blogger Dante said...

I've considered the 'Nebraska Rule' but that's not really even a rule. The circumstances here are completely different. Nebraska and Texas both had 1 loss to a pretty poor Colorado team. Since Nebraska was still seen as a great team and Texas was still a team of questionable talent up to that point, Nebraska went to the national title game despite not even playing in the Big 12 Championship game (because of the aforementioned loss to Colorado). The pollsters were still fawning over Nebraksa back then and it showed. The pollsters and BCS trotted out a lame excuse to barring Texas (or any of the myriad of good 1-loss teams that year) from the national title game. Hence, we have the 'Nebraska Rule.'

The only other scenario I can think of that is even close is when Oklahoma got embarrased by one of the Kansas teams in the Big 12 Championship game and it cost them a national title shot.

UCLA is a good enough team that USC can lose to them and not be embarrassed (from what I hear, I don't actually watch West Coast football). USC is as much a media darling now as Nebraska was then. The pollsters will claim that UCLA really just won the PAC-10 on a technicality (much like they claimed Nebraska didn't play the Big 12 title game on a technicality). They'll all swear up and down USC is still the superior team. The computers will probably see things a little different but woe to the BCS if they deviate at all from the pollsters' opinions.

I am also aware that South Florida and to a lesser extent Pitt have shots at the Big East but that doesn't really change the scenario all that much. Any of those 3 teams will be teams that don't belong in a BCS Bowl taking spots from teams that do belong.

Even if the Nebraska Rule holds in the Doomsday scenario, I thought Orange would get stuck with Big East after losing their ACC anchor. I was pretty sure Orange is anchored to both the ACC and Big East. I'm also not so sure the Sugar Bowl would be so quick to snatch up USC. I don't think they'd travel well clear accross the country to Atlanta. I'd think Penn State or Notre Dame would be more attractive choices for them.

In any case, the purpose of the doomsday scenario is to provide us with the worst BCS Bowl Games and preferrably at least one or two BCS-calibur bowls outside of the BCS. Even if you're right on the bowl selections, we still get that.


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