October 9, 2012
A lot has happened in college football the last two weeks. The number of unbeaten teams has dropped from 27 to 16. 12 teams ranked in the top 25 have lost (including nine on Saturday). Some contenders have proven to be pretenders while new contenders have emerged. Where do we stand now?
I still believe the SEC winner plays in the big game. After watching South Carolina destroy Georgia on Saturday, it looks like the Gamecocks will take on the Alabama-LSU winner in the SEC Championship Game for a chance to play for the BCS title (but we have to at least mention that Florida and Mississippi St. are both still undefeated and could get there with some help). Against who?
That’s where the BCS comes into play. Take away the SEC and we still have 12 unbeatens. Cincinnati, Kansas State, Louisiana Tech, Louisville, Notre Dame, Ohio, Ohio State, Oregon, Oregon State, Rutgers, Texas-San Antonio and West Virginia all have yet to lose.
Obviously some of those teams are serious contenders and some are too far down in the poll to make a serious run. Here’s a look at the teams best positioned to play for the title.
No. 2 Oregon
The Ducks have scored at least 42 points in every game. Expect them to get to 8-0 before facing three more ranked teams in November and then a possible Pac-12 title game. They win out and they will get a title shot.
No. 5 West Virginia
So far so good for the Mountaineers in their new conference. They have put up 118 points in the last two games, both against ranked opponents. Then again, they have given up 108 in those two games. Kansas State, TCU and Oklahoma are still to come.
No. 6 Kansas State
If the Wildcats are going to run the table and win the Big 12, they will have to earn it with road games at Oklahoma, West Virginia, TCU and Baylor. They got by the Sooners and take the trip to West Virginia in two weeks. That will essentially be an elimination game.
No. 7 Notre Dame
No. 8 Ohio State
The Buckeyes are not eligible to play in a bowl game.
No. 10 Oregon State
The Beavers could be the surprise of the year. They play at Stanford but get Oregon at home. Lets see if they keep it going this week against a stout defense at BYU.
There are even a few teams with one loss that could get back in the mix if the rest of the season is as wild and crazy as they usually are. Here’s what you should be rooting for if you are a fan of one of these teams.
No. 11 USC
The Trojans will need to run the table, which would require beating Oregon and Notre Dame and hopefully, for USC, a rematch with Stanford in the PAC-12 title game. They’ll also need the Big 12 champs to lose.
No. 12 Florida State
The Seminoles don’t have as strong a schedule as some teams in front of them, but wins over Virginia Tech, Florida and in the ACC title game would give them a 12-1 record. They’ll need the Big 12 winner and everyone in PAC 12 to lose though.
No. 13 Oklahoma
The Sooners will have to go through Texas, Notre Dame, Baylor, West Virginia and TCU. If that happens and both Oregon schools lose, the Sooners will be there.
Unbeaten teams Cincinnati, Louisiana Tech, Louisville, Ohio, Rutgers and Texas-San Antonio are all going to need multiple miracles to move that far up in the rankings but they deserve to stay in the conversation until they lose. And hey, miracles do happen.
May 30, 2012
With news a few weeks back that the Big 12 and SEC were planning a major bowl game tie-in similar to the Big Ten and Pac 12 Rose Bowl, all sorts of guns were jumped in relegating the ACC to the Big East’s status. And when rumors floated that Florida State and/or Miami and Clemson could soon exit the conference for presumably greener pastures in the Big 12, the ACC’s death was all but written on a tombstone.
The only problem was that common sense was somehow lost in the melee.
The biggest factor is that considering Florida State, Clemson, and Miami all but gone is really taking a leap of faith. While it’s well known that Florida State wasn’t exactly in a state of euphoria about the ACC’s new long-term deal with ESPN, it’s still no guarantee they’re leaving the conference. Florida State is a better fit geographically in the ACC and all three leaving is an even bigger long shot.
Here’s one fact often forgotten in this whole mess. Many will quickly point to the schools’ distaste for North Carolina and Duke receiving special treatment in the ACC, but the trio would quickly discover that Texas reigns supreme in the Big 12. If they think they’d receive much more respect in a midwestern conference where Texas and Oklahoma are considered kings, they’ve got another thing coming.
The concern amongst fans of other ACC teams about the conference being left out of the discussion when it comes to playing in a potential playoff pitting four teams is also a bit misguided. Those making decisions in college football already get a ton of heat for not making the national championship open to enough schools. So now, they’re going to risk litigation by shutting out even more programs? Sorry, I just don’t see it. Right now, there are six power conferences that receive automatic bids – the SEC, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac 12, ACC, and Big East. If the ACC were left out of a playoff scenario, you can bet that the Big East would have no shot at it as well. It’s difficult to imagine a national championship playoff with even fewer teams given access.
Florida State, Clemson, and Miami should all recognize this. Problem is, though, there’s another factor in play – money. If those schools can make considerably more money in the Big 12 or SEC, they’d almost certainly consider it.
So with that in mind, let’s set up a hypothetical situation – say all three leave the conference … then what? Technically, I still think the ACC could survive. While those three are a large part of the conference, the basketball side of things would remain virtually unaffected. With North Carolina, Duke, Pitt, and Syracuse still around, the ACC would continue to be one of the most dominant basketball conference in college basketball. That’s got to count for something, right?
Football drives the bus, though, and I get it. The simple fact is that if all three bolted, the conference could be in serious trouble. But Virginia Tech has been the class of the conference on the gridiron and the ACC would still have them as a foundation. There’s also Georgia Tech, Pitt, North Carolina State, Virginia, North Carolina, Boston College, and Maryland. All of those teams have had solid seasons in recent memory and while none are powerhouses, there’s enough talent there to justify a playoff spot being given to an undefeated team. The ACC could also try to pluck additional mid-card schools such as UConn, Louisville, or Rutgers from the Big East. Smirk all you want at that group of schools, but the Huskies and Cardinals would bring even more basketball talent to the conference and Rutgers would include more eyeballs in the attractive New York/New Jersey market.
It’s still entirely too early to figure out how all of this plays out. But the safe bet is that the ACC stays alive throughout all of this.
September 6, 2011
With recent news about the Big 12 potentially losing Texas A&M and other member schools, NCAA conference realignment got back into the news this past week in a big way. In case you’re not up to speed, the ten-team Big 12 conference could be on the ropes. Texas A&M’s planned departure isn’t the only thing to worry about, either. In recent days, additional schools have also been linked to other conferences as well – most recently, powerhouses Oklahoma and Texas have been rumored to potentially become a part of a PAC 16-conference. If the Big 12 ceases to exist, there could be a free-for-all unrivaled by anything we’ve ever seen before. Other conferences would be fighting for the remaining schools such as Missouri and Oklahoma State, which would strengthen any conference.
If the current Pac 12 expands to 16 teams, other conferences would likely follow suit. The question is, if others move towards expansion under the ‘Bigger is Better’ mantra, would that necessarily be good for college football?
My answer is yes.
Right now, there are a total of 66 teams that make up the six BCS football conferences – the ACC, Big East, Big 12, Big Ten, SEC, and Pac 12. If each of those six became ‘mega’ football conferences to include 16 teams, a total of 96 programs would then fall under the BCS umbrella. If mega conferences ever became a reality, the more common scenario most discussed is that there would only be four or five of them. But if the BCS remains, I’m convinced that keeping six conferences would be a good thing.
So why would mega conferences help college football? Simply put, more college football teams would have an opportunity to play in the BCS bowls and in a national championship game. We’ve all seen it before – talented teams being left out of the national championship game or the BCS altogether. The 2004 Auburn Tigers finished their season going undefeated in the SEC, but couldn’t earn a spot in the title game. Then there were the 2006 Boise State Broncos that were the only undefeated team in college football, but still left out of the championship. While these kinds of injustices don’t occur every year, they have happened and will continue to do so.
It can also be argued that teams in smaller conferences don’t have the same opportunities as their BCS-conference brethren. By expanding the BCS conferences, though, those disadvantages would largely disappear. Not only would teams such as Boise State and BYU get their shot at winning a national championship by running the table in a more difficult schedule, but 28 more programs would get their chance as well. And while it could be argued that most non-BCS conference teams couldn’t realistically compete for a national championship, those teams could fight for spots in BCS bowl games.
Sure, mega conferences wouldn’t fix everything. Arguments from the remaining non-BCS conference participants would continue to exist. There would be cries from those left on the outside looking in just as there are every year in the NCAA basketball tournament. The difference, though, is that there’d be fewer of them and many non-BCS schools would have a difficult time putting together a strong case that they should be able to play in a BCS bowl – let alone a national championship.
Another argument against six mega conferences may be that teams wouldn’t get to face every school in their conference. But that already exists as things stand right now and with a short college season, playing every team simply isn’t realistic. Mega conferences would likely need to consist of two divisions where winners would meet in a conference championship game.
Mega conferences wouldn’t fix everything and in the eyes of some fans, the only way to go would be a playoff system. But as long as the BCS exists, finding ways to include as many teams as possible is the best thing to do.
November 12, 2009
There has always been a debate among college football fans about which conference has the best teams, best fans, best student sections, best coaches, most prestigious, etc. etc.
I say, why debate it? Play it! I am proposing that the NCAA create an all-star tournament that takes the best players from each conference and plays them against each other. Imagine a combination of March Madness and the Olympics. I even have the slogan, “Traditional rivals come together for love of their….conference.” It may be a stretch but it’s still football!