COMPLETE FINAL BCS STANDINGS
BEST AND WORST OF BCS ERA
For all intents and purposes, the BCS era is over. There is still the championship game and so-called BCS bowls to be played, but as a mechanism to set up postseason play, it's already a museum piece.
The BCS will be missed.
For all its flaws, the BCS's biggest contribution to college football is that it made the sport national. After the Big Ten, Pac-12 and Rose Bowl grudgingly signed on in 1998, the attraction of No. 1 vs. No. 2 forced fans (and the media) to care about games outside of their own region. For powerhouse programs, it was no longer good enough just to win the conference championship.
Of course, the BCS had its problems and underwent constant tinkering that bordered on "making up stuff as we go" at times. It still gave us a split national championship (in 2003), a highly questionable title-game rematch (in 2011), and a few bogus bowl pairings. But overall, the BCS did its job probably better than could have been expected 16 years ago.
As someone who's followed the BCS from its inception and actively blogged about it since 2006, I have plenty to say about the good, bad and ugly of the era. In fact, I'll be writing a series that covers each of the BCS's 16 seasons, with retrospectives and how things might have worked out had there been a four-team playoff.
And as a tease, here is my view on the best and worst things of the BCS era:
(FULL ARTICLE @ BLEACHER REPORT)
WHAT WOULD'VE COMMITTEE DONE IN 2013?
The Bowl Championship Series era unofficially ended Sunday night with the release of the final set of BCS standings. After 16 seasons, the much-maligned, unloved, yet surprisingly effective setup is giving way to the new College Football Playoff, set to debut next season.
The CFP is bound to be an improvement over the BCS, right? With a gang of 13 picking four teams to enter the playoff instead of a mish-mash of polls and computer rankings deciding the top two teams, it must be less controversial, no?
It may very well be a case of "be careful of what you wish for."
For all its flaws, the BCS at least had a reasonable degree of transparency as its standings actually were fairly predictable. Having been the self-anointed Guru since 2006, I had gotten so good at projecting the standings, that I was rarely surprised by anything, especially in the top of the standings.
But I have only a vague clue as to what the committee might do next season. In fact, the 2014 playoff field might be the most difficult to handicap as there will be no precedent in the history of the sport to serve as a marker.
That's why I campaigned and genuinely hoped that the committee members would release their top four for this season. That way, at least we'd have an idea about how they might behave next season and what criteria would be of more importance to them.
Since that's not forthcoming, I've decided to do the job for them. Here's what my playoff pairings would be if I were a committee member:
No. 1 Florida State vs. No. 4 Michigan State (to be played at Sugar Bowl)
No. 2 Auburn vs. No. 3 Stanford (to be played at Rose Bowl)
(FULL ARTICLE @BLEACHER REPORT)
WAR DAMN EAGLE IS PASADENA BOUND
Did the BCS work? Well, in its final season, it did. Like magic. For Auburn.
The Tigers' magical ride began with Miracle on the Plains when they miraculously defeated Georgia on a fourth-and-forever Hail Mary. It continued with the now epic Iron Bowl missed-kick-return. Then, after outlasting Missouri in a mind-boggling shootout in the SEC Championship Game, the Tigers got the final piece of good news before their bus even pulled out of Atlanta - Ohio State lost to Michigan
State in the Big Ten title game.
So Auburn will be headed to Pasadena for the last-ever BCS Championship Game against No. 1 Florida State, which cruised past Duke to win the ACC title. It will be the Seminoles' fourth BCS title game appearance - but their first since playing in the first three BCS title games from 1998-2000.
With Auburn back in its second BCS title game in four years, the SEC will now have a chance to close out the BCS era with its eighth consecutive national championship. Incredibly, the state of Alabama will be represented in the BCS title game for the
fifth straight season.
Projected final BCS standings
1. Florida State, 2. Auburn, 3. Alabama, 4. Michigan State, 5. Stanford, 6. Baylor, 7. Ohio State, 8. South Carolina, 9. Missouri, 10. Clemson.
11. Oregon, 12. Oklahoma, 13. Oklahoma State, 14. Arizona State, 15. LSU, 16. Central Florida, 17. UCLA, 18. Wisconsin, 19. Louisville, 20. Northern Illinois.
21. Fresno State, 22. Georgia, 23. Texas A&M, 24. USC, 25. Duke.
Projected BCS bowl matchups
BCS Championship: No. 1 Florida State (ACC) vs. No. 2 Auburn (SEC)
Rose Bowl: No. 4 Michigan State (Big Ten) vs. No. 5 Stanford (Pac-12)
Sugar Bowl: No. 3 Alabama (at-large) vs. No. 12 Oklahoma (at-large)
Orange Bowl: No. 7 Ohio State (at-large) vs. No. 10 Clemson (at-large)
Fiesta Bowl: No. 6 Baylor (Big 12) vs. No. 16 Central Florida (American)
(FULL ARTICLE @ BLEACHER REPORT)
IS ALABAMA DYNASTY OVERHYPED?
Alabama's quest for a BCS championship three-peat in all likelihood ended on the dramatic final play of the Iron Bowl, when Chris Davis ran 109 yards to take home a missed field goal for the winning touchdown. While the Tide are a lock to play in a BCS bowl this year, they'll miss out on that most elusive of prizes.
Since the AP poll began crowning national champions in 1936, no team has ever won three consecutive titles. The team that came closest was USC in 2005, but it blew a 12-point fourth-quarter lead and gave up the winning touchdown with 19 seconds to play to lose to Texas, 41-38, in the epic 2006 Rose Bowl game.
And the BCS era will end with just one team playing in three consecutive title games - and that would be Florida State, whose 1999 title was bracketed by losses in the 1998 and 2000 games. Until their loss in the Iron Bowl, the Crimson Tide were on a quest to equal that achievement (and surpass it) by winning a third consecutive BCS Championship Game.
Is Alabama's budding dynasty truly over, or is this just a blip on the road? History suggests that when a dominating run is halted suddenly, getting back to the top might be harder than it first looks. The last time Alabama won consecutive AP championships was 1978-79 and it took 13 years and three coaching changes before it claimed the next title.
Recent examples also don't bode well for the Tide to reboot the dynasty, either. After USC's dramatic loss at the Rose Bowl ended its 34-game winning streak, the Trojans had a chance to return to the title game the following season. But they were denied after a stunning upset loss to UCLA in the regular-season finale and haven't been back since.
(FULL ARTICLE @ BLEACHER REPORT)
CONFERENCE USA'S TIEBREAKING TRAVESTY
A letter to the Conference USA office:
By Chris McComas
I just wanted to drop you gentleman a line regarding the formula you used to determine home-field advantage for the CUSA title game this weekend. First off, I don't expect the game location to be switched, or anything like that, but wanted to address a few points to hopefully prevent such an error by the conference in the future.
First off, my name is Christopher McComas. I am a Marshall alumnus and fan. Many years ago I computed my own "power ratings" similar to those used in the BCS equation. At one point I actually had a couple phone conversations with Roy Kramer of the SEC and Tom Mickle of the ACC, who were at the time the top two in the BCS, about the possibility of including my ratings in the BCS formula. Ultimately my ratings weren't added, but I had a wonderful opportunity to talk with some gentlemen whom I respected greatly.
The BCS formula is designed so that the human element, Coaches Poll and Harris Interactive Poll, carries more weight than the computer element, two-thirds for the human element to one-third for the computer element. This tweak was made in 2004 so it would make it next to impossible for the top-ranked team in the polls to not end up ranked first or second in the BCS after the 2003-2004 season ended with a split national championship.
All that said, let's move on to CUSA's tie-breaker for home-field advantage. We can skip down to Step No. 3: "If still tied, team with highest BCS ranking." Since Marshall received votes in both of the human polls the BCS, there was enough data to determine a rating for each team based on the formula the BCS uses for all other teams.
Rice would have ended up with 0.0 for the Harris Poll, 0.0 for the Coaches Poll,
and 0.0 for the computer ratings. Marshall would have ended up with 0.0038
(10/2625) for the Harris Poll, 0.0084 (13/1550) for the Coaches Poll, and 0.0
for the computer ratings. There was no need to change the formula, since there
was enough data to determine each team's BCS rating based on the original BCS formula, and thus determine which of the two had a higher "BCS Ranking," which would have settled Step No. 3 of your tie-breaking procedure.
Marshall would have had a BCS rating of:
0.0041 = (0.0084 + 0.0038 + 0.0) / 3
Rice would've had a BCS rating of:
0.0000 = (0.0 + 0.0 + 0.0) / 3
(According to the complete BCS standings published at BCS Guru, Marshall is No. 33 while Rice is unranked.)
I'm not sure why you as a conference felt that the computers must be included, the BCS doesn't include computer ratings when a team is outside the Top 25 of a computer rating. You can look at Fresno State this week as an example, as it received 0.0 as its computer component because it was not ranked in the Top 25 in ANY of the six computer components.
TOP 10 LATE-SEASON UPSETS IN BCS ERA
On paper, it looks like a matchup between No. 1 Alabama and No. 2 Florida State looks all but inevitable at this point. While the Tide still have the Iron Bowl to contend with and the Seminoles must beat rival Florida and win the ACC title game, the odds are that they will handle their business and then meet up in Pasadena.
But will they?
With three week remaining in the season, a lot of strange things could still happen. (OK, maybe not this week with Alabama playing Chattanooga and FSU facing Idaho.) In fact, in the BCS era, late November and December have been littered with upsets that shattered the hopes and dreams of teams on the verge of playing for the national title.
In order of magnitude, these are our top 10 late-season upsets in the BCS era, considering only a team's penultimate or final regular-season games:
1. UCLA 13, USC 9 (2006): The Trojans, ranked No. 2 in the BCS standings, were only a win away from appearing in their third straight BCS title game. They were in the midst of a tremendous roll, having won 44 of their last 46 games. In easily the biggest upset in the Pete Carroll era, the 6-5 Bruins snapped their seven-game losing streak against their crosstown rivals and USC has not been back in the BCS title game since.
(FULL ARTICLE @ BLEACHER REPORT)
RICE HEADLINES ECLECTIC COMMITTEE
Condolezza Rice has handled world-class cavemen like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Muammar Gaddafi with aplomb. You think she'd worry about David Pollack hurting her feelings?
In not so many words but clearly implied, Pollack commented on ESPN's College GameDay that Rice in particular, and women in general, do not belong on the College Football Playoff committee.
The 12- to 18-person panel is expected to be formed by the end of this season and will be tasked in determining the participants of the four-team playoff starting in the 2014 season.
Rice, the former secretary of state under President George W. Bush, is reported to be on the committee, among a dozen names leaked this week that also included USC athletic director Pat Haden and the patriarch of the Manning family, Archie. It's an eclectic collection of people, and it reflects not just diversity in the conventional sense, but also diversity in thought.
Besides Rice, Manning and Haden - a former NFL quarterback and a Rhodes scholar
- these are the other reported names on the committee:
- Barry Alvarez, Wisconsin athletic director
- Jeff Long, Arkansas athletics director
- Oliver Luck, West Virginia athletics director
- Dan Radakovich, Clemson athletics director
- Lt. Gen. Michael Gould (Ret.), former Air Force Academy superintendent
- Tom Osborne, former Nebraska athletic director
- Tyrone Willingham, former Stanford, Notre Dame, Washington coach
- Tom Jernstedt, former NCAA executive vice president
- Mike Tranghese, former Big East commissioner
- Steve Wieberg, former sportswriter at USA Today
(FULL ARTICLE @ BLEACHER REPORT)
THE SUPER BOWL OF POKER
Football's Namesake in the Card
When talking about America's sports industry, "Super Bowl" would
most likely mean the NFL's finals. Every time we mention Super Bowl in
front of football fans, stories of how Pittsburgh Steelers battled for
six Super Bowl victories would surface. Or perhaps, we would hear
about how the reigning champs Baltimore Ravens made a triumphant run
this season. For non-football fans, Superbowl XLVII may be most
Beyonce's iconic performance during the halftime show. But for
poker enthusiasts especially those who witnessed
Ungar's greatness in the 80s, "Super Bowl" meant the Superbowl of
the World Series of Poker enjoyed its iconic status today, one of its
competitors was the SBOP. You see, the SBOP was a brainchild of former
1972 WSOP Main Event Champion,
Amarillo Slim. Before the competition made its debut in a
competitive industry, poker fans only tuned to the WSOP events. For
the former champ, he saw this setting as an opportunity. "The World
Series of Poker was so successful that everybody wanted more than one
tournament," Slim said in a report by Poker News. See, he wanted to
take poker all over the world, be it in Germany, Hong Kong, or with
neighboring states. And so, a different Super Bowl was born. SBOP may
not be as large as today's
PartyPoker-sponsored World Poker Tour, but it was one poker
tournament that card gaming experts and amateurs alike turned to,
especially in a booming entertainment industry.
Much like football's Super Bowl, the event housed competent players
and some are even included in today's Poker Hall of Fame. The 1986
Deuce-to-Seven Lowball event in particular, was among the most talked
events in SBOP history. See, the final three competitors of the event
are now Hall of Famers. There was Doyle Brunson, Billy Baxter, and
Johnny Chan. In a way, they paralleled the likes of football greats
Jerry Rice, Jim Brown, or Joe Montana. Unfortunately, while the Super
Bowl in football flourished, the event's namesake in poker was the
The lack of stability and a fixed venue prompted SBOP's operators
to discontinue the once glorious event. Luckily, after the fall of
SBOP, multiple poker tournaments arose. There's the West's staple
European Poker Tour which made rounds in poker hubs like Germany and
France. One can say that even with SBOP's fall, it was a blessing in
itself since it paved way to a new generation of poker players.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL ... NFL-STYLE
What if college football made sense. If it's, say, organized like the National Football League?
With the sport's powers-that-be rapidly moving toward another segregation of the haves and have-nots - just like when Division I football was split into I-A and I-AA in 1978 - the days of the super conferences hoarding just about every last dollar to themselves will be upon us soon enough.
They have the power and the clout to ditch the NCAA if they want to. So what if they did and formed a super division of top echelon college football teams? We can have a balanced schedule, a sensible playoff, and above all, a legitimate champion every season. There will be less griping and more football. Who'd be against that?
It's probably not going to happen, but since we do traffic highly in hypotheticals, let's say it did ...
The divisions, with an eye on preserving and restoring college football's cherished rivalries, would look like this:
- Northeast Division: Boston College, Connecticut, Syracuse, Rutgers, Maryland, Pittsburgh, Penn State, Ohio State, Cincinnati.
- Great Lakes Division: Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Indiana, Purdue, Northwestern, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota.
- Northwest Division: Washington, Washington State, Oregon, Oregon State, Boise State, Colorado, Nebraska, Iowa, Iowa State.
- Pacific Division: California, Stanford, USC, UCLA, San Diego State, Arizona, Arizona State, Utah, BYU.
- Southwest Division: Texas, Texas A&M, Houston, TCU, SMU, Baylor, Texas Tech, Arkansas, LSU.
- Central Division: Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, Kentucky, Louisville, Tennessee, Vanderbilt.
- Deep South Division: Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Florida, Florida State, Miami (Fla.).
- Atlantic Division: West Virginia, Virginia, Virginia Tech, North Carolina, N.C. State, Duke, Wake Forest, South Carolina, Clemson.
BCS RESOURCE CENTER
The Guru is delighted to unveil
the new BCS Resource Center,
which features all sorts of useful information on the BCS, from
statistical database to keeping track of BCS's rules and
BCS standings, from its inception in
1998 through the present, are now hosted on the Guru's site. The
information was previously hosted on FoxSports.com, but since it
severed relations with the BCS after last season, all the data were
taken down and not easily accessible. The Guru was able to locate
weekly standings from 2000-2005 from the National Football
Foundation, which manages the BCS standings starting in the 2000
season, but the weekly standings from the BCS's first two seasons
Requests to the BCS and the Southeastern Conference, which ran the
standings for those first two seasons, went unanswered. No one
seemed particularly bothered that such information should be
permanently unavailable. The Guru finally obtained the weekly
standings through the Los Angeles Times (with some old
fashioned research by going through microfilms of those two years at
the library) and they have now been reconstructed and posted.
The Resource Center hopefully will serve as the one-stop shop for
all your BCS needs, for both number crunching and historical
perspectives. I will finish the annual BCS recaps this offseason -
the series now goes through 2006. And I
welcome your comments and suggestions on improving the Resource
Center, and/or my site in general.