Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

19 Nov 2007

Confessions of a Football Junkie: Safe on the Sidelines

by Russell Levine

A year ago, the Big Ten's practice of refusing to play after Thanksgiving contributed to Michigan getting passed over for a spot in the Bowl Championship Series title game.

The Wolverines had just lost a nail-biter at Ohio State in the first-ever battle between the traditional rivals as the top two teams in the nation. Michigan held on to the critical second spot in the BCS standings after the loss. Yet the rest of the major conferences had two more weeks of play, during which first USC, and then Florida, passed Michigan. That the Gators (by destroying Ohio State in the title game) and Trojans (by doing the same to Michigan in the Rose Bowl) ultimately validated the BCS did little to dampen the frustration in Ann Arbor.

Fast-forward a year, and what some view as backwards thinking by the Big Ten could end up helping the Buckeyes back to the title game.

The way this season has gone, the only guaranteed safe games ones that aren't played. Ohio State, which appeared to squander any realistic chance at the title game by losing to Illinois just two weeks ago, can sit back and hope the carnage continues.

Following that Illinois loss, the Buckeyes seemed resigned to playing for nothing more than a Rose Bowl bid against Michigan on Saturday. But the scenario began to change before even the Wolverines kicked off. Thursday night, No. 2 Oregon saw its dreams crumble along with quarterback Dennis Dixon's knee in a loss at Arizona. Just hours after Ohio State's 14-3 domination of the Wolverines Saturday, the same fate befell No. 4 Oklahoma: an injury to a star quarterback and a loss to an unranked foe (Texas Tech).

Those results leave the Buckeyes, having completed the regular season at 11-1, ranked fifth in the BCS this week. While that may seem a long way from No. 2 with just two weeks to play, top-five teams have lost to unranked opponents 11 times already this season, so one might argue that the Buckeyes, sitting on their couches, have the easiest path to the title game.

At least one of the teams ahead of Ohio State is guaranteed to lose, as No. 2 Kansas and No. 3 Missouri meet Saturday, and the winner faces either Oklahoma or Texas in the Big 12 championship. If Kansas and Missouri each pick up another loss, Ohio State will be neck-and-neck with West Virginia for the second spot in the national-title game.

At least one BCS observer feels that scenario favors Ohio State.

"I believe Ohio State is in a better position than West Virginia to claim No. 2 in the BCS," says Sam Chi, who tracks the standings at his Web site, BCSGuru.com. "The main reason is that Ohio State will be ahead on at least five, maybe all six, computer ratings. Unless West Virginia is the clear No. 2 over Ohio State, then the Buckeyes can make up the difference in the polls."

Even top-ranked LSU, which many felt was the best team in the nation even after it lost to Kentucky in overtime in October, is vulnerable. Saturday, the Tigers' second-ranked defense was shredded by Ole Miss, which ranks 90th in total offense even after putting up 466 yards on LSU. The Tigers' comfortable winning margin might have been different had the Rebels not twice turned the ball over in goal-to-go situations.

Then there is media storm that is about envelop LSU head coach Les Miles now that Michigan coach Lloyd Carr has officially announced his retirement. Miles is a logical top candidate to replace Carr. He both played and coached at Michigan and has a specific buyout clause in his contract should he ever leave LSU to become the coach of the Wolverines.

Whether or not Michigan pursues Miles, the media will ask him at every opportunity about the job opening in Ann Arbor. He faces the prospect of trying to win a national championship at LSU -- a feat that will be accomplished with three more wins -- while fending off questions about his interest in returning to his alma mater. Since no official information is likely to be forthcoming from the notoriously tight-lipped Michigan program, Miles will have to navigate these tricky media waters alone.

Miles might be the first coach to be put in this awkward position while pursuing a national championship, but unfortunate timing is as frequent side effect of college football's "silly season."

Schools desperate to protect incoming recruiting classes are under immense pressure to act quickly in coaching searches. A few years ago, news of Louisville coach John L. Smith's imminent departure for Michigan State broke at halftime of Louisville's bowl game. Last year, Central Michigan coach Brian Kelly departed for Cincinnati -- and actually coached the Bearcats in their bowl game after former Cincinnati coach Mark Dantonio departed to replace Smith in East Lansing. Elsewhere, Mike Price (at Washington State) and Urban Meyer (at Utah) coached their teams in bowl games after accepting other jobs elsewhere.

Given the LSU fan base's feelings for Nick Saban, who actually did win a national tile for the school before bolting for the NFL, one can only imagine the reaction if an LSU stumble down the stretch is blamed on the distractions coming from Ann Arbor. Miles might well wish the SEC season, too, had ended before Thanksgiving.

New Era at Michigan

Carr's retirement after 13 years as head coach -- and 28 overall -- at the University of Michigan marks the end of an era at college football's all-time winningest program.

Since 1969, Michigan has been coached by Bo Schembechler or one of his former assistants. Even if athletic director Bill Martin opts for someone with school ties like Miles, the presumed front-runner, the winds of change are blowing in Ann Arbor.

Despite playing on TV more than any other school not named "Notre Dame" and filling the largest stadium in America, Michigan has trailed some of its college football contemporaries in the race to turn the sport into an ever-bigger business.

The massive stadium contains no advertising. While the school was among the first to sign an apparel deal with Nike, it also had the sports clothing giant de-emphasize the omnipresent "swoosh" in a subsequent uniform design. Carr is well compensated, but much less so than some of his peers with far-thinner resumes.

Those who would assume Carr was asked to retire or nudged aside in the wake of his sixth loss in seven tries against Ohio State don't understand the dynamics of the Michigan program. Had Carr insisted on returning next season, he would have. Martin has made it quite clear that only Carr would determine his fate. Furthermore, Carr's decision has been in the works for some time -- he altered his contract last offseason in a way that strongly suggested this would be his last year on the sidelines.

Among major programs, Michigan has always been tortoise rather than the hare, and in doing so has avoided the boom-and-bust cycle that has beset nearly all the others. Michigan has not had a losing season since 1967 and has played in a bowl every year since 1975 -- also the last year the Wolverines had a home crowd of fewer than 100,000.

Carr is a big part of that success; he won or shared five Big Ten titles and took Michigan to four Rose Bowls and an Orange Bowl. He retires with a .722 winning percentage, seventh among active coaches, and the school's only national title in the last six decades. More importantly to Martin, Carr's teams have never been touched by scandal -- which carries considerable weight at a school whose high profile basketball program was laid low by "Fab Five" era misconduct.

Still, Martin is a businessman. Under his stewardship, Michigan's athletic department has embarked on aggressive revenue-growth initiatives. He is about to oversee an estimated $250 million renovation of the stadium that will accent the classic bowl with premium seating. He knows he cannot afford to see the program sink like traditional powers Nebraska and Notre Dame have. As a result, every top coach in America will be on Martin's list.

Jobs the caliber of Michigan don't often come open. In the insular world of big-time college football, Carr's retirement is likely to set dominoes tumbling, perhaps all the way to Louisiana -- where Miles will be under a media siege until he is either hired by Michigan or officially no longer a candidate.

John L. Smith Trophy

This was another easy call. Ed Orgeron of Ole Miss picks up his second JLS of the year for some bizarre personnel decisions in the Rebels' closer-than-the-final-score loss to LSU.

Late in the first half and trailing by a touchdown, Orgeron watched as Brent Schaeffer, finally playing up to the hype that made him a top recruit five years ago at Tennessee, drove the Rebels inside the red zone. At that point, Orgeron inexplicably replaced Schaeffer, a scrambler with an erratic arm, with Seth Adams, an inaccurate drop-back passer who had started the game.

Adams promptly threw an interception to kill the drive and any momentum Ole Miss had at the half.

This is Coach O's second JLS of the year. He may be a master recruiter, and it's clear Ole Miss has upgraded its talent under his watch, but he leaves much to be desired as a gameday coach.

BlogPoll Ballot

This season, I'm again be voting in the BlogPoll, hosted by mgoblog. I'll post my ballot in Junkie each week. Feel free to comment, and I may adjust may rankings based on your suggestions.

Rank Team Delta
1 LSU 1
2 Kansas 2
3 Missouri 2
4 West Virginia 2
5 Arizona State 2
6 Georgia 2
7 Southern Cal 2
8 Ohio State 2
9 Virginia Tech 2
10 Florida 3
11 Oregon 10
12 Oklahoma 9
13 Tennessee 1
14 Illinois 2
15 Wisconsin 2
16 Boston College 5
17 Clemson 5
18 Cincinnati 3
19 Texas --
20 Virginia --
21 Boise State 2
22 Hawaii --
23 Connecticut 2
24 South Florida 2
25 Brigham Young 1

Dropped Out: Michigan (No. 18), Kentucky (No. 24).

Rankings that may require further explanation: I'm still confounded by LSU. The body of work makes them a fairly obvious No. 1, but I've watched the Tigers play probably five games this year and very little they do -- outside of bold/crazy coaching decisions -- has made me go "wow." Take this week's game. You never felt the game was in doubt, because LSU seemed to be able to deliver a play whenever it needed one, yet Ole Miss went up and down the field on offense and if not for a few bad decisions could have made it a much more interesting game. LSU is obviously tested more than the Big 12 teams and West Virginia, but they still seem be lacking something. That said, they'll probably win the SEC championship game by three touchdowns (if they beat Arkansas this week).

If the Kansas-Missouri winner goes on to win the Big 12, it will be a deserving No. 2. If not, look out. West Virginia/Arizona State/Ohio State is a toss-up. Georgia might be better than all three, but has no shot at the title. Some would say that's why we need a playoff; I would argue that's why you shouldn't get destroyed at Tennessee and lose at home to South Carolina.

The rest is, meh, confused. The teams from about spots six through 20 are largely interchangeable.

Got a gripe? Post it in the comments, please.

Games I watched at least part of: Oregon-Arizona, Hawaii-Nevada, Ohio State-Michigan, LSU-Ole Miss, Boston College-Clemson, West Virginia-Cincinnati, Oklahoma-Texas Tech.

Portions of this article appeared in Monday's New York Sun.

Posted by: Russell Levine on 19 Nov 2007

31 comments, Last at 21 Nov 2007, 3:58pm by Nall

Comments

1
by Joe (not verified) :: Mon, 11/19/2007 - 8:16pm

The main reason is that Ohio State will be ahead on at least five, maybe all six, computer ratings. Unless West Virginia is the clear No. 2 over Ohio State, then the Buckeyes can make up the difference in the polls.

As long as WV wins out, they will stay ahead of OSU in the polls, and the margin will only grow. The situation with Michigan last year showed that teams that play and win will move ahead of teams that are idle in the polls. Of course if a few teams lose, OSU can move back up to #2.

2
by oljb (not verified) :: Mon, 11/19/2007 - 8:37pm

I agree with Joe. The computers (if I read the BCS ranking chart correctly) already have West Virginia ranked equally with Ohio State. Beating a ranked, 8-2 UConn team is obviously not going to hurt the computer rating. The voters already favor West Virginia over Ohio State. If OSU is going to move ahead it will require West Virginia to be upset.

I also don't even see how one can make a subjective argument that OSU is a superior championship candidate to West Virginia, having lost late in the year, at home to 3-loss Illinois, when WVU lost early in the year on the road, to 3-loss USF.

3
by Devin McCullen (not verified) :: Mon, 11/19/2007 - 8:39pm

Bowl Bubble Update:

Technically, there's only 64 bowl-eligible teams right now, but the winners of Colorado/Nebraska and N.C. State/Maryland are guaranteed spots.

At this moment, the teams I would have on the outside are the 4th MAC team - I'll guess Miami(OH) - and Northwestern. But all of this is subject to change, although Northwestern (and Iowa) are most likely out of it.

4
by oljb (not verified) :: Mon, 11/19/2007 - 8:40pm

The link in my name has the BCS standings. WVU, OSU and ASU are identical in the computer averages, and are 3, 5 & 6 overall respectively.

5
by navin (not verified) :: Mon, 11/19/2007 - 8:42pm

The bye week really wasn't the reason that Florida passed Michigan last year.

Voters usually don't reevaluate their whole ballot every week. However the fact that that last ballot that determined the BCS title game caused many voters to finally reevaluate their ballots. And what they decided was that Michigan had their shot at Ohio State and lost while Florida had the best resume of all the one loss teams. After watching the championship game I would have to agree.

(I'll give Michigan a pass in the Rose Bowl because you could argue their heart wasn't in that game after being "snubbed.")

6
by Richard (not verified) :: Mon, 11/19/2007 - 8:44pm

#1

I don't know that you can make a general statement like "The situation with Michigan last year showed that teams that play and win will move ahead of teams that are idle in the polls" and have it be any more accurate than a.) the situation with Florida last year shows voters are capable of, at the end of the season, evaluating the entirety of a team's resume, or b.) Gary Danielson is powerful. I don't know how much I believe any of these three statements.

Making a generalization based on one year fails to recognize that each season is unique. The season, where teams are fighting to stay at one loss, is much different than last, where two undefeated teams dominated the landscape for most of the season.

7
by DolFan 316 (not verified) :: Mon, 11/19/2007 - 9:41pm

Gary Danielson is the puppet master pulling the strings of the BCS :-)

It warms my heart to see "Coach O" gets the JLS. This guy is nothing more than an overrated bully who runs off seemingly half his recruits and can't decide which position the other half will play from week to week. Plus Ole Miss is just a school full of snobs who think they're much better than they really are in every way. Serves 'em right for firing David Cutcliffe for having the unmitigated gall to have a bad season the eyar after Eli left (he was SEC Coach Of the Year the season before). "Coach O" comes in, starts yammering on about how he'll "build a fence around Memphis" in recruiting, rips off his shirt in front of some women at one of those booster club meetings, and everybody thinks he's a savior. HA!!!

Memphis is just about the ONLY team he can beat these days, and Ole Miss gets luckier to win each year (they won by 4, then 3 then 2 this season) so even that won't last.

Rant over.

8
by DolFan 316 (not verified) :: Mon, 11/19/2007 - 9:45pm

BTW if I'm a voter and I see TOSU and WVA with equal records at the end of the season, I'm voting Mountaneers. That's provided Mizzou/KU don't both lose of course.

If LSU and Mizzou/KU all lose (pretty likely the way this season's gone) then it has to be the Buckeyes and Mountaneers playing for the title, right?

9
by DolFan 316 (not verified) :: Mon, 11/19/2007 - 10:29pm

Oh BTW it's now revealed that no less than 20 Ole Miss players like to steal from hotels. Link in my name.

10
by Disco Stu (not verified) :: Mon, 11/19/2007 - 10:39pm

All things being equal, I think WVU has a better shot at the title game than either Kansas or Missouri... if I were to lay odds right now at being in the BCS Champ Game, it would look something like this:

LSU 3-2
WVU 3-1
Missouri 5-1
Kansas 6-1
Ohio St 8-1
ASU 10-1
The Field 25-1

11
by Kevin 11 (not verified) :: Mon, 11/19/2007 - 11:21pm

My Meaningless Top 25:

1. LSU
2. Ohio State
3. Kansas
4. West Virginia
5. Arizona State
6. Missouri
7. Georgia
8. Oregon
9. Boston College
10. Southern Cal
11. Virginia Tech
12. Oklahoma
13. Florida
14. Texas
15. Virginia
16. Illinois
17. Tennessee
18. Cincinnati
19. Wisconsin
20. South Florida
21. UConn
22. Clemson
23. Hawaii
24. Penn State
25. BYU

Ohio State’s season is over, and if the season ended today I’d have them at #2, playing for the National Title.

At this point I wouldn’t object to Kansas playing for the National Title at #2 IF they win out, since there’s not a one loss team other than LSU that is strong enough to rank ahead of an undefeated. Ditto Arizona State- a win vs USC might vault them ahead of Ohio State.

Even if they win out, I’d likely put OSU ahead of West Virginia and Missouri.

Ohio State has had a better season than West Virginia, but the polls will rank WVU ahead only because they lost earlier. That stinks.

12
by Kevin 11 (not verified) :: Mon, 11/19/2007 - 11:49pm

Put the word "supposedly" in frontof each sentence.

Lloyd Carr doesn't like Les Miles. Michigan doesn't feel it needs to make a splashy hire, or pay Miles a Saban-like contract. Carolina Panthers assistant coach and former Michigan player and coach Mike Trgovac (that's the correct spelling) is Michigan's real target as HC.

13
by BadgerT1000 (not verified) :: Mon, 11/19/2007 - 11:52pm

Just for Russell and courtesy of the NY Times:

"After [LSU's Les] Miles, the list of potential successors to Carr includes Cincinnati’s coach, Brian Kelly; Stanford Coach Jim Harbaugh; Wisconsin Coach Bret Bielema; and the Michigan defensive coordinator, Ron English."

I don't know for sure, but I am GUESSING that the mention of Bielema's name has our dear collegiate correspondent gagging. For those not aware RL branded Bielema a "douchebag" for exploiting the kickoff rule last season in a game against Penn State.

It won't happen as Michigan has FAR more qualified candidates to consider. But I couldn't resist giving Russell just a mild case of heebie-jeebies if only for a moment.

14
by Eddo (not verified) :: Mon, 11/19/2007 - 11:52pm

11 (Kevin11):
I can't really argue either way who had the better season, OSU or WVU, but I think you're right that the earlier loss (combined with the memory of last year's National Championship game) would keep West Virginia ahead of Ohio State if WVU wins out.
However, I think if Missouri wins out, they've definitely had a better season that Ohio State. Missouri, at that point, would have beaten Kansas (who would likely stay in the top 10), Oklahoma (who would likely stay in the top 20), and Illinois (who could rise as high as the top 14 and who beat Ohio State).
In fact, I'd say a one-loss Missouri team is much more deserving than a one-loss West Virginia or Ohio State team, and on roughly the same level as a one-loss LSU team. Of course, this is all dependent on Mizzou winning out against two very good teams.

15
by Kevin 11 (not verified) :: Tue, 11/20/2007 - 12:11am

14- You know what? You've converted me. I agree with you.

I had it in my head that OU throttled Missouri, but they didn't. If Missouri beats KU and OU, they'll be 12 - 1, and since they had a split with OU it would be the equivalent of 10 - 0 - 1 (take both OU games and call them a tie).

16
by lionsbob (not verified) :: Tue, 11/20/2007 - 2:52am

I said West Virginia-Missouri 2 weeks ago and I am sticking to it.

17
by DolFan 316 (not verified) :: Tue, 11/20/2007 - 3:08am

#16: I fervently hope your prediction is true, because that would mean LSU's incredibly ridiculous luck has finally run out, Mizzou has won two big games, and the Buckeyes get left out. All in all, I'd be more than satisfied with that considering all thats gone on this season.

Of course Carr doesn't like Miles--he doesn't want Miles making him look bad by beating TOSU his first year by making 5 of 5 4th down tries and deciding to throw a pass into the endzone from the 20 on the last play when down by three.

18
by Brooklyn Buckeye (not verified) :: Tue, 11/20/2007 - 1:01pm

I think it's very clear that the voters aren't going to move tOSU ahead of WVU.

I still am not impressed with WVU's accomplishments...edging Cincy? Loss to USF? Those Big East teams just aren't as good as everybody thought they were in the beginning of the season. Not that tbe Big Ten is much better...

Interestingly enough, I think WVU would beat tOSU head-to-head, given the Buckeyes' consistent inability to stop spread offenses with rushing Qbs. However, I think tOSU would stack up much better against LSU.

Of course, if we're going by who stacks up best against LSU, maybe UF should be ushered into the title game...

19
by Podge (not verified) :: Tue, 11/20/2007 - 2:00pm

#9

A hotel room is the only place you go and immediately steal everything that isn't plugged in. In my book (called The Book of Hotel Theft Etiquette*) an occasional pillow, towels, bathrobe is fine, obviously all the shampoo and stuff is fair game, but you avoid anything that either has a plug or isn't easily holdable in one hand, which obviously stops you taking things like toasters, radios, kettles, TVs, mattresses etc.

Seems to me that only a couple of the Ole Miss players are breaking the rules, not the 20 they've fined. Clearly its just an overly draconian programme.

*Not a real book. Not a particularly serious comment either.

20
by Scott de B. (not verified) :: Tue, 11/20/2007 - 2:10pm

I'm glad the Big 12 doing well, but am not sanguine about the chances of either Kansas or Missouri facing two big games and not choking in either. The fact they face each other helps a bit, in that only one can choke in that game.

21
by Fleshy Blob (not verified) :: Tue, 11/20/2007 - 5:23pm

Lloyd Carr's record of integrity and keeping players out of the non-sports sections of news is certainly commendable. However, it puzzles me that so few people hold him accountable for his underuse/misuse of Tom Brady. There’s probably no way Brady lasts to round 6 of the draft had Carr not yielded to local booster pressure (by report) and started Drew Henson over Brady for much of Brady’s senior year. I’m sure the accolades for Carr will begin soon, but Patriots fans might also want to consider erecting a statue to Carr for prominent placement at the entrance to Foxboro Stadium.

22
by lionsbob (not verified) :: Tue, 11/20/2007 - 6:04pm

Fun, Saban in a little bit of trouble for some comments after the terrible loss to ULM. Get ready for false moralizing by sports "journalist" who use war imagery to describe football games every week.

23
by beargoggles (not verified) :: Tue, 11/20/2007 - 7:49pm

Re: 20

"The fact they face each other helps a bit, in that only one can choke in that game."

LOL. Basically, you're asking one team to not choke in 1 game. If Oklahoma has Bradford, they (Mizz or KU) can lose without choking. I see #2 Kansas losing this week, and the next #2, Missouri losing to OU. Just a guess.

And if Tennessee chokes, still a good possibility, then Georgia knocks off LSU and you have WVU-OSU after all. Just a mind-boggling season.

24
by vik (not verified) :: Tue, 11/20/2007 - 8:21pm

Long time lurker, first time poster.

#21, Carr's system in '99 was to start Brady, bring in Henson for the second quarter, and play it by ear for the 2nd half. Most games, Brady played the 2nd half. A notable exception was the MSU game, in which Henson threw a killing interception in the third quarter before getting pulled for Brady, who led a ferocious rally that came up just short.

But the larger point is, you must take the circumstances into account. It's hard to picture it now, but Henson was an absolute Golden Boy in the state of Michigan, so much so that he was allegedly able to extract a promise from Carr to not recruit a QB in his year or the year after, which is how U-M ended up with John Navarre as a three-year starter.

This next bit is total speculation on my part, but it's based on closely following Carr his entire HC career. He has always been dedicated to the concept that no one player is bigger than the program, but I think he overextended himself in this one instance because he felt the pressure to get and keep Henson. I also think Carr hated doing it. And I finally think that once Henson left U-M early to take seventeen million of the Yankees' dollars, Carr swore to himself that he'd never do it again. And he hasn't.

For frame of reference: Brady was and is my favorite player ever at U-M (Mike Hart has moved into second), I loved Carr as a coach and will dearly miss him, and I absolutely hated the Brady/Henson system at the time, though I've come to realize why Carr did it.

25
by Kevin 11 (not verified) :: Tue, 11/20/2007 - 10:46pm

Guys, c'mon. This isn't AM radio or "Around The Horn" where the guy who uses the term "choke" most often gets a gold star stuck to their forehead. The team that lost may not have "choked", and them that won may not have had "more confidence and swagger".

There's speculation that teams like Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan State could be selected ahead of the more traditional Big 10 teams thanks to their bowl-starved fans.

26
by beargoggles (not verified) :: Wed, 11/21/2007 - 1:26am

#25

Right; not sure what got into me.

27
by Yinka Double Dare (not verified) :: Wed, 11/21/2007 - 1:26am

25: I think it's a given that if Illinois doesn't somehow end up in a BCS game, they will be playing Florida in the Capital One Bowl if it's at all possible to set it up. That's a matchup that should draw viewers, and I'm sure Illinois fans will travel since it's their first bowl in six years.

28
by lionsbob (not verified) :: Wed, 11/21/2007 - 1:49am

No way does a 3 loss Illinois team go to a BCS bowl. It is whoever wins the Hawaii-Boise game, Georgia if they beat Georgia Tech, and depending on how the Big 12 championship shakes out as well, or even a team like Arizona State before Illinois.

29
by Nall (not verified) :: Wed, 11/21/2007 - 2:40pm

#28:

Actually, I would say that there is a very good chance that a 3 loss Illinois team gets into a BCS game. I would currently put the probability of a BCS game for Illinois around 75% and a Rose Bowl appearance at about 20%. A one loss Boise State team getting to a BCS game would be a joke. Do not confuse this year's Boise State with last year's team - they lost the only game that they played this year against a team in a major conference (Washington).

30
by lionsbob (not verified) :: Wed, 11/21/2007 - 3:40pm

It might be a joke, but Boise State is 19th in the BCS and beating Hawaii will allow them to jump into the top 16 (plus teams ahead of them like Tennessee or Virginia might lose as well).

I see LSU (unless they lose last 2 games), West Virginia, 2 Big 12 teams (winner of Big 12 championship and loser of Missouri/Kansas game), winner of Hawaii/Boise State game, Georgia, Ohio State, Pac-10 champion and Arizona State,and ACC champion,

31
by Nall (not verified) :: Wed, 11/21/2007 - 3:58pm

Although I agree that it is possible that a one loss Boise State team makes it to a BCS game, at this point, it appears very unlikely. Even with a Hawaii victory, their computer rankings are still killing them (Boise State is not close to receiving top 25 points in some of the computer polls). They may need to jump into the top 10 in the human polls to jump a team like Illinois, which I think would be highly unlikely.

That being said, there are some teams in the top 14 that are likely to drop, moving teams like Illinois and Boise State up in the rankings (assuming that they beat Hawaii). I agree with the teams that you identified above for BCS bowl selections, I just think that it is much more likely for Illinois to be selected than a one-loss Boise State team. Assuming that Illinois is 13th and Boise State is 14th (or vice versa), Illinois would be the most likely choice by a BCS bowl.

But again, that's assuming that everything goes as planned, which as far as this season is concerned, is a poor assumption.