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Wayyyy Too Early 2013 Top 25

So we're minutes past Alabama winning their 3rd title in four years, and the Irish as we all expected didn't belong on the same field as an elite team at full strength.  Chip Kelly is coming back, so are Aaron Murray, AJ McCarron and of course Johnny Football and Marcus Mariota.  Yes, it's January 7th, but here is my top 25 based on likelyhood of winning a Title, NOT based on where the teams should be ranked.  Remember boys and girls, just one more year of the BCS before the playoff kicks in.  The final edition of the BCS title game will be played Monday January 6th, 2014 in Pasadena.  

The Elite:

1 - ALABAMA: (2012 - 13-1, Won BCS Title over Notre Dame) - Coming off a National Title, they don't lose much. McCarron, Yeldon and likely Lacy among those returning on offense, they bring back a lot on D, and even if they didn't, they reload quickly.  They avoid on Georgia and South Carolina, but do have to visit Texas A&M in their second game of the season.  They get LSU at home, and with a non conference schedule of Virginia Tech (at the Georgia Dome), Colorado State, Georgia State and Chattanooga (all at home) there's no reason to think this is a 1 loss team at worst, which in the SEC as we all know means a shot at the title.

2 - OHIO STATE: (2012 - 12-0, not bowl eligible) - TOSU would have played for the National Title this year if they were bowl eligible.  Braxton Miller returns, so does RB Carlos Hyde, and their top 5 leading tacklers are back as well.  The best defensive player you've never heard of, LB Ryan Shazier still has 2 years of eligibility left. On the sked, Buffalo, FAMU and SDSU are all at home, and I don't anticipate Cal on the road will be any trouble.  They do have Penn State at home, but Michigan on the road, and then somebody who probably isn't a top level team in the conference championship.  Their toughest game might be the spring game.

3 - OREGON: (2012 - 12-1 Won Fiesta Bowl over Kansas State) - Chip is back, that's good news.  So are Marcus Mariota, DAT, and 7 other players on offense, and 7 on Defense.  Filling the linebacker spot will be tough with Clay and Alonso leaving, but they have plenty of talent to make up for it. The conference schedule hasn't been released yet, but non conference Nicholls State, at Nevada and Tennessee at home should be an easy 3-0 to start.  They will have to go to Stanford and Washington, but Oregon State will be at home, and UCLA not USC will be on the sked.  As we've seen, anything can happen, but there isn't a team on the Ducks schedule that they don't have more talent than. 

Just a Peg Below:

4 - GEORGIA: (2012 - 12-2 Won Capital One Bowl over Nebraska) - Is Georgia the 4th best team in the country? Probably not, but they do bring back an elite QB in Aaron Murray, and a lot of young skill position players, and most of the defense.  No Bama on the schedule but South Carolina and LSU are both at home, I'm more concerned about Clemson on the road in week 2.  They aren't as good defensively as Florida but miles ahead on offense.  North Texas, Appalachian State and Georgia Tech go along with Clemson for the NC schedule, and will likely have to play Bama or LSU if they get to a third straight conference championship game.  A lot of people aren't sold on Mark Richt as a head coach, but he's proven himself the last couple of years, and with what I believe is the most potent offense in the SEC I think they have as good a chance as anyone not in Crimson.

5 - STANFORD: (2012 - 12-2, Won Rose Bowl over Wisconsin) - This was a completely different team when Kevin Hogan took over as QB.  The defense loses some big time players, but they reload.  Barry Sanders Jr. will be RSFR, I don't know what to expect from him, but his last name carries a lot of weight.  Non conference has Notre Dame as always, but it's at home and without Manti Te'o, they also have  Army on the road, and SJSU at home.  They host Oregon, visit Oregon State, and ASU and Utah will be added to the sked.  The Cardinal were just a couple of plays away from playing for the title, they should be in a similar position in 2013. 

6 - LSU: (2012 - 10-3, Lost Chick Fil A Bowl to Clemson) - Defensively, they will be LSU. They were a step down in 2012, and it might have started with Tyrann Mathieu's dismissal, but expect them to be back to form next year.  They do lose a TON on defense including 3 of their front four, but they have a lot of youth, and always recruit well. I've never really been high on LSU or on Les Miles as a coach, but you can't argue results, and there aren't 6 teams in the country that continue to be in a position to play for the title every year. They open 2013 in Jerry World against TCU, with UAB, Furman, and Kent State rounding out a very winnable nc sked.  UGA and Bama are road games, Florida and A&M are at home, so once again we could be looking at a 1 loss LSU team getting another crack at a championship.

Need Some Breaks:

7 - NOTRE DAME: (2012 - 12-1, Lost BCS Title game to Alabama) - Ok, you're thinking how is Notre Dame still in the top 7 after getting smoked in the title game.  They didn't bother to show up.  They play the usual suspects, Michigan, MSU, USC, Stanford, Navy, Air Force, Purdue, Pitt ,BYU as well as a return trip from OKlahoma, Temple at home, and Arizona State in Dallas.  It's extremely difficutl to get all the breaks to go your way again, but the schedule shapes up nicely for a return to a BCS game, maybe not the Championship game.

8 - FLORIDA : (2012 - 11-2, Lost Sugar Bowl to Louisville) - The Gators have an elite defense, and really only lose 2 players, Safety Matt Elam, and D Lineman Shariff Floyd, so expect another dominant season in 2013. Jeff Driskell will be back, which might be a good thing, certainly didn't look that way at times this year, but Matt Jones should fill in just fine for Mike Gillislee. NC sked, Toledo, Miami (FL), and GA Southern should be wins, and the Gators will be better than Florida State. No Bama on the sked, but they do have GA, SC and LSU.  

9 - OKLAHOMA: (2012 - 10-3, Lost Cotton Bowl to Texas A&M) - It's all about the Belldozer in 2013.  Well, kind of.  Blake Bell is going ot have to prove he's more of a quarterback than a fullback.  Kenny Stills is leaving early for the draft, but Trey Metoyer is expected to be the next in the line of quality Oklahoma wideouts.  ULM, Tulsa and Notre Dame on the non conference sked, with a full Big XII schedule thanks to the conference only having 9 teams.  I know, I don't get it either.  The Big 12 will lose Kansas State as a power, and Texas isn't the old UT, so the Sooners look primed for a run.

10 - CLEMSON: (2012 - 11-2, Won Chick Fil A Bowl vs LSU) - WHAT? Yes.  Tahj Boyd returns, this is going to be a VERY good team next year.  For an ACC team that is.  I really don't give any ACC team a shot, but because the conference is so weak, that works in their advantage.  That's why I picked FSU in the title game this past year.  I was wrong.  Shoot me.  Georgia and South Carolina on the nc sked is very tough, but outside of FSU, there is nobody else in the conference worth a damn.  

Could Make a Run:
11 -  Texas A&M
12 - Louisville 
13 - South Carolina
14 - Oklahoma State
15 - Oregon State

So You're Sayin' There's a chance....
16 - TCU
17 - UCLA
18 - Boise State
19 - Florida State
20 - Nebraska

Good Effort, Good Job
21 - Michigan
22 - Wisconsin
23 - USC
24 - Texas
25 - Arizona State
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Path to Miami Volume 6

In most years, we would all be thrilled with the chaos of the BCS because it would make the argument for a future playoff that much more convincing.  Now that a four team playoff has already been scheduled for 2014, the only benefit to all of the chaos is for people like me to have something to talk about.  It looks like a simple reality at the moment.  Notre Dame and the SEC champ have the inside track to the national championship game, while a total of 6 teams are still alive.  Below I have given a breakdown of what each team with a chance needs to do to reach the big game, along with each conference’s championship picture, and what I believe the BCS Bowl selections will look like.  Next Sunday night will be my 7th and final installment of this blog series, as the final BCS Standings and BCS Bowls will be revealed Sunday December 2nd
 
1 - NOTRE DAME - BCS Avg: .9973 (11-0) Remaining Schedule: @USC

For the first time since the BCS was implemented in 1998, Notre Dame holds the top spot.  It’s simple for the Irish, beat USC on the road Saturday, and you play for your first National Championship since 1988. With Matt Barkley officially ruled out for Saturday’s game, the Irish will most definitely be the favorite, and will be expected to win.
 
2 - ALABAMA -BCS AVG: .9333 (10-1) Sked: Auburn, SEC Title Game vs Georgia
 
The SEC is now almost guaranteed a spot in the title game for the 7th straight season, producing the champion in every season since 2006.  Alabama needs to beat an awful Auburn team at home on Saturday, then beat Georgia in the SEC Championship game, and they will be in Miami regardless of what happens with anyone else.
 
3 - GEORGIA - BCS Avg: .8763 (10-1) - Sked: Georgia Tech, SEC Title Game @ Atlanta (vs Bama LSU, or A&M)
 
Now that the Bulldogs are #3, they control their own destiny.  They shouldn’t have any trouble with Georgia Tech, and have already locked up a spot in the conference championship.  If they win, they play for the national championship for the first time in the BCS era.  Their last title game in 1980 with Hershel Walker in the backfield, and have not been in the top 2 of the BCS standings at any point.
 
4 - FLORIDA - BCS Avg: .8434 (10-1) Sked:, @ Florida State
 
Florida has a much more difficult road.  The fact that they are even in contention considering they were a minute and a half away from going to overtime with Louisiana Lafayette, and avoided that thanks to a blocked punt, and struggled offensively vs FCS Jacksonville State this week.  They need to win at Florida State Saturday, hope for a Notre Dame loss to USC, and hope Oregon doesn’t win the Pac-12 title.  If the Ducks do win, they will have beaten a top 15 Oregon State this week, and a top 15 UCLA next week, and because the BCS average is so close between Florida and Oregon, the Ducks will jump the Gators.  If all that does happen in the Gators favor, it will be an all-sec final for the second straight year.
 
5 - OREGON - BCS Avg: .8318 (10-1) Sked: @ Oregon State, Pac 12 Title Game vs UCLA (possibly)
 
The Ducks title hopes aren’t dead yet.  They didn’t take care of business vs Stanford Saturday, I’ll leave the commentary on that for our radio show.  First, they have to beat Oregon State this weekend.  They also need USC to beat Notre Dame.  If UCLA beats Stanford this week, the Ducks will host the Bruins in the conference championship with a win over the Beavers.  If they win that, and everything else happens their way, they will jump Florida, and play for the National Title, knowing either Georgia or Alabama will lose in the SEC title game.  If Stanford beats UCLA, the Ducks don’t play for the conference crown, but still have a shot.  They need Florida State to beat Florida, meaning 4 of the teams ahead of the Ducks will have lost, and they will be #2 and play the SEC winner.  Kansas State will not jump the Ducks with a win over Texas, and anyone below 7 (LSU, Stanford, Texas A&M and Florida State) will not move ahead of the Ducks either.  Long story short, if Oregon wins the Civil War, and USC beats Notre Dame, Oregon has a very good chance at still going to Miami.
 
6 - KANSAS STATE - BCS Avg: .7692 (10-1) Sked: Texas


Kansas State has the worst chance of any of the 6 at reaching the BCS Title Game.  They need Notre Dame to lose to USC, Florida to lose to FSU, and Oregon to either lose to Oregon State, or the Ducks to reach the Pac-12 title game and lose to UCLA.  Oh yeah, they need to beat Texas too.

Who Wins the BCS Conferences?

Pac-12
NORTH: If Stanford beats UCLA, they are in.  If Stanford loses, and Oregon beats Oregon State, the Ducks go.
SOUTH: UCLA wins the South.
Conference Champion: Stanford

SEC: 
WEST: Alabama clinches with a win vs Auburn.  Texas A&M and LSU are still alive, LSU plays Arkansas, and A&M plays Missouri.  If there is a 3 way tie, the team with the highest BCS ranking wins the division, that is likely LSU. LEAST: Georgia has clinched the east.
Conference Champion: Alabama

Big Ten:
Legends: Nebraska wins with a win at Iowa, or a Michigan loss at Ohio State.  Michigan is in with a win AND a Nebraska loss.
Leaders: Wisconsin has clinched the Leaders Division. 
Conference Champion: Nebraska

Big XII
There is no conference championship game.  K State wins with a win vs Texas. Oklahoma is the only other team with 1 conference loss, they play Oklahoma State.  The Cowboys and Longhorns also still have a shot.  If Texas and OK State win this weekend, there will be a 4 way tie and the highest ranked team wins.
Conference Champion: Kansas State 

ACC
Atlantic: Florida State has clinched the Atlantic.
Coastal: Miami wins with a win over Duke.  Should Miami lose, Georgia Tech wins the Coastal. 
Conference Champion: Florida State

BIG EAST:
Rutgers and Louisville both control their destiny, if they win out, either wins the conference. They face each other a week from Thursday at Rutgers.  They both have 2 games left, both winnable, Louisville hosts UConn, Rutgers is at Pitt.  There is a slight possibility of a 4 way tie with Syracuse and Cincinnati in the mix as well, but it’s a long shot.   
Conference Champion: Louisville

BCS BOWL SELECTION PROCESS:
 
1 – BCS #1 plays BCS #2 in the championship game.
2 – Automatic conference champion affiliations: Pac-12 – Rose, Big Ten – Rose, Big XII – Fiesta, ACC – Orange.
3 – The bowl that loses their automatic qualifier to the #1 ranking gets first pick. The bowl that loses their automatic qualifier to the #2 pick has the next selection.  On a rotating basis this years order of selecting at-large teams is Fiesta, then Sugar, then Orange.  If there is one spot left, and the Big East champion has not been selected, the Orange Bowl must select the Big East Champion.
4 – In order for a team to be eligible for an at-large selection they must finish in the top 14 of the final BCS Standings if from an automatic qualifying conference.  Since only 2 schools per conference are eligible, if there are no schools eligible in the top 14, the selecting bowl can go to the #15 ranked team, and so on.  For a school from a non automatic qualifying conference to be selected, they get an automatic bid if ranked in the top 6, or can be eligible for selection by being in the top 16, and ranked higher than an automatic qualifying conferences champion.


BCS BOWL PROJECTIONS:
 
Based on the above criteria, I have projected who will play in the BCS Bowls based on select scenarios.   There are more scenarios than what I have listed.  I’m assuming Florida State wins the ACC, Nebraska wins the Big Ten, and Louisville wins the Big East.  If they don’t, the actual conference champion will replace them, it will not change who goes where in these scenarios.
 
IF Notre Dame beats USC, Stanford wins the Pac-12, and Florida loses to Florida State. (If Florida wins, they replace LSU in the Sugar Bowl)

BCS TITLE GAME:(1) Notre Dame vs (2) Alabama
ROSE BOWL: Nebraska vs Stanford
FIESTA BOWL: Kansas State vs Oregon
ORANGE BOWL: Florida State vs Louisvile
SUGAR BOWL: LSU vs Oklahoma
 
IF Notre Dame beats USC, Oregon wins the Pac-12, and Florida loses to Florida State. (If Florida wins, they replace LSU in the Sugar Bowl)
 
BCS TITLE GAME:(1) Notre Dame vs (2) Alabama
ROSE BOWL: Nebraska vs Oregon
FIESTA BOWL: Kansas State vs Clemson
ORANGE BOWL: Florida State vs Louisvile
SUGAR BOWL: LSU vs Oklahoma
 
IF USC beats Notre Dame, Stanford wins the Pac-12, and Florida beats Florida State:
 
BCS TITLE GAME: (1) Alabama vs (2) Florida
ROSE BOWL: Nebraska vs Stanford
FIESTA BOWL: Kansas State vs Oregon
ORANGE BOWL: Florida State vs Louisvile
SUGAR BOWL: Notre Dame vs Oklahoma
 
If USC beats Notre Dame, Stanford wins the Pac-12 and Florida loses to Florida State 
 
BCS TITLE GAME: (1) Alabama vs (2) Oregon
ROSE BOWL: Nebraska vs Stanford
FIESTA BOWL: Kansas State vs Notre Dame
ORANGE BOWL: Florida State vs Louisvile
SUGAR BOWL: LSU vs Oklahoma
 
IF USC beats Notre Dame, Oregon wins the Pac-12, Florida loses to Florida State (If Florida wins, they replace LSU in the Sugar Bowl)
 
BCS TITLE GAME: (1) Alabama vs (2) Oregon
ROSE BOWL: Nebraska vs Notre Dame
FIESTA BOWL: Kansas State vs Clemson
ORANGE BOWL: Florida State vs Louisvile
SUGAR BOWL: LSU vs Oklahoma
 
There are dozens of other scenarios.  These scenarios are assuming UCLA does not finish in the top 14, and Clemson beats South Carolina.  We will have a more clear picture after this weekend.
 
For more, tune in to Travis & Wilcox weekdays Noon-3 pacific on ESPN Sports Radio 1080 The FAN, www.1080thefan.com and the 1080 The FAN app.
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Path to Miami Volume 5

With Alabama's loss to Texas A&M, things got much more simple, there are only 3 unbeaten bowl eligible teams left in FBS (Louisville lost Ohio State is not bowl eligible despite being 10-0 thanks to NCAA Sanctions).  It's still possible for K State, Oregon, and Notre Dame to lose a game with difficult opponents on each teams schedule.  If one of the 3 loses, it's easy to figure out.  If 2 of the 3 lose, it's a little more difficult.  If all 3 lose, I don't even want to think about what will happen.  I've been saying all year, just wait.... thing's always work themselves out, and this year is no different.  As every week, here is my take on each teams chance to reach the BCS Title game, along with conference and bowl predictions:

1 - KANSAS STATE - BCS Avg: .9674 (10-0) Sked: @ Baylor, Texas

At this point, Kansas State is almost guaranteed a spot in the BCS Title game should they win out.  The offense was contained Saturday by a decent TCU defense, and Collin Klein was visibly not himself.  The defense looked as strong as ever.  It really doesn't matter anymore if Oregon passes them, which is possible, as long as Notre Dame doesn't, they're fine.  Their lead in the BCS average over ND is so large, there is almost no chance of that happening unless the voters all of a sudden decide to make some drastic changes to their ballots. 

2 - OREGON - BCS Avg: .9497 (10-0) Sked: Stanford, @ Oregon State, Pac 12 Title Game

Duck fans can breathe a sigh of relief.  Like Kansas State, Oregon should be in Miami fairly easily if they win out.  Again, as long as you are in the top 2, that's all that counts, being #1 is not important.  There should be no worry about respect, Oregon has 90 of the 115 first place votes in the Harris Poll, and 44 of the 59 first place votes in the Coaches Poll, so the humans are clearly favoring Oregon.  The computer average is 4, and could be higher once it's all said and done.  There's very little chance that Notre Dame will pass them if both teams win out.  

3 - NOTRE DAME - BCS Avg: .9396 (10-0) Sked: Wake Forest, @USC

Really the only way for Notre Dame to reach the BCS Title game is if Oregon or Kansas State lose, and they don't.  Wake Forest should be easy this week, and USC the following week, not so much.  Even though they are #1 in the computers, there is just way too much of a gap in the human polls to even things out, and they don't have any opportunities left to change the voters' minds.  It's very difficult mathematically to catch up to either the Wildcats, or the Ducks. 
 
4 - ALABAMA -BCS AVG: .8534 (9-1) Remaining Schedule: Western Carolina, Auburn, SEC Title Game @ Atlanta

Bama still has a great shot at playing in Miami. If at least 2 of the top 3 lose, and they win out, they will be the highest ranked 1 loss team, and they will be in. It's not out of the question just yet. If all 3 of the top 3 lose 1 game, there's no question Bama gets in.

Can anyone outside of the top 4 play for the National Championship?

Yes.  If 2 of the top 3 lose, and #5 Georgia wins the SEC title game, they will be in.  That's the only chance, since 4 through 9 are all in the SEC.  A 1 loss Florida will not get in over a 1 loss K State, Oregon, ND, Alabama, or Georgia, since they can't win the SEC.  
Sure, there are other scenarios, but the chances of those happening are so incredibly slim, it's not worth getting into.  We can tackle that next week if necessary. 

Who Wins the BCS Conferences?

Pac-12
NORTH: If Oregon beats Stanford Saturday, they clinch the north.  Stanford would need to beat  Oregon and UCLA, or beat Oregon, lose to UCLA, and hope Oregon State beat's Oregon.  My Pick: Oregon
SOUTH: The winner of UCLA/USC Saturday clinches the south. My Pick: USC
Conference Champion: Oregon

SEC: 
WEST: Alabama can clinch the west with a win over Auburn, or a Texas A&M loss to Missouri. Texas A&M with a win over Missouri AND an Alabama loss to Auburn.  My Pick: Bama
EAST: Georgia has clinched the east. 
Conference Champion: Alabama

Big Ten:
Legends: Nebraska controlls their own destiny, wins over Minnesota and Iowa puts them in. Should they lose 1 of 2, they would need Michigan to lose to Iowa or Ohio State.  Michigan is in with 2 wins and 1 Nebraska loss. My Pick: Nebraska
Leaders: Wisconsin has clinched the Leaders Division. 
Conference Champion: Nebraska

Big XII
With no conference champion, the team with the best record wins the conference. If Kansas State beats Baylor OR Texas, they win the conference. Oklahoma wins with wins over WVU, OK State, and TCU and 2 losses by K State. 
Conference Champion: Kansas State 

ACC
Atlantic: Florida State clinches with a win over Maryland OR a Clemson loss to NC State.  Clemson wins with a win over NC State AND an FSU loss to Maryland. My Pick: Florida State
Coastal: Miami is in with a win over Duke OR a Georgia Tech loss to Duke. Duke, yes Duke is in with wins over Miami AND Georgia Tech. My Pick: Miami.  Duke has not looked very good the last 2 weeks in losses to FSU and Clemson, but I wouldn't be shocked if Duke gets there.  I'm rooting for it to happen. 
Conference Champion: Florida State

BIG EAST:
Rutgers is in by winning out (Cincy, Pitt, Louisville), Louisville is in by winning out (UConn, Rutgers), Cincinnati is in by winning out (Rutgers, USF, UConn) and a Louisville loss to Rutgers. That's the simple explanation.  There are more scenarios.
Conference Champion: Louisville

BCS BOWL PROJECTIONS:

Keep in mind, in order to reach a BCS game, you have to either win your automatic qualifying conference, be in the top 14 to be an AQ at large. Things could get interesting, as 6 SEC teams are currently in the top 14, meaning any team in the top 14 not in the SEC would automatically get in.

Whichever Bowl loses an automatic conference tie in, they get first pick.  Remember, only 2 teams per conference are eligible. Current Rankings in parenthesis. Below are my projections based on current standings, the selection process is listed below the projections.

BCS TITLE GAME:(1) Kansas State (BCS #1/BIG XII CHAMP) vs (2) OREGON (BCS #2/Pac 12 CHAMP)
ROSE BOWL: (14) NEBRASKA (BIG TEN CHAMP) vs (12) OKLAHOMA (AT LARGE)
FIESTA BOWL: (3) NOTRE DAME vs (6) FLORIDA (AT LARGE)
ORANGE BOWL: (10) FLORIDA STATE (ACC CHAMP) vs (19) LOUISVILLE (BIG EAST CHAMP)
SUGAR BOWL: (4) ALABAMA (SEC CHAMP) vs (11) CLEMSON (AT LARGE)

Selection Process:

Title Game is automatically BCS #1 vs BCS #2

The Fiesta Bowl gets first pick since they lose the #1 team to the championship game, they Pick Notre Dame.

The Rose Bowl is next since they lose the #2 team, they would select Oklahoma to play against Nebraska, who gets the automatic spot.  The Rose Bowl has been very public with the fact they want to keep tradition and select a Pac-12 team to play, but there may not be one eligible. Stanford (13), Oregon State (16), UCLA (17), and USC (18) would all lose again in this scenario, and may all be 15 or lower.  Because of where the Rose Bowl selects, they would not have the option of taking a team outside of the top 14. Oklahoma offers the best draw for travel, and the opportunity to have former conference rivals squaring off would be very attractive.

The Fiesta Bowl has the next pick based on yearly rotation, they pick Florida.

The Sugar Bowl has the next pick based on yearly rotation, they pick Clemson, who would play Alabama, who plays in this game based on their automatic conference tie in. 

The Orange Bowl gets the final pick based on yearly rotation, they would be stuck with Louisville, Florida State has an automatic conference tie in. 

If my projections are correct, 4 SEC teams in the top 14 would be left out, Texas could be in the top 14 and get left out with Kansas State and Oklahoma getting in.  There is a possibility that a Pac-12 Team could be ranked in the top 14, Stanford could lose to Oregon and still be there, UCLA would be if they beat USC and lose to Oregon in the Pac-12 title game, and they would play in the Rose Bowl.  USC could be there by winning out, and losing to Oregon, Oregon State could (unlikely) get in by beating Cal and losing to Oregon. If that happens, Clemson probably gets left out.  If that does happen, here are my Bowl projections.

Title Game: Kansas State vs Oregon
Rose Bowl: Nebraska vs UCLA/USC/Stanford/Oregon State
Sugar Bowl: Alabama vs Oklahoma
Fiesta Bowl: Notre Dame vs Florida
Orange Bowl: Florida State vs Louisville 

For more, tune in to Travis & Wilcox weekdays Noon-3 pacific on ESPN Sports Radio 1080 The FAN, www.1080thefan.com and the 1080 The FAN app.

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Path to Miami Volume 4

This time Oregon wins, and jumps Notre Dame for what I think is for good.  I'm not going through the full top 10.  We're at the point where there are 4 contenders, so below is each of the top 4 teams chances to reach the title game, plus the likelihood for each conference champion and BCS Bowl Birth. 

 
1 - ALABAMA -BCS AVG: .9957 (9-0) Remaining Schedule: Texas A&M, Western Carolina, Auburn, SEC Title Game @ Atlanta

This is easy.  Alabama took care of LSU, so the remaining questions are A&M and Georgia in the SEC title game, which should both be wins.  At this point, I think we would all be more than surprised if Bama wasn't in Miami, now it's a question of who plays them.  AJ McCarron proved on several occasions in this game that he is more than capable of another title run.  I was a little suprised to see LSU's offense have as much success as they did, even though it was just 17 points.  I've heard a few of the experts say the final drive of the game was one of the best in Bama history.... I wouldn't say that, It was impressive, but on the final play LSU's D forgot how to tackle and was woefully out of position.  Bama found a way to win an incredibly difficult game. 

2 - KANSAS STATE - BCS Avg: .9318 (9-0) Sked: @TCU, @ Baylor, Texas

This is where it gets interesting.  How healthy is Collin Klein? If he is good to go, so are the Cats, if not, good luck.  The only ranked team left on the schedule is Texas who seems to have found the defense everyone expected in September.  While KST doesn't play a conference title game, the Texas game should provide just as much drama, even though the Horns won't win the conference.  If Texas keeps winning, it certainly helps the Wildcats chances.  Defensively, Kansas State looked outstanding, better than I had expected.  Because of that, they may get some extra love in the human polls.  More on this below. 

3 - OREGON - BCS Avg: .9166 (9-0) Sked: @CAL, Stanford, @ Oregon State, Pac 12 Title Game

321 yards and 5 TD's from Kenjon Barner.... 300+ from Marcus Mariota....700+ total yards.. 62 points.  This was against USC.  Absolutely unreal.  There is NO question Oregon has the best offense in the country.  I thought too often they didn't get enough safety help, and the corners were exposed.  I heard David Pollack say on ESPN it was an awful performance by the UO D. It wasn't good, let me start there, but calling it embarrassing, is extreme.  You have THE best receiver in the country and the best duo.  They have abusing defenses all year, and Barkley looked like the #1 pick putting balls where nobody else could.  The Ducks still have 3 tough games...no, not Cal.  There is a lot of work to be done.


4 - NOTRE DAME - BCS Avg: .9050 (9-0) Sked: @ BC, Wake Forest, @USC

How do you allow a team that lost at home to Youngstown State come within a foot of beating you in 2 OT, then survive in the third OT.  Notre Dame's offense left a lot to be desired.  The ONLY way they get in at this point with their schedule is to be 1 of 2 unbeatens.  PERIOD.

WHO FINISHES #2?

I was convinced last week that it would be Oregon, but now I'm not so sure.  It comes down to a couple of things at this point.  #1 - Can Oregon maintain their big lead in the human polls.  If they can keep that margin, they WILL close the gap in the computers enough to pass Kansas State.  They should pass Notre Dame in some of the computers eventually, and when Georgia loses to Alabama. They are between 4 and 7 in the computer polls, and need to be higher.  They should be.  I think if they are 4th or better in the computers they pass the Wildcats.

#2, Kansas State certainly has a chance as well.  If they maintain their lead in the computers and close the gap between themselves and Oregon in the human polls it is very likely they stay ahead of the Ducks.  With Notre Dame's schedule pretty bad in the coming weeks save USC, there is virtually no chance they pass either Oregon or Kansas State.

Who Wins the BCS Conferences?

Pac-12

In the North, Oregon is the front runner, but either the Ducks, Stanford or Oregon State can reach the conference title game by winning out. My pick: Oregon
In the South, UCLA is currently in first place with 2 losses, USC, and ASU have 3. UCLA runs the table, they're in the title game, same with USC.  UCLA beat ASU, they still play USC.  ASU needs to beat USC this week, and hope that UCLA loses twice, it could happen with USC and Stanford on the schedule. My pick: USC
Conference Champion: Oregon

SEC: 

In the West, Bama has it locked up. Even with a loss, they still hold the tiebreaker over LSU. No need to pick, it's Alabama.
In the East, Georgia holds their destiny.  Only a loss to Auburn keeps them out which would be highly unlikely.  Florida's conference schedule is over, they get in if Georgia loses.  My pick: Georgia
Conference Champion: Alabama

Big Ten:

Legends: Nebraska and Michigan each have 1 loss, Nebraska holds the tiebreaker, Michigan has a tougher sked with TOSU at the end of the year.Northwestern has a very outside chance, needs 2 more losses from Nebraska, and they need to beat Michigan this week and hope they lose to TOSU.  My Pick: Nebraska
Leaders: WIth Ohio State and Penn State not eligible, Wisconsin is the only team with a chance.
Conference Champion: Nebraska

Big XII

No conference title game here anymore.  Kansas State would have to lose twice to give up the conference championship.  Oklahoma has 1 loss....to KST.  Texas has 2 losses, and still plays K State.
Conference Champion: Kansas State (I went out on a limb here)

ACC

Atlantic: It's a two team race between FSU and Clemson, both have one loss, FSU beat Clemson.  They both play a joke of a Maryland team, FSU still has Virginia Tech who is below average, and Clemson has NC State.  They both finish 7-1 in the conference. My Pick: Florida State
Coastal: Yuck. Miami and UNC have 2 losses, UNC is not eligible for post season play. So that means a 2 loss Miami team will play a 3 loss duke team in the final conference game for a spot in the title game. What the hell happened to this conference.  My pick: Miami
Conference Champion: Florida State


BIG EAST:

Louisville and Rutgers are both unbeaten in conference play, Rutgers still has to play at Cincinnati, and hosts the Cardinals in the final game of the season.  ZZZZZZZZ
Conference Champion: Louisville


BCS BOWL PROJECTIONS:

Keep in mind, in order to reach a BCS game, you have to either win your automatic qualifying conference, be in the top 14 to be an AQ at large, or in the top 16 for a non AQ school and ahead of a conference Champion in the BCS Standings.  Remember, only 2 teams per conference are eligible. Current Rankings in parenthesis. 

BCS TITLE GAME:(1)  ALABAMA (BCS #1/SEC CHAMP) vs (2) OREGON (BCS #2/Pac 12 CHAMP)
ROSE BOWL: (16) NEBRASKA (BIG TEN CHAMP) vs (11) OREGON STATE (AT LARGE)
FIESTA BOWL: (2) KANSAS STATE (BIG 12 CHAMP) vs (10) LOUISVILLE (BIG EAST CHAMP)
ORANGE BOWL: (9) FLORIDA STATE (ACC CHAMP) vs (12) OKLAHOMA (AT LARGE)
SUGAR BOWL: (7) LSU (AT LARGE) vs (4) NOTRE DAME (AT LARGE)

I mentioned this last week, the only chance Oregon State has to get in is to finish in the top 14, and have Oregon play for the National Championship.  Because the Rose Bowl loves tradition, they will go with a Pac-12 team if eligible.  If the Ducks play in the Rose Bowl, OSU doesn't have the cache that other eligible teams do to be selected.  A 1 loss Clemson gets left out behind a 2 loss Oklahoma thanks to their fanbase travelling better to Glendale.  

Just for S&G's..... in case Oregon doesn't play for the Natty, it could play out like thisL

Title game: Bama vs K State
Rose: Oregon vs Nebraska
Orange: Florida State vs Louisville
Fiesta: Oklahoma vs Notre Dame
Sugar: LSU vs Clemson

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Path to Miami Volume 3

Surprise, surprise.  Another team jumps Oregon despite a convincing Duck win.  Oregon State is now officially out of the National Championship picture, and by officially, I mean if you're being realistic.  There are only 5 unbeaten teams left: Alabama, Kansas State, Notre Dame, Oregon and Louisville.  Below is my evaluation of each team's chances at playing for the title.

 
1 - ALABAMA -BCS AVG: .9759 (8-0) Remaining Schedule: @LSU, Texas A&M, Western Carolina, Auburn, SEC Title Game @ Atlanta

The Tide got their first real 'test' of the season Saturday with an unbeaten #11 ranked Mississippi State team that had been playing extremely well on offense.  Alabama's defense did what they were supposed to and exposed the Bulldogs offense, who was on fire, but had not played anyone of note.  I'm not going to go as far as to say AJ McCarron should be a Heisman Trophy candidate but he is incredibly accurate, and is no longer a game manager for this team, he is a dangerous weapon on offense.  The running game isn't quite the same as  a year ago, but still more than capable, and if Alabama can stay balanced on offense and continue their defensive dominance there is a great chance the run the table.  Things don't get easier with LSU on the road this week, they still have a tough Texas A&M team in 2 weeks, and will play either Georgia or Florida in the conference title game should they get there.

2 - KANSAS STATE - BCS Avg: .9400 (8-0) Sked: Oklahoma State, @TCU, @ Baylor, Texas

K State seems to have the easiest road to going undefeated, unless you count Louisville, which I don't.  Collin Klein and the offense rolled again putting up another 50+ point game against Texas Tech, and the defense stopped a very talented Tech offense. I really don't know what to make out of their defense though.  They have played very well this season, but watching them against WV and TT, the opposition seems out of their game.  Is it because they happened to have an off day, or because of K State's D? I can't answer that.  Their strength of schedule took a hit with Oklahoma losing, OK ST and Texas are still ranked, but won't be with another loss (to KST), and with no conference championship, I really see the only way they get to Miami is if they are 1 of 2 unbeatens, again, not counting Louisville. 

3 - NOTRE DAME - BCS Avg: .9147 (8-0) Sked: Pitt, @ BC, Wake Forest, @USC

OK, now we can say the Irish are for real  NOBODY expected them to beat Oklahoma, and manhandle them the way they did.  ND was the first unbeaten team this late in the season to be a double digit underdog and win since Ohio State in the 2002 National Title game, which really means nothing, it's just an interesting stat. We talk about that ND defense and how outstanding they are, and they showed it again this week, but they had over 400 yards of total offense, including 215 on the ground.  Oklahoma's defense isn't extraordinary, but their offense is.  ND has 3 easy games before USC on the road, and we've seen USC be incredibly inconsistent, but at home, they are markedly better than on the road, so there's no guarantee ND wins out.  If they do, that would likely give USC 4 losses if they lose to Oregon, and put them at the bottom of the BCS top 25 if they remain ranked at all.  The ONLY other currently ranked team on their schedule is Stanford, who still has to play Oregon, plus they don't have a conference championship game, since they are independent.  The advantage they do have, is they don't have any cupcakes.  They have some below average level BCS Conference teams on the sked like Wake Forest, Pitt, and BC, and independent Navy.  The Computer polls have them #1, but with  the strength of schedule decreasing dramatically in the next 3 weeks, that will change. 

4 - OREGON - BCS Avg: .8966 (8-0) Sked: @USC, @CAL, Stanford, @ Oregon State, Pac 12 Title Game

The question Oregon fans are asking today is, at the end of the season will we be ahead of KST or ND if we are all unbeaten. Like I said above, I do think they pass Kansas State. The problem is if ND starts getting more love from the human polls.  There is a larger gap between KST at 3 and ND at 4 in both the Coaches Poll and the Harris Poll than there is between OR at 2 and K ST at 3, and Oregon needs to PRAY that it stays that way.  I still think there is a very good chance that Oregon passes both the Wildcats and the Irish at the end of the year, gaining some ground with the strength of schedule.  USC, Stanford Oregon State are still ranked for now.  It's far from a guarantee now that USC gets to the conference championship, UCLA now also controls their own destiny, either team can win out and get in. Arizona and Arizona State still have a legitimate shot.

This weekend was the WORST case scenario for the Ducks, excluding a loss.  USC and Oregon State lost, dropping their strength of schedule, Notre Dame and Kansas State won convincingly.  Oregon fans are going to be big time LSU fans on Saturday night.  So to recap for the Ducks, win out, hope the human polls stay the same, and hope because your remaining strength of schedule is superior to Kansas State and Notre Dame, that you will pass them, or close the gap in the computers.  You need Oregon State, USC, and Stanford to win as many games as possible.

5 - LSU - BCS Avg: .8163 (7-1) - Sked: Alabama, Miss St, Ole Miss, @ Arkansas, SEC Title Game (vs FL or GA)

LSU is coming off a bye as they host Alabama on Saturday.  If they win out, they go to the conference title game, not Alabama.  In order for the Tigers to go to the National Title game, they need to win out, and hope only 1 team is unbeaten. I do think they get in that way, but that's the only way.

6 - GEORGIA - BCS Avg: .7753 6-1) - Sked: Ole Miss, @ Auburn, Georgia Southern, Georgia Tech, SEC Title Game @ Atlanta (vs Bama or LSU)

A very impressive effort against Florida Saturday forcing 6 turnovers.  They do still have a chance.  They need some help. They need LSU to win this week, win the rest of their schedule including beating LSU in the conference title game, and hope that 1 or less teams are unbeaten. The Bulldogs regular season schedule is easy, if they win out, they go to Atlanta.  It's not unthinkable, just not very likely.

7 - FLORIDA - BCS Avg: .7604 (7-1) Sked: Missouri, ULL, Jacksonville State, @ Florida State, SEC Title Game @ Atlanta (vs Bama or LSU)

Florida is in a similar situation to Georgia. The only difference is, the Gators no longer control their own destiny, they need UGA to lose somewhere along the way so they can get to Atlanta.  Very unlikely.  That offense was UGLY on Saturday. This looked more like the Florida team we thought we would see more often this season.  Very strong defense, average at best offense.  The luck finally ran out. 

8 - SOUTH CAROLINA - BCS Avg: .5968 (7-2) Sked: vs Arkansas, vs Wofford, @ Clemson

With Marcus Lattimore's season and possibly career ending knee injury, the Cocks have no shot.  End of story.   They will probably win out, although Clemson on the road isn't easy.  They just can't get enough help to get to even a BCS bowl period, let alone the title game.

9 - FLORIDA STATE - BCS Avg: 5743 (8-1) Sked: @ Virginia Tech, @ Maryland, Florida, ACC Title Game @ Charlotte 

The Noles are the class of the ACC.  Big deal.  They SHOULD easily win the rest of their games, with Florida being the biggest challenge.  Even a 1 loss FSU team with no unbeatens will have a very very difficult time getting to the national title game.  Enjoy your consolation Orange Bowl, the paycheck, and look ahead to next year. 

10 - LOUISVILLE - BCS Avg: .5661 (8-0) Sked: Temple, @ Syracuse, UConn, @ Rutgers

The only remote chance they have is for the Cardinals to be the only unbeaten team.  If that happens, they may have a very slight chance of playing for it all, but like we see in the human polls and even the computers, there are several one loss teams already ahead of them, and that is not likely to change.  Louisville's remaining schedule certainly doesn't help.

11 - OREGON STATE - BCS Avg: .5559 (6-1) - Sked: Arizona State, @ Stanford, Cal, Oregon, Oregon, Nicholls State/Pac 12 Title Game

The national championship talk is over, so now the question is how can the Beavers get to a BCS Bowl.  The easy answer, win out.  Beat everyone, including Oregon, win the Pac-12 title game, you are automatically in.  I hate to say this, but you have to assume they lose to the Ducks, although Beaver fans might have something to say about that.  Let's assume that happens.  They need to beat ASU, Stanford, Cal and Nicholls State.  If they do, and they have 2 losses, there is a very good chance that they get to Pasadena, UNLESS Oregon stumbles somewhere.  If the Ducks go to the Rose Bowl, and not the national title game, Oregon State isn't enough of a draw for another BCS Bowl game to select them as an at large team, even with the rest of the conferences down.  The SEC will get 2 teams in, there are 5 other automatic bids, and ND will get in, so that's 8 teams, leaving 2 spots open.  The Big Ten and Big East won't get 2 teams in, leaving the ACC, Big 12 and Pac 12 fighting for those last 2 spots.  Clemson will take one if they win out, they won't play in the conference title game if FSU wins out, so that's one less chance of them losing a game.  Even a 2 loss Clemson with the second loss possibly being against South Carolina would get in over a 2 loss OSU.  A 2 loss Oklahoma would also be selected ahead of OSU.  Remember, this is up to the bowls to pick who they want, regardless of what is 'fair".  Because the Rose Bowl is obsessed with tradition, there is a very good chance they would select the Beavers ahead of Clemson or Oklahoma, there is no chance the other bowls do that. They do have to finish in the top 14 in the BCS in order to be eligible for an at large selection, as do the other schools involved.

**NO OTHER UNBEATEN TEAMS REMAIN
**Other Pac-12 Teams in BCS Top 25: (14) - Stanford; (17) - USC; (22) - Arizona

Title game: Oregon vs Alabama; Kansas State goes to Fiesta Bowl vs Notre Dame ; LSU in Sugar Bowl vs Oklahoma; Oregon State vs Nebraska in the Rose Bowl; Orange Bowl: Louisville vs Florida State

For more, tune in to Travis & Wilcox weekdays Noon-3 pacific on ESPN Sports Radio 1080 The FAN, www.1080thefan.com and the 1080 The FAN app.
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Path to Miami Volume 2

In the second edition of the BCS Standings, the Ducks get passed by Kansas State and Oregon State moves up a spot to 7.  No reason to be concerned Duck fans, still a lot of football to be played, and I still find it hard to believe K State will be ahead of Oregon at the end of the season, even if both are unbeaten.  I will explain what it will take for each team to get to the BCS Title Game, with predictions at the end.

 
 
1 - ALABAMA -BCS AVG: .9625 (7-0) Remaining Schedule: Miss St, @LSU, Texas A&M, Western Carolina, Auburn, SEC Title Game @ Atlanta

Aalabama has three tough games back to back, and then a game against either Florida or Georgia in the conference title game.  Can they do it? Well, if anyone can, it's the tide.  Their passing game is the best it's been in a long time, I'm still not sold on their run game, and their defense is outstanding.  They face a Mississippi State team Saturday that has the best offense in school history, but it's hard to know what to make of the Bulldogs, their best win is over Tennessee.  Then, it's off to Baton Rouge to see LSU who isn't last year's team, but still very good, and Zach Mettenberger is starting to play up to what was expected. Once that's done... they host Texas A&M.  Say what you will about Bama's schedule up to this point, but it's about to get real. 

 
2 - FLORIDA - BCS Avg: .9310 (7-0) Sked: Georgia, Missouri, ULL, Jacksonville State, @ Florida State, SEC Title Game @ Atlanta (Likely vs Alabama)
 
Florida crushed South Carolina 44-11 on Saturday, but they were helped out from some really bad self inflicted turnovers. Florida's offense was awful in the first half of that game. They had 2 first downs in the first half.  All 3 of their scoring drives in the first half were less than 30 yards.  Florida is very good, not great, and still has some glaring issues passing the football.  Brent Pease was extremely creative with his play calling, and this team is still trying to adjust to the spread from a more pro style offense, and they just aren't cohesive yet. I'm not sitting here telling you Florida isn't deserving of being #2 because I'm a Pac-12 homer.  Florida IS deserving of being #2 right now...3 at worst.  But they won't be there at the end of the year.  If they beat Georgia Saturday, they clinch a spot in the SEC title game.

3 - KANSAS STATE - BCS Avg: .9111 (7-0) Sked: Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, @TCU, @ Baylor, Texas

K State fans are rooting for Oklahoma this week.  Why? Oklahoma is their best win, especially after seeing how badly West Virginia has been exposed the last couple of weeks.  If the Sooners lose, it drops their strength of schedule, if they win, they stay right up there in the top 10, and it knocks Notre Dame from the ranks of the unbeaten.  Kansas State really should go undefeated. They don't have a ton of defense, nobody in the Big 12 does, but these are all very winnable games, and Collin Klein is establishing himself as a Heisman favorite.  Even if the Wildcats run the table, Duck fans, and Beaver fans for that matter, shouldn't be too concerned. I'll explain below.

4 - OREGON - BCS Avg: .8966 (7-0) Sked: Colorado, @USC, @CAL, Stanford, @ Oregon State, Pac 12 Title Game

Oregon obviously has to win all of their games, if they do there is a great chance they get to Miami if they do that, regardless of what everyone else does.  Here's why for each team: Bama/Florida - if they run the table they face each other in the SEC title game, one will lose. Kansas State - Oregon's strength of schedule raises up quite a few notches after Colorado. Outside of Cal on the road, everyone else on their schedule is likely to be ranked, and fairly highly.  Factor in they do play a conference title game, and would have beaten USC twice most likely, and Kansas State does not have a conference title game, they would get the extra boost.  Notre Dame: See below. 

5 - NOTRE DAME - BCS Avg: .8512 (7-0) Sked: @Oklahoma, Pitt, @ BC, Wake Forest, @USC

3 wins here easily.... or at least should be. 3 AWFUL teams.  Oklahoma should be interesting.  The Sooners can score at will, but don't play much defense. The Irish can't score, and have an outstanding defense.  I just find it very hard to believe they will beat Oklahoma AND USC on the road, and I think most people will agree.  They can't compete offensively with either school, and BYU was able to put up 2 touchdowns after Notre Dame hadn't allowed an offensive TD in over a month.  I have to think they will allow 1 or 2 sustained drives and 1 or 2 big plays in each game.  They won't be able to overcome that.  IF they do, their schedule isn't easy, but it doesn't match up with Oregon. 

 
6 - LSU - BCS Avg: .7862 (7-1) - Sked: Alabama, Miss St, Ole Miss, @ Arkansas, SEC Title Game

LSU still has a shot. If they beat Alabama, and run the table, get revenge against Florida in the conference championship, and get some help.... 2 of the 3... Oregon, Kansas State, and Notre Dame lose, they will be the best 1 loss team, and get in.  

7 - OREGON STATE - BCS Avg: .7421 (6-0) - Sked: @ Washington, Arizona State, @ Stanford, Cal, Oregon, Oregon, Nicholls State/Pac 12 Title Game
 
The Beavers are finding ways to win.  Saturday was ugly, but what when they have 4 takeaways, and don't turn the ball over, they can beat anyone, even Oregon.  Where Oregon State gets in trouble on the field is when they match up with teams with a lot of speed, Oregon and USC. Arizona was able to go toe to toe with the Beavers on offense, I think Oregon and USC can do that farily easily, as long as they don't turn the ball over.  They don't have USC on the schedule so that would be in the conference championship, at home.  As far as the math is concerned, they get into trouble. Because USC isn't scheduled, they only have the chance to beat them once.  This is of course assuming OSU runs the table.  The ranked teams they would have beaten would be Oregon, Stanford,  USC, and now Wisconsin who has crept back in at #24.  Great wins, but not enough to pass Alabama/FloridaKansas State, or Notre Dame.  If the Beavs are 1 of 2 unbeatens, that's the only way they get to Miami, they have to get some help.


8 - OKLAHOMA - BCS Avg: .7142 (5-1) - Sked: Notre Dame, @ Iowa State, Baylor, @ WVU, Oklahoma State, @ TCU

No chance at playing for the title.  IF there aren't 2 unbeatens, any SEC school would get in over the Sooners, so would Oregon, USC or Notre Dame. Again, no conference title game really hurts if it comes down to that.  

 
9 - USC - BCS Avg: .5767 (6-1) - Sked: @ Arizona, Oregon, Arizona State, @ UCLA, Notre Dame, Pac 12 Title Game

If they beat Oregon twice, and Notre Dame, they may have a chance with some help. And by some, I mean a LOT.  There would have to be no unbeaten teams, then they could get in over Kansas State, Oklahoma, Notre Dame (who could have 2 losses).  

10 - GEORGIA - BCS Avg: .5379 (6-1) - Sked: Florida, Ole Miss, @ Auburn, Georgia Southern, Georgia Tech

Running the table for the Dawgs means a win over #2 Florida, and likely a win over #1 Alabama in the SEC title game.  The rest of their schedule is very weak.. No Bama or LSU in the regular season.  There really is no chance.  

OTHER UNBEATEN TEAMS IN BCS TOP 25 - 11 Mississippi State (7-0), 15 Rutgers (6-0), 16 Louisville (6-0), Ohio (7-0)
 
Mississippi State still has Bama and LSU on the road, and Texas A&M at home. The Rutgers and Louisville play each other at the end of the season, and have as much of a chance at playing in the title game as Ohio does. 

Once again, it's simple.  Wait and see.  It's easy to say Alabama is the best team, and will be unbeaten, but that schedule is so difficult. I think they do, but I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if they lose.  Florida will lose to Alabama.  Kansas State will probably go undefeated, I really think so. I also think Oregon does as well.  I see Notre Dame losing twice.  I think Oregon State makes it through with 1 loss, to Oregon, but if they have an overall offensive effort like they did against Utah, they could lose any of their remaining games.  Especially Stanford on the road.  So what do I think happens?

Title game: Oregon vs Alabama; Kansas State goes to Fiesta Bowl; Florida in Sugar Bowl; Oregon State vs Wisconsin rematch in the Rose Bowl; I don't care what happens in the Big East and the ACC, and neither does anyone else. 
 
For more, tune in to Travis & Wilcox weekdays Noon-3 pacific on ESPN Sports Radio 1080 The FAN, www.1080thefan.com and the 1080 The FAN app.
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Breaking Down the First BCS Standings of 2012

So the first BCS Standings are out, and like always until the end, they pretty much mean nothing.  Does it matter that Florida and Alabama are ahead of Oregon? No, it will all play out by the end of the season.  Alabama is far and away the #1 based on the BCS Average, Kansas State is closer to Oregon, than Oregon is to Florida.  Lets take a look at the top 10 and check out each team's path to Miami, with predictions at the end.  

1 - ALABAMA -BCS AVG: .976 (6-0) Remaining Schedule: @Tennessee; Miss St, @LSU, Texas A&M, Western Carolina, Auburn, SEC Title Game @ Atlanta

At this point, everyone expects Alabama to be the latest team from the SEC to play for the Natty, and probably win the 7th straight for the conference, and their second straight and third in four years.  There are 2 road blocks on the schedule. @LSU, and the SEC title game which will either be Florida, Georgia, or South Carolina.  Bama was fortunate enough to avoid all 3 on their regular season schedule.  Texas A&M is good, but that game is in Tuscaloosa, and I don't expect the Tide to have trouble.  It's easy to say Alabama will run the table, but it's not that simple.  Their game with LSU on Nov 3 is on the road, which is never easy for anyone.  LSU finally looked like a top level team last night, but it took a loss to Florida for them to get there.  More on the Tigers in a minute.   The bigger thing I look at right now is how easy their overall sked is for an SEC schedule. It's not their fault Michigan isn't very good, and they avoid FL, GA, and SC, but one tough road game all year, LSU, and that's it. 

2 - FLORIDA - BCS Avg: .909 (6-0) Sked: South Carolina, Georgia, Missouri, ULL, Jacksonville State, @ Florida State, SEC Title Game @ Atlanta (Likely vs Alabama)

It's been somewhat of a surprise the Gators are unbeaten at this point.  Not a huge shock they beat LSU, we all expected LSU to go down at some point with the way they had been playing up until then.  The A&M win is looking better and better.  With SC, GA and FSU on the sked before a potential SEC title game, it's hard to imagne the Gators will end up in Atlanta without a loss.  They finally figured out the QB position, but Jeff Driskell is not a great passer, and while they haven't given up a ton of points, the defense is inconsistent.  Theoretically, the Gators could be unblemished facing an unbeaten Bama team for the SEC title, but I don't expect it.  If that is the case, and there is another unbeaten somewhere else, one of the two will miss out. 

3 - OREGON - BCS Avg: .899 (6-0) Sked: @ Arizona State, Colorado, @USC, @CAL, Stanford, @ Oregon State, Pac 12 Title Game

Ok Duck fans, it's simple.  Win all your games, and you play for the natty.  That's easier said than done, with ASU on the road this week, and USC and Cal on the road later this year.  I don't expect much trouble against Stanford.  If they do go unbeaten all year, then they have to beat USC or ASU at home for the P12 title.  These things always work themselves out and I don't think it's very likely that there will be 3 or more unbeatens.  If they do lose a game, it's going to be very difficult to play for the title, even if everyone else has a loss.  

4 - KANSAS STATE - BCS Avg: .896 (6-0) Sked: @ WVU, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, @TCU, @ Baylor, Texas

Not an easy schedule for the cats.  Kansas State all year has struggled in the first half of games, then turns it on in the second half.  Eventually it will catch up to them.  It could be this week on the road at West Virginia who will be looking to make a statement after getting shredded by Texas Tech last week.  Collin Klein is a very good dual threat QB, and they do have some offensive weapons, but their defense is average.  There isn't an easy game left, but if they do go the rest of the way without a loss, we might get that K State - Oregon matchup that the Wildcats backed out of before the season started.  

5 - NOTRE DAME - BCS Avg: .877 (6-0) Sked: BYU, @Oklahoma, Pitt, @ BC, Wake Forest, @USC

The Golden Domers are relevant for the first time in a decade. BYU will be interesting this weekend, after seeing OSU's offense put up impressive numbers, but that should be a deffensive battle.  Road games with OK, and USC are obviously the toughest on the schedule, and both teams will have a lot to play for.  I'm impressed that Brian Kelly has brought the Irish back to prominence, at least on the surface, but I just don't trust them to be able to do it for 12 games without a mistake.  

 
6 - LSU - BCS Avg: .752  (6-1) - Sked: @ Texas A&M, Alabama, Miss St, Ole Miss, @ Arkansas, SEC Title Game

LSU still controls their own destiny for the conference title, and if they are able to win out, they will play for the title.  If they play like they did against South Carolina, they certainly have a shot.  If they play like they did in the 3-4 previous weeks, they don't.  They scored 23 points against a very very good Gamecock Defense, and held on of the more dynamic offenses in the country to just 21 points.  This week in College Station is no walk in the park, there is a potential loss there, but LSU was expected to content for the national championship at the start of the year, and I still think they can.  

7 - SOUTH CAROLINA - BCS Avg: .693 (6-1) - Sked: @ Florida, Tenn, Arkansas, Wofford, @ Clemson, SEC Title Game

The Gamecocks very nearly came out of death valley Saturday with a win, and had they, they would be #2 right now, and Florida would be #3.  If they win out, they will either get another crack at LSU (which would mean everyone in the SEC has a loss, and SC could end up in Miami should they win) or face Alabama, either way, it's going to be more than a challenge.  

8 - OREGON STATE - BCS Avg: 680 (5-0) - Sked: Utah, @ Washington, Arizona State, @ Stanford, Cal, Oregon, Oregon, Nicholls  State/Pac 12 Title Game

If you expected this, you are either a moron, a liar, or both.  5-0 for the first time since 1939, and winning games in different ways... including putting up an offensive show with their backup QB against a very stout BYU defense.  No SC on the schedule works in their favor, and they control their own destiny.  There are still multiple challenges on the schedule, but there have been crazier things in sports than Oregon State running the table if it happens. 

9 - OKLAHOMA - BCS Avg: 666 (4-1) - Sked: Kansas, Notre Dame, @ Iowa State, Baylor, @ WVU, Oklahoma State, @ TCU

The Sooners always make a mistake, the question is, will Kansas State be the only one. There are still 2 very tough games left with ND, and WV, TCU not as difficult with Pachall missing the rest of the year.  In order to finish in the top 2, they need some help. 

 
10 - USC - BCS Avg: .595(5-1) - Sked: Colorado, @ Arizona, Oregon, Arizona State, @ UCLA, Notre Dame, Pac 12 Title Game

Because of USC's name and history, they will get some votes where other schools with the same resume might not.  Win out, with some tough games, and get some help and they will have a decent chance at playing for it all.  They have to be better offensively.  Matt Barkley hasn't looked like the Matt Barkley we thought we were going to see, and he may have cost himself the #1 pick with his play through the first 6 games.  Will their lack of depth come into play as the season wears on... that's the biggest issue. 
 
OTHER UNBEATEN TEAMS IN BCS TOP 25 - 12 Mississippi State (6-0), 15 Rutgers (6-0), 16 Louisville (6-0), 21 Cincinnati (5-0
Mississippi State still has Bama and LSU on the road, and Texas A&M at home.  The 3 big east schools still have to play each other. 

Only 2 SEC schools can play in BCS Bowl games, so there are going to be a few teams with hurt feelings at the end of the year, just like every year.  Whoever loses the LSU Alabama game will be one of those this year.  I really don't see two SEC teams playing for the title again, but it could happen.  I have this sneaking feeling Notre Dame is going to go unbeaten.  I don't think they are one of the top 5 teams in the country, but with their schedule compared to everyone elses, I think they have the best shot at going undefeated.  I do think LSU beats Alabama.  I do think Florida loses, and so does Kansas State.  It's a tough task for Oregon to beat USC or Arizona State twice, but I think they do. Yes, I think we see Oregon and Notre Dame play for the natty.  There's a 100% chance my opinion will change by this time next week.  

For more, tune in to Travis & Wilcox weekdays Noon-3 pacific on ESPN Sports Radio 1080 The FAN, www.1080thefan.com and the 1080 The FAN app. 
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