FanPost

Is the Pac-12 a 1 BCS-bid league?

Note: For this sake of this hypothetical, we assume that Oregon runs the table and plays in the BCS National Championship Game.

The Pac-12 has 4 teams with a realistic shot at a BCS at-large bid as the Pac-12 replacement if they end up as the 2nd highest ranked Pac-12 team:
-Stanfurd (8-2)
-Oregon State (7-2)
-UCLA (8-2)
-USC (7-3)

The problem is Oregon's remaining schedule:
-Stanfurd
-Oregon State
-The winner of the UCLA/USC game in the Pac-12 title game.

That means that if Oregon runs the table, the 2nd place (according to BCS standings) Pac-12 team will have at least 3 losses. (That's also ignoring the fact that UCLA and LSJU play)

To be eligible for a BCS at-large slot, a team needs:
-9 wins
-To be in the top-14 of the BCS standings

The former seems likely while the latter is where it gets more dicey.

In the last 5 years, there have been 9 3-loss teams in the top 14 of the final BCS standings (1.8 per year):

2011: 2 (#12 Baylor, #14 Oklahoma)
2010: 0
2009: 2 (#11 VT, #12 LSU)
2008: 2 (#13 OSU, #14 GT)
2007: 3 (#12 Florida, #13 Illinois, #14 BC)

The question is, does a 3-loss Pac-12 team make the top 14 this year?

Top 14 teams that will not lose their spot barring an epic collapse:

Oregon, KSU, ND, Alabama (even with an SEC CG loss), Georgia (even with an SEC CG loss), and Florida (even with an FSU loss).

That means at least 6 top-14 spots are filled.

Lets look at the remaining schedules of other competitors:

FSU: @Maryland, Florida, ACC Title game

Likely loss: Florida

Verdict: If FSU loses to Florida, but wins the ACC title, they have a pretty decent shot at remaining in the top 14. The big wildcard would be their computer numbers which have been awful.

LSU: Ole Miss, @ Arkansas

Likely loss: None

Verdict: A loss would probably put them around the 14 mark, but I don't see them losing.

Clemson: NC State, South Carolina

Likely loss: South Carolina

Verdict: Without any wins of note, Clemson is not a top-14 team with a loss to South Carolina.

Texas A&M: Sam Houston State, Missouri

Likely loss: none

Verdict: Almost certainly will end in the top 14.

South Carolina: Wofford, Clemson

Likely loss: none

Verdict: If they lose to Clemson, their only claim to a top 14 ranking would be destroying Georgia. SEC bias might keep them in, but it would be questionable.

Oklahoma: @WVU, OSU, @TCU

Likely loss: none

Verdict: While I expect Oklahoma to be favored in all 3 games, I would not be surprised if they lose 1 of them. If that happens, they would almost certainly drop behind the 3-loss Pac-12 team and out of the top 14.

Nebraska: Minnesota, @Iowa, Big 10 Title Game

Likely loss: None

Verdict: If they get through their next two games, they have a rematch with a Wisconsin team they beat by 3 at home in the Big 10 title game. If they lose, they are out of the top 14, but that would create even more issues if LaTech wins out. (more on that later)

Texas: ISU, TCU, KSU

Likely loss: KSU

Verdict: If Texas loses to KSU, they will not be a top-14 team.

Louisville: UConn, @Rutgers

Likely loss: none

Verdict: Louisville's victory against Rutgers in what is almost certainly the most underwhelming final game of the season between 1-loss major conference teams (or does the Big East no longer count?) is by no means a sure thing, but they've beaten better teams, so I would be surprised if they lose. If they do, they are out of the top 14 and I doubt Rutgers replaces them. If they win, they likely sneak their way back into the top 14 at 11-1.

From that, I see 7 teams likely to make the top 14 (FSU, LSU, A&M, Carolina, OU, Nebraska, Louisville) which puts 13 of the top 14 accounted for with Clemson and Texas as wildcards. That's not a great situation for the Pac-12.

As of now, the BCS bids look to go something like:
Pac-12: 1 (Oregon)
SEC: 2 ('Bama, and likely Florida)
Big 12: 2 (KSU, Oklahoma)
ND: 1
Big Ten: 1 (Nebraska)
ACC: 1 (FSU)
Big East: 1 (Louisville)

That leaves one last at-large slot for a top-14 ranked team from the ACC or Pac-12 (I don't see the Big 10 or Big East with a realistic shot of having a non-champion top-14 team) or possibly LaTech.

If LaTech can sneak into the top 12 (almost certainly not going to happen) or into the top 16 but ranked above an AQ conference champion (e.g. if Nebraska loses the Big 10 title game or the Big East sends a 2-loss champion to the BCS), they can become an AQ team and reduce the number of at-large BCS bids to 2. That doesn't necessarily negatively impact that Pac-12 as the Rose Bowl would still be free to choose a top-14 Pac-12 team.

LaTech getting an AQ bid actually creates an amusing situation where the SEC might not get more than one bid. If Oregon and KSU are #1 and #2 and the Big 12 and Pac-12 have another top-14 team, the Rose Bowl and Fiesta bowls will have the first two picks which could allow them to replace their lost teams with teams from their respective tie-in conferences which would fill all of the bids. (The Fiesta bowl would likely opt for a SEC team or ND over Oklahoma)

Now, what happens if there are not enough qualified at-large teams in the top 14? (That likely requires at Texas win over KSU) In that situation, the pool expands to the top 18 teams which will almost certainly include an eligible Pac-12 team.

The opinions expressed in a FanPost are, in every way, reflective of the opinions of every California Golden Blogs Marshawnthusiast. Moreover, they are reflective of every employee of SBNation, including Tyler "Blez" Bleszinski.

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