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More BCS Travesty: TCU and Cincinnati Are As Deserving As Texas

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I think most of us can say if that Alabama beats Texas, we'd probably be satisfied with the Tide being national champs. Alabama wins the numbers battle; it has the best scoring defense in the country, the second best rushing defense in the country, the best passer rating defense in the country, a top 15 rushing offense, a top 35 passing offense. More importantly, it has the most impressive wins over quality opponents--they've beaten three of the top 10 and seven of the top 30 teams in Sagarin (compared to none in the top 10 and seven in the top 30 for Cincy, Texas and TCU COMBINED; Boise has one--Oregon). Taking down the

But if that straggling Texas squad that stumbled their way into the title game ends up winning because they play that underdog card, come in and win a 16-13 crapfest...well, color me disgusted when they get crowned national champion. The TCU-Boise winner will have an equal claim, as will Cincinnati if they beat Florida, and they'll get passed over by a Texas team that isn't distinguishably better than either of them. And let's not forget the fabled suck-off that'll be coming from that hypocrite Mack Brown if Cincy and TCU finish undefeated. Listen to this great sales pitch from the PR master that TedfordIsGod found.

Did anyone read his comments after the game last night? The guy is just a monstrous asshole.

"I don’t think there could be a better matchup than Texas and Alabama," Brown said.

"We’re excited about being Big 12 champs, and we will see you in Pasadena," he told the Cowboys Stadium crowd during the postgame trophy presentation.

And this is just delusional: "I think Colt played great," Brown said. "We didn’t help him at times."

McCoy completed 56% of his passes, threw three picks (all leading to Nebraska field goals, including the potential gamewinner), got handed a gift with the final kickoff out of bounds, and then nearly committed a Rileyesque brain-fart for the ages. That's great in the same way The Core is great.

After the jump, we explore how close TCU, Cincinnati and Boise are to that coveted #2 spot.

Who deserved the #2 spot in the BCS title game? If Texas wins on January 7th, do they deserve to be crowned national champs? If any of the other teams left out won their bowl game convincingly, would you put them #1?

What do the rankings show? Let's compare rankings in every category and see how well each teams perform (rankings courtesy of cfbstats). We start with offense.

Offensive Rankings
Alabama Texas TCU Cincinnati Boise St.
Rush YPA 12 69 7 11 9
Rush YPG 12 55 5 65 20
Completion % 29 3 24 10 15
Pass YPA 32 49 5 5 14
Pass Rating 31 23 3 1 2
Pass YPG 84 14 67 6 30
TFL/g allowed 21 100 4 31 11
3rd down conversion % 56 18 34 31 74
Scoring Offense 26 3 3 6 1
Sacks allowed 21 96 6 10 1
Yards per play 25 47 11 2 8
Yards per game 35 20 4 6 8
Turnover margin/game 5 9 41 12 2
Average offensive rank 30 38.9 16.5 15.1 15

In a total non-shocker, the mid-majors dominate. Not a huge surprise. If anyone, this probably benefits Cincinnati the most--they have the best overall schedule of the three teams left out, including facing pretty good defenses in Pitt and Oregon State. Boise slogged through a game with Oregon and TCU did struggle with Clemson too, but I'd say overall Alabama and Texas had better defenses here. I'll go ahead and split it even between these five.

Now on defense...

Defensive Rankings
Category Alabama Texas TCU Cincinnati Boise St
Rush YPA 8 1 3 33 56
Rush YPG 2 1 3 55 39
Completion % 3 28 1 87 21
Pass YPA 2 8 1 35 11
Pass Rating 1 11 2 40 12
Pass YPG 7 23 4 49 13
Tackles for loss/game 25 7 55 3 12
Pass defended/g 3 21 36 96 18
3rd down conversion % 4 2 1 59 14
Points allowed per game 1 8 6 24 16
Sacks per game 38 11 14 7 69
Total yards per play 3 1 1 27 21
Total yards per game 2 3 1 48 13
Avg Defense Ranking 7.62 9.62 9.85 43.3 24.2

This is where TCU emphatically makes its case and separates itself from Boise and Cincinnati. TCU literally goes stride-for-stride in every category with the defensively dominant Longhorns and the Tide, finishing #1 in five categories (compared to two for Bama and three for Texas). In every category Texas finishes in the top 5, TCU finishes in the top 5. TCU actually finishes ahead of Alabama in 7 of the 13 categories and Texas in 7 of the 13; only a curious lack of tackles for loss (does TCU give up a bunch of 1 yard gains???) and passes defended (are TCU opposing QBs that terrible, since they still rank #1 in completion percentage defense?) keep the Horned Frogs from winning the overall average outright.

Big ups to TCU here--this is the only real difference given by the three competitors statwise, and it makes a very compelling case that they are the equals, if not superiors of the Longhorns.

Just for kicks, checking out the special teams rankings didn't distinguish anything.

Special Team Rankings
Category Alabama Texas TCU Cincinnati Boise St.
Kickoff Return Avg 12 4 1 2 5
Punt Return Avg 5 16 20 19 35
FG% 17 12 28 79 44
Punt Average 33 84 117 80 34
Kickoff Average 30 33 40 4 75
Punt Return Defense 63 85 18 95 12
Kickoff Return Defense 117 65 23 25 12
Average ST ranking 39.57 42.71 35.29 43.43 31

No real differentiation between anyone. Everyone has great returners, and then it's a crapshoot. Although it appears TCU has a terrible punter and Alabama's kick coverage has a taste of the Alamar.

Of course, you can go ahead and say TCU shut down inferior competition compared to Texas and Alabama... which brings us to our final category.


norcalnick broke this stuff down cold.

All I care about is who has the better resume. I haven’t analyzed it in depth yet (check Doc Saturday – he’ll probably do that better than I could soon) but I suspect Texas does have the better resume by a very very slim margin.

Texas’s four best wins, in order:
41-14 @ Ok St.
34-24 vs. Texas Tech
16-13 vs. Oklahoma
13-12 vs. Nebraska ("neutral" site)

TCU’s four best wins, in order:
38-7 @ BYU
55-28 vs. Utah
14-10 @ Clemson
30-14 @ Virginia (debatable – you could put a road win over Air Force or a road destruction of Wyoming here – their isn’t a 4th good team on TCU’s schedule)

Cincinnati’s 4 best wins
45-44 @ Pittsburgh
28-18 @ Oregon St.
24-21 vs. West Virginia
47-15 @ Rutgers

Thoughts: Ranked teams beaten: Texas – 2 TCU: 2 Cincinnati: 3

If you look at all of this information and conclude that Texas is obviously the team that should be picked, then I think you might be influenced by the name recognition. I think Cincinnati has beaten two teams better than any team Texas has beaten and I think TCU has done a better job of badly beating the teams they play while Texas has had too many close calls. Texas may have the better resume, but it’s nowhere near a slam dunk.

Cincinnati definitely picks up points here that their statistics didn't provide them; they have 3 quality wins (Pitt and West Virginia in their conference, and Oregon State on the road). TCU's position is alright (two quality victories over conference foes including a beatdown for the ages in Provo and a shutdown of C.J. Spiller and the ACC runner-up Tigers).

This would normally be where the Longhorns distance themselves, but Texas hardly picks up any ground--they struggled with four Big 12 opponents (including Texas A&M), only one of whom won more than 8 games. They're barely above TCU and Cincy in this area. Resume eliminates Boise--they only have Oregon and mmmmaybe Nevada; add in the statistical shortcomings and they're just not good enough to be considered #2. Sorry Broncos.

Alabama doesn't have anything to worry about here. Statistics and resume prove they are deserving of the number one spot. But this debate over the #2 spot prevents this title game from being an absolute be-all, end-all to crowning your mythical national champion.

Your annual travesty #2: Thanks to the fantastic process that is the BCS, there probably won't be any special claims. Cincinnati might have a shot if they topple Florida, but TCU and Boise both have gotten the mid-major screw-over. if they win, no one gives a crap and no one will vote for them for #1 because they didn't beat a "real team." And there's also no disruption in the system because there's no chance two 'inferior mid-majors' take down the 'big boys'. Flip an opponent from the Cincy-Florida matchup to this one and you have some intriguing matchups that provide fairness to all; right now, it's just another BCS joke.

Thus, until a playoff is in place, there will always be teams with legitimate gripes and claims to a shot at the national title (Auburn in 2004, Boise State in 2006, Georgia and USC in 2007, Utah in 2008), and if they go ahead and win their bowl games, their claims should be considered legitimate. Unless we have a truly ideal situation (two undefeated teams meeting a la USC-Texas), the bowl season should not be considered anything more than glorified exhibition.

While Texas got the #2 spot by the slightest of margins, you can make an equally compelling case for both TCU and Cincinnati (and a weaker one for Boise) based on the opponents they've surmounted and their overall statistical performance. Henceforth, this BCS "title game" is nothing more than a semi-exhibition--one team can prove they are the champion, the other team can prove they are deserving of champion status, nothing more

The winner of the 2010 BCS Championship Game can only really be considered a true national champion...if Nick Saban is the one hoisting the crystal ball.