Saturday, December 03, 2011

And now we wait

The games are over. Sad face.

We know a lot. We know LSU can play an entire half without producing a single first down (srsly) or any positive yards and still beat a top-15 team by five touchdowns. That is an absurd statement. We also know Oregon's offense is still ridonkulous and Montee Ball scores touchdowns the way I eat Snickers.

What we don't know is who's gonna play for the national title, which should make tomorrow pretty interesting. I said this just a couple days ago:
And since a one-loss Oklahoma State isn't jumping a one-loss LSU in any poll, the BCS title game is gonna be a rematch. I'm OK with that this year. There's not a team out there that can make a serious case to be ranked ahead of LSU or Alabama.
Derp. Oklahoma State just made a serious case. I mean ... yeah. It was 44-3 (!!!) after three quarters. Against Oklahoma! Exclamation points!!! I'm willing to acknowledge after watching a good chunk of that whoopin' that Oklahoma State might be Alabama-level good.

The thing I always tell people is this: None of the let-me-distort-some-numbers stuff should matter. Whether Oklahoma State has more top-25 wins (a totally arbitrary cutoff) or more losses to unranked teams or a conference title or more points scored in weeknight road games played in front of crowds between 30,000 and 50,000 people doesn't matter. The only thing that matters: Which are the two best teams in the country? The whole thing is simple (kind of) but gets complicated by a million arguments that miss the forest for the trees.

IMO, the best teams in the country are as follows: LSU, Alabama, Oklahoma State. I'm less positive about the second spot than I was yesterday but still can't justify splitting LSU and Bama given the way their game played out and the splinter-in-my-head thought that Alabama was literally one decent kick away from beating LSU and being a unanimous No. 1. I'd put those two in the national championship game without any concerns about a rematch or conference championships or blah blah blah. The best teams are the best teams, even if there are more than two in the discussion. But not everybody will see it that way after the terrible things Oklahoma State just did to a borderline-elite team. Okie State is gonna be second in the computers and probably second on some ballots, partially because of the total obliteration of Oklahoma (obviously) and partially because of some voters' indisputable desire to avoid a rematch by elevating Florida in 2006 any tenuously comparable replacement. Whether those ballots are enough to offset all the ones* from south of the Mason-Dixon Line is anybody's guess; my guess is no based on how much ground (a lot) Oklahoma State will have to make up in the human polls, which comprise two-thirds of the formula.

It'll be close, though, and that's entirely due to Oklahoma State planting a seed of doubt that most people didn't think could exist. The BCS Selection Show-type thing will actually be worth watching for once.

Assuming Bama stays at No. 2, everything else is a no-brainer because of the total lack of available at-large spots this year. TCU is probably gonna get an autobid by being a conference champion ranked in the top 16 and ahead of the Big East's crappy winner, which means there will be autobids for LSU, Alabama (championship game invite), Oklahoma State, Stanford (guaranteed a BCS spot by finishing in the top four), Oregon, Wisconsin, Clemson, West Virginia and TCU. That leaves one at-large spot for either Virginia Tech (no), Boise State (no), Houston (hahaha), Kansas State (no) or Michigan (yay). There'll be a second at-large spot if TCU doesn't make it into the top 16, which is a possibility given the fluidity of the mid-teens in the rankings.

The Sugar Bowl gets the first pick (to replace LSU) and will take Michigan since the other available options suck in terms of ticket sales. The Fiesta will take Stanford to play Oklahoma State, the Sugar will take TCU -- or Kansas State if it's an at-large pick -- to play Michigan and the Orange will get its bazillionth straight craptacular matchup by taking West Virginia and Clemson. Woo.

Oklahoma State being No. 2 actually wouldn't change a whole lot. Alabama would obviously slide down to the Sugar Bowl to replace LSU, and the Fiesta Bowl (now without strippers!) would then jump all over Michigan and Stanford. The rest of the picks would be the same: TCU or Kansas State to the Sugar Bowl and Clemson and West Virginia to the Orange Bowl. Man, that Sugar Bowl could be ugly.

So ... that's where things stand. Pointless speculation FTW.

*I'm hoping Gary Danielson doesn't have a vote since he'd have the entire SEC ranked 1-12.


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