All Eyes on MAC Championship Game
Can a team that lost to Kentucky by 33 points end up in the Orange Bowl? Yes, it is not just possible, there is almost a 50-50 chance that it will happen. Kent State fell to the weakest team in the SEC by a score of 47-14, but that was the Golden Flashes only loss of the season. KSU rebounded to run the table in the MAC plus added a win over then undefeated Rutgers in New Jersey.
The current BCS rankings list Kent State at number 17, one spot short of what would be an automatic entry into a BCS Bowl. If Kent State beats Northern Illinois this week, and Stanford beats UCLA again, then Kent State will definitely gain admission to the Orange Bowl.
The BCS rules state that if a non-automatic qualifying member of an FBS conference finishes in the top 16 of the BCS standings and finishes ahead of any automatic qualifying team, then that non-automatic qualifying team automatically earns a BCS Bowl invitation (in the case where more than one non-automatic qualifying team finishes in the top 16, then only the higher/highest-ranked team earns this invitation.
The Big East Champion will not finish in the top 16 and may not even finish in the top 25. If Georgia Tech or Wisconsin win their championship games this week, it will be a moot point, because neither will generate even one BCS vote.
If Kent State ends up qualifying for the BCS, then the Golden Flashes will be the last team chosen, and that selection this year goes to the Orange Bowl. The Big East Champion will then move up to the Sugar Bowl. This creates two boring mismatches for these prestigious bowls.
Oklahoma stands to lose in this equation. The Sooners would be a lock for the Sugar Bowl if Kent State loses or UCLA wins this week. They will fall to the Cotton Bowl if Kent State wins and UCLA loses.
The bowl picture still has some cloudiness, but things are starting to fall in line. Here is our conference-by-conference look for this week.
Atlantic Coast Conference
Florida State and Georgia Tech face off in the conference title game in Charlotte this week, and the Seminoles are a prohibitive favorite. A Georgia Tech drops the Yellow Jackets to 6-7, which would necessitate a waiver to play in a bowl game. There will be 70 bowl-eligible teams without Tech, but UCLA set a precedent last year under similar circumstances. Because Tech finished third in the Coastal Division, they would not normally be playing FSU this week, so they should be looked at as a 6-6 team. They will receive that waiver at 6-7 and fall to the Sun Bowl, which is the farthest the ACC Championship Game loser can fall.
North Carolina State fired Tom O’Brien Sunday, so the Wolfpack will fall in the bowl pecking order. Virginia Tech won to become bowl eligible, and the Hokies will pass NCSU. Duke will stay close to home, while Clemson heads to Atlanta in what could be one fantastic renewal of a former rivalry.
1. BCS (Orange): Florida State
2. Chick-fil-A: Clemson
3. Russell Athletic: Virginia Tech
4. Sun: Georgia Tech
5. Belk: Duke:
6. Music City: North Carolina St.
Big East Conference
This league has now fallen below 100 in the PiRate Ratings averages, and it is a travesty that the conference champion will earn a BCS Bowl bid. Not a single team in the Big East could defeat any of the top five SEC or Big 12 teams, and the probably champion lost at home to Kent State.
Rutgers will win the conference with a win at home over ailing Louisville Thursday night. If UL wins, then the race is up for grabs. At least three teams and possibly four will finished tied 1t 5-2. Cincinnati can get a piece of the title with a win at Connecticut. The tiebreaker rules basically make the winner of the UL-RU game the winner of the BCS Bowl bid.
Pittsburgh and Connecticut are both 5-6. If the Panthers win at South Florida, they will become bowl eligible. UConn needs to upset Cincinnati to become bowl eligible. Our ratings believe Pitt will win, and the Huskies will lose.
The Panthers have played in the BBVA Compass bowl two consecutive seasons, so we believe the conference will work with the bowls to keep Pitt out of Birmingham.
1. BCS (Sugar): Rutgers
2. Russell Athletic: Louisville
3. Belk: Cincinnati
4. Pinstripe: Pittsburgh
5. BBVA Compass: Syracuse
6. Beef O’Brady’s: None Available (Connecticut if victorious over Cinti)
Big Ten Conference
This race became much clearer this weekend. Nebraska and Wisconsin face off in Indianapolis for the Rose Bowl bid. For now, we will go with the Cornhuskers to win that game. Purdue and Michigan State became bowl eligible this past weekend, but the Boliermakers fired Danny Hope, which moves them to the bottom of the pecking order.
1. BCS (Rose): Nebraska
2. Capital One: Michigan
3. Outback: Northwestern
4. Gator: Wisconsin
5. Buffalo Wild Wings: Michigan St.
6. Meineke Car Care of Texas: Minnesota
7. Heart of Dallas: Purdue
8. Little Caesar’s: None Available
Big 12 Conference
Either Kansas State or Oklahoma will win the league’s automatic bid to the Fiesta Bowl. If Kent State does sneak into the BCS, then two teams could be in the BCS. If both KSU and Oklahoma lose this week, then Clemson might steal the extra spot back even though the Tigers lost to South Carolina.
Kansas State hosts Texas, and the Longhorns do not look strong enough to pull off the upset. This could be the end for Mack Brown, and if the Texas job comes open, the folks in Austin can put together a package to lure anybody to UT.
Oklahoma has a tough game at TCU. The Horned Frogs could be playing their last game under Coach Gary Patterson, who is being mentioned in several other job openings.
Iowa State is a team on the bubble. The Cyclones could find themselves on the outside looking in if Kent State earns the BCS Bowl. The Big 12 has eight bowl tie-ins and nine bowl eligible teams. Should the league only get one team into a BCS Bowl, ISU will not have a guaranteed spot in a league bowl. At 6-6, they would lose out to any MAC or Sunbelt team with a winning record. Iowa State would need for both Pitt and Connecticut to lose to be assured of a bowl, because there are six MAC schools and five Sunbelt schools with winning records with just five bowl tie-ins (six if Kent State sneaks into the Orange Bowl).
1. BCS (Fiesta): Kansas St.
2. Cotton: Oklahoma
3. Alamo: Texas
4. Buffalo Wild Wings: Oklahoma St.
5. Holiday: T C U
6. Meineke Car Care of Texas: Texas Tech
7. Pinstripe: West Virginia
8. Heart of Dallas: Baylor
Iowa St: Biting their nails and hoping Kent State loses or both Pitt and UConn lose.
Central Florida and Tulsa hook up in the title game in Tulsa this week, where the two teams faced off two weeks ago. This time, we believe UCF will get the better of the Hurricane.
Rice and SMU became bowl eligible this past weekend, so the league will fill its bowl allotments. The Owls are actually the hottest team in this league. Coach David Bailiff was on the hot seat five weeks ago, but now he is being mentioned in other job openings. This was to be a rebuilding season in Houston.
1. Liberty: Central Florida
2. Hawaii: Tulsa
3. Armed Forces: S M U
4. Beef O’Brady’s: East Carolina
5. New Orleans: Rice
Notre Dame secured a spot in the National Championship Game with the win at Southern Cal. BYU and Navy have already accepted bids to the bowls tied in with the two schools. Army must relinquish its Military Bowl bid to an at-large entry.
1. BCS (National Championship Game): Notre Dame
2. Poinsettia: Brigham Young (accepted this bid)
3. Kraft Fight Hunger: Navy (accepted this bid)
4. Military: None Available
To this point, we have not really mentioned Northern Illinois. The Huskies are 11-1, just like Kent State, and this is a tossup game that will be played in Detroit. NIU does not have a big signature win against a BCS team, having lost to Iowa in Chicago in week one before running off 11 wins in a row. However, second year coach Dave Doeren has done a great job in Dekalb, keeping this program among the tops at the non-AQ level. Doeren could be poised to move up to a BCS conference job.
Central Michigan became bowl eligible with a win over Massachusetts, but it now looks highly unlikely that the 6-6 Chippewas will get an at-large bid. However, Toledo, Ball State, Bowling Green, and Ohio U should all garner bids as well as the two championship game combatants.
1. BCS (Orange): Kent St.
2. Little Caesars: Northern Illinois
3. GoDaddy.com: Toledo
4. Famous Idaho Potato: Bowling Green
5. Military (at-large): Ohio U
6. Liberty (at-large): Ball St.
Mountain West Conference
Boise State is now out of luck and cannot possibly sneak into the BCS Bowl picture. Both Kent State and Northern Illinois are ahead of the Broncos in the BCS standings. A Bronco win over Nevada this week will see the conference end in a three-way tie for first. Boise’s fans travel well, so the Broncos should be first in line in the bowl pecking order.
Two teams have already accepted bowl invitations. Air Force is headed to the Armed Forces Bowl, while Nevada just accepted a bid to the New Mexico Bowl.
1. MAACO: Boise St.
2. Poinsettia: San Diego St.
3. Hawaii: Fresno St.
4. Armed Forces: Air Force (accepted this bid)
5. New Mexico: Nevada (accepted this bid)
Stanford hosts UCLA for the Rose Bowl bid, just six days after clobbering the Bruins at the Rose Bowl. A Cardinal win Friday night could be the coup de grace for the Big 12 getting a second BCS Bowl invitation.
Oregon is almost a shoo-in for the Fiesta Bowl, as the Fiesta Bowl will get the second choice from among the at-large invitations. The Sugar Bowl selects ahead of the Fiesta, but we believe an SEC team will be their selection. It might be interesting to see Oregon face Kent State in the Sugar Bowl to see if the Ducks could go for 100 points.
1. BCS (Rose): Stanford
2. BCS (Fiesta): Oregon
3. Alamo: U C L A
4. Holiday: Oregon St.
5. Sun: Arizona St.
6. MAACO: Southern Cal
7. Kraft Fight Hunger: Washington
8. New Mexico: Arizona
The Alabama-Georgia game in Atlanta this weekend serves as a semifinal game for the national championship. Because Florida will almost assuredly finish third in the BCS rankings, the loser of the SEC Championship Game will drop possibly as far as the fifth bowl in the pecking order, especially if Georgia loses.
Ole Miss became bowl eligible with their Egg Bowl win over Mississippi State, but the SEC will fall two teams short in bowl obligations. That means the Liberty and Independence Bowls will have to find at-large participants.
Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel may have a new nickname. Instead of Johnny Football, he could soon be known as Johnny Heisman. He and Notre Dame’s Manti Te’o are the only two legitimate contenders for the Heisman Trophy.
1. BCS (National Championship Game): Alabama
2. BCS (Sugar): Florida
3. Capital One: L S U
4. Outback: South Carolina
5. Cotton: Texas A&M
6. Chick-fil-A: Georgia
7. Gator: Mississippi St.
8. Music City: Vanderbilt
9. BBVA Compass: Ole Miss
10. Liberty: None Available
11. Independence: None Available
The conference championship will be decided this weekend when Middle Tennessee goes to Jonesboro to play Arkansas State. The winner will earn a trip to the GoDaddy.com bowl, while the loser may have to head to Detroit as an at-large team.
UL-Lafayette accepted a bid to the New Orleans Bowl over the weekend. UL-Monroe and Western Kentucky should also see bowl invitations extended.
1. GoDaddy.com: Arkansas St.
2. New Orleans: UL-Lafayette (accepted this bid)
3. Little Caesar’s (at-large): Middle Tennessee
4. Independence (at-large): UL-Monroe
5. Beef O’Brady’s (at-large): Western Kentucky
Western Athletic Conference
Too bad this league will no longer compete in football as most of the teams vacate to other conferences next year. Truth be told, the top three in the WAC might be better than the top three in the Big East and close to the equal of the top three in the ACC.
Utah State, San Jose State, and Louisiana Tech will earn bowl bids. UT-San Antonio finished 8-4, but the Roadrunners are not eligible to compete in a bowl due to being in transition to the FBS.
The one sad point is that the top three teams may all lose their coaches to bigger programs. Gary Andersen, Mike MacIntyre, and Sonny Dykes are sizzling hot commodities.
1. Famous Idaho Potato: Utah St. (accepted this bid)
2. Independence (at-large): Louisiana Tech
3. Military (at-large): San Jose St.
|New Mexico||MWC # 4/5||Nevada √||Pac12 #7 / WAC||Arizona|
|Famous Idaho Pot.||MAC #3||Bowling Green||WAC #1/2||Utah St. √|
|Poinsettia||MWC #2||San Diego St.||BYU/WAC||B Y U √|
|Beef O’Brady’s||Big East #6||(Western Ky.)||C-USA #2-5 (4)||East Carolina|
|New Orleans||Sunbelt #1||UL-Lafayette √||C-USA #2-5 (5)||Rice|
|MAACO||MWC #1||Boise St.||Pac 12 #5||Southern Cal|
|Hawaii||MWC #3/Hawaii||Fresno St.||C-USA #2-5 (2)||Tulsa|
||Big 10 #8||(Middle Tenn.)||MAC #1||Northern Illinois|
|Military||ACC #8||(Ohio U)||Army/CUSA||(San Jose St.)|
|Belk||ACC #5||Duke||Big East #3||Cincinnati|
|Holiday||Pac 12 #3||Oregon St.||Big 12 #5||T C U|
|Independence||ACC #6/7 (7)||(Louisiana Tech)||SEC #10||(UL-Monroe)|
|Russell Athletic||Big East #2||Louisville||ACC #3||Virginia Tech|
|Meineke Car Care||Big 12 #6||Texas Tech||Big 10 #6||Minnesota|
|Armed Forces||C-USA #3||S M U||MWC #4-5||Air Force √|
|Kraft Fight Hunger||Pac 12 #6||Washington||Navy/ACC||Navy √|
|Pinstripe||Big East #4||Pittsburgh||Big 12 #7||West Va.|
|Alamo||Big 12 #3||Texas||Pac 12 #2||U C L A|
|Buffalo Wild Wings||Big 12 #4||Oklahoma St.||Big 10 #4 or 5||Michigan St.|
|Music City||SEC # 7||Vanderbilt||ACC #6||North Carolina St.|
|Sun||ACC #4||Georgia Tech||Pac 12 #4||Arizona St.|
|Liberty||SEC#8-9/BigEast||(Ball St.)||C-USA #1||Central Florida|
|Chick-fil-A||SEC #5||Georgia||ACC #2||Clemson|
|Heart of Dallas||Big 10 #7||Purdue||Big 12 #8||Baylor|
|Gator||Big 10 #4 or 5||Wisconsin||SEC #6||Mississippi St.|
|Capital One||Big 10 #2||Michigan||SEC #2||L S U|
|Outback||SEC #3 or 4||South Carolina||Big 10 #3||Northwestern|
|Rose||BCS Pac12||Stanford||BCS Big 10||Nebraska|
|Orange||BCS ACC||Florida St.||BCS At-Large||Kent St.|
|Sugar||BCS SEC||Florida||BCS At-Large||Rutgers|
|Fiesta||BCS Big 12||Kansas St.||BCS At-Large||Oregon|
|Cotton||Big 12 #2||Oklahoma||SEC #3 or 4||Texas A&M|
|BBVA Compass||Big East#5/CUSA||Syracuse||SEC #8 or 9||Ole Miss|
|GoDaddy.com||Sunbelt # 2||Arkansas St.||MAC #2||Toledo|
|Nat’l Championship||*** BCS #1 ***||Notre Dame||*** BCS #2 ***||Alabama|
|√ = Team has already accepted this bowl bid|
Here are this week’s PiRate Ratings
|P i R a t e|
|9||L S U||123.2|
|15||U S C||117.9|
|21||U C L A||114.6|
|23||T C U||114.0|
|26||B Y U||112.3|
|52||North Carolina St.||103.8|
|57||San Jose St.||102.7|
|60||San Diego St.||100.6|
|75||S M U||96.0|
|97||U T E P||87.6|
|108||U A B||83.0|
|118||U T S A||77.7|
|123||New Mexico St.||72.1|
|V i n t a g e|
|7||L S U||124.5|
|19||U C L A||114.0|
|24||B Y U||111.5|
|25||T C U||111.0|
|30||San Diego St.||109.5|
|38||North Carolina St.||107.5|
|49||San Jose St.||104.5|
|84||S M U||92.5|
|101||U T S A||87.5|
|109||U A B||83.5|
|112||U N L V||82.5|
|113||U T E P||82.0|
|124||New Mexico St.||69.0|
PiRate Ratings By Conference
|Atlantic Coast Conference|
|North Carolina St.||4-4||7-5||103.8||107.5|
|Big East Conference|
|T C U||4-4||7-4||114.0||111.0|
|U A B||2-6||3-9||83.0||83.5|
|S M U||5-3||6-6||96.0||92.5|
|U T E P||2-6||3-9||87.6||82.0|
|B Y U||7-5||112.3||111.5|
|Mid American Conference|
|Mountain West Conference|
|San Diego St.||7-1||9-3||100.6||109.5|
|U S C||5-4||7-5||117.9||112.0|
|U C L A||6-3||9-3||114.6||114.0|
|L S U||6-2||10-2||123.2||124.5|
|Western Athletic Conference|
|San Jose St.||5-1||10-2||102.7||104.5|
|U T S A||3-3||8-4||77.7||87.5|
|New Mexico St.||0-5||1-10||72.1||69.0|
This Week’s PiRate Spreads
|This Week’s Games|
|Thursday, November 29|
|Friday, November 23|
|Northern Illinois (Detroit)||Kent St.||6.7||-0.5||5|
|STANFORD||U c l a||9.2||14.0||9|
|Saturday, November 24|
|Oklahoma||T C U||10.1||6.5||6 1/2|
|Oklahoma St.||BAYLOR||7.2||6.0||4 1/2|
|TEXAS ST.||New Mexico St.||9.4||17.5||13|
|ARKANSAS ST.||Middle Tennessee||14.0||9.5||10|
|UL-Lafayette||FLORIDA ATLANTIC||13.1||12.0||9 1/2|
|HAWAII||South Alabama||8.2||8.0||4 1/2|
|Alabama (Atlanta)||Georgia||7.0||-1.5||7 1/2|
|Florida St. (Charlotte)||Georgia Tech||15.9||13.5||14|
|Nebraska (Indianapolis)||Wisconsin||1.0||8.5||2 1/2|
Saturday, December 8, 2012