Sunday, November 12, 2006

Championship picture gets a whole lot clearer

Well, this just got a whole lot less controversial, didn't it? Including Louisville's loss on Thursday, a grand total of four teams lost their chances at going to the BCS Championship in GlenDale, AZ. So just what are the possible match-ups remaining? Let's take a look:

Winner of Ohio State/Michigan vs Florida/Arkansas
How will this happen?:
  • Obviously, Florida must defeat Western Carolina and Florida State in the coming weeks; and Arkansas needs to defeat Mississippi State and Louisiana State
  • If both teams make it to the SEC Championship with only one loss, the winner will likely represent the conference in the National Championship.
This is the most likely of all the championship scenarios, because Florida and Arkansas are the two only teams remaining that controls their own destiny. Both teams have difficult tests heading into the conference championship, however. Arkansas has a key date at home with LSU, and Florida has their annual rivalry with Florida State at Tallahassee. If both teams make it to the SEC Championship with only one loss, both of their rankings should jump up and put the winner of the game in a position to go to the National Championship.

Winner of Ohio State/Michigan vs USC
How will this happen?
  • USC defeats Cal, Notre Dame, and UCLA
  • Arkansas defeats Mississippi State, but loses to LSU. Then, they defeat a 1-loss Florida team in the SEC Championship
  • OR Florida loses to Florida State, but then defeats a 1-loss Arkansas team in the SEC Championship
Essentially, for USC to make it to Arizona, they need the winner of the SEC to have two losses. For this to happen, one of the top two teams in the SEC will have to lose once more in the regular season, and then win the SEC Championship. This will give both teams 2 losses, and make it nearly impossible for the team to have a prayer at the championship game. Also, USC has two of their hardest tests of the season ahead of them, playing a revenge-seeking Notre Dame team and a Cal team coming off of a tough loss. If they can get past both of those tests, and the rest falls into place, there should be no problem for USC getting to the championship.

Winner of Ohio State/Michigan vs Notre Dame
How will this happen?
  • Notre Dame runs the table, beating Army and USC
  • Winner of Ohio State/Michigan wins convincingly
  • SEC Champion finishes with two losses
I already described just what needs to happen for the SEC Champion to have two losses, so I won't go through all of it again. If the loser of the Ohio State/Michigan team gets absolutely hammered in the game, their ranking should fall further than #2 and eliminate any chance of a rematch. However, if the above does happen, it should make Notre Dame the highest ranked one-loss team in America, and that should be enough to punch their tickets.

Winner of Ohio State/Michigan vs West Virginia/Louisville/Rutgers
How will this happen?
  • West Virginia defeats Rutgers en route to a 1-loss season or Rutgers finishes undefeated
  • Louisville finishes season with 1-loss
  • Cal defeats USC
  • USC defeats ND
  • SEC Champion finishes with two losses
This is an incredibly unlikely scenario. Regardless of who wins the conference, there is still a good chance that they get left out of the National Championship. Everyone is rooting for Rutgers to make it, but there is absolutely no chance of that happening. The best one of these teams can hope for at this point is a BCS Bowl berth against a team that isn't Boise State.

Winner of Ohio State/Michigan vs Loser of Ohio State/Michigan
How will this happen?
  • The result of the game on the 18th is incredibly close, and isn't decided until the final play.
  • All current 1-loss teams outside of the Big East lose
  • Rutgers loses
Ah, yes, the dream scenario that everyone wants. Well, everyone except me perhaps (more coming later this week). Every other legitimate national title contender needs to lose within the next few weeks, which is just about impossible to happen. Realistically, Rutgers probably doesn't need to lose for this to happen, but you never know with the voters nowadays.

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