« on: November 07, 2012, 11:24:34 AM »
This seems useful to know... sorry if Luked.
With four undefeated teams on top and Oregon moving into the No. 3 spot in this week's BCS standings, the race for the BCS National Championship Game is hitting the home stretch.
The No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide showed vulnerability Saturday at LSU, so nobody should be putting the Tide in the national title game just yet. But if Bama stays undefeated, the battle for the No. 2 spot could be compelling over the next four weeks.
Notre Dame is a long shot because of its position in the polls and remaining schedule. Looking at the point totals in the Harris and coaches' polls, simple math says the Irish are sitting at No. 4 on almost every ballot (worse than fourth by a few coaches), and their potential to move up is limited by having the weakest remaining schedule of the four contenders. But the Irish can still have a big impact on the race for No. 2 by affecting the computer rankings of Kansas State and Oregon.
Game results of past opponents and records of future opponents can have an influence on computers and voters. With that in mind, here are 12 games not involving the Wildcats and Ducks that could play a part in deciding which team ultimately gains the edge in the BCS standings:
12. Louisville Cardinals at Syracuse Orange (Nov. 10)
The impact would be minor, but little things can add up in the computers. Because USC beat Syracuse earlier in the season, a win by the Orange over undefeated Louisville would improve USC's schedule strength. And because Oregon and Notre Dame both play USC (the Ducks have already beaten the Trojans), this upset would give them a slight boost as well. Kansas State fans should be rooting for Louisville.
11. Michigan Wolverines at Ohio State Buckeyes (Nov. 24)
With Michigan being one of the better wins this season for Notre Dame and Alabama, those teams would both gain strength in the computers if the Wolverines go on the road and knock off what will be either an 11-0 or 10-1 Ohio State. Alabama will probably finish No. 1 in most of the computers if it wins out, so this isn't as big of a deal for the Tide as it is for the Irish. The truth of the matter is that it's hard to say whether Notre Dame being strengthened in the computers is good or bad for Kansas State. On one hand, it will make it more difficult for Oregon to jump Notre Dame. On the other hand, it might cause the Irish to finish ahead of the Wildcats in some ratings. Either way, it's sure to have an impact.
10. ACC Championship Game (Dec. 1)
If Miami can beat Virginia and Duke, it will win the ACC Coastal Division and could play an 11-1 Florida State in the conference title game. If that scenario plays out, an upset win by Miami over the highly ranked Seminoles would strengthen the computer profile of Kansas State and Notre Dame, since both beat the Hurricanes this season. Having a victory over another major-conference champion could help KSU with some voters in the résumé test against Oregon.
9. Stanford Cardinal at UCLA Bruins (Nov. 24)
On the surface, this looks like a game that Oregon would prefer to be won by Stanford, because the Ducks play the Cardinal (Nov. 17) and don't play the Bruins. But as of now, UCLA is the best possible opponent for Oregon in the Pac-12 Championship Game, and if the Bruins can get past USC, they should be 9-2 going into the Stanford game. Playing a 10-2 UCLA in the conference title game is the best-case scenario for the Ducks in the computers. Getting to play a team they haven't already beaten would probably make it the best-case scenario with the voters as well. Since Stanford is also a Notre Dame opponent, a win by the Bruins over the Cardinal would help Oregon gain on the Irish in the computers.
8. USC Trojans at UCLA Bruins (Nov. 17)
This game is significant for the same reason as the Stanford-UCLA game, because it gives Oregon a chance to play a 10-2 opponent in the Pac-12 title game.
But it's even more important to the BCS race, because a win by USC would set up the possibility that the Trojans could capture the Pac-12 South but lose to Notre Dame the following week, leaving the Ducks with a four-loss opponent in the conference championship game -- an opponent they already scored 62 points against on the road. And a USC win over UCLA would help Notre Dame's schedule strength.
7. Iowa State Cyclones at Texas Longhorns (Nov. 10)
6. TCU Horned Frogs at Texas Longhorns (Nov. 22)
It would have been hard to imagine after Texas' 63-21 loss to Oklahoma on Oct. 13, but if the Longhorns win these two games, they will be 9-2 going into the regular-season finale at Kansas State. The Wildcats are hurt by not having a conference championship game, like Oregon does, to get one extra game against a quality opponent.
But if Texas has only two losses when it plays K-State, the Wildcats would at least have the advantage of playing a higher-ranked opponent than Oregon on the season's final weekend. The Pac-12 title game is on Friday night, so KSU has the opportunity to make the closing argument of the national championship race on Saturday, Dec. 1. That makes these two games crucial for Kansas State to maximize the computer and poll impact of a win over Texas.
5. Oregon State Beavers at Stanford Cardinal (Nov. 10)
Oregon still has to play both of these teams, so the result of this game will have minimal influence on the computer rankings for the Ducks. But there's no question that an Oregon State win would put the Beavers in great position to be 10-1 going into The Civil War on Nov. 24, with only a home game against struggling Cal in between. OSU entering the Oregon game with only one loss would almost certainly make it a top-10 matchup, which is probably Oregon's only chance to get a top-10 win in the regular season. This could be a big deal if enough voters are comparing résumés -- and, therefore, best wins -- among the contending teams. Plus, it would give Oregon the opportunity to beat a top-10 team on a day that Kansas State doesn't play, which could be valuable to the Ducks in the polls. As is the case with the Stanford-UCLA game, the result Oregon needs would also hurt Notre Dame in the computers.
4. Oklahoma Sooners at West Virginia Mountaineers (Nov. 17)
3. Oklahoma State at Oklahoma (Nov. 24)
2. Oklahoma at TCU (Dec. 1)
Apologies to Baylor for assuming the Bears will lose in Norman this weekend, but I'm not making any assumptions on these other three games. All, however, are important to the Sooners winning out and finishing with a 10-2 record and a top-10 ranking. This would ensure both Kansas State and Notre Dame of having a win of higher quality than anything Oregon will have on its résumé. Even if Oregon State finishes 10-2, it won't be ranked as high as Oklahoma. That will be of value to the Wildcats and Irish in some computers, and it will be a consideration of some voters, especially since both teams won in Norman.
1. Notre Dame Fighting Irish at USC (Nov. 24)
As mentioned earlier, if USC has already won the Pac-12 South but loses this game to Notre Dame, it weakens the potential for Oregon's closing argument on Nov. 30. But this game sits at the top of the list because of the impact a USC win would likely have on the BCS race. Assuming Kansas State doesn't get much closer to Oregon in the polls, the Wildcats need to maintain a comfortable margin over the Ducks in the computers to have any chance of holding them off for the No. 2 spot.
That would be accomplished predominantly by having Notre Dame sit as a buffer team between Kansas State and Oregon in several computer ratings. A Notre Dame loss would allow the Ducks to rise another spot in every computer and gain enough ground on KSU in that part of the formula to take over second in the BCS standings. Barring a loss by Alabama or Oregon, Notre Dame falling to USC would more than likely end any chance Kansas State has of reaching this season's national championship game.