Boy, football sure is fun when we're winning, amirite?
Sagarin's newest rankings are out (http://sagarin.com/sports/cfsend.htm), so let's use them to make wildly overconfident predictions about the remainder of the college football season:
SEC-EAST 1. Georgia 87.21 #8 2. Florida 84.62 #14 3. South Carolina 84.59 #15 4. Missouri 78.86 #34 5. Vanderbilt 75.87 #47 6. Tennessee 73.09 #59 7. Kentucky 66.37 #81 ______________________________ SEC-WEST 1. Alabama 97.16 #1
2. LSU 87.77 #4
3. Texas A&M 86.93 #9 4. Auburn 78.56 #35
5. Ole Miss 77.31 #37
6. Mississippi State 75.68 #49
7. Arkansas 75.64 #50
So, taking these new numbers, a far more reasonable 4.24-point homefield advantage, and the bowl selection rules, we can project the following...
SEC-EAST 1. Georgia 11-1 (8-0) Capital One Bowl 2. South Carolina 11-1 (7-1) Sugar Bowl 3. Florida 8-4 (5-3) Outback Bowl 4. Vanderbilt 6-6 (2-6) Music City Bowl? 5. Missouri 6-6 (2-6) BBVA Compass Bowl? 6. Tennessee 5-7 (2-6) 7. Kentucky 2-10 (0-8) ______________________________ SEC-WEST 1. Alabama 12-0 (8-0) BCS National Championship Game 2. LSU 10-2 (6-2) Cotton Bowl 3. Texas A&M 10-2 (6-2) Chick-Fil-A Bowl 4. Auburn 7-5 (3-5) Gator Bowl? 5. Ole Miss 7-5 (3-5) Liberty Bowl? 6. Arkansas 5-7 (2-6) 7. Mississippi State 5-7 (2-6) ______________________________ SEC CHAMPIONSHIP: Alabama (-10) over Georgia
This week I thought I'd be fun to look at the best case/worst case scenarios for each SEC team. The good folks at Beyond the Box Score have figured out the chance of victory the favorite has in college football based on the Vegas line. Since Sagarin lines up pretty nicely with Vegas, we can figure out with 95% confidence (using just a little bit of dubious math) the best case/worst case (barring injury or dramatic miscalculation) for...
Best Case: 11-2, SEC East Champion and BCS At-Large. There's nobody on Florida's schedule that they can't beat, but they'd need a ridiculous run (as well as 2007-level shenanigans) to get to Pasadena.
Worst Case: 5-7, Coach Boom goes boom. Conversely, there's nobody on Florida's schedule that can't beat them (save Georgia Southern), meaning a bowl-less postseason and hot seat allegations are not outside the realm of possibility.
Best Case: 12-1, SEC (and possible BCS) Champion. Yes, they need some chaos to do the latter, but their sole loss was (1) at the beginning of the season, (2) on the road, (3) close, and (4) to a very good (if not elite) team. That's the perfect formula for a one-loss conference champ to sneak into the championship game.
Worst Case: 8-4, Outback Bowl. App. State and Kentucky are the only guaranteed wins left on the schedule, but dropping more than 3 of the remaining SEC slate (plus Georgia Tech) is a bit much.
Best Case: 4-8, moral victory. Doubling their 2012 win total and beating two SEC teams would...probably still not be enough to get Wildcat fans to stop thinking about basketball, but it'd be a step in the right direction.
Worst Case: 2-10, indistinguishable from current projection. Kentucky's not bad enough to lose to Alabama State, right? ......right?
Best Case: 9-3, Outback Bowl. I mused last week that Mizzou was a few lucky bounces away from a 10-win season, and sure enough the other other Tigers have 5 games left on their schedule where they are roughly a field goal underdog or less. Hitting 5 in a row would be ridiculous, but 3 in a row would bounce them to third in the SEC East.
Worst Case: 4-8, welcome to the hot seat. Yeah, Mizzou could have it come up heads 7 times and be in the conference championship discussion, but it's more likely to come up tails 7 times and shorten Gary Pinkel's career (which would be a shame, considering how good this squad might be).
Best Case: 12-1, SEC (and unlikely BCS) Champion. The Ole Ball Coach could get back to Atlanta if Georgia flames out, and Alabama is beatable, but there may be too many potential undefeated BCS conference champs to get a shot at the crystal football.
Worst Case: 8-4, everybody loves the Outback Bowl. Clemson, Florida and Mizzou are good enough to get the jump on the Fightin' Clowneys, but can anyone see the Cocks dropping all 3 and another game along the way?
Best Case: 7-5, Gator Bowl. Bowl eligibility in Butch Jones Year One is not impossible, but involves either hitting the trifecta of Auburn/Vandy/@Kentucky or getting two of three and upsetting one of Georgia/South Carolina/@Mizzou.
Worst Case: 3-9, Dooley'd. On the other hand, given Saturday's lackadaisical performance against South Alabama, 0-for-October and 0-for-November is still a possibility. Sorry, Vols; there's no guarantee that It Gets Better.
Best Case: 7-5, Gator Bowl. This is the Vanderbilt that we thought James Franklin would create: not really a contender for the divisional crown, but a solid second-tier team who represents the conference adequately in bowl play.
Worst Case: 4-8, Vandy being' Vandy. This is the Vanderbilt we all remember: mostly out of their depth in SEC play, but occasionally due for a good season now and again to set up the ol' Lucy Van Pelt.
Best Case: 13-0, SEC and BCS Champions. Why yes, this is the scenario that the model currently projects, thank you for asking.
Worst Case: 11-1, Cotton Bowl. And Bama will only fall that far if the SEC Champ isn't selected for the BCSNCG. This remains a 3-game regular season for the Crimson Tide, and 2 of those games are behind us.
Best Case: 7-5, Gator Bowl. Woo Pig Sooie doesn't have too many realistic upset bids left on their plate, but after last season (and, well, the last two weeks), what Arky fan wouldn't take a bowl berth right now?
Worst Case: 3-9, SMILE! This would represent a step backwards from the John L. Smith era. #karma
Best Case: 9-3, Chick-Fil-A Bowl. Yeah, I'm just as shocked as you are: the Gus Bus apparently provides service to New Year's Eve bowls.
Worst Case: 5-7, worth all $7.6 million. Considering how depleted this roster is after Chizik's departure, you can't blame the Plainsmen for feeling OK with this result.
Best Case: 12-1, SEC (and possible BCS) Champion. Copy and paste my rationale from Georgia, and add an upset of the #1 team in the country on the road. They may have the best route of all the one-loss teams for getting to Pasadena.
Worst Case: 8-4, Gator Bowl. That bowl pick is the absolute floor for this team; they're too good to go any lower without some serious voodoo.
Best Case: 7-5, Liberty Bowl. And that's including the dubious projection of an upset over Ole Miss. I have a hard time bringing myself to #believe in bowl-eligibility for ol' Clanga.
Worst Case: 3-9, coaching search. Seriously, a loss to Bowling Green at home is a possibility here. I doubt it (State has done a good job of beating up on cupcakes these past few seasons), but if it were to happen a mid-season firing would not be out of the question.
Best Case: 10-2, Cotton Bowl. This team may well be better than they played last Saturday. If so, we'll start to see Ole Miss on lists of dark horse 2014 contenders by January 7th.
Worst Case: 5-7, IT'S A TRAP. Two more guaranteed wins on the table (Idaho and Troy). I don't know how the Rebel Black Ackbar Bears go 0-6 with their upcoming SEC slate (@Auburn, Texas A&M, LSU, Arkansas, Mizzou, @Miss St), but I suppose that would be the worst case scenario.
Best Case: 11-1, BCS At-Large (unlikely BCS Champion). This team has the talent to win out, but Alabama has the tiebreaker and doesn't have 2 losses remaining on its schedule. The best bet for the Aggie faithful is a one-loss Alabama getting beat by a flawed SEC East champ, along with a good bit of chaos among the other BCS champions.
Worst Case: 8-4, Gator Bowl. This defense is suspect, but there just aren't that many teams in front of TAMU that can take advantage.
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Next week, I want to spend more time on the BCS contenders, but for now, the abridged version: looking at BCS Guru's simulated BCS standings, the winner of Oregon/Stanford (right now separated by 0.01 points) should win out and maintain the #2 spot behind Alabama. Clemson may avoid Clemsoning the conference, but may have their title hopes squashed by the OBC. Ohio State and Louisville have no impediments to an undefeated conference championship, but also no strength-of-schedule to speak of. Oklahoma, meanwhile, should not survive a top-heavy Big 12 unscathed, but should claim the conference championship. With South Carolina, Florida State, and Baylor looking like solid at-large participants, (and Northern Illinois too far back to crash the party), we can deduce the following line-up:
BCS Matchups:BCS National Championship Game: Alabama (-5) over Oregon
Rose Bowl: Stanford (-2) over Ohio State
Orange Bowl: Clemson (-2) over Louisville
Sugar Bowl: South Carolina (-1) over Baylor
Fiesta Bowl: Florida State (-1) over Oklahoma