For most teams, it is (as they say) all over but the shouting. But there does seem to be an unusual amount of shouting. What is this year's BCS outrage? (The most popular pick is Iowa being left out of the Rose Bowl.) If Miami loses, who replaces them? (The idea that it might be - gasp - Miami has been raised, although mostly as a sign of how messed up the system is.) Who is being unfairly treated by the bowls? (Your turn, Virginia fans.) Whose coach needs to be fired? (C'mon, Aggies, how can you fire someone named RC Slocum?) The ratings here are based only on season-long numbers, but that perspective is an interesting one to note as we argue about the bowls.So, how big of an injustice is it if Iowa is left out of the Rose Bowl? Certainly, it's traditional to have a Pac 10 - Big 10 matchup. Ohio State going to the Fiesta Bowl removes the guarantee of that matchup, and unless UCLA beats Washington State Saturday the at-large BCS picks will go to other bowls. However, the computer only has Iowa #7 so the computer doesn't think that Iowa being left out would be nearly as bad as, say, Southern Cal being left out. Both could happen since Notre Dame will probably get a BCS bid; and that is where the computer really disagrees with what will happen. And, anyway, why isn't anyone concerned about Kansas State getting left out (again)?
What happens if Miami loses to Virginia Tech? I suspect that Miami would be #2 and still in the Fiesta Bowl, but it may not be a valid question for long in balmy Miami.
Virginia is mad because in spite of tieing for second in the ACC they're getting stuck in the ACC 5/6 slot in the bowls. NC State, Maryland and Clemson were chosen ahead of the Hoos by the bowl Grinches, and no Christmas singing can help. The bowls, I suspect, like naming 10-3 teams instead of 8-5 teams. And the computer supports the choice of State and Maryland ahead of Virginia. As for Clemson, here are some numbers: Virginia 6-2 in the ACC to Clemson's 4-4, Virginia won the matchup 22-17, Virginia is 8-5 overall to Clemson's 7-5, Virginia has a computer rating of 51 to Clemson's 49, Clemson brings 30,000 fans to Virginia's 2000. Add them all up and Clemson wins the Tangerine Bowl 30,077 to 2,087. Adding to Virginia's misery is the possibility that Tech will bump them from the Retread Bowl in Charlotte out to Seattle. For awhile, the talk was that Tech would get the #3 Big East bid over Pittsburgh; you can check the computer ratings for some insight into the logic of this choice.
Three conference championships highlights this week's games. The Washington State - UCLA
game has major BCS implications, and Army-Navy get together for the best battle of 1-10
teams you can get.
The following predictions are straight from the ratings, with 4 points added for the
Oklahoma over Colorado by 4
Georgia over Arkansas by 5
Toledo over Marshall by 4
UCLA over Wash. State by 2
Navy over Army by 5
Miami over Virginia Tech by 15
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