BCS football 2009: Projections for the Rose, Sugar, Fiesta, Orange and NCG

Thinking about the BCS matchups, all I can think about is the Big East: Why-oh-why does the conference get an automatic bid? I know why: Because the major conference commissioners take care of each other. But isn’t it about time to review agreements made years ago, when the Big East was a lock to churn out at least one BCS-worthy team each season. These days … Well, there’s a decent chance it won’t produce a Gator Bowl-worthy team. And yet come the first Sunday in December, Pittsburgh or Rutgers or West Virginia or South Florida — somebody’s going to take a spot in the BCS that could otherwise have gone to a far more worthy candidate. Unless, of course, Boise State or TCU (or Central Michigan?) is in the top-16 of the final BCS standings and ahead of the Big East champ. That scenario would result in the conference being squeezed out … We can only hope. Clarification: A non-automatic would jump into the BCS but not at the expense of the champ from a BCS conference. I got that half wrong. *** Automatic qualifiers ACC: Virginia Tech *** At-large selections Penn State (Possible party-crashers: Notre Dame, Boise State and Texas Christian.) *** Selection order No. 1 Florida and No. 2 Texas to the NCG *** BCS matchups National Championship Game Rose Bowl Orange Bowl Fiesta Bowl Sugar Bowl Continue Reading

BCS projections: Is USC better off not winning the Pac-10?

Was going to update my BCS disaster scenario item from two weeks ago, since so much has happened. But I have another screwy thought about the just-as-screwy BCS: USC has a better chance to win the national championship if the Trojans don’t win the Pac-10 championship. They can’t afford to lose another game, but they can afford to lose out in the Pac-10 title chase and still sneak into National Championship Game. In fact, I think they have a better chance of getting into the NCG if Oregon State runs the table and wins the Pac-10. The Beavers and Trojans would finished tied at 8-1 in conference play, but OSU would be the real-world champ and get the Rose Bowl bid by virtue of its head-to-head victory over the Trojans. And that just might help USC’s case. For those thinking/laughing/screaming that a team can’t win the national title without winning its conference title, I say: Nebraska ’01. The Cornhuskers lost their regular-season finale at Colorado 62-36 and did not make the Big 12 title game, but they played for the national championship. They finished No. 4 in the human polls but graded out so strongly in the computer polls that they were No. 2 in the final BCS standings — ahead of Colorado by 0.05. They advanced to the NCG and lost to Miami 37-14, leaving Colorado and Oregon (and everyone else who wanted a competitive game) spittin’ mad. So the Trojans would not be the first team to play for the title after not winning their conference. The question is, how would they get into one of the top-two spots of the final BCS standings? They’d need some help, for sure — they’d need carnage in the SEC and Big 12. Let’s say Texas Tech loses to Oklahoma, Florida beats ‘Bama in the SEC title game and the Big 12 South winner loses to Missouri … and pure chaos is the glorious, infuriating and gloriously infuriating result. (Don’t think it could happen? See: 2007.) So all of a sudden it’s Continue Reading

My Associated Press top-25 football ballot: Oklahoma State climbs (plus Stanford and the BCS)

*** Before we get to the ballot, here’s a post-game(s) update on Stanford’s situation: The Cardinal will hold its No. 4 spot in the BCS standings and is likely headed to the Fiesta Bowl to face Oklahoma State or Kansas State. If third-ranked Oklahoma State and second-ranked Alabama flip flop, then the Crimson Tide would receive protection as an at-large team in the No. 3 position. In that case, Stanford would lose the “Rule of Four” guarantee. However, I believe the Fiesta will still take Stanford over its next best option, which would probably be Michigan at No. 13-14. Hard to imagine the bowl dropping down 9-10 spots in the BCS ladder to grab a 2-loss team over a 1-loss team when the Fiesta’s executive director, Robert Shelton, is a Stanford graduate. (I know what you’re thinking, but ticket sales won’t be an issue for the Fiesta: Both Oklahoma State and Kansas State would sell out the game — K State has traveled very, very well to Arizona for bowls.)  Look at it this way: If the Big 12 team is OSU, then the Fiesta would want to match No. 3 vs. No. 4 … And if the Big 12 team is K State ranked 8-10, then Fiesta would want a top-5 team on the other side … not a double-digit ranking. Never in the 13-year history of the BCS has the No. 4 team been left out. This year won’t be the first. *** To the ballot … The big development came near the top: I moved Oklahoma State from No. 3 to No. 2, replacing Alabama. The margin of victory didn’t matter much to me — I rarely take that into account when it’s AQ vs AQ and the winning team is the home team. No, what mattered to me was what the Bedlam victory meant to Oklahoma State’s resume: OSU’s advantage over Alabama in the number of quality wins now offsets Bama’s edge in the quality of the loss (Bama to LSU, OSU to Iowa State). * I moved Wisconsin up to No. 9 after its neutral field win over Michigan State in Continue Reading

BCS and Pac-12 bowl projections (and Stanford’s nightmare scenario)

In the interest of calling my shot ahead of time, here are the Hotline’s BCS and Pac-12 projections. (Granted, it doesn’t exactly require a long walk out on the limb. This year, more than most years, the situation seems fairly clear cut.) A few things to remember about the process: * Bowls only replace their partner league’s champion. If LSU wins the SEC title, then the Sugar would have first pick of the at-large teams to replace LSU. It would not, however, have two picks in succession; it would only be replacing LSU — not LSU and Alabama. * If Georgia beats LSU, then the Dawgs would head to the Sugar and no anchors would need to be replaced. Bama and LSU would meet in the NCG as at-large teams (assuming LSU doesn’t fall below No. 2 in that scenario). * The draft order, after anchors have been replaced, is: Fiesta, Sugar and Orange. So if LSU beats Georgia, we’re looking at this overall selection order: Sugar, Fiesta, Sugar, Orange. *** Bowl Championship Series NCG: LSU vs. Alabama. The Tigers have been so dominant that they might retain the No. 1 ranking even with a loss in the SEC championship. Rose Bowl: Wisconsinvs. Oregon. The Big Ten half of the matchup could be filled by Michigan State. (Slot UCLA here if the Bruins upset Oregon in the Pac-12 title game.) Fiesta Bowl: Stanford vs. Oklahoma State. The Cardinal could end up facing its 2009 Sun Bowl opponent, Oklahoma, if the Sooners win Bedlam. Sugar Bowl: Michigan vs. Houston. Unless Georgia upsets LSU, the Sugar will be without an SEC participant. Orange Bowl: West Virginia vs. Virginia Tech. With last pick in the bowl draft, the Orange is forced to match the Big East champ against the ACC’s best. *** Pac-12 bowls Rose: Oregon. Alamo: Washington. The Huskies should have been in San Antonio last year, but the bowl goofed and picked Arizona. Holiday: Cal. The Holiday could opt for Utah, but Bears won the head-to-head and finished on positive note. Sun: Utah. If the Continue Reading

One Day, One Place: Oliver Osoyoos Wine Country, B.C.

By Jeanne Cooper Published 3:47 pm, Friday, July 21, 2017 window._taboola = window._taboola || []; _taboola.push({ mode: 'thumbnails-c', container: 'taboola-interstitial-gallery-thumbnails-5', placement: 'Interstitial Gallery Thumbnails 5', target_type: 'mix' }); _taboola.push({flush: true}); Image 1of/5 CaptionClose Image 1 of 5 Image 2 of 5 Spirit Ridge at Nk’Mip Resort overlooks Osoyoos Lake and the vineyards of the first aboriginal-owned winery in North America. Spirit Ridge at Nk’Mip Resort overlooks Osoyoos Lake and the vineyards of the first aboriginal-owned winery in North America. Photo: Jeanne Cooper, Special To The Chronicle Image 3 of 5 Platinum Bench Estate Winery & Artisan Bakery in Oliver offers wine pairings with fresh sourdough. Platinum Bench Estate Winery & Artisan Bakery in Oliver offers wine pairings with fresh sourdough. Photo: Platinum Bench Image 4 of 5 Sculptures at Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre pay tribute to the First Nations heritage of British Columbia’s Oliver Osoyoos Wine Country. Sculptures at Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre pay tribute to the First Nations heritage of British Columbia’s Oliver Osoyoos Wine Country. Photo: Milk Creative Communications Image 5 of 5 One Day, One Place: Oliver Osoyoos Wine Country, B.C. 1 / 5 Back to Gallery The southernmost part of British Columbia’s Okanagan region claims to have Canada’s only desert and the country’s warmest lake, Osoyoos Lake (“oh-sue-use”). But semiarid scrublands and high temperatures alone aren’t sufficient to justify the 4.5-hour car drive or 50-minute flight from Vancouver to the Oliver Osoyoos Wine Country. Instead, it’s what Continue Reading

Auburn slides past Oregon by two-hundredths of a point into No. 1 slot in new BCS rankings

Auburn (12-0) is the new No. 1 in the weekly BCS standings, by a hair over Pac-10 champion Oregon.The undefeated Tigers, rated No. 1 by all six computers that comprise one-third of the formula, had a ranking of .9779. Oregon (11-0), which is still No.1 in both the Coaches and Harris Interactive polls, had a ranking of .9777. The Ducks were ranked second by five of the six computers and third by another, Billingsley.TCU (12-0), which has completed its season, is third (.9167) while Stanford (11-1) is fourth (.8413), ahead of Big Ten tri-champion Wisconsin (11-1, .8185). If the Cardinal, which finished second behind Oregon in the Pac-10, remains in that spot, it will receive an automatic at-large spot in a BCS game.As of now, Wisconsin, which is ranked a spot ahead of sixth-ranked Ohio State (11-1) and three spots ahead of eighth-ranked Michigan State (11-1), would be the Big Ten representative in the Rose Bowl because the league uses BCS rankings as a tiebreaker.Oklahoma (10-2), which finished in a three-way tie with Oklahoma State (10-2) and Texas A&M (9-3) in the Big 12 South with a 6-2 record, will represent that division in the conference title game in Dallas for the same reason. The Sooners, who defeated Oklahoma State, 47-41, Saturday in Stillwater, are ranked ninth in the BCS (.6780). Oklahoma State (.4630) is 14th and Texas A&M (.3910) is 18th.Auburn finishes up its season Saturday against South Carolina in the SEC championship game in Atlanta. Oregon's final regular-season game is Saturday against Oregon State in Corvallis. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Auburn Tigers earn top spot in latest BCS rankings following win over LSU; Oregon falls to No. 2

Just when it looked like the SEC reign of terror in the BCS might be over and Oregon and Boise State would be ranked No. 1 and No. 2., the computers rushed to the rescue. Auburn (8-0) may have been ranked third by the Coaches and Harris Interactive polls, but the Tigers, who defeated LSU, 24-17, at home Saturday to remain the only undefeated team in the SEC, benefited greatly from the six computers involved in the three-part formula, which ranked them No. 1 overall.The Tigers finished with a .9371 score. Oregon (7-0), which was ranked No. 1 by both human polls, was second at .9065, but the Ducks were burned by the computers, which only had them eighth. Boise State (6-0), a consensus No. 2 in the human polls, was third with a .8846, but the Broncos were in danger of being surpassed by TCU (8-0), which had an .8843 score.The rest of the Top 10: Michigan State, Missouri, one-loss Alabama, Utah, one-loss Oklahoma and one-loss Wisconsin.When the season began, Alabama figured to be the top team in the state. But after South Carolina stunned the Tide, 35-21, in Columbia three weeks ago, and Ohio State and Oklahoma both lost on consecutive weekends, the Tigers became a major player because of their strength of schedule.Auburn's remaining schedule includes winnable games at Ole Miss and against Chattanooga, all leading up to the showdown against Alabama on Nov. 26 in Tuscaloosa.If Auburn is sitting at 11-0 and Alabama is 11-1, the game could not only decide who wins the SEC West, but also who stays in the hunt for a possible spot in the BCS title game in Glendale, Ariz. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

BYU could crash BCS’ major-conference party

BYU junior quarterback Max Hall devoted the Cougars' bye weekend to his wife McKinzi and a round of golf.The Cougars' Heisman Trophy candidate promised he wouldn't watch any college football games on TV this past Saturday, but he did take a peak at "SportsCenter" later that night. That's when he discovered the college football world had turned upside down. Top 10 teams Florida, Georgia and Wisconsin all went down, following top-ranked USC, which lost to Oregon State two nights earlier. With the rash of upsets, Hall's two-time defending Mountain West champions vaulted into the Top 10 in the two polls that play a role in the Bowl Championship Series selection process - without playing a game. BYU (4-0) jumped three spots to eighth in the coaches' poll and was ranked ninth in the first Harris Interactive poll. This is the highest a non-BCS team has been ranked at this point in the season. "The bottom line was the teams in the top 10 lost and it gave us an opportunity to move up," Hall said. "Now we have to take advantage of it. We've got to make sure we finish strong and not let that happen to us. I feel if we lose a game from here on, it will be an upset. Again, you've got to be able to play every week and I think we'll stay in the top 10 and reach our goals at the end of the season and get to play in a BCS game." BYU, which visits Utah State tomorrow, is for real. The Cougars won a national championship - albeit tainted - in 1984, and are the best of the non-BCS conference teams. BYU, coming off two straight shutouts for the first time since 1985, made a bold statement three weeks ago with a 59-0 rout of UCLA in Provo. BYU also has a 28-27 road victory over another Pac-10 school, Washington, and a 44-0 victory over Wyoming. Hall knows the Cougars - who have dangerous Mountain West road games against TCU (Oct.16) and Utah (Nov.22) - must finish 12-0 to ensure themselves of a spot in the BCS. A team from a non-BCS league can get into the system by finishing in the Top Continue Reading

Onward Oklahoma: BCS favors Sooners over Texas Longhorns

Oklahoma was ahead of Texas in the BCS standings Sunday and headed to the Big 12 championship game with an inside track to the national title. A three-way tie between Oklahoma, Texas and Texas Tech atop the Big 12 South standings forced the league to use its fifth tiebreaker, best BCS rating, to determine which team will play Missouri on Saturday in Kansas City, Mo. The Sooners (11-1), who lost to Texas 45-35 in October, barely edged the Longhorns. Oklahoma has a .9351 BCS average. Texas' BCS average is .9223. Oklahoma was a point ahead of Texas in the USA Today coaches' poll and six points behind the Longhorns in the Harris Interactive. The computer ratings preferred the Sooners and that made the difference. So the Longhorns will be watching two teams they beat play for the conference title, hoping that a Missouri upset could work in their favor. Oklahoma is second in the BCS standings behind unbeaten Alabama. Texas is third and Florida is fourth. The winner of the Southeastern Conference championship game between the Crimson Tide and Gators is virtually guaranteed a spot in the BCS national title game on Jan. 8 in Miami. Oklahoma would earn the other spot by beating Missouri. If the Sooners lose, it could open the door for Texas to go to the national title game, despite not playing for its conference championship, or Southern California. The Trojans are fifth in the BCS standings with a game to go at rival UCLA. The Sooners were behind Texas last week in the BCS standings, but just barely. The Sooners actually led the Longhorns in the polls, but a week ago the computers had Texas ahead of Oklahoma. After the Sooners' 61-41 victory Saturday night against Oklahoma State - 14th in the latest standings - and the Longhorns' 49-9 win over lowly Texas A&M on Thanksgiving night, the polls tightened but the computers flipped. The strength of the Big 12 South led to this new BCS controversy, with the top three teams in the conference each Continue Reading

West Virginia has eye on BCS title game

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Pat White has No. 4 West Virginia on the brink of playing for a national championship. White rushed for 186 yards and accounted for three touchdowns to lead the Mountaineers to a 66-21 win over No. 20 Connecticut Saturday, clinching the Big East championship and a spot in the BCS. With one more win next week against Pittsburgh, the Mountaineers might be headed to the biggest BCS game of all - the championship game on Jan. 7 in New Orleans. West Virginia (10-1, 5-1 Big East) will move up at least one spot to second in the BCS standings Sunday following top-ranked LSU's loss to Arkansas on Friday. Connecticut's dreams of a BCS berth in only its fourth season in the conference were dashed in a big way. Its defense, which was ranked third in the nation in points allowed coming in at 14 per game, gave up the most points the Huskies (9-3, 5-2) have permitted in seven years. The Mountaineers compiled a season-high 517 yards on the ground. TENNESSEE 52, KENTUCKY 50 (4 OTs): Resilient Tennessee is back on top in the SEC East. The No. 19 visiting Volunteers stuffed a scrambling Andre Woodson on a 2-point conversion attempt in the fourth OT to clinch the division title and a shot at LSU in next week's SEC title game. GEORGIA 31, GEORGIA TECH 17: Matthew Stafford ran for one TD and threw for another, Thomas Brown rushed for 130 yards, and the No. 6 Bulldogs won their seventh in a row over the host Yellow Jackets. AUBURN 17, ALABAMA 10: Brandon Cox scored on a 1-yard sneak with 3:50 left and the host 25th-ranked Tigers played stingy defense to extend their winning streak in the bitter rivalry to a school-record six games. VIRGINIA TECH 33, VIRGINIA 21: Sean Glennon threw for 260 yards and the other half of the quarterback rotation, Tyrod Taylor, ran for two touchdowns, as the visiting No. 8 Hokies earned a spot in the ACC championship game against Boston College. BOSTON COLLEGE 28, MIAMI 14: In Boston, Matt Ryan threw for 369 yards Continue Reading