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September 23, 2008

Bowls: The Great SEC / Big 12 Squeeze Out

Among the many BCS Selection rules regarding at-large selections are these (over simplified)
  • Team must have won at least nine games, and be ranked in the Top 14.
  • Non-BCS Conference Champs with a final BCS standing of 12th or better are automatic qualifiers
  • No conference can have more than two teams in the BCS
There's a big problem in 2008 with limiting the selection pool for at-large teams to only the Top 14. This year, eight of those 14 teams are SEC or Big 12 squads (per the Coaches Poll).

There are only 10 total BCS bowl slots available, and six of those slots are allocated to BCS conference champs. That leaves four at-large places. However, a non-BCS Conference Champ (like BYU) will likely get one of those slots this year. That only leads three spots for six non-league champs from the SEC and Big 12 to fight over.

But wait...the Big 10 has landed two BCS slots almost year since the BCS was created. With the 5th Game, there is virtually no way that a Big 10 team will be left out.

In other words, six strong SEC and Big 12 teams will be fighting for those final two slots. It's very likely that the #4 and/or #5 teams in the country could be locked out of the BCS this year.

Yet, Stewart Mandel actually asked the question....Is this the year that multiple non-BCS conference teams crash the system? I think the answer to his question is "maybe it will happen, but it probably shouldn't."

I'm not a playoff proponent, but the current system still needs tremendous work.



Anonymous said...

The Big 10 doesn't matter here.

You said: "That only leads three spots for six non-league champs from the SEC and Big 12 to fight over."

But there aren't three spots for those teams to fight over. There are only two, because each conference can only have two teams in the BCS, the champ and one at-large.

That third at-large spot could go to the Big East, Big 10, Pac-10, ACC, Mountain West, WAC or whoever, but under the current rules, it has just as much chance of going to a Big 12 or SEC team as it does of going to Coastal Carolina.

Anonymous said...

I think it's more to do with the inferiority complex the SEC has when compared to the Big 10. I don't get it -- especially this year.

Anonymous said...

Just a fwiw - it's way too early to get into this, imo. A lot of the teams bunched in the top 14 will play each other, and some of that will get sorted out. If it is still like that in 3-4 weeks, then the point is more serious.

Anonymous said...

I say get rid of the rules limiting conferences to just two BCS spots. What if one conference has 3-4 teams worth going into the BCS?

Of course give every BCS conference champ their spot, leaving 4. Then who cares which conference they're from as long as they're the highest ranked teams? I don't mind pigeon holding one of the spots for a mid-major ranked in the Top 14, but other than that I don't think we should limit who gets what spot.

Also.. This year the MWC seems to be stronger than the Pac-10. That's crazy. MWC champ deserves a top spot as well. I say combine the best teams in the MWC and the WAC and make it a BCS conference.

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