Monday, November 18, 2013

Week 12 Under Review: FBS Bowl and FCS Playoff Countdown

Notes From Week 12

The Jamies Winston Scandal
I have had a lot of searches on my site this week about the Jamies Winston sex scandal that everyone was talking about last week, but I chose to avoid it for the time being. I have very little to say on the topic, because, frankly, I am not entirely buying that it happened. This isn't because I am an athlete apologist, because for those who have been reading me for a while now know, that's not me at all. What I am saying is that many details of the case don't add up.
What I will say is that Jamies Winston needs to cooperate with the authorities on every level possible, because any failure to do so on his part lends credibility to the claims, even if they are false. When word got out the other day that Winston wasn't talking to the cops, it gave me a weird feeling. He needs to ride the train that most people aren't buying the claims, and give everything that he can to the investigators. Failure to do so would certainly taint his image, and he doesn't need that right now.
Nothing would surprise me if he were found to be allegedly involved, but right now, I'm not buying what the claims are selling whatsoever.

UCF Controls Their Destiny
UCF can get to what will be their only BCS bowl (the system goes away in 2014) in school history by winning out, as they have beaten Louisville and Houston, and nobody else stands in their way. Early projections show the Knights headed to the Sugar Bowl, where I believe they will play Missouri.

Duke Also Controls Their Own Fate
Just a few short weeks ago, nobody would have seen this coming, but after pounding Miami at home yesterday 48-30, the Blue Devils could win their own division, only to fall hard in the ACC title game against Florida State in Charlotte. Stranger things have happened, and yes, technically Duke could beat FSU, but I don't see that happening. Duke, even as the loser, could replace FSU in the Orange Bowl, unless the BCS people take Clemson instead, which would be criminal in my book. Duke, as the overall conference runner up, should go to the Orange, with Clemson heading to the Chik-Fil-A Bowl.

Now, here's a look at the overall conference breakdowns for FBS, and we also take a look at the FCS playoff picture with just one week to go in the regular season.

Bowl Slots Available: BCS + 4
Bowl Eligible: 4 (UCF, Louisville, Cincinnati, Houston)
Still Alive: 3 (SMU, Rutgers, Memphis)
The AAC should be able to fill their 5 total bowl slots, and it looks like UCF will be representing the conference in the final BCS turn. My projections early would have UCF heading to the Sugar Bowl, where they should likely face Missouri if the Tigers win out. The Knights have just about locked up the conference title, and would have to collapse to end the season to relinquish their BCS spot, which would end up as the only appearance in school history. See below to find out where everyone else may be headed.

Bowl Slots Available: BCS + 8
Bowl Eligible: 8 (Florida State, Clemson, Boston College, Maryland, Duke, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, Miami)
Still Alive: Syracuse, Wake Forest, North Carolina, Pittsburgh
The ACC will likely have two teams in BCS bowls, with Florida State probably heading to the national championship game. With the Seminoles playing for a title, the other spot will be up between Clemson or Duke depending on what happens between now and the end of the season. In my opinion, with Duke heading to the ACC title game, with the likelihood that they would fall to FSU in that game, Duke would be the ACC runner up, and would be the team that I'd send to the Orange Bowl, with Clemson heading to the Chik-Fil-A. Of course, Clemson would fall ahead in the overall rankings, and that would create a mess on selection day.
There is still one spot that the ACC hasn't qualified a team for, and that spot could be filled in the next week by anyone amongst Syracuse, UNC, and Pitt.

Big 10
Bowl Slots: BCS + 7
Bowl Eligible: 7 (Ohio State, Wisconsin, Michigan State, Nebraska, Minnesota, Michigan, Iowa)
Still Alive: Indiana, Northwestern
Ohio State doesn't seem to be in shape to take over a spot in the national title game, but they could if Auburn pulls an upset over Alabama. If that happens, the final title game spot could be between Baylor and the Buckeyes. As of this minute, Ohio State is heading to the Rose Bowl.
For the final 7 slots, the Big 10 has qualified only 6 teams, and it's iffy at best that a 6th team would qualify.
Indiana has struggled to get to 4 wins, and could get to 5 with a win over Purdue, but with two games coming against Ohio State and Wisconsin, the Hoosiers could fall short.
Northwestern has lost 6 straight, and they are skidding off of the road, and they would be the only other qualify. Nothing is a given with them.

Big 12
Bowl Slots: BCS + 6
Bowl Eligible: 6 (Baylor, Oklahoma State, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas State, Texas Tech)
Still Alive: None
It's been established that the Big 12 will not be able to fill all of their bowl slots. There are only 6 teams that can g bowling, and with one committed to the BCS, there are only 5 left to fill 6 slots.
After Texas lost to Oklahoma State, the Big 12 is up for grabs between Baylor and Oklahoma State, with Texas still hanging on.
If the selections happened today, Baylor would be in the BCS, and heading to what would probably be the Fiesta Bowl. I would place Oklahoma State in the Cotton Bowl after that.

Conference USA
Bowl Slots: 6
Bowl Eligible: 6 (East Carolina, Marshall, Middle Tennessee, North Texas, Rice, Tulane)
Still Alive: FAU, UTSA, Louisiana Tech
CUSA will fill their bowl slots this season, which is a miracle in and of itself. It gets more interesting when you figure that with just one more win from UTSA would get them qualified as well. There will be bowl slots to steal from other leagues like the Big 10 and Big 12 who may not be able to fill their obligations, so there will be opportunity for the Roadrunners. That being said, UTSA would be better off winning both their final games than just one.

Bowl Slots: 3
Bowl Eligible: 6 (Bowling Green, Buffalo, Ohio, Northern Illinois, Ball State, Toledo)
Still Alive: Central Michigan
Buffalo was in control in the east before getting hammered this week, and Bowling Green has now stolen their place in charge of the east.
In the west, Northern Illinois cemented their spot on top, and they should be considered for the non-AQ bowl spot right now ahead of Fresno State, according to our rankings. Ball State has still lost just twice this season, and therefore, would be in solid position to head to a really decent bowl.
With the MAC qualifying 6 teams for bowls, Buffalo, Ohio, and Toledo will be stealing slots.

Mountain West
Bowl Slots: 6
Bowl Eligible: 5 (Boise State, Colorado State, Utah State, Fresno State, San Diego State)
Still Alive: Wyoming, San Jose State, UNLV
As of now, the MWC will be one short in qualifiers. They could actually be two short in their obligations, as Fresno State is the favorite to end up in the BCS (Fiesta Bowl) as the highest ranked non-AQ team in the BCS rankings, although our rankings favor Northern Illinois.
San Jose State and UNLV are both one win away from qualifying, but UNLV has been trying, and failing, for two weeks to get that win. Wyoming is falling like a rock, and San Jose State could end up filling the final spot, if their defense doesn't fail them.

Bowl Slots: BCS + 6
Bowl Eligible: 8 (Oregon, Stanford, Washington, Oregon State, Arizona State, UCLA, USC, Arizona)
Still Alive: Colorado, Utah, Washington State
The PAC-12 is in great position this season, and could even still get two teams in the BCS, even with no undefeated teams left in the rankings. Oregon is a lock for the Rose Bowl right now, and with a bounce back, Stanford could sneak back into the picture.
Here's an amazing thing, Washington State is just one win away from bowling. The Utah game is in Pullman, and you never can tell who will win the Apple Cup against Washington. The Cougars could get there in only the second season under Mike Leach, who just had his contract extended.

Bowl Slots: BCS + 9
Bowl Eligible: 9 (Missouri, South Carolina, Georgia, Vanderbilt, Alabama, Auburn, Texas A&M, LSU, Ole Miss)
Still Alive: Florida, Tennessee, Mississippi State
Alabama is heading to the BCS title game, unless they completely chunk it against Auburn, which could happen. That would open up the Sugar Bowl slot to either Missouri or Auburn, and Auburn is passing the Tigers by in the BCS rankings. This race is going to the wire.
The problem would be that the SEC could come up two short towards their obligations. That's odd for this power conference.
If Auburn heads to the Sugar Bowl, Missouri heads to the Cotton.
Sun Belt
Bowl Slots: 2
Bowl Eligible: 4 (UL-Lafayette, Arkansas State, Texas State, Western Kentucky)
Still Alive: UL-Monroe, Troy, South Alabama
ULL is just about ready to lock up another trip to the New Orleans Bowl. Arkansas State will most likely take the second bowl spot for the conference. More cloudy is the futures of Texas State, and WKU, neither of which are in the top 4 of the SBC standings, which could make it delicate at best for them getting a bowl invite. Better teams have been ignored, and that could yet happen, especially with the PAC-12 over shooting their obligations this season. This is a wait and watch situation at best.

We will be taking a closer look at individual bowls next week in our Week 13 Under Review Piece!

FCS Playoff Glance

Let's now take a look at who we believe will be the 24 teams participating in the FCS Playoffs in the quest for the 2013 National Title!

Big Sky Champ: Eastern Washington
Big South Champ: Coastal Carolina
Colonial Champ: Maine
Missouri Valley Champ: North Dakota State
MEAC Champ: Bethune-Cookman
Northeast Champ: Sacred Heart
Ohio Valley Champ: Eastern Illinois
Patriot Champ: Fordham
Pioneer Football Champ: San Diego
Southern Champ: Chattanooga
Southland Champ: SE Louisiana

At Large Teams
Towson...Ranked 7th in PRS
McNeese State...Ranked 12th in PRS
Charleston Southern...Ranked 13th in PRS
Montana...Ranked 15th in PRS
Sam Houston State...Ranked 17th PRS
Youngstown State...Ranked 18th PRS
Northern Arizona...Ranked 19th PRS
Lehigh...Ranked 21st PRS
Jacksonville State...Ranked 26th PRS
Tennessee State...Ranked 27th PRS
Southern Utah...Ranked 28th PRS
Samford...Ranked 30th PRS

UT-Martin...Ranked 31st PRS

Bubble Teams
Montana State, Liberty, William & Mary, New Hampshire, Delaware, South Dakota State, South Carolina State, Georgia Southern

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