Wednesday, August 13, 2003

The Road to the Sugar Bowl

I thought I'd take another look at college football schedules, approaching it this time from a different angle. Every team knows from the outset that in order to get into the Sugar Bowl game, they're going to have to win their regular season conference championship, and probably need to go undefeated. In fact, most coaches realize that this is the make-or-break opportunity of their careers, do it and keep your job, or do it and move up. Everyone is under some level of suspicion until they've done it once, and sometimes afterwards.

So let's assume it happens for each of the top 20 teams, that they go undefeated in conference play. Who is best set up to run the table and get into the Sugar Bowl?

I'm using the rankings from College Football News (link over on the right), the best college football site out there, and then I'm going to look for each team's toughest game outside of their regular conference schedule. The top 20:

1. Ohio State
2. Miami
3. Texas
4. Oklahoma
5. Auburn

6. Va Tech
7. USC
8. Pittsburgh
9. KSU
10. Maryland

11. Georgia
12. Tennessee
13. Wisconsin
14. LSU
15. NC State

16. Michigan
17. Virginia
18. Oregon State
19. Notre Dame
20. UCLA

It's safe to say that any team that has to win a conference championship game has a tougher job than teams who don't. It pretty much amounts to an extra bowl game. I'm tossing out all of these teams - Texas, Oklahoma, Auburn, Kansas State, Georgia, Tennessee, and LSU.

Three other teams have to travel to top 5 schools. NC State is going to Ohio State, UCLA plays at Oklahoma, and USC travels to Auburn. Out.

Notre Dame has to travel to #8 Pitt. Out.

Miami has to travel to #25 FSU, and play #21 at home against Florida. While both of those schools are expected to have off-years, I don't think anyone would want to have them both scheduled for non-conference games, especially given the nature of their rivalries. Miami out.

Now it starts to get a little easier.

Three teams have their toughest non-conference matchup as a team ranked between 15 and 20 at home. Ohio State hosts #16 NC State, and Michigan and Pitt both will play # 19 Notre Dame. Not easy games, but you ought to win it if you're a serious contender.

We're left with five teams. Here they are with their toughest non-conference matchup:

#6 Virginia Tech plays #27 Texas A&M at home.
#10 Maryland play at #51 Northern Illinois.
#13 Wisconsin visits # 58 West Virginia.
#17 Virginia goes to #41 South Carolina
#18 Oregon State goes to #42 Fresno State.

There's lots of ways you can interpret this, and I will. Tomorrow.

BAP Scores -

Oakland 5 Boston 3 From Tim at Musings From RSN


BAP OBP SLG
BOS 0.324 0.294 0.344
OAK 0.500 0.233 0.500
Both win, but OBP would have lost. The Sox seem to be the anit-BAP team.

KC 12 NYY 9 - 8/11
Another victory for BAP! The Yankees outhit the upstart Royals 15-14,
and had about the same OBP. They also outslugged them .842-.658,
despite 11 (yes, 11) Royal doubles, by hitting 8 of their own, in addition
to two homeruns. Overall, the Bombers won the OPS battle 1.281-1.100.
However, the Yankees made several outs on the bases, while the Royals
made none, which led to a Royal victory on the BAP scoreboard, .930 -.927.
- Jeremy at NYU


NYY 6 KC 0
Mussina tossed a gem while the Yankee bats stayed hot, so this one was
really no contest. The stats were:
OPS BAP
NYY .979 .707
KC .497 .361
- Jeremy at NYU

Tampa Bay 4 Baltimore 2
BAP - TB .543, Bal .273
OPS - TB .718, Bal .419

Seattle 3 Toronto 1
BAP - Sea .433, Tor .378
OPS - Sea .517, Tor .647
It's amazing how two games with very similar scores can have such different statistical stories. OPS misses the Seattle game by a mile.

A big day for BAP, as they open a two game lead.

Standings:
BAP 19-4
OPS 16-6

Dave's Email

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