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BCS GURU ARCHIVES

THE DOOMSDAY SCENARIO ... WHO'S NOT NO. 2?

Oct. 16, 2006

Will the Supreme Court get involved in this? Are the networks projecting winners incorrectly again? Is Dec. 3 going down as a defining moment in American history?

Yeah, we said Dec. 3, not Nov. 7. Politics are so trivial when you're talking BCS.

But what if after Florida beats Arkansas in the SEC championship game, ending the 2006 regular season, this is what's facing the BCS voters and computers:

Ohio State, having beaten Michigan on a last-second field goal, stays No. 1.

But then ...

  • USC (11-1), only loss to Notre Dame
  • Michigan (11-1), losing a heartbreaker at Ohio State
  • Auburn (11-1), only loss to Arkansas, but shut out of the SEC title game
  • Florida (12-1), only loss to Auburn
  • Notre Dame (11-1), only loss to Michigan, none since September
  • Texas (12-1), only loss to Ohio State, none since September
  • Tennessee (11-1), only loss to Florida, but out of the SEC title game
  • And also ... both Rutgers (12-0) and Boise State (12-0) are undefeated

So who's No. 2?

This is an improbable scenario, you say? Sure. Impossible? Maybe not.

Notre Dame is capable of ending its four-game losing streak against the Trojans. Tennessee might be a very slight underdog at Arkansas. But, tossing aside Rutgers for the moment, all those teams will be favored to win all their remaining games.

So what if it happens? Will Michigan be penalized for a late-season road loss to the No. 1 team? Do the Wolverines deserve a rematch?

Or what about the Irish and the Longhorns, who haven't lost since September? Or the three SEC teams, each with one loss but two of them didn't even make it to the conference championship game?

And Rutgers and Boise State ... shouldn't a perfect season count for something?

Those questions will have to be answered by the voters. The computers' preferences are not likely to change -- and the margin of victory is prohibited as a factor. That leaves the BCS fates of those teams in the hands of 63 coaches and 114 Harris pollsters.

With one-third of the BCS standings decided by the coaches, can you imagine what kind of politicking will be going on? The Harris pollsters, including lots of former players, coaches and people in the industry, also will hear lots of campaign pitches for their 33 percent influence.

And even when the dust settles on Dec. 3, the mess is still far from over. The AP poll, forgotten at the moment, still matters.

Let's say this happens: No. 1 Ohio State plays No. 2 Notre Dame and loses a close game. No. 3 Michigan destroys No. 4 USC in the Rose Bowl. Adding to the twist: Michigan was ranked ahead of Notre Dame in the AP poll before the games started, and of course, the Wolverines routed the Irish in South Bend earlier in the season.

So never mind who's No. 2 now. Who's No. 1?

Does it sound like New Year's Day, 1984, all over again?


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