College Football Recap: Elimination Saturday Zaps Baylor
College football is great. We all love college football. (At least, I'm assuming you do if you clicked on this story.)
Down go the Bears.
The tradition, the pageantry -- college football is the best.
The only bad thing about college football is how subjective and arbitrary the process of crowning a champion is compared to other sports. In virtually every other team sport, people's opinions on who is the best matter not at all; it's all played out on the field. Now, this will improve to some degree for college football next season when the number of opinions that matter is greatly reduced (from two massive polls down to a 13-person committee) and the number of teams in the playoff increases (from two to four), but the determination process is still going to be largely (hell, entirely?) subjective.
So perhaps it's appropriate that as we transition from one flawed, subjective system to another slightly less flawed, more inclusive system, the ultimate off-field subjectivity is hanging over our final BCS Title Game. For it is not on a field of play where ultimately the matchup may be determined, but likely in a state's attorney's office in Florida.
"What's going to happen with Jameis Winston?" hangs over everything right now. The matchups, the dominoes that will fall, the Heisman. Everything that matters in college football. It'd be fascinating it it weren't so sad and potentially -- POTENTIALLY -- sickening. (Innocent until proven guilty, keep it in mind.)
Okay, let's do this....
So here are the latest BCS standings, all the way down to the lowest ranked one loss BCS conference team, after the games this past weekend:
1. ALABAMA (11-0)
Remaining schedule: 11/30 at #4 Auburn, possibly 12/7 SEC Title Game (#5 Missouri or #10 South Carolina)
Alabama makes the BCS Title Game if....: They win both of their games. They might be able to survive a close loss in the SEC Title Game if it were a close loss to two-loss South Carolina and there was total carnage everywhere else (FSU or Ohio State would have to lose in that scenario). For now, just win and they're in.
Status: Looking really good.
2. FLORIDA STATE (11-0)
Remaining schedule: 11/30 at Florida, 12/7 ACC Title Game (likely #24 Duke)
FSU makes the BCS Title Game if....: On paper, if they just win, they would be in. But this Jameis Winston sexual assault investigation is hanging over the Florida State season like the sword of Damocles. If a decision comes down from the state's attorney before the BCS title game is determined, pollsters could bump up Ohio State or a one-loss SEC Champion. Weird twist to a weird season.
Status: On the field, in the catbird's seat. Off the field, who the hell knows?
3. OHIO STATE (11-0)
Remaining schedule: 11/30 at Michigan, 12/7 Big Ten Title Game vs #11 Michigan State
Ohio State makes the BCS Title Game if....: Win out and hope for a loss by Alabama or Florida State, or (and God, this is an unsavory way to get into a BCS Title Game) have Jameis Winston get suspended and have the pollsters adjust their ballots accordingly. Again, weird season.
Status: As good as could be expected given its weak schedule. But how do you process your place in the college football world? You can't root for Jameis Winston to be guilty and look yourself in the mirror, can you? (Sadly, I think I know the answer.)
4. AUBURN (10-1)
Remaining schedule: 11/30 vs #1 Alabama, 12/7 possibly SEC Title Game (#4 Missouri or #10 South Carolina)
Auburn makes the BCS Title Game if....: Beat Alabama, win the SEC Title Game, hope for an Ohio State or FSU loss. The big question could be how would pollsters treat a one-loss SEC Champion versus a Winston-less FSU team. This would be a legit argument if the season played out that way.
Status: Hey, they were 3-9 last season. HOUSE MONEY, BABY.
5. MISSOURI (10-1)
Remaining schedule: 11/30 vs #21 Texas A&M, possibly SEC Title Game (#1 Alabama or #4 Auburn)
Missouri makes the BCS Title Game if....: Same as Auburn, really. Beat Texas A&M and then beat the Alabama/Auburn winner in the SEC Title game and hope for the same clutter removal that Auburn is hoping for.
Status: Same as Auburn, substitute "5-7" for "3-9."
6. CLEMSON (10-1)
Remaining schedule: 11/30 at #10 South Carolina
Clemson makes the BCS Title Game if....: Look who's back in our lives! Okay, let's start with the obvious -- the Tigers must beat South Carolina. Also, they're going to always be behind a one-loss Florida State (unless FSU lost to Florida and in the ACC Title Game, even without Jameis Winston, that ain't happening) because they lost 51-14 to the Noles at home.
Then they probably need SEC Armageddon, which means:
1. A&M beating Missouri
2. Alabama beating Auburn
3. South Carolina beating Alabama in the title game
This would give Clemson the same number of losses as Alabama and an argument that they beat South Carolina in Columbia. Also, they would need Ohio State to lose to either Michigan or Michigan State.
And even with all of this, Oklahoma State is close enough to where they'd probably get a manual reward from pollsters for winning the Big 12 if they beat Oklahoma. Clemson can't even win their own conference!
Status: Yeah, the Tigers are screwed. Don't lose 51-14 and we don't have to break this news to you.
7. OKLAHOMA STATE (10-1)
Remaining schedule: 12/7 vs #18 Oklahoma
Oklahoma State makes the BCS Title Game if....: Missouri beating A&M makes it a functional lock that there will be, worst case, a one-loss SEC champion rated ahead of all the teams outside the top 5. This means that an Ohio State loss to either Michigan or Michigan State, or a Florida State loss and probably a Jameis Winston suspension are needed for Oklahoma State to have a prayer. Like Clemson, they probably don't have a prayer.
Status: You lost on to West f'ing Virginia. Enjoy Phoenix.