Monday, October 07, 2002
Mark Byron attempts to predict the BCS bowls. However, he omits one detail:
The bowl bids are announced before the Miami-Virginia Tech game.
"Oh no," you say, "Virginia Tech can't possibly vie for the national championship at the Fiesta Bowl if they haven't beaten Miami by the time of the announcement!"
However, you could be wrong. According to ESPN, Miami and Virginia Tech would get the bids if the BCS were to be announced today. Miami is currently #1 in the ESPN and AP polls, while Virginia Tech is #4 in each. However, the #2 and #3 teams in both polls (one in each), Texas and Oklahoma, play each other this week, and thus one will drop out of the top three, with the probable result that the victor will be solidly #2 in each poll and the Hokies will be #3 in each. Provided that both Miami and Virginia Tech continue to win handily, I see no reason why either should drop in the current BCS predictions. If Texas should triumph over Oklahoma, they still have to face the ranked teams from Kansas State and Iowa State in the following two weeks. Should Oklahoma beat Texas, they still need to face Iowa State and Texas A&M, though they'll be spared Kansas State. Meanwhile, Miami's only ranked opponents left before the final game are Florida State and Tennessee. Both are capable, but not up to Miami's level this year. Virginia Tech, having already polished off then-ranked teams from LSU, Marshall, and Texas A&M in consecutive weeks, has only a road game against barely-unranked Boston College and a home game against always-unpredictable Pittsburgh before their showdown with Miami.
Yes, you say, but what about Ohio State, Notre Dame, Georgia, and Oregon?
While Ohio State has beaten the ranked Washington State, they still have to face ranked teams from Michigan, Penn State, and Wisconsin. Sorry Kevin, but I don't see the Buckeyes in the Big Show this year.
Ah, Notre Dame, formerly on the waiting list for the ESPN Bottom 10. They still have big games against Air Force, Florida State, and USC, but none are high enough in the Top 25 for them to jump over Tech. When FSU was in the top five, it was hoped that an ND victory could put them in the Fiesta Bowl. However, barring a stumble from Miami or VT, I can't see them getting there.
Georgia has played well, but they still have games against ranked teams from Tennessee, Florida, and Auburn, and only just squeaked by Alabama last week.
Likewise, Oregon still needs to play USC, UCLA, Washington, and Washington State.
In short, Virginia Tech has the easiest remaining schedule of the true contenders, and Miami's strong enough to steamroller their remaining opponents. The only way for anyone else to prevent the Big East Bowl for the national championship is for one of them to lose prior to their season-closer. It's ours to lose.