Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Saurian Sagacity Bowl Challenge

After making my comments about two non-BCS conference teams humiliating two Pac Ten teams (BYU over Oregon, and Hawaii over Arizona State), I started thinking – what does that really prove other than the top mid-majors are better than the lower tier Pac Ten teams?

In other words, maybe I am being unfair to the Pac Ten.

This year, maybe more so than usual, there has been a heated debate about which conference is “best”. But, in light of what I was thinking, how to settle this debate?

Then it hit me – bowl season, of course. The chance to see different conferences and teams play that normally would not. However, rather than the usual “the SEC is 3-2 in bowls” type analysis, I would devise a system to see how conference teams of different levels competed against each other.

In devising my system, I wanted to put weight on what I think makes a conference strong – the ability and skills of the “mid-tier” teams. If, for instance, my Florida Gators are fortunate enough to beat Ohio State, it only “proves” the top SEC team was better than the top Big Ten team. It doesn’t prove that the SEC, overall, is better than the Big Ten.

So, I have put together a point system based on the rankings of teams in the conferences, so that conference teams of different levels could be compared. I ranked the conferences by 3 “tiers”. The 1st tier consists of the top 2 conference teams. In deciding the top 2, where it was not obvious, I went to the BCS rankings for guidance. The 2nd tier consists the next two teams, again broken down by BCS rankings. Every other conference team falls into the 3rd tier.

Our contest will only be between BCS conferences. The rankings by conference are –

1st Tier – Wake Forest, Virginia Tech
2nd Tier – Boston College, Georgia Tech
3rd Tier – Clemson, Florida State, Maryland, Miami

Big Ten
1st Tier – Ohio State, Michigan
2nd Tier – Wisconsin, Penn State
3rd Tier – Purdue, Iowa, Minnesota

Big Twelve
1st Tier – Oklahoma, Texas
2nd Tier – Nebraska, Texas A&M
3rd Tier – Texas Tech, Missouri, Kansas State, Oklahoma State

Big East
1st Tier – Louisville, West Virginia
2nd Tier – Rutgers, South Florida
3rd Tier – Cincinnati

Pac Ten
1st Tier – USC, Cal
2nd Tier – UCLA, Oregon State
3rd Tier – Oregon, Arizona State

1st Tier – Florida, LSU
2nd Tier – Auburn, Arkansas
3rd Tier – Tennessee, Georgia, South Carolina, Kentucky, Alabama

Now, some may think it “unfair” that the Big East, with only 5 teams in bowls, has to compete on this basis with the SEC’s 9. However, you still have to win to get points, and this reflects, fairly I think, the credit the conferences with many teams in bowls deserve.

The Points
I am basing the points on the following, by tier:

1 beats 1 = 3 points
1 beats 2 = 2 points
1 beats 3 = 1 point
2 beats 1 = 4 points
2 beats 2 = 3 points
2 beats 3 = 2 points
3 beats 1 = 5 points
3 beats 2 = 4 points
3 beats 3 = 3 points

This scoring gives credit to the “mid-tier” conference teams that are able to compete with top conference teams. This only applies to BCS conferences.

In a non BCS conference match-ups, since there are no "3rd tier" non-BCS schools in bowls, wins count as 2 points. However, if you LOSE to a non BCS school, you have a point deducted. (In other words, if heavily favored Oklahoma beats Boise State, they get 2 points. If they lose, they lose 1 point).

Finally, there is the case of the independent teams Notre Dame and Navy. Based on their BCS standings, Notre Dame counts as a 1st tier team, Navy a 3rd.

So, the bowl schedule based on the above (games purely between non-BCS teams removed) –

Dec. 21 Las Vegas Bowl, BYU vs. Oregon, (1 Mountain West v 3 Pac 10)
Dec. 23 PapaJohn's Bowl at Birmingham, Ala., South Florida vs. East Carolina, (2 Big East v 2 CUSA)
Dec. 24 Hawaii Bowl at Honolulu, Arizona State vs. Hawaii, (3 Pac 10 v 1 WAC)
Dec. 27 Emerald Bowl at San Francisco, Florida State vs. UCLA, (3 ACC v 2 Pac 10)
Dec. 28 Independence Bowl at Shreveport, La., Oklahoma State vs Alabama (3 Big 12 v 3 ACC)
Dec. 28 Holiday Bowl at San Diego, California vs. Texas A&M, (1 Pac 10 v 2 Big 12)
Dec. 28 Texas Bowl at Houston, Rutgers v Kansas State (2 Big East v 3 Big 12)
Dec. 29 Music City Bowl at Nashville, Tenn., Clemson v Kentucky (3 ACC v 3 SEC)
Dec. 29 Sun Bowl at El Paso, Missouri vs. Oregon State, (3 Big 12 v 2 Pac 10)
Dec. 29 Liberty Bowl at Memphis, Tenn., South Carolina vs. Houston, (3 SEC v 1 CUSA)
Dec. 29 Insight Bowl at Tempe, Ariz., Minnesota vs. Texas Tech (3 Big 10 v 3 Big 12)
Dec. 29 Champ Sports Bowl at Orlando, Fla., Purdue v Maryland (3 Big 10 v 3 ACC)
Dec. 30 Meineke Bowl at Charlotte, N.C., Navy vs. Boston College (3 IND v 2 ACC)
Dec. 30 Alamo Bowl at San Antonio, Texas v Iowa (1 Big 12 v 3 Big 10)
Dec. 30 Chick-fil-A Bowl at Atlanta, Georgia v Virginia Tech (3 SEC v 1 ACC)
Dec. 31 MPC Computers Bowl at Boise, Idaho, Nevada vs. Miami, (2 WAC v 3 ACC)
Jan. 1 Outback Bowl at Tampa, Fla., Tennessee v Penn State (3 SEC v 2 Big 10)
Jan. 1 Cotton Bowl at Dallas, Auburn v Nebraska (2 SEC v 2 Big 12)
Jan. 1 Capital One Bowl at Orlando, Fla., Wisconsin vs. Arkansas (2 Big 10 v 2 SEC)
Jan. 1 Gator Bowl at Jacksonville, Fla., Georgia Tech vs. West Virginia (2 ACC v 1 Big East)
Jan. 1 Rose Bowl at Pasadena, Calif., Southern Cal vs. Michigan (1 Pac 10 v 1 Big 10)
Jan. 1 Fiesta Bowl at Glendale, Ariz., Boise State v Oklahoma (1 WAC v 1 Big 12)
Jan. 2 Orange Bowl at Miami, Wake Forest vs. Louisville (1 ACC v 1 Big East)
Jan. 3 Sugar Bowl at New Orleans, Notre Dame v LSU (1 IND v 1 SEC)
Jan. 6 International Bowl at Toronto, Cincinnati vs. Western Michigan, (3 Big East v 2 Mid Am)
Jan. 8 BCS National Championship at Glendale, Ariz., Florida v Ohio State (1 SEC v 1 Big 10)

So, for games already played we have:

Dec 21 – BYU over Oregon (- 1 Pac 10)
Dec 23 – South Florida over East Carolina (+2 Big East)
Dec 24 – Hawaii over ASU (-1 Pac 10)

And current standings:

ACC = 0
Big 10 = 0
Big 12 = 0
Big East = 2
Pac 10 = -2
SEC = 0

Comments welcomed.

Now, let’s see who the best conference really is!


San_Fran_Gator_Jim said...

Mergz, this is certainly a better model than anything else out there. It will be interesting to see how it shakes out.

Henry Gomez said...

The best part about this is that we can assign points retroactively, kind of like the pre 1930s National Championships!

Mergz said...

Jim - Thanks. I too will be interested to see how it shakes out. As an SEC homer (I admit it) I really tried to make it as fair as possible.

Henry -

I guess I should have waited a week or so, then I could have REALLY done the retroactive bit.