There’s already talk of who deserves to play in Pasadena for the final BCS National Championship, but rather than add biased fuel to the fire, I’m going to take a two-part look at the teams in play based upon resume before & after conference games conclude.
The teams have been anonymized (and revealed below the table), so you can take an unbiased look at the data should you so desire. Keep in mind: the BCS was created to identify the 2 best teams at the end of the season. So by their own admission, the current data and rankings are incomplete until all games have been played.
With that said, I’ll discuss who’s in and who’s out this week…and see what changes next week once play has concluded. Table columns are sortable by clicking.
Select Sagarin Data Through November 30
The Undefeated (so far)
You’re not really a college football fan if you don’t know that Florida State and Ohio State are the 2 remaining undefeated teams this year. What may surprise you is that Ohio State (A) has played a slightly more difficult schedule this year. Sagarin counts Wisconsin as a top-10 win, which gives them the edge. Florida State’s (B) toughest win came vs Clemson in Week 5. The Buckeyes will face their toughest test of the season on Saturday when they face Michigan State (G), while the Seminoles will match up against a decidedly weaker Duke (L). Northern Illinois (N), while undefeated, has a strength-of-schedule rank of 128, putting their resume outside of legitimate contention.
TL;DR — if you think either of these teams are currently undeserving, check your hands for pom-poms. You may have a better argument next week, but the data will also be different next week.
Most of the 1-loss teams have tougher schedules than OSU & FSU, but that’s not enough to get to the big dance here. Auburn (C), after toppling Alabama (F), faces Missouri (D) on Saturday. Last year’s national champions can only sit at home and hope the world implodes this weekend.
But what of Oklahoma State (E)? They suffered an early loss to West Virginia in Week 3, but proved themselves against Baylor (H), and see a flawed-but-quality Oklahoma (M) on Saturday. If they win while both FSU & OSU lose, they’ll have the strongest schedule out of teams with one loss — will they move to #2?
Without the fanfare of the upper echelon, Arizona State (I) and Stanford (J) boast the 4th- and 5th- toughest schedules, respectively. While they’re set for a rematch, Oregon (K) finds itself, like Alabama, sitting at home.
Notre Dame’s Place
The Irish went 2-2 against the teams listed above, and has a SOS Rank of 19 according to the latest Sagarin data.
Agree/Disagree? Let me know in the comments.