Chase for Rose Bowl May Already Be Over

Because of the way the BCS rankings are calculated, it's possible that the pairing for the National Championship may already be decided. Steve Clarke looks at the possibilities of a third meeting between #1 Nebraska and #2 Oklahoma.

It's quite possible that Nebraska and Oklahoma will play for a third time in the Rose Bowl.

The top three slots in the BCS poll released Monday afternoon, might be the same when the last poll comes out in December 9th. That would leave Miami out the national championship game for the second consecutive year. Blame the cruel irony on the BCS committee and their latest tinkering to the formula.

A new element to the BCS formula is the Quality Win component. Teams that have wins over others in the top 15 at the end of the year get bonus points subtracted from their subtotal of the original components. If you beat a team that finished the BCS poll #1, you'll get 1.5 pts subtracted from your score. If you beat a team that
finished the BCS poll #15, you'll get .1 pts subtracted form your score. If this formula was applied last season, than Miami's win over Florida State would have given the Hurricanes a trip to the Orange Bowl.

While many BCS experts believe that if Miami wins out, they'll be in Pasadena, the Canes should hope for a Nebraska sweep of Oklahoma if they meet in the Big XII championship game. The Sooners are just ahead of Miami by just .12 points. If Oklahoma upsets Nebraska, Miami may lose ground to the Sooners because OU would not only rise in thevoter's and computer polls, but they would also earn at least a bonus point. The Hurricanes will make up some ground in the Strength of  Schedule category, but they won't receive many points, if any, in the Quality Win component. Why? Because a win over Washington and Virginia Tech at the end of the season could knock those losing teams out of the BCS top 15. They currently sit 11th and 15th respectively.

 Remember, the end of the season is when the Quality Win component factors in.  For example, Stanford beat the fifth ranked team in consecutive weeks. If the Cardinal got points based on when they played Oregon and UCLA, they would have 2.2 bonus points. This week's poll has given them only 1.3. 

 Of course, if Nebraska wins, the Sooners aren't a factor. If Nebraska
 loses, the Huskers may not fall far enough. Nebraska has a five-and-a-half point edge over Miami. The Huskers will lose pts through the voter's and computer polls. The Canes would also gain on the strength of schedule, but it may not be enough. After all, a one-loss Oklahoma team is still in second.

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