BCS Breakdown

The New BCS is out, and this weekend's game just went from a contest which was already significant for the division, to one that is potentially significant on a national level. Just a couple of weeks ago it was the Huskers in the driver's seat. Now it's Missouri, and Nebraska has a shot to get it back.

This is how last week's BCS poll looked:

Team

BCS Average

1

Oklahoma

.9215

2

Oregon

.8921

3

Boise State

.8898

4

Auburn

.8641

5

TCU

.8573

6

LSU

.8245

7

Michigan State

.7628

8

Alabama

.6654

9

Utah

.6540

10

Ohio State

.5726

11

Missouri

.5491

12

Stanford

.5374

13

Wisconsin

.5335

14

Oklahoma State

.5261

15

Iowa

.4824

16

Nebraska

.4295

17

Florida State

.4267

18

Arizona

.3807

19

Texas

.2214

20

West Virginia

.1812

21

South Carolina

.1555

22

Kansas State

.1422

23

Arkansas

.1302

24

Mississippi State

.1253

25

Virginia Tech

.0658

 

With #1 Oklahoma's loss to #11 Missouri and #4 Auburn's win over #6 LSU, that meant the top 10 was going to change quite a bit. It wasn't certain how far teams like Oklahoma, seemingly a computer favorite, would drop. But for teams hanging just outside the top 10 like the Missouri Tigers, this was definitely good news all the way around.

The biggest leap was by the aforementioned Tigers, who went from outside the top 10 to squarely in it, settling in just outside the top five at number six.

Here is a side-by-side view of last week's BCS standings and this week's:

Nebraska will obviously face Missouri this weekend. So, that gives them a chance to better their standing in the BCS. But what is more important is where it will put them if they win against the Tigers and if they lose.

Team

Record

Pct

Home

Away

Neutral

North












Missouri

3-0

1.000

2-0

1-0

0-0

Nebraska

2-1

.667

0-1

2-0

0-0

Kansas State

2-2

.500

0-1

1-1

1-0

Iowa State

2-2

.500

1-0

1-1

0-1

Colorado

0-3

.000

0-2

0-1

0-0

Kansas

0-3

.000

0-2

0-1

0-0

South






Baylor

3-1

.750

2-0

1-0

0-1

Oklahoma

2-1

.667

1-0

0-1

1-0

Oklahoma State

2-1

.667

1-1

1-0

0-0

Texas

2-2

.500

0-1

2-0

0-1

Texas Tech

2-3

.400

0-2

1-1

1-0

Texas A&M

1-2

.333

0-1

1-1

0-0

As you can see Missouri holds the clear lead at the top of the Division. If Nebraska were to beat them, both would go to 3-1, meaning they tie for the Division lead, but Nebraska would be in first place due to the tiebreaker. If they lost, Nebraska would go to 2-2 while Missouri would go to 4-0, putting the Tigers two games ahead of the Huskers, essentially putting the Big Red into a big hole it wouldn't get out unless Missouri were to go into a losing slump of epic proportions and the Huskers won out.

So, this is a must-win for Nebraska to be sure. You could say that for Missouri, but they obviously have the slight cushion of the unblemished record that would allow them to lose, and as long as Nebraska would drop just one more game before the end of the regular season, retain their hold on the North title. Essentially, this game decides everything, depending on both teams finishing out the season without a loss.

What does that mean in the grand scheme of the BCS?

For Nebraska, not much.

  • #1 Auburn still has to face Alabama in their season-finale, and then play in the SEC title game, should they make it to that point. One might drop out of the top 10, but two is unlikely unless they both lose a game before they face each other.
  • #2 Oregon will travel to USC this weekend, and with the Trojans not able to go to a bowl this year and the USC offense rolling to the tune of over 500 yards per game on offense, this almost certain shootout has a potential to be an upset, though, not likely. The toughest test on paper for the Ducks will be at home against Arizona.
  • #3 Boise State will have nothing but tomato cans for the next four weeks, and they might drop out of this spot by that point. Their only meaningful game remaining is a road trip to play Nevada, which fell out of the top 25 last week, but climbed back to #24 this week.
  • #4 TCU also has one meaningful game left, but that's with a fellow member of the top 10 in this week's BCS. They will travel to play #8 Utah in two weeks. If both are still ranked in the top 10 by that point, it will be a big win for TCU in both the human polls and the computers.
  • #5 Michigan State's biggest test for the remainder of their schedule comes this weekend as well when they travel to play Iowa.
  • #6 Missouri travels to Lincoln to play the Huskers
  • #7 Alabama still has a stiff schedule ahead as they travel this weekend to play #12 LSU. They follow that up with a home stand against #21 Mississippi State. Then, it's a bye week in the form of Georgia State followed by the "Iron Bowl."
  • #8 Utah faces TCU in two weeks, and has a road trip to Notre Dame the week after that
  • #9 Oklahoma should have no problem rebounding in week one after the loss to Missouri. They will host Colorado. Their two biggest tests to try and remain the South champion will be against surprising Baylor, who comes in this week at #25 of the BCS standings and then against Oklahoma State, which falls to #17 this week after the loss to the Huskers. Both of those games will be on the road.
  • #10 Wisconsin's schedule could be deceptively simple as the stiffest tests seem to be a road trip to Michigan in the second to last week of the regular season, followed by Northwestern heading to Wisconsin.
  • #11 Ohio State's stiffest test on paper is the road trip to play #18 Iowa in three weeks. Then they have the regular-season finale' as they face off against Michigan. That traditional rivalry will be played in "The Shoe"
  • #12 LSU hosts #7 Alabama this weekend, and the last two weeks of the regular season will see them face Ole Miss at home and then head on the road to face Ryan Mallett and #19 Arkansas
  • #13 Stanford will have probably their toughest remaining tests in the next two weeks as they will head to Seattle to face Washington and then return home to face #15 Arizona

Out of all those teams above, only Wisconsin and Boise State seem to have a path which seems almost void of real tests. While that would seemingly guarantee Wisconsin a shot in the BCS title game, there's no gimmee that the growing sentiment for members of the non-automatic-qualifying conferences will have enough pull to push the Broncos into the top two and then keep them there.

For Nebraska's part, it's close to impossible to make the BCS title game, but if they win out a BCS bowl game is a lock. If they win out in conference play and then lose the title game, it's sketchy, but not improbable tht they would get an at-large bid, mostly based on the strength of their fan-following.

The bottom line?

For right now Nebraska does control its own destiny when it comes to winning the conference. Lose this weekend, though, and they have almost certainly lost any real shot at winning the league as well as fnishing this conference farewell tour with a bang. Go down to the Tigers, they will likely be departing it with barely a whimper.


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