A Guide to Rutgers Reaching the BCS

Rutgers hosts Cincinnati in the home finale Saturday, and a share of first place is at stake. But what has to happen for the Scarlet Knights to grab a BCS berth? Well, there is a simple formula, and then a bunch of complexities, and ScarletReport.com breaks it all down in a reader-friendly format.

If Rutgers wins its last two games and West Virginia and Louisville each lose one more time, the Scarlet Knights will head to their first BCS bowl.

That is the easy part.

However, if Rutgers wins its final two games without Louisville and West Virginia each losing another game, it may take a slide ruler, magic pixie dust and a master's degree in math to figure out which Big East teams heads to the BCS game.

In any instance, Rutgers needs to win both of its remaining conference games to have a legitimate chance to earn a BCS berth.

It starts with the standings, and remaining schedule, which look like this:

Cincinnati (7-2, 3-1): at Rutgers, at Syracuse, Connecticut
Rutgers (7-3, 3-2): Cincinnati, at Connecticut
West Virginia (7-3, 3-2): Pittsburgh, at South Florida
Louisville (5-5, 3-2): at Connecticut, at South Florida
Pitt (5-5, 3-2): at West Virginia, Syracuse
Connecticut (4-5, 2-2): Louisville, Rutgers, at Cincinnati
South Florida (5-4, 1-4): Louisville, West Virginia
Syracuse (5-5, 1-4): Cincinnati, at Pittsburgh

In an effort to make it easier to know what to watch (and cheer) for the next few weeks, here is a breakdown.

In a two-way tie, the BCS rules read as follows:
The winner of the head to head match-up will represent the BIG EAST in the Bowl Championship Series.
What it means for Rutgers: If Rutgers wins its last two games, and West Virginia and Louisville lose one of their final two games, the Scarlet Knights would hold a tie-breaker with either Cincinnati or Pittsburgh by virtue of head-to-head meeting. If Rutgers is tied with either (but not both) West Virginia or Louisville, it would lose that tie-breaker because of head-to-head meeting.



In a three-way tie, the rules read as follows:
A "MINI-CONFERENCE" IS CREATED AMONGST THE THREE TIED TEAMS
Scenario I:
All three teams have either a 6-1 or 5-2 record and have each won one game and lost one game against the other tied teams in the mini-conference. In this case, the highest ranked team amongst the three earns the bid. If two of the three teams are tied for the highest ranking, the bid is earned by the team winning the head-to-head match up.
What it means for Rutgers:
In any scenario with West Virginia, the results would not be good for the Scarlet Knights. Add in Louisville with a three-way tie, and it is a nightmare as Rutgers would be 0-2. Also, if Rutgers and WVU are in a three-way tie and the first tie-breaker doesn't settle it, than the highest ranked team gets the BCS bid.
WVBU is already 27th and Rutgers is 33rd in the BCS. If Rutgers and WVU both win out, it will be very, very hard for Rutgers to jump the Mountaineers.

Scenario II:
All three teams have 5-2 records, and within the mini-conference, Team A is 2-0, Team B is 1-1, and Team C is 0-2. Team A earns bid regardless of ranking.
What it means for Rutgers:
A three-way tie with Rutgers, Pittsburgh and Louisville would likely send Rutgers to a BCS game since the Scarlet Knights already have the highest BCS ranking, and a three-way tie with Rutgers, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh would send the Scarlet Knights through by virtue of a 2-0 mark in the "mini-conference" scenario.



In a four-way tie, the rules read as follows:
A "MINI-CONFERENCE" IS CREATED AMONGST THE FOUR TIED TEAMS
Scenario I:
In the mini-conference, Teams A & B are 2-1, and Teams C & D are 1-2. The higher ranked of the 2-1 teams earns the bid. If the 2-1 teams tie for the highest ranking, the bid goes to the team that won the head-to-head match up.
What it means for Rutgers:
If Rutgers is matched with Louisville or West Virginia as one of the top two teams, it would lose the tie-breaker. If Rutgers is matched with Cincinnati or Pittsburgh as one of the top two teams, it would win the tie-breaker and the Scarlet Knights would go to the BCS.

Scenario II:
In the mini-conference, Team A is 3-0, Team B is 2-1, Team C is 1-2, and Team D is 0-3. Team A earns bid regardless of ranking.
What it means for Rutgers:
Rutgers could not find itself in this scenario. If there is a four-team tie atop the league with everyone having two losses, West Virginia and/or Louisville would be part of it so Rutgers could not be 3-0 in the "mini conference" format.


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