Boot Power Ratings™

This final BPR report of 2008 brings computer crashes, a sleep deprived and slightly peeved reporter feeling the first effects of March Madness, and film references aplenty.

Pac-10 BootPowerRatings
As of 3/12/08

Below are our exclusive BootPowerRatings™ of the Pac-10 conference. Each week during the basketball season, we will release our secret-formula rating of all teams of the Pac-10. The BootPowerRating™ (BPR) is calculated by utilizing a wide range of factors rumored to include: past results, statistics, common-opponent comparative results factor, strength-of-schedule, home-venue environment, cheerleader attitude and an unrevealed school spirit multiplier. The resulting rating score falls within a 1-100 scale, where 100 approximates a championship-bound team and a score of 1 is somewhere south of D-1.

This final BPR report of 2008 brings computer crashes, a sleep deprived and slightly peeved reporter feeling the first effects of March Madness, and film references aplenty. In any team sport, be it baseball, football or basketball, the surest sign that a game was well officiated is the complete lack of memorable calls. If no one can remember the names or even the faces of the guys in black and white, well, those anonymous gentlemen deserve kudos for a job well done. On the other end of the spectrum, on the far side of the universe, we have last week's pair of games at Pauley Pavilion. There really isn't anything to add, except this: a conference that is constantly fighting for national respect, with ongoing laments about lack of television coverage, under-seeded teams, east coast bias and taking the blame for global warming, does itself no favors throwing Moe, Larry and Curly out there for the rest of the world to laugh at. Pac-10 tournament starts Wednesday, official info page here: Pac-10 Tournament Page

1. UCLA (14-4*)
With our crack staff unable to discover the cause of continuous crashes by the Boot Computer, we were forced to resort to extreme measures. Alan Turing's brain, kept frozen these last 54 years, was thawed and hard wired directly to the CPU and new "thought recognition" software developed by an 11-year-old Indian boy. Thus it was discovered that Truth, Justice and the American Way of Life were secretly hidden deep within the BPR code. Simply changing 16-2 to 14-4 solved the crash problem, freed up memory, increased monitor brightness and cured my halitosis. #1 seed in the West Region theirs to lose, not that the refs would allow it. Polls:2.5 Sagarin:3 RPI:6  [Bruin Report Online]
2. Stanford (14-4*)
In "The Lost Weekend", Ray Milland gave an Oscar winning performance as a failed writer spiraling downward from alcoholism. That was a feel good comedy compared to Stanford's journey to Los Angeles. For some reason, the end of the UCLA game brought to mind Bluto's response to Dean Wormer at the Faber disciplinary council hearing. The USC loss, well, let's just say that an 11 AM game 36 hours after a conference title hopes were dashed is a Mulligan waiting to happen. An outstanding season with a bad ending that must now be forgotten. Next up, Arizona fighting for their NCAA lives Thursday night. Yes, the odds of OSU pulling the upset have officially dropped to zero. Polls:11 Sagarin:12 RPI:16  []
3. Washington St. (11-7)
Tony Bennett moves to 5-0 against instate rival Washington with a double OT home victory. Their fans may be disappointed that they couldn't match last season's record, but they really miss the athleticism that Ivory Clark provided. Not to mention the conference is vastly improved. And they ARE the Cougs after all. Playing only for seeding, draw their philosophical opposites in Oregon. Polls:21 Sagarin:13 RPI:20  []
4. USC (11-7)
Taj Gibson clearly a BPR reader, as he responds to last week's callout with Player of the Week honors after a home sweep of kal and the Beloveds. Trojans could be peaking at the right time, or they could just be the recipients of an OT win that could have gone either way and a gimme over a drained Stanford team that wasn't ready to play. Either way, clearly a successful year for the Mayonettes. Word that OJ may return, I'm from Missouri on that one. Trojans an interesting NCAA team, one of the few that could legitimately win 0-6 games. ASU next - with Devils needing it more and possible celebration hangover this one gets an Upset Alert! Polls:27.5 Sagarin:21 RPI:32  [SCPlaybook]
5. Arizona St. (9-9)
By dropping a crucial game at Oregon, ASU now one of the many teams hoping for no upsets in conference tournaments around the country. A win over USC should do it, would also put a 20 in the win column that few could have expected before the season. Except for readers on the Court Jester of course ("double secret sleeper pick of the season"). Polls:NR, 32 Sagarin:41 RPI:76  []
6. Oregon (9-9)
Wow. Who were those masked men, those sharp shooters, those intense defensive dynamos? Ducks come through big-time with a home sweep of two teams that certainly were focused only on them. When both tiny Tajuan and mighty Maarty are knocking down threes they really are an entertaining team to watch, despite the headache inducing uniforms. Control their own destiny as a win over WSU should punch their ticket. Polls:NR Sagarin:36 RPI:53  [eDuck]
7. Arizona (8-10)
After losing at Oregon the kittens now have one quality win in their last 10 games - @WSU five games ago. If they get an invite without going better than 1-1 in Pac-10 tourney, after finishing 7th, WTF will replace RPI and SOS in the minds of basketball fans. The record for losses by an at-large team is 14, AZ hopes to tie that. Unless, of course, they win 4 games in Anaheim. But with the world ending that would be small consolation. Polls:NR Sagarin:29 RPI:30  []
8. Washington (7-11)
Fell painfully short in season finale at WSU, losing in double OT. Fitting that the Huskies get the Bears in the tourney – each team can lay claim to "best 8th/9th place team ever." Another item for the record books – season opening win over NJ Tech will forever be part of that squad's historic 0-29 season. Aside: former Cardinal Tim Morris led UW in scoring that game with 16, a season high which he would later match in the conference opener with WSU. Alas, the much ballyhooed "style of play" change didn't change things in the end, as Tim's 5.8 ppg in Pac-10 games was just a moderate uptick from his Stanford days. Polls:NR Sagarin:63 RPI:108  []
9. California (7-11*)
The impossible has happened – I feel bad for kal fans. A tough OT loss at USC is followed by the basketball equivalent of five laterals, incompetent officials and the band on the field. Actually, let's modify that. I feel bad for kal basketball fans who weren't part of the drunken Big Game crowds from 1982 on. Those folks can still suck eggs. Washington on Wednesday in the 8-9 matchup, aka the woulda, coulda, shoulda game. Dream scenario: a miracle four game run in Anaheim to the Pac-10 title, followed by a contract extension for Ben Braun. But then Ryan Anderson signs with an agent. Polls:NR Sagarin:58 RPI:93  [The Bear Insider]
10. Oregon St. (0-18)
[BPR=Mr. Blutarski. Zero point zero]
The Pac's version of Zippy Chippy led Arizona 12-9 after an appropriately Felliniesque 8 ½ minutes, if not for the 31-8 Wildcat run that followed, as well as the entire 2nd half, they might have had them. In case you were wondering, the answer is the Northern Colorado Bears. Firing Jay John after a 6-12 start might not have been the best idea since sliced bread (which really isn't an idea worthy of being of an adage, but I digress). Get Arizona again. Will revenge motivate the Beavers to pull off the monumental upset? Does Eliot Spitzer keep it in his pants? Polls:NR Sagarin:239 RPI:265

"There is no disgrace in losing."

– Red Klotz, Washington Generals/New York Nationals (was still playing pickup games 3 times a week at age 86, Red got the last laugh) []

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