Well, Tuesday night came and went and as fate would have it, our WSU Cougars’ shot at a New Year’s Six Bowl came up snake eyes. Since that time, Cougar Nation has come out in force against the Committee’s horrible decision making to date. The good news, of course, is that the Cougs have a very good argument to make; and one of the best of those arguments can be found right here from our good friends at Cougcenter.
Because CougCenter has done such a great job of articulating the shortcomings of the Committee’s decision making, my goal here is to NOT try to further their argument or to create some sort of pie-in-the-sky scenario for how the Committee’s rankings might change overnight. Rather, the intent of this post is to provide what I believe is the most viable scenario that could land the Cougs in the NY6 based on what the Committee has shown us about they view the College Football World.
So, here we go!
“Gotta Get In It To Win It”
Before the Cougs can land a spot in a NY6, they have get back into the Top12. And that’s a big deal because WSU currently sits at 13—one spot from being “NY6 Eligible.”
The question is, “what would allow the Cougs to jump a spot or two in the rankings without a game to play?” And the answer to that questions, unfortunately, is gonna be a bit painful.
The first, immediate option would be for Central Florida to lose their first game in two years this weekend against Memphis, with the assumption that a UCF loss would knock them out of the Top12. And while the Committee has shown UCF little respect to this point, I wonder about how many of members of the Committee watched the Boise State-Oklahoma St. game earlier in the year?
As some of you may remember, I was bullish on the Broncos going into that game. However, consistent with many of my predictions, the game wasn’t close: Oklahoma State was far superior to Boise in size, strength, AND speed. For that reason, I cannot imagine that a Boise-Fresno winner is going to make the Committee excited about that game. And since Memphis already played UCF close earlier in the year with Milton in tow, the ONLY way that UCF gets taken out of the Top12,, in my view, is if they lose by double digits.
In other words, I think you can bank on the fact that UCF will be in the Top 12 on Sunday morning.
That leaves two options for the Cougs to move into the Top 12: (1) The Committee has a change of heart and moves Penn State down; and/or (2) Washington loses to Utah.
In my view, the only way that the Cougs could move “up and in” is if Washington loses. And so, you can bet my rent money and say that virtually the ONLY way that WSU gets back in the NY6 mix is if Utah wins the Pac-12 Championship tomorrow night.
Now, if that happens, I think the landscape might shift a bit around the Cougs. The reason?: Suddenly, WSU would not only have their current head-to-head win over the Utes, they would also now have a better conference AND overall record than the 10 win, conference champions. And this latter point is important because wins over 10 win teams are in short supply among contending teams. Consider the following mock ranking of teams assuming we see chalk this weekend, less the Utah-Washington Game).
- Bama (1, if they beat Georgia)
- Clemson (0)
- Notre Dame (1, Michigan)
- Oklahoma (1 if Army Beats Navy)
- Ohio State (1, Michigan)
- Georgia (0, if they lose to BAMA)
- Michigan (0)
- UCF (0)
- Florida (0)
- LSU (1, Georgia)
- Penn State (1, Appalachian State)
- WSU (1, Utah)
Now, there are some other scenarios/variants that could come into play here that could further support the Cougars’ case. Key among them is whether Stanford, CAL, and/or Oregon might enter the Top 25 at 8-4 on Sunday morning. This could reasonably happen since the #25 Fresno State-#22 Boise State loser figures to get dropped from the Rankings on Sunday. Moreover, if #21 Northwestern were to get drilled by Ohio State on Saturday they also figure to be dropped from the Rankings with five losses. That kind of scenario—which is possible—could give the Committee some tangible reasons to shuffle the deck a bit.
The final factor that could help the Cougs is that the Committee’s selection process for the actual bowls is guided by two important interests: (1) A desire to avoid placing teams in the same bowl two years in succession; and (2) Accommodating regional interests.
Last year, UCF played in the Peach bowl. And while I think that Peach Bowl bowl organizers would welcome the chance to host a Florida-UCF game in Atlanta, the odds are that they are going to send the G5 representative to the Fiesta. And that’s important since Penn State just happened to play in the Fiesta Bowl last year (sorry Huskies). So, if the Committee wanted to, they could justify by-passing Penn State in favor of WSU based on both regional considerations AND not wanting to place Penn State in the same bowl as last year.
And here’s one last consideration–which unfortunately, makes too much sense:
The SEC and Big10 have this thing called the Citrus Bowl that pits the B1G against the SEC every year. And frankly, that bowl’s raison d’etre is to provide a venue for 3 loss SEC-Big 10 teams to play each other. And so, if the Committee decided to skip-over both Florida AND Penn State in favor of a WSU vs. UCF Fiesta, those two teams would then play each on other on New Year’s Day in the Citrus Bowl on ABC (yes, the EXACT same company that owns the College Football Playoff).
*Note: LSU played in the Citrus last year.
All in all, I’d rate the Cougs NY6 hopes somewhere around 5%, since I think the Committee let their collective disposition toward the Pac12 and WSU (in that order) be known on Tuesday night. The good news is that if the games play out a certain way, there may be just reason to shift things around a bit—and the committee can also sort out part of this Cluster by sending Penn State and Florida to the Citrus Bowl (where they go automatically if they’re left out).
But again, ALL OF THAT would seem to depend on Utah beating Washington and having at least one (maybe two) of the 8-4 Pac-12 North teams enter the Committee’s Top25. Two would be REALLY ideal.
In the meantime, I hope you all have a great weekend. It’s been a great season and so let’s not let the clowns bring us down. Cougs versus Everyone! #CVE
All for now. Go Cougs!