Friday, October 16, 2009

Week 7: Other Games of Interest

In this post, I'll touch on a few games of interest played by other teams that could affect the remainder of the Hokies' regular season as well as the post-season. I'll describe what they mean to the Hokies and comment on the impacts of either outcome.

Oklahoma (20) VS. Texas (3)
12:00 p.m. EDT
Cotton Bowl, Dallas, TX

Texas holds the number three spot in both the AP and USA Today polls. Virginia Tech holding the number four spot need somebody on the Longhorns' schedule to hand them a defeat to move up to number three. Florida and Alabama, who hold number one and two respectively, will have to play each other in SEC conference championship if they hold on to those rankings for the remainder of the regular season. Texas' schedule thus far has not included any ranked opponents, and only the Red Raiders of Texas Tech gave them a good fight. The Longhorns' season gets tougher starting Saturday against the Oklahoma Sooners, whom Miami (FL) defeated to bolster Virginia Tech's strength of schedule. Thank you Miami! The Texas' squad vividly remembers last season all too well when a final pass to Michael Crabtree ultimately cost them their bid to the National Championship Game. They remember this in light of defeating the Sooners last season, who ended up playing for the national title. If Texas wins, they've taken a big step with a few more left to go before having a substantial claim to the national title. Should they lose, Boise State, USC, Ohio State, and of course Virginia Tech should pass them in the rankings. The official BCS standings doesn't factor the polls, but they usually don't differ too greatly from them either. Hokie fans should pull for Oklahoma to create an upset.

USC (6) VS. Notre Dame (25)
3:30 p.m. EDT
Notre Dame Stadium, Notre Dame, IN

Notre Dame has played a season thus far only five points shy of not having a loss. They have lost to the USC Trojans in their last seven contests. The Fighting Irish are trying to turn their program around from a couple of lackluster seasons. An upset against USC would give their program exactly what it needs to put them back on the map as a well respected team. USC, only four points shy of having a no loss season themselves, doesn't have the same strength of schedule as the Hokies, but should both teams win the remainder of their pre-bowl season games, USC stands a chance, although not of overwhelming odds, to jump Virginia Tech in the BCS standings. The BCS has done stranger things. An upset, however, would put some comfortable distance between the Hokies and Trojans in the rankings, assuming only one Virginia Tech loss on the season.

South Carolina (22) VS. Alabama (2)
7:45 p.m. EDT
Bryant-Denny Stadium, Tuscaloosa, AL

This game's outcome holds significance for the Hokies in the way of strength of schedule. Alabama currently has a higher ranking and would quite possibly fall below Virginia Tech, at least initially, with a loss; however, they would eventually jump the Hokies in the BCS standings under the scenario of both teams finishing with one loss seasons. Since the Crimson Tide defeated the Hokies this season, they would deservedly earn the better bowl bid. Hokie fans should have their hopes on a Crimson Tide victory.

Now, you may think to yourself, "Where's the Ice? has gone insane! Why would a Hokie fan not want number two to lose when the Hokies hold number four in the rankings?" Well, I pose the following to explain.

Should Alabama win the rest of their regular season but lose to Florida in the SEC championship, a one-loss Virginia Tech would have a very strong claim to play for the national title. If the Crimson tide loses that game with a prior loss, that claim for the Hokies loses steam. Turning that around, if Alabama has a no loss season and defeats Florida, a one loss Hokie squad still has a strong claim to play for the national title against Alabama for a rematch. Could you imagine a more exciting scenario for Hokie fans?!

Contending for the invitation to play in the National Championship Game in the BCS not only depends on your wins, but also upon the wins of your opponents. Without losses later in the season, Texas, USC, and Ohio State could all finish with the same record as a one-loss Hokie squad, or even better in the case of Texas. At that point, who plays best on the field can take a back seat to which program directors and coaches play better BCS politics. If you don't believe that, look no further than last year when Oklahoma received the bid to play in the national championship instead of Texas who defeated Oklahoma and had only one loss due to a last minute play.


Anand "EhhTee" Trivedi said...

Hey hey, first things first. Let's lock up the Coastal Division! :)

I like what you're saying about the Bama situation. Here's where it becomes more of a BCMess:

Many analysts have been looking at the computer polls and believe that when the BCS comes out on Monday, ceteris paribus, the BCS will look like this:

1. Florida
2. Alabama
3. Virginia Tech
4. Boise's Not A State
5. USC
6. Texas

Why? Here's what the computer polls look like as of this week:

1. Florida
2. Alabama
3. Iowa
4. Virginia Tech
5. Boise State
6. LSU
7. Oregon
8. Texas
9. TCU
10. Cincinnati

All of this of course will settle itself out as Tech starts playing the likes of NC State, UVA, and Maryland.

However, if we do look at the distant future:
* Bama, Florida go [Insert U-word here] until the SEC title game
* Texas loses one or two eliminating them from contention
* USC loses to Oregon (let's face it Charlie Weis won't beat USC and will be unemployed come January.)
* Boise's lackluster win Wednesday in a game that everyone with a say was watching because it was the only game on. (Really guys? Football on Tuesdays and Wednesdays?)
* Iowa loses to Ohio State (for good measure.) The Big 10 is weak so even with an [U-word] season Iowa will struggle to get in to the one or two spot.
* LSU still may have a say in this but let's say they lose to Alabama (to keep the first bullet accurate.)
* Ohio St. loses to Meeeeeeechigan, just for good measure

All of that leads to Florida, Alabama, and Virginia Tech ranked one, two, three respectively in the BCS.

1. Bama beats Florida: Uh-oh. You want to see some irate Hokies. The powers that be will not want to see a rematch. Trust me. It'll happen. There's even talk of if this happens they'd rather put Florida and Bama back in it for a rematch. That won't happen either. Bama beating Florida is the worst possible situation if Tech maintains course.
2. Florida beats Bama. Well we'll have the same situation we had last year when, as you mentioned, OU which lost to Texas, played in title game.

All of this really is premature. There are way too many variable and way too much football to be played for us to get caught up in national title talks. Let's beat Georgia Tech, win a few more important ACC games and get into the ACC title game. A win on Saturday will bring the Hokies one step closer to the ACC title game.

Brian "Where's The Ice?" said...

Something I should have stated. The main emphasis on the BCS talk is that Virginia Tech's opponents winning helps them no matter what, regardless of a one-loss Hokie season versus another loss down the road.