Sunday, November 25, 2007

Outlook not so Rosy

A lot of Dawg fans are excited about the possibility of an Oklahoma win putting UGA into a Pasadena showdown with USC. LD and I don't think it's that simple or likely. I think that it's about a 95% chance Georgia goes to the Orange to face the winner of the VT/BC rematch.

If OU wins and Ohio State goes on to the NCG, look for Illinois to face the Pac 10 champ in the Rose. It's all but inevitable that current #15 Illinois will be at-large eligible. They only have to slide up one spot. 10 teams ahead of them still have a game to play, and at the very least, three of them will lose because they play another team ranked ahead of Illinois. As long at the Illini are in the top 14, the Rose will almost certainly take Zook's team to replace the New Orleans-bound Buckeyes.

I did a little digging into the history of the Rose Bowl, to see if they have ever gone outside of the traditional P10-B10 matchup. I only found two times since 1946, not counting years when the Rose hosted #1 and #2 in the NCG. Neither were by choice.

In 2002, the Rose lost Big 10 champion Ohio State to the NCG (Fiesta Bowl) against Miami. The rules then did not allow for the bowl that lost their tie-in champion to pick its replacement first. Instead, the rotating pick system that year allowed the Orange to pick in front of the Rose, taking #5 Iowa to face #4 USC in Miami in what was called "Rose Bowl East." No conference can have 3 teams in the BCS, so the Rose Bowl was forced to take Oklahoma to face Pac 10 champ Washington State. The Rose Bowl officials were none too happy about it, and they later lobbied successfully for the implementation of the pick-first-if-you-lose-your-champ rule.

In 2004, the Rose lost undefeated Pac 10 champion USC to the NCG (Orange Bowl) against undefeated Oklahoma. To replace them, the Rose took #4 Texas to face Big 10 champ Michigan, even though Cal was ranked #5 in the final BCS. They couldn't take Cal because back then there were only 2 at-large bids, and both were taken by automatic qualifiers. Urban Meyer's undefeated Utah squad got one of them by finishing #6, and Texas got the other by finishing #4 but not winning the Big XII.

Interestingly, Georgia was also locked out of the BCS in 2004 even though the Dawgs finished #7 in the final standings. Three lower ranked teams got in by winning their conference: (#8 VT, #13 Michigan, and #21 Pittsburgh). You may remember other major controversies that year because of 5 regular-season undefeated teams (hard to believe after this year). Auburn was kept out of the national title game (but won the Sugar over VT), and Boise State was kept out of the BCS altogether (but lost the Liberty to Louisville).

If I recall, it was the Rose Bowl's displeasure with not being able to take Cal that year that led to the 5th game (the separate NCG) being added. The spin was that it gave teams from non-BCS conferences a better chance to get in, but I think I remember reading somewhere that the Rose was pulling out if there wasn't a remedy that would minimize the chances that they would ever have to break tradition again. Looks like it will pay off for them this year, keeping the Dawgs out of the granddaddy of them all.

12 comments:

Kyle W. said...

Maybe the Dawgs can still get to the Rose if the lower-ranked teams all win their conference CGs, and the higher-ranked teams don't fall too far? A longshot, of course, but a possibility.

In any case, I'd be just as happy to play OU in the Fiesta. I haven't compared the rosters of OU and USC, but my impression is that OU is closer to where we are in terms of young players, and thus might be a better measuring stick in terms of how we stack up against a team that will also be in the MNC hunt the next couple of years. Plus, I read somewhere that we've never played in that bowl before, so that would be cool...and making a trip that's very similar to the one we'll make next fall to play Arizona State might be helpful then.

Of course, playing USC in the Rose would be great, but if that's considered the best choice then the Fiesta should be No. 1b, well ahead of the Orange imo.

Kyle W. said...

I just checked the selection order and saw that the Orange picks before the Fiesta...so I guess my OU matchup (which also depends on their beating Mizzou, of course) isn't very likely. I still think that's a more attractive game, but I doubt it will happen unless the Orange decides it doesn't want a UGA-VT bowl rematch. Too bad.

LD said...

I do think it's probable that Illinois inches into the top 14, but I also think that the Rose Bowl might have to do some real thinking about their selection. If ever there would be a test case on how strong the B10-P10 bond is with the Rose Bowl, it'd be this:

Choosing a Illinois team ranked 14th over a Georgia team ranked 3rd.

It'll be interesting if there would be any media pressure to create the more attractive game.

Point is that it's not a hard rule that the Rose has to take Illinois if they get to 14. They can choose to take Georgia. Whether they will is an interesting question.

LD said...

OOOOHHHH!!!

There's another quirk to the decision for the Rose Bowl. By taking Illinois as a replacement for Ohio State, the Rose Bowl could be screwing it's other partner - the Pac-10.

Look at the BCS this way:
1) Assume Oklahoma beats Missouri.
2) The result is that Ohio State moves into #2 (and in the BCSNCG), Georgia moves up to #3 in the BCS, and either Missouri or Kansas is #4 in the BCS.
3) Assume Hawaii beats Washington and finishes in the top 12 of the BCS.
4) Under those assumptions, the following teams would have automatic bids:
WVU (Big East Champ) - BCSNCG
Ohio State (Big Ten Champ) - BCSNCG
LSU/Tenn (SEC Champ) - Sugar
BC/VT (ACC Champ) - Orange
Oklahoma (Big XII Champ) - Fiesta
USC (Pac 10 Champ) - Rose
Georgia (#3 in BCS, automatic) - ???
Hawaii (#12 in BCS, automatic) - ???

Now, I'm a little uncertain whether Kansas/Missouri at #4 would also give them an automatic berth (the rules say that an atomatic is only given to #4 if an automatic isn't already given to #3).

Regardless, there are 2 at-large slots to fill - and the teams potentially available include Illinois, Missouri/Kansas (but not both), Arizona State/Oregon (but not both), and VT/BC loser.

The Rose Bowl would have the first pick at filling the slot opened by OSU.

If they choose Illinois, the following could happen:
(A) Orange, picking next would probably take Georgia
(B) Fiesta, picking next could choose (i) Hawaii, (ii) the second Pac-10 school, or (iii) Kansas (they wouldn't take Missouri to play OU for a third time)
(C) The Sugar, picking last, would take (i) Hawaii (if Fiesta didn't), (ii) a second Pac-10 school, or (iii) Kansas/Missouri.

If the Rose takes Illinois, they could resign the Pac-10 to just one team:

The Fiesta may very well prefer Hawaii to Arizona State - more tourist dollars than the local team, Boise State-OU was such an exciting game that they might want to recapture that. If the Fiesta takes Hawaii, then almost assuredly the Sugar would take the second Big XII team. And then the Pac-10 would be left out to dry. Of course, the Big XII is a partner with the Fiesta Bowl too - and for that reason they might push for Kansas to ensure an at-large team from the Big XII.

If the Rose were to take Georgia instead of Illinois, then the Orange would probably take the second Big XII team, and the Fiesta then would have the same choice between ASU and Hawaii (without Kansas in the mix). If they again took Hawaii for the same reasons, then the Sugar could choose between Illinois and Arizona State - and might take ASU.

Basically, by taking Illinois, the Rose could potentially cost the Pac-10 its second BCS slot (and $15 Million), depending on how the Fiesta Bowl uses its choice. By not taking Illinois, the Pac-10 could end up with 2 teams, but then the Big Ten would only have one (costing the Big Ten $15M).

Damned if they do, damned if they don't.

Jason said...

I still have a real hard time thinking the Rose Bowl would pass up the opportunity for a *great* matchup - USC/Georgia, if it comes down to that.

Illinois isn't much of a draw - their team certainly won't travel as well to Pasadena, at least I would think, and Georgia's played in the Rose Bowl before - granted, this was in 1942, but the history is at least there.

the general said...

I could see the Fiesta happening for us if OU wins, Ill goes to Rose, and the Orange decides to reward Kansas for the 1-loss season. I think that would be a major monetary mistake for the Orange, but it could happen.

Did you see the video of the post-Tech celebration on ajc.com with the Redcoats playing Soulja Boy? Richt and another player had an orange in their hand, though they didn't bite into the rind like Josh Heupel did that year.

If Mizzou wins, the Fiesta could take Georgia, but
I think Kansas is a lock for Fiesta in that scenario.

Because Hawaii is going to be automatic, the supply of two-team conference payouts is diminished, so every bowl will have to look out for their meal ticket and will replace a lost champion with a team from the same conference. Not personal. Just business.

Carter Strickland's article today says Rose is most likely BECAUSE ORANGE WILL PASS on the Dawgs. He must still think the Big East has a tie in with the Orange. What an idiot.

Kanu said...

Damn. Been excited for a few days now about the prospect of simply driving down the coast to see us in the Rose, but this killed my buzz {although the comments kept hope alive}.

Fiesta would be a nice dry run for the ASU game in September.

Either way, Pasadena/Tempe/Miami is better than waiting on Tampa/Atlanta/Nashville, so que sera sera.

The General said...

Am I the only one around here who gives a shit about the rules? Not only did Carter Strickland totally disregard a fundamental piece of the BCS framework, but another national "analyst," whose mindfruit is the subject of ample discourse on this very blog, made the same elementary mistake. Kirk Herbstreit was on Buck & Kincade this afternoon, specifically and definitively saying that if WVU ends up #1 and Ohio State #2, the Orange would pick ahead of the Rose for the replacements. While the Big East may once have had a tie-in with the Orange, that died somewhere around the time that #21 Pittsburgh played in the BCS (and lost to Utah). And yes, that was me calling in to the show later to correct him. I also emailed Strickland. I'm a loser.

The General said...

Maybe Strickland paid heed to my email because this latest article provides a correct rules-based analysis of how it will shake out.

Ed said...

Rose gets first pick if they ever lose a team to a BCS championship game. It was an absolute condition of acceptance.

I totally agree that the ToR Committee would typically preserve the Integer/Pac match-up. But this year leaves them with little choice. A very good Georgia team, with a fanbase who would basically make the San Gabriel Valley a veritable pecan pie with a boiled peanut side dish, would trump this.

It's an historic opportunity to welcome in an SEC power - and it is the one SEC power that has the patina of doing things the right way (see Richt).

If they make this match-up, the Rose Bowl would receive the most attention of all the others, excepting the title game. It would be seen as the best game bar none.

Boomer Sooner!

The General said...

Dammit Strickland! Just when I thought you finally looked at the rules, you come out with this and say, "[Orange Bowl CEO] Eric Poms could have the last BCS pick."

No matter what happens, the last pick from the at-large field goes to the Sugar this year. I know it's complicated, but if your only job is to write about college football, WTF?

TheUnknownStuntman said...

That's not true Ed. If there are two bowls that lose their partnered conference champions, then the Bowl who's team is #1 picks first.