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Sunday, October 29th 2006

Sportswriters Write Without Understanding

Titles like “USC Plummets In Polls,” don’t really capture the true spirit of the situation.

The BCS rankings aren’t out, and neither is the Harris poll but USC is #9 in both the AP and Coaches’. We’ll be #9 or 10 in the Harris. As such here are Tellshow’s estimations for the BCS rankings this week, before they come out:

1 Ohio State
2 Michigan
3 West Virginia
4 Florida
5 Auburn
6 Louisville
7 Texas
8 Southern Cal
9 California
10 Notre Dame
11 Tennessee

Significant damage. USC no longer controls its own destiny. Not that it looks like USC could’ve made use of that control with upcoming games against Cal, ND, and Oregon.

BUT it is much less severe than people imagine. In fact, this is just about the best USC could’ve hoped for. If Tellshow is right we will hold off Tennessee if we win out (even though the Volunteers are about to get a boost in their strength of schedule with some upcoming tough games).

2 of the top 6 teams have to lose. We’re hoping that whoever wins the Michigan – Ohio State game does it soundly, so as to attenuate the losers fall in the human polls. The “good” news is that the loser plays no other games to “make up” for the loss.

But we should easily jump the loser of the West Virginia – Louisville game.

As I predicted we need Auburn, Florida and the winner of the Louisville – West Virginia game to lose.

Those are five BIG IFs: Ohio State – Michigan winner wins big, West Virginia – Louisville winner loses, Florida loses, Auburn loses, USC wins out

But if those came to pass I think we possibly could jump Texas and hold off Tennessee and the Michigan – Ohio State loser for the #2 spot. Texas’ computer ranking will improve significantly, but USC’s will as well. If the scenario above played out I don’t think Texas could close to within more than .08 or so of USC in the computer % (especially with the way the Big 12 North is playing right now).

In the chaos that would entail us getting to this scenario there’s almost no chance Texas could expect to hold the huge lead as the #2 team that Michigan currently does over #3 West Virginia (~.05 in both polls).

It isn’t even close to a certainty under such fluid circumstances, but it is a real possibility that would be enough to jump Texas and hold off Tennessee. The margin in the computers between USC and the Michigan – Ohio State loser would be less but hopefully they’ll have fallen a bit in the polls.

I think I’ll go hum the Monkees, seeing as I’m just day dreaming here.

The more realistic question is if an undefeated Big East team can hold off a Florida team that wins out.

Florida’s strength of schedule over the remainder of its season is pretty bad (Vandy, South Carolina, West Carolina, Florida State). The Gators will get a boost from the SEC championship game. As well, they might move up in the computers after November 18th and if USC (or someone else) beats Cal.

Either Big East team can probably hold off Florida. Still it’ll be a contentious argument over that #2 spot.

*UPDATE*

Tellshow was nearly on the money. Flip Auburn and Louisville in the official standings:

1 Ohio State
2 Michigan
3 West Virginia
4 Florida
5 Louisville
6 Auburn
7 Texas
8 Southern Cal
9 California
10 Notre Dame
11 Tennessee

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