Okay, they’re hot and ready right over here.
Let’s actually talk shop a bit, since I did the last ones in a rush. For starters, the site is now full of information. I don’t think a lot of other people take the time to actually figure out bowl and conference affiliations, at least to the extent that I do. While the proliferation of ESPN Events bowls makes affiliation less important than it used to be, some conferences do still have subtle agreements in place that makes a difference.
We’re now up to 52 bowl eligible teams (from 37) after last weekend. I forecast the remaining games on each potential team’s schedule using SP+, which allows me to be as consistent as possible. Of course, this also means that I’m more or less going chalk whenever possible. Upsets do happen, which is more or less how we’re going to get the 82 eligible teams that we need.
There are some question marks that I do not know the answer to, other than just the general idea of trying to do these predictions in the first place. For starters, based on my reading of the NCAA rules, I think that James Madison may be eligible before any 5-7 teams are eligible. Again, as we gain more and more eligible teams this may be moot (they were the “last team in” to borrow a term from the NCAA basketball tournament), and maybe that’s what everyone is banking on. Also, I need to determine if Army needs to get to 6 wins before the two-week break they have before the Navy game. Right now I have them getting their 6th win against the Midshipmen, so this matters.
Then, of course, there’s the other order of the day due to the events of the past weekend, where Tennessee, Alabama, and Clemson lost. Since I try to do these on Monday, before the new CFP rankings come out, it’s hard for me to use the new rankings as an indication of the Committee’s thinking. For sure, if Georgia and Ohio State win out, they will be #1 and #2, and Michigan is also likely #2 if they win out. From there, I am not sure of the exact order of these teams:
- 1-loss ACC Champ Clemson
- 1-loss ACC Champ North Carolina
- 1-loss Ohio State or Michigan
- 1-loss Pac-12 Champ Oregon
- 1-loss Tennessee
- Undefeated Big 12 Champ TCU
Right now I have it somewhat easy because I have TCU losing twice to Texas (due to SP+). What you see on the site currently reflects that and also what I think the Committee will do. Oregon will get a shot if they win out. Despite their 40+ point loss to Georgia Labor Day weekend, they’ll have an otherwise good resume from beating the other top teams in the Pac-12. Clemson and UNC have now both lost to Notre Dame, and this also leaves the both of them without a true “statement” win (Clemson’s best win is probably… Florida State?). So, yeah, I could see a 1-loss Tennessee getting in over either, and that’s what I think will happen.
Otherwise, this promises to be an interesting bowl season. If for no other reason than because if I’m right, we’ll get the rematch of the best worst bowl game ever.