Since the 1st AP and coaches polls were released for the 2009 season, I have been pondering the chances that Texas would play in the BCS title game. After the majority of week one action has come to an end, I submit my thoughts.
Executive summary - if USC is undefeated, there could be trouble.
I need a basis from which to begin the discussion. I assume the winner of the SEC will play in the BCS championship game. I also assume Texas wins out. While these are by no means a lock, they are the assumptions to begin my analysis.
I am also going to assume that no team ranked lower than 10 at the beginning of the season could jump the second ranked team. For instance if California (currently ranked # 12 in both polls) were to go undefeated, it is not possible for them to jump Texas, should Texas also go undefeated.
So I consider the current top ten.
SEC: Florida, Alabama, Ole Miss, LSU. This list of 4 is shortened to a list of one (the SEC conference champ). Reasoning: the SEC runner up by definition has one loss; the runner up cannot be ranked higher than undefeated Texas.
Big 12: Oklahoma, Oklahoma State. Neither jump Texas because Texas beats them both and is undefeated.
Big 10: Ohio State, Penn State. This list of 2 is shortened to a list of one. Reasoning: Ohio State and Penn State play each other, therefore one of these has at least 1 loss. A 1 loss team does not jump undefeated Texas.
ACC: Virginia Tech. They are out. They lost yesterday, a 1 loss team doesn't jump undefeated Texas.
We are now down to SEC winner, Texas, Big 10 winner, and USC.
Scenario # 1: Ohio State is undefeated. This means OSU beat USC at home and Penn State on the road. Is that worthy of jumping from #6 to #2, over an undefeated Texas? I argue no, since Texas' and OSU's strength of schedule is fairly even. They both play 3 top 25 teams which are very close in rank. Also, the Big 12 conference is nationally perceived as stronger than the Big 10. And voters may remember what happened in last year's Fiesta Bowl (and the choke jobs OSU put up in the previous 2 years' BCS championship games).
Scenario # 2: Penn State is undefeated. The only ranked teams on their schedule are OSU and Iowa, both of whom had weak performances in their first games. And the perceived weakness of the Big 10 does not vault an undefeated Big 10 winner over the undefeated Big 12 winner.
Scenario # 3: USC is undefeated. This is the one that scares me and the one that prompted me to write this post. They have 4 ranked teams on their schedule, all on the road. Although Oregon may not be ranked after their performance at Boise State earlier this week.
We all know how the national media can and will dub an undefeated USC. If USC goes undefeated, the Trojans are not only the best football team on the face of the planet, but the best football team of all time. They jump Texas.
The above is a slight exaggeration. My intent is not to insult any USC players (I happen to think they are very good). My beef is with the college football experts we watch on various sports news networks. Does USC still have the ability to hypnotize the national media as in recent years past? The answer to that question is likely the answer to my post headline.