2014 = Scoreboard watching

Some of the greatest times for college football fans can be had from predicting an upcoming football season.  Of course it is human nature to believe that the home team will go undefeated.  Otherwise, college football is a crap-shoot every year which makes the game unique and adds to its allure.  At the same time certain variables play major roles in a teams projected finish. 

This year with the final four playoff system in place, predicting a teams finish will be even more complicated.   The newly installed playoff committee selection will make things even more eventful in 2014.  The second weekend in December will be to football fans what March Madness selection Sunday has become to basketball fans. 

What concerns me most about this process is the fact that we do not know how the selection committee will weigh out a team’s strength of schedule.  In the past we had the computers to do that for us.  It is likely that the committee will use similar techniques, but then again we will have the human element this year that will play a bigger role than in the past.  That’s right things just got more complicated and more importantly, possibly more unpredictable.  

That be as it may, the Big 12 faces another issue…The Big 12 is the only power conference without a championship game.   As we know humans tend to value what they see last as most important.   It is likely that SEC, ACC, Pac 12 and Big Ten championship games played on major networks will have no difficulty impressing America and selection committee members the day before selection Sunday.  It will be critical for OU and Baylor to do the same with its OU-OSU and Baylor-K-State games that weekend.

The Big 12 has taken a major step to help out here by beefing up its Big 12 non-conference schedule, a move that will certainly beef up the conference RPI or strength of schedule rating.   First things first, it will be important for conference teams to compete against the likes of Alabama, Auburn, Florida State, Tennessee and UCLA.  This was a bold step and a necessary one, but it will work only if conference teams compete well…

Upsets have to be avoided and all games must be competitive.     OU and Baylor will be the beneficiaries of this move as the Sooners play a young, but respectable Tennessee team at home while Baylor plays the weakest non-conference schedule in America.    As stated previously, a November 8th matchup between undefeated Sooners and Bears teams would do wonders for the conference chances in the final four, particularly if the conference has enhanced its RPI during the nonconference portion of the Big 11 schedule.

For an insurance policy it would be nice for one of the power conferences to go south prior to championship Saturday.   The SEC is still the SEC and we can pencil in this conference as final four finalist.  The ACC with Florida State on one side and solid championship game competitors on the other can be penciled in as well.   Same goes for the Pac 12 as the PAC 12 will be loaded with several top ten teams in 2014.  That leaves the Big Ten and the Big 12…

With academics weighing down the Big Ten conference, there are only a handful of stout teams at the top of this conference.    Two teams stand out; The defense-minded Michigan State Spartans and the and the Braxton Miller-led Ohio State Buckeyes.  It would be preferable for both these teams to have at least one loss going into championship Saturday; 

To make this happen, we need Oregon to take out Michigan State at home early in the season.   Then, we need Michigan State to take care of the Buckeyes in East Lansing in November.  This gives both these teams a loss.  Most importantly, it gives Ohio State their loss late in the year.  

For safe measure, let’s have LSU take care of Wisconsin in August and for Wisconsin to dispatch of an overrated Nebraska team at home in mid-November.  There you have all the Big Ten pretenders have one loss making the winner of this game less attractive to the selection committee on selection Sunday.   Even if the Sooners were to stub their toe during the season a strong game against Baylor and OSU on championship Saturday late in the year should put the Sooners in great shape.   If all of this comes to fruition, even a one loss Sooner team will make the four team playoff format.  An undefeated Sooner team would make OU a top two seed. 

I know it sounds like I am overthinking the process, but then again this is what college football junkies do during the dog days of summer.  This process also allows us to scoreboard-watch during OU blowouts. 

Here is the way it looks on paper…

  • August 30th – LSU over Wisconsin…
  • September 6th – Oregon over Michigan State…
  • November 8th – Michigan State over Ohio State…
  • November 8th – OU over Baylor…
  • November 15th – Wisconsin over Nebraska…
  • December 6th – OU dismembers OSU…
  • December 7th – OU makes final four…

 

Final four teams in alphabetical order…

  • ACC
  • Big 12
  • Pac 12
  • SEC

 

Boomer Sooner…

 

 

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