Friday, November 18, 2016

College Football Playoffs Nightmare Scenario

The College Football Playoffs (CFP) have had it pretty damn easy the first two years of their existence come season end.  There are always these scary scenarios, but things tend to play out.  This year, the first two loss team is probable to make it in the college football playoffs.  Let's review the last two seasons simplistic:

In 2014, the four finalists were Alabama, Oregon, Florida State and Ohio State.  The Big XII was left out due to having two 11-1 teams in Baylor and TCU and the conference naming them dual champions.  The committee favored the quality wins of the remaining Power 5 conferences and having a TRUE conference champion and championship game.  It was clean and simple.  TCU fans were livid, but the wins by FSU and OSU in their championship games allowed them to leapfrog TCU.

In 2015, despite only 1 Loss, Ohio State was left out of the CFP Final 4.  The committee had an easy choice with 1-seed Clemson and an Alabama and Michigan State team that had knocked off Ohio State and beat undefeated Iowa in a closely contested conference title game.  The question was whether Ohio State would leapfrog OU to get to #4.  The committee squashed that talk picking OU and favoring the 1-Loss conference runner-up in Iowa and jumping PAC 12 conference champion Stanford above the Buckeyes.  The committee favored the conference champion with quality wins over the runner-up that couldn't make the title game.

So what does this have to do with 2016, you ask?  EVERYTHING!  The CFP committee has shown that a conference champion is more well revered than a 1-Loss division runner-up.  In this year's CFP, there are still 11 teams vying for the CFP Final 4.  The committee will have their work cut out for them unless the teams remaining are Alabama, Michigan, Clemson and Washington with no more than 1 Loss.  Here is a breakdown of the 11 teams by conference:

SEC (1)-Alabama.  That is it.  They are in unless something insane happens.  There is not another team in the SEC with any chance of making the College Football Playoffs.  Don't give me Florida, you crazy Gators fans. (1 bid)

ACC (1)-Clemson.  Clemson's finishes with Wake Forest and South Carolina and then likely Virginia Tech.  Clemson is in if they win out.  If they lose any of their games, they would be out and .  They would have 2 bad losses compared to many others. (0 or 1 bid)

Big XII - 2 (3)-Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and West Virginia all have a shot as Big XII conference champions.  Oklahoma would have a 9 game win streak and have losses to Houston and Ohio State.  They would have ended with wins over 2 ranked conference foes.  They seem the most attractive if they win out.  But if 11th ranked Okie State wins out they will have won 8 in a row.  Unfortunately they have an ugly loss to Central Michigan and while that Loss was off a BS play, they lost and they lost to a very average MAC team and Baylor team on a 3-game losing streak.  Which leads to 14th ranked West Virginia.  West Virginia got handled by Okie State but has ran the table.  There is a reason they are ranked 14th behind (6)-2 Loss teams and a 3 Loss team, their schedule is even lighter than Okie State.  A win over their only ranked foe may or may not be enough over 2 Loss conference champs with a better resume.  The Big XII can blame themselves  if they get left out for not stepping up and becoming a legitimate conference by adding 2 or more teams to have a true conference champion.  At best they will get one in. (0 or 1 bid)

PAC 12 (2)-CU and Washington.  What, no Washington State or Utah?  No!  Utah lost to a Cal team that has to win out to make a bowl game and lost to Washington at home.  On the road, hurts less.  Washington State is done because of losing to an FCS school and a Boise State team that won't climb higher than 15th even if they remain with 1 Loss.  Washington is the easy school here.  They would have only 1 Loss if they win out.  They would have played in must win games to close out the season.  Right now, they appear to be in if they win out based off the committee preaching conference champion though they do have to worry a 2-Loss Big 1G Wisconsin or Penn State team would jump them.  Colorado is the dark horse, Cinderella story.  The fact they are being discussed drives some people nuts because they choose to focus on the past decade of CU and not today, CU is a good team and will be a great team if they win out.  CU will have faced a Top 25 Wazzu team, a Top 10 or 11 Utah team and Top 4 Washington team.  They will have won 7 straight with there last 3 being the toughest schedule to close out the season and their 2 losses will be over likely Top 10 Michigan (Top 2 if they win out) and Top 10 USC by the time the final CFP rankings come out.  No other team with two losses has close to that resume.  The Pac 12 is like the Big XII, hoping to get one in. (0 or 1 bid)

Big 1G (4)-Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State and Wisconsin.  What a shit show.  The Big 1G may have the most teams still in contention but the fact we are here shows that the two top dogs in Ohio State and Michigan each had a ridiculous loss.  Still they are both still in contention but The Game looms large.  The victor will more than likely be in the College Football playoffs *unless Michigan or Ohio State lose another game before or after.  Michigan will have had 2 losses in 3 weeks if they lose and despite beating a team like CU, the committee has factored in Division placement and a 3rd place Michigan would likely drop behind CU if they win the Pac 12.  Sad for CU haters and Michigan fans, but the committee proved their point last  year with Ohio State and would do it again.  Penn State needs Ohio State to beat Michigan or their narrow home victory over the Buckeyes doesn't look as strong or give Penn State a chance to be conference champions.  Right now, Penn State sits in 8th place above OU and CU because of their defeat of tOSU.  Their ass whipping versus Michigan and a loss to Pitt isn't enough to hold off the teams behind them from the Big XII without being an 11-2 conference champ.  Wisconsin is actually the best team everyone is forgetting.  They had narrow losses to Michigan and tOSU in consecutive weeks but have handled their business.  If they win out, they likely would leapfrog all 3 teams minus Ohio State and even then they would  be considered a better candidate than any Big XII or PAC 12 champ.  The Big 1G will get 2 in if Ohio State beats Michigan, it's that simple (1 or 2 bid).

As you can see, there are 2 guaranteed conference bids in the Big 1G and SEC but the other 3 Power 5 schools are hoping Michigan can hold court and knock off Ohio State, Wisconsin and Penn State due to quality of win/loss eliminating them.

EXTRA-Scenarios for CU to get in (0% to 100%)
If CU doesn't win out, they are done, simple.  It was fun to talk about.  Great story, but they weren't ready.  BUT IF they do, here is what they need to 100% get in and then other maybe scenarios:

1. Clemson loses, Michigan wins out (90%):  This would get CU in and likely OU or 1 Loss WVU from Big XII.  It eliminates Clemson and CU jumps Penn State over quality of Wins and Quality of Losses.  Better SOS, stronger FPI.  Stronger Game Control.  CU holds everything but the big win advantage.  That changes with winning out.  Ohio State as 3rd best team in own division does not get in.  The committee has shown they aren't in favor of this.
2. Clemson, Michigan, Alabama win out (65%): Colorado would have either OU or 1-Loss WVU to have to flip a coin with. OUs losses are slightly worse than CUs but they have longer win streak and close to same end of schedule wins.

There are many scenarios where CUs chances increase, if Oklahoma loses to either WVU or Okie State, if the Big XII beats each other up and WVU is best team of group with 2 Losses.

The best thing to happen for the Buffs would be Clemson loses a game, followed by Michigan winning out.  If one of those hings don't happen, CU is at best a 40% chance to make it in.  Buffs fans better wear their Jump Man gear along with their Buff gear to close out the season!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Colorado's Dream Season Has Fans Dreaming Beyond A Bowl Game

The initial College Football Playoff Rankings came out yesterday and much to the surprise of many outside the fan base, the Buffs landed at #15.  It doesn't come to the surprise of true Buffs fans and supporters that have seen this team.  The Buffs rise to this point has certainly been earned. CU has two road wins against programs they had lost by an average of nearly 3 scores since joining the PAC 12 and their home wins have been an average beat down of 47-9.  CU is ranked between 10 and 33 in EVERY major team statistical category.  Yet, the doubt and animosity towards the Buffs seems to be higher than ever.  But rubbing salt in the wounds of others is meant for Twitter.  This piece is to show where CU is and where they can still go from today.

CU plays the 25th ranked, 16th ranked and 5th ranked teams in the initial college football rankings over the last 4 weeks of the season.  If these 4 teams, including the Buffs, can hold serve, then all will likely be moved up a spot to 5-10 spots by the time the Buffs face them.  The main goal for CU is this, win every week and achieve what their initial goal was before the season... WIN THE PAC 12.  If the Buffs win the PAC 12 they are in the Rose Bowl... at the very least.  But the Buffs could still make the Rose Bowl if they lose to an undefeated Washington in the Pac 12 title game since Washington would likely be in the College Football Playoffs.  But CU fans have earned the right to dream big and the road for them to move into the college football playoffs is a fairy tale that would fit this season after 10 consecutive losing seasons for the Buffs.  How can it be done has been broke down by others, but I will give a more concise reasoning and show the path to the playoffs starting with:
17. Baylor and 20. West Virginia-If either team wins out, it hurts.  Both have awful losses in their last games. Either way, one will knock the other out on December 3rd.
14. Oklahoma-Oh, Big XII (-2), why do you do this to yourself?  If you had 12 teams and a conference title game, I may say sure.  Yet, Oklahoma could win out, but their substance of 10-2 would not be greater than CUs 11-2.  They do close out with 3 teams ranked 17-19 in the rankings but losses to a 2 Loss OSU (get to that later).  A loss to Baylor, Okie St or WVU in those last 3 would make it easier and only Baylor would be of worry.  Another Houston loss would hurt worse than USC loss.
13. LSU-They are about to get throttled by the #1 team.  Done.
12. Ped, I mean Penn State-A team that got throttled by a team CU played tough in Michigan and CU being conference champs would be a travesty if 11-2 CU doesn't leapfrog the Nittany Lions.  A loss to a Pitt team is also worse than the USC team CU lost to.  Ohio State at home in an electric game day atmosphere is not more wow than a neutral site win over a Washington team in my eyes either.  I believe CU leapfrogs Penn State if they go 11-2 over 10-2 PSU like the #6 team.
11. Florida-The Gators got beat by a Tennessee team that is now on a 3 game losing streak.  They also would have to beat Florida in SEC title game and get past LSU and FSU to end the season.  Won't happen.
10. Nebraska-When Ohio State whomps that ass this weekend.  Done.
9. Auburn-Has to play Alabama in last game of regular season.  3rd loss.  Out.
8. Wisconsin-The Badgers will likely finish ahead of Nebraska with a very easy schedule in their remaining 4.  However Wisconsin would have to play Michigan and a 3 Loss team won't hold water.
7. Louisville-What a cute story it is.  But I just watched Louisville scrape by against Virginia.  Unfortunately, it will take a loss they shouldn't have ahead.  This team is CUs biggest obstacle to move past. The hope is Houston plays to their level and shocks the Cardinals.
6. Ohio State-Sorry but a 2 loss team won't make it in if they aren't in their title game.  I even believe 10-2 tOSU is probably better than 11-2 CU but committee will have tough time turning away a team w/ CUs resume.  Penn State loss hurts big.
5. Washington-A 1 Loss Washington that loses to CU in the last week won't be chose over the Buffs.  Simple.  It would  be a complete joke and a reason the BCS computers were gone away with.
4. Texas A & M-The other big obstacle for the Buffs.  A & M likely needs to lose one of remaining games.  This despite a very average win over a crappy UCLA and average Tennessee team.

So how it breaks out is this:

CU needs for the 1-Loss teams to beat each other up and end up with 2 losses in WVU and Baylor.  It is likely that Florida, Nebraska and Ohio State will get that 2nd loss.  The other 2 loss teams with CU in Wisconsin, Auburn and LSU will likely add another loss to get to 3.  CU would have to hope for the committee to take all things into account to leapfrog Oklahoma and Penn State (or a Loss).

So the Buffs have 10 teams they likely finish ahead of based off likely losses and schedule taken into account, which leaves only Texas A & M and Louisville in their way.  We will see, but the best case  scenario I see for the Colorado Buffaloes is to end up 6th when the final rankings are out.

The Buffs need a lot of fairy tale things to happen, but for a team that was picked to finish no better than 6-6 by the most optimist of experts and no better than 8-4 by yours truly, there is at least a sliver of hope.  The best news for CU fans is this, they are bowl eligible and a win tomorrow against UCLA would guarantee their first winning season in a decade.  Anything more is just extra gravy on the plate.  Butchering a quote from the wise Ryan Koenigsberg, "Enjoy it Buffs fans.  We may never see another season like this!"

Note:  When Koenigsberg says this he is not alluding to the fact CU won't have a better year than this, but a season where such little is expected of them and every win and every week is just building on excitement, it will be impossible to match unless we have another 10 years of... STOP, JUST STOP.  Soak it in and enjoy it.  Sorry, salty haters, The Rise continues beyond 2016.