October 24, 2010

Playoff Scenarios

There was a bunch of debate around the interwebs about UW's chances at the Rose Bowl due to their loss at MSU. If MSU, aOSU, and UW end up in a 3-way tie (which is what I think happens), these are the rules (from the Big Ten website):

Unless ranked No. 1 or No. 2 in the final BCS poll, the conference champion shall participate in the Rose Bowl. The championship shall be determined on the percentage basis of conference games (tie games counts ½ win and ½ loss). If there is a tie for the championship, the Rose Bowl representative will be determined as follows:


If more than two teams tie for the championship, the same selection procedures shall be followed with the following exceptions:

1. If three teams are tied, and if one team defeated both of the other teams, then that team shall be the representative.
2. If three teams are still tied, and if two of the three teams defeated the third team, the third team is eliminated, and the remaining two teams shall revert to the two-team tie procedure.
3. If three teams are still tied, and there is a tie game between two of the three teams, or if two or all three of the teams did not play each other, the representative shall be determined on a percentage basis of all games played.
4. If three teams are still tied, and one of the three teams is eliminated through the percentage basis of all games played, the remaining two teams shall revert to the two-team tie procedure.
5. If three teams are still tied, and all three teams have the same winning percentage of all games played, the highest-ranked team in the final BCS standings shall be the representative.

In this scenario, we have aOSU, MSU, and UW all as one-loss teams: aOSU to UW, UW to MSU, and MSU to Iowa. Cases 1 and 2 will not come into play because they're all one-loss teams. Cases 3 and 4 won't come into play because MSU does not play aOSU and all the teams will have the same overall record. Thus it comes down to case 5, the BCS standings. Since Wisconsin will have lost the least-recently I would say there's a good chance they come out on top, but the big question would be whether Ohio State would re-leapfrog them after a win over Iowa.

Most likely monkey wrenches (in order of likelihood)
  1. Michigan State defeats Iowa, goes undefeated. This is my biggest worry - Iowa has to be seriously deflated after the loss to Wisconsin and it remains to see how they'll respond

  2. Iowa defeats Ohio State, loses to Michigan State. In this case UW and MSU would be tied at the top of the standings, and MSU would advance on the head-to-head win.

  3. Iowa defeats Ohio State and MSU. In this case we'd be looking at a three-way tie between Iowa, MSU, and UW. MSU would got to the Rose Bowl in this case, as Iowa's non-conference loss to AZ would eliminate it per case 3, and then MSU would win on the strength of their win vs UW.

  4. Wisconsin loses to Denard Robinson. You never know what will happen in the Big House. Michigan's defense is awful but Robinson can win a game by himself.

  5. MSU loses to PSU in the last game of the season. PSU is fading big-time down the stretch, but they're still tough to beat at home, and MSU still looks beatable by a good team.