Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Scenario Time, Baby

Four days before No. 1 Ohio State's devastating loss at the hands of Illinois I posted something in this space with the heading, "Ohio State Might Win the Next Two Titles." And as ridiculous as it seemed then, it wasn't that ridiculous. The thing is, it still isn't. Well, it kind of is, but it's not an impossibility. Just here me out.

Here's the current BCS top 7, and their remaining schedule:

1. LSU (at Ole Miss, vs. Arkansas, SEC Championship vs. Georgia/Tennessee/Florida)

2. Oregon (at Arizona, at UCLA, vs. rival Oregon State)

3. Kansas (vs. Iowa State, neutral field vs. Missouri, potential Big 12 championship vs. Oklahoma)

4. Oklahoma (at Texas Tech, vs. rival Oklahoma State, Big 12 championship vs. Kansas/Missouri)

5. Missouri (at Kansas State, at Kansas, potential Big 12 championship vs. Oklahoma)

6. West Virginia (at Cincinnati, vs. UCONN, vs. Pitt)

7. Ohio State (at Michigan)

Question: Does every team Nos. 1-6 have a losable game on their schedule?

Answer: Uh-Huh

Let's have a mini-breakdown of what could happen, in order:

11/17: Ohio State beats Michigan; Cincinnati beats West Virginia. Aftermath: Ohio State moves up to No.6; Top 5 stays the same.

(Note: I believe Ohio State will take care of Michigan, but I'd be surprised if Cincinnati can stay within two touchdowns of West Virginia)

11/24: Missouri soundly defeats Kansas; Oregon loses to UCLA; Oklahoma State shocks Oklahoma. Aftermath: Ohio State moves to No. 3, with Missouri jumping to No. 2 and LSU again holding down the top spot.

(Note: My scenario for 11/24 is where the plot becomes somewhat unrealistic. I'd be surprised if Oregon lost one of their remaining three, but it's not unfathomable. Remember, none of Oregon's players have played in games this big so the likelihood of a tightened sphincter is very real. As for Oklahoma losing, again, it probably won't happen in the regular season, but I need it to for this scenario to play out.)

12/1: LSU loses to Florida/Georgia/Tennessee in SEC championship game; Missouri loses for second time to Oklahoma. Aftermath: Ohio State moves to No. 1. As for No.2, chaos would ensue. I can't see current No. 8 (and one-loss) Arizona State back-dooring their way in. I also have a hard time seeing any team with two losses make an appearance, which would wipe out pretty much everybody else (unless Georgia--who might be playing better than anyone--wins out by a margin of 20-30 points). As for one-loss Kansas, scratch them off the list, because they didn't even win their own division, much less the Big 12. And forget about Hawaii, too. No explanation needed.

So who does that leave?

I doesn't know and I doesn't care. All I know is that Ohio State has a legitimate shot of sliding into the BCS title game. Hell, as I just pointed out, they have a very real shot at being the No. 1 team going into said contest.

So...I would say the chances of this happening aren't great. But there not terrible, either. If I were a handicapper, I'd place the odds at 50/1. Like I said, not great, but not terrible.

So you're telling me there's a chance? Yep. Which reminds me...

Be positive, Buckeyes fans. And you should probably pray (or whatever).

-Brad Spieser (