Wednesday, November 16, 2011

2011 Gus Rankings: Week 11

Here are this week's Gus Rankings. LSU leads the way with Oklahoma State two points back in the second spot. Alabama is third, Oklahoma fourth, and Oregon fifth.

At the bottom of the rankings, Memphis holds a two point "lead" over Tulane.

At this point, it is fun to extrapolate whom Gus would have playing in the BCS bowl games. We'll use the current Gus Rankings to determine bowl choice and to break any conference tiebreakers or uncertainty.

The National Championship Game is easy enough-- the top two ranked teams in the poll are LSU and Oklahoma State, here assumed to be the champions of the SEC and the Big 12, respectively.

The Rose Bowl is the next easiest bowl to figure. The champion of the Pac-12 and the Big 10 are each sent to the Rose Bowl unless they are committed to the National Championship Game. Neither figure to fit this stipulation this week; Oregon would be the champion of the Pac-12 (with the highest Gus Ranking), and would face Michigan (again, the highest ranked team from the Big 10). Note that the actual Big 10 race is still wide open; Michigan finds itself one game behind Michigan State in the standings, and Nebraska, Penn State and Wisconsin all have two losses or less as well.

Only one remaining conference has a binding tie to a particular bowl-- the ACC, in which current Gus champion Virginia Tech would travel to the Orange Bowl. The SEC (Sugar) and Big 12 (Fiesta) champions are not committed to these bowl because they have been chosen for the National Championship Game. These bowls get to choose replacements before the pool of at-large teams is considered.

So, the first bowl that gets to select a replacement is the Sugar Bowl, as LSU was the first team to be taken for the National Championship Game with their #1 ranking. We assume that the Sugar Bowl takes the highest remaining team in the Gus Rankings. Thus, the Sugar Bowl selects Alabama, which is ranked #3.

The Fiesta Bowl is next in selecting a replacement for Oklahoma State; next highest on the list is Oklahoma at #4.

The remaining teams are selected according to the pre-determined order for the season: Fiesta, Sugar, then Orange. The Big East champion remains as an automatic qualifier; the highest ranked Big East team is West Virginia at #29. Because Houston is presumed to be the conference champion of Conference USA and they are ranked within the top 12, they, too, are an automatic qualifier (though would have been the next team selected by virtue of ranking strength anyhow). That leaves one remaining team to be selected from the Gus Rankings-- and Boise State captures the final at-large selection.

So, in assembling the final selections according to requirements and still preferring teams with the highest possible rankings, we are left with the following bowl lineup:

National Championship Game: LSU vs. Oklahoma State
Rose Bowl: Oregon vs. Michigan
Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma vs. Houston
Sugar Bowl: Alabama vs. Boise State
Orange Bowl: Virginia Tech vs. West Virginia

Of course, things change from week to we'll see where this ends up! As a fun side note...what would be the over/under on that Fiesta Bowl matchup?


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