Brad Edwards: TCU in good spot
ESPN.com's BCS guru Brad Edwards talked to ESPNDallas.com about TCU's chance and some various scenarios. Here are some highlights of Edwards' BCS thoughts:
Q: Will TCU be able to stay in front of Boise State or will the Broncos leapfrog the Frogs at the end of the season?
BE: I think the odds are heavily in TCU's favor right now. I think it's really because of what happened in the polls. For a few weeks now, it's looked like TCU would finish higher in the computers. It was just a matter of whether Boise was going to be able to hang on to its advantage in the polls and if it did, it was probably going to come down to the wire. But TCU, fortunately for them, didn't just win Saturday. I think if they had won that game by 7 or 10 or somewhere in that range, you wouldn't have seen them vault over Boise State in the polls. We talk about style points and everyone gets sick of that and you don't go into a game like that thinking of style points, but the way it worked out helped TCU.
Q: So moving up in the human element was critical because it means TCU isn't just relying on the computers, right?
BE: That was a huge deal that they moved up in the polls. Boise looked almost as good as TCU against Hawaii, which is an underrated team in my opinion. But if a team doesn't go out there and give you a reason to drop them, most of the time as a voter you're not going to drop them. Looking at TCU's remaining two games, with San Diego State being in Fort Worth and New Mexico being as bad as they are, it's tough to imagine TCU playing a close game and not blowing out these last two teams. Unless they play a close game, I just don't see a lot of voters being willing to even consider moving Boise State ahead. As far as we know, Nevada may be better than Utah. But the general consensus among voters is they aren't as good and they won't be ranked as high and won't be undefeated like Utah was. So I don't think there's anything Boise can do to get that advantage back in the polls. If Virginia Tech wins out and Utah goes out and loses another game, that could impact the computers and they could maybe pull even in the computers despite a big gap right now. But they'd still have to get ahead in the polls because that's two-thirds of the BCS formula and I don't think voters will do that.
Q: Let's play the 'what if' game. Will TCU get in the national title game ahead of a one-loss SEC team?
BE: Auburn because Auburn would be just as good as Boise and TCU in the computers with that one loss if not ranked slightly ahead. They'll still be really strong in the computers. Then the question becomes what do the voters do with them. What degree do the voters put some stock in the fact that the SEC has won the last four national championships. It's a tough call. I think that what TCU did on Saturday plays into this. The fact that they were so dominant, and maybe I'm overstating my own opinion as opposed to what voters might do, helps them. To me there's no question that if Auburn or Oregon loses that one of those team, TCU or Boise, deserves to play for the national championship and right now we're leaning toward TCU in that argument. And I think a lot of voters feel that way. I think voters would look at it that it would not be an injustice to the sport to have them play in the national championship game. They were one second away from doing it last year. So it's not like they came out of nowhere. I think there are some voters that would still have the attitude that wouldn't want a team from the Mountain West to play in the national championship game because they don't think they deserve it because of the schedule and there would be voters that would say a one-loss SEC champion has to be one of the top-2 teams in the country. But others would watch TCU play and say they think they are as good or better than Auburn. If I had to make a prediction, I'd say TCU would be fine as far as getting up there if Auburn loses.
Q: But out of all the one-loss teams at that point, Auburn poses the biggest threat to TCU in terms of trying to oust them from a title game shot?
BE: Yes. The team that doesn't have a loss yet, Auburn, is the biggest threat. I don't think there are any teams lurking behind them. LSU is the only team that has enough schedule strength to be a problem, but the issue is that LSU is not going to be high enough in the polls without winning their division of the SEC. I just think there are too many voters that still have questions about LSU because of what happened earlier in the year. I think there's a sense that LSU has gotten lucky and that Auburn knows how to win. But I like TCU's chances a lot if Auburn or Oregon stumble.
Q: How much would having that extra game for Auburn in the SEC title game help while TCU is sitting at home?
BE: One thing that can't be underestimated is that if Auburn loses the Iron Bowl (at Alabama Thanksgiving week), there will be a full week for everybody to hash this out. Auburn won't be playing a great team. It will be a top-25 team, but not a one-loss team. But there will be a whole week for people to debate it and hear every side of the argument as far as who deserves what if Auburn wins the SEC championship game after losing to Alabama. The other thing that happens that week in the coaches poll is there are a lot of them that haven't had a chance to watch games because their own teams are playing. Now as a voter they have a chance to sit back and look at everything. And they will have a chance to watch Auburn play and some of them may not have seen much of TCU outside of highlights. The last week is different because you do have voters not only paying more attention to the games, but they are better informed by that point. They've done some research and have listened to the arguments all week long.
Other quick points:
* When and how Auburn loses could impact TCU. Auburn's best chance to make the title game with one loss is to lose to Alabama in a close game in Tuscaloosa. It's a rivalry game and if Alabama is a two-loss team, losing to them on the road in a close game would not look that bad in the eyes of voters. If Auburn then turned around and looked good in beating Florida or South Carolina in the SEC title game, they could make it interesting in terms of whether they got ahead of TCU. But if Auburn loses to Georgia or in the SEC title game, they likely would have no shot to get back in front of TCU.
* It is important that TCU keep its foot on the gas pedal. San Diego State only has two losses, but they aren't on any radar screens when it comes to voters. So the pressure is on TCU to look impressive in that game and in New Mexico on Thanksgiving weekend to keep voters impressed.
In summary, TCU is in a great spot. They are waiting for a stumble and with Auburn's remaining schedule, that is certainly possible.
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