BTBS National Preview, Part Two

Yesterday we took a look at the projected Top 25 in terms of rough BTBS projections.  Today we ride those projections to their inevitable conclusion and look at projected standings and bowls.  As a reminder, these are strictly what the numbers say, not my own personal opinion--I'm on record saying Missouri's projection is too high.  Also, the projections I made through the summer have been updated to incorporate the projected turnover points data I spoke about yesterday.  So without further adieu...

Big 12

North Division Proj.
Conf.
Proj.
Overall
Proj.
Bowl
Missouri 6-2 10-3 Holiday
Nebraska 5-3 9-3 Alamo
Kansas 4-4 8-4 Independence
Kansas State 3-5 6-6
Colorado 2-6 5-7
Iowa State 0-8 3-9
South Division Proj.
Conf.
Proj.
Overall
Proj.
Bowl
Texas* 8-0 13-0 BCS Championship
Oklahoma 7-1 11-1 Fiesta
Oklahoma State 6-2 10-2 Cotton
Texas Tech 4-4 8-4 Sun
Texas A&M 2-6 5-7
Baylor 1-7 3-9

 

  • As I mentioned before, not having a "All-Americans lost" qualifier instead of just "starters lost" helps Missouri out quite a bit, as did the turnover numbers from 2008.  I don't think they'll go 10-2, but...well, obviously I wouldn't complain if it happened.
  • Honestly, I'm thinking a more likely scenario in the South is that OU beats Texas, then OU loses to somebody else and they both end up 11-1.  OU's offensive line won't kill them often, but it will bite them once, I think.  And honestly, I've seen quite a few people now say that Texas will beat OU because their O-line is better than OU's.  But...well, their O-lines won't face off against each other, will they?  The Texas D-line is perfectly qualified from a "caliber of recruit" perspective, but until I see somebody doing pretty credible Brian Orakpo and Roy Miller impersonations, then that's a question mark just like OU's offensive line is.
  • (And as I mentioned yesterday, there is a separation of about 0.01 between OU and Texas right now, so...yeah.)
  • Wherein I disagree with My Own Numbers, #1: I think Baylor will be better than 3-9, but they did benefit a little more than you'd expect from turnovers last year, so we'll see.  They might still be a year away from true bowl contention.  Then again, if Phil Taylor is what they say he is, that's a bonus the numbers don't account for.

ACC

Atlantic Division Proj.
Conf.
Proj.
Overall
Proj.
Bowl
Clemson* 6-2 10-3 Orange
Florida State 6-2 8-4 Chick-Fil-A
Boston College 5-3 9-3 Champs Sports
Wake Forest 4-4 8-4 Emerald
Maryland 4-4 7-5 EagleBank
N.C. State 3-5 7-5 GMAC
Coastal Division Proj.
Conf.
Proj.
Overall
Proj.
Bowl
Miami-FL 5-3 7-6 Meineke Car Care
Georgia Tech 5-3 8-4 Gator
Virginia Tech 5-3 7-5 Music City
Virginia 3-5 5-7
North Carolina 2-6 5-7
Duke 0-8 2-10
  • Another massive jumble in the ACC, where eight of 12 teams are projected between 3-5 and 5-3.  Clemson and Florida State seem to have a slight edge over everybody else, and Clemson wins the tie-breaker.
  • Projected Disappointment #1: Virginia Tech.  They benefitted tremendously from turnovers last year (#1 in the country in Turnover Points Margin), and while I'm pretty sure Frank Beamer teams always end up on the right side of the turnover battle, they should still see a fall of 5-6 points per game.  That's enough to drop them into a major dogfight with Miami and Georgia Tech for the division crown.
  • I'm not sure what the tie-breaker rules are in the ACC, but here's how Miami wins the Coastal--all three teams go 1-1 against each other, while Miami goes 3-0 against the rest of the Coastal (GT and VT both go 2-1).  So they earn the right to lose to Clemson in the title game.  But I'll say this: I do think Clemson-Miami title game would get a lot more viewers/attendance than the last couple of VT-BC showdowns...so they have that going for them...which is nice.
  • Wherein I disagree with My Own Numbers, #2: I think North Carolina will go better than 5-7.  I also think Maryland could sneak into 8-9 wins if things bounce right, but we'll see.

Big East


Proj.
Conf.
Proj.
Overall
Proj.
Bowl
Rutgers 5-2 9-3 Orange
Cincinnati 4-3 8-4 Papajohns.com
Connecticut 4-3 8-4 International
Pittsburgh 4-3 8-4 Meineke Car Care
South Florida 4-3 8-4 St. Petersburg
West Virginia 4-3 8-4 Gator
Louisville 3-4 7-5 Insight
Syracuse 0-7 2-10
  • Man oh man, I really hope Syracuse knocks off Rutgers, and we have a six-way tie for first (Rutgers is already losing to Louisville, so we can't have the 7-way tie I was aiming for), and all at 8-4, no less..  Nothing entertained me more than when that happened in the SWC in the mid-'90s.  As it stands, this should still be a ridiculously fun slap-fight to watch.
  • Really, all of this seems pretty plausible, though I think some folks would disagree with Louisville doing that well.  They're still benefitting from solid 5-year numbers, thanks to the end of the Petrino era, and that probably has them a bit high.
  • I mentioned a while back that the initial (non-turnover-influenced) numbers had Rutgers going 12-0.  I was disappointed to see that projection fall, but they're still a game better than everybody else, I guess.

Big Ten


Proj.
Conf.
Proj.
Overall
Proj.
Bowl
Penn State 8-0 12-0 Rose
Ohio State 7-1 11-1 Sugar
Iowa 6-2 10-2 Capital One
Illinois 5-3 7-5 Outback
Wisconsin 4-4 8-4 Alamo
Minnesota 4-4 7-5 Champs Sports
Northwestern 3-5 7-5 Insight
Michigan State 3-5 6-6 Texas
Michigan 2-6 6-6 Motor City
Indiana 1-7 4-8
Purdue 1-7 3-9
  • Penn State is projected to beat Ohio State by 1.1 points...and that's the only game projected within 12 points.  They do suffer some pretty scary losses at WR, but their schedule sets up quite nicely for a good run nonetheless.
  • Would Michigan accept a Motor City Bowl bid?  Normally, I would say no, but after last year, they just might.
  • Wherein I disagree with My Own Numbers, #3: I think that Michigan State will end up doing pretty well this year, opening the offense up a bit after leaning so heavily on Javon Ringer last year.  Not that there's anything wrong with a Texas Bowl showdown against mighty UL-Lafayette or anything, ahem, but I think they'll do better than that.

Conference USA

East Division Proj.
Conf.
Proj.
Overall
Proj.
Bowl
Southern Miss 7-1 9-4 Armed Forces
Marshall 5-3 7-5 Hawaii
Memphis 4-4 5-7
UAB 4-4 5-7
Central Florida 3-5 5-7
East Carolina 3-5 4-8
West Division Proj.
Conf.
Proj.
Overall
Proj.
Bowl
Tulsa* 7-1 10-3 Liberty
Houston 7-1 9-3 St. Petersburg
SMU 4-4 7-5 New Orleans
Rice 3-5 5-7
Tulane 1-7 2-10
UTEP 0-8 2-10
  • This appears to be a 3-team league this year, with Southern Miss, Tulsa, and Houston fighting it out for supremacy.
  • Because of the mediocrity everywhere else in the league, SMU sneaks into a bowl bid...which I must admit, would be pretty cool.
  • Projected Disappointment #2: East Carolina.  They were heavy on the smoke and mirrors last year, winning the conference despite wholly mediocre stats (after beating WVU and VT, anyway).  They're clearly well-coached, and because of that they might always overachieve above the projections, but they're a pretty good candidate for disappointment when all is said and done.
  • Looks like this might be Mike Price's last year with a West Texas zip code.

Independents


Proj.
Conf.
Proj.
Overall
Proj.
Bowl
Notre Dame N/A 6-6 Poinsettia
Navy N/A 6-7
Army N/A 5-7
  • Projected Disappointment #3: Notre Dame.  Mentioned this yesterday, but projecting Notre Damn is damn impossible right now.  A hair better than projected, and they shoot straight to 10-2 or 11-1.  A hair worse, and the Charlie Weis Era ends at 3-9 or 4-8.
  • You mean Navy might actually miss a bowl this year??  That never happens...meanwhile, Army almost sneaks into a bid, but a 10-point loss to Navy ends the dream.

MAC

East Division Proj.
Conf.
Proj.
Overall
Proj.
Bowl
Bowling Green 7-1 7-6 GMAC
Ohio 5-3 7-5 Humanitarian
Akron 5-3 6-6
Temple 4-4 6-6 EagleBank
Kent State 3-5 4-8
Miami-OH 1-7 1-11
Buffalo 0-8 1-11
West Division Proj.
Conf.
Proj.
Overall
Proj.
Bowl
Central Michigan* 7-1 9-4 Motor City
Northern Illinois 5-3 7-5 International
Toledo 5-3 6-6 New Mexico
Ball State 4-4 6-6
Eastern Michigan 3-5 4-8
Western Michigan 3-5 4-8
  • I realize Akron would probably get a bid over Temple with a better conference record, but I just couldn't resist.  There should be rules like "If you haven't been to a bowl in __ years, and you win six games, you're in no matter what."
  • Projected Disappointment #4: Buffalo.  Another smoke-and-mirrors team, Buffalo relied on a heavy 4.5-point advantage in turnovers to win a dead-even division and upset Ball State for the conference title.  Turner Gill's too good a coach for them to actually go 1-11, but it would surprise me if they're able to get back to a bowl this year, especially after losing their starting running back.
  • Projected Disappointment #5: Western Michigan.  Most have Central Michigan winning the conference, of course, but it seems like most have Western Michigan as the second-best team.  Apparently the numbers disagree.

Mountain West


Proj.
Conf.
Proj.
Overall
Proj.
Bowl
TCU 8-0 12-0 Fiesta
BYU 7-1 10-2 Las Vegas
Utah 6-2 9-3 Armed Forces
Air Force 3-5 5-7
Colorado State 3-5 5-7
New Mexico 3-5 4-8
San Diego State 2-6 5-7
UNLV 2-6 3-9
Wyoming 2-6 3-9
  • I don't see TCU getting past Clemson in Death Valley, but if they do they could be staring 12-0 in the face.  Of course, now that I've said that, watch them lose to Virginia this week.
  • This is kind of a nightmare scenario for the Mountain West--people will be watching them extra closely this year after all the "let them join the BCS!" talk this offseason, and having only three teams qualify for a bowl (with three more stuck at 5 wins) would damage the perception quite a bit.
  • Wherein I disagree with My Own Numbers, #4: I admit it.  I'm a complete and total homer.  But if Dave Christensen can bring any offensive improvement to the equation, a defense that improved significantly down the stretch last year could at least get them to 4-5 wins instead of three.  They have six games projected within seven points and are projected to go 2-4 in those games.  Go 4-2, and that's some pretty good first-year improvement right there.

Pac-10


Proj.
Conf.
Proj.
Overall
Proj.
Bowl
Oregon 9-0 11-1 Rose
USC 8-1 10-2 Holiday
California 7-2 10-2 Sun
Oregon State 6-3 9-3 Las Vegas
Arizona 5-4 7-5 Emerald
UCLA 4-5 6-6 Poinsettia
Stanford 3-6 5-7
Arizona State 2-7 4-8
Washington 1-8 2-10
Washington State 0-9 0-12
  • Wherein I disagree with My Own Numbers, #5: USC was actually projected to go 11-1 (9-0), but I couldn't help it.  I instituted a manual "starting a true freshman QB" penalty.  I just don't see them winning in Eugene with a freshman QB who was very INT-prone last year in high school, and a defensive line that potentially can't take much advantage of Oregon's young offensive line.
  • If Stanford gets anything from their defense, their offense should be able to bear a big load in getting them to a bowl.  They have nine games projected within nine points or less, going 4-5 in those nine.  They're projected to lose by 0.8 points to UCLA in a "winner is bowl eligible game," so they're certainly close.

SEC

East Division Proj.
Conf.
Proj.
Overall
Proj.
Bowl
Florida* 8-0 13-0 BCS Championship
Georgia 7-1 10-2 Capital One
Tennessee 4-4 8-4 Outback
South Carolina 2-6 4-8
Vanderbilt 2-6 4-8
Kentucky 1-7 4-8
West Division Proj.
Conf.
Proj.
Overall
Proj.
Bowl
Alabama 7-1 11-2 Sugar
LSU 6-2 10-2 Cotton
Arkansas 4-4 8-4 Chick-Fil-A
Ole Miss 4-4 8-4 Music City
Auburn 3-5 7-5 Independence
Mississippi State 0-8 1-11
  • Projected Disappointment #6: Ole Miss, who in most cases should be perfectly happy with a chance at 9-4--that would mean they've bounced up from the ashes in which they resided during Ed Orgeron's tenure and sustained the bounce--but now 8-4 would be considered a disappointment for a Top 10 team.  I definitely think the conventional wisdom is out of whack for the Rebels, who absolutely have a shot at glory with as agreeable a schedule as is possible in the SEC, but getting past both Alabama and LSU is a lot to ask, at home or on the road.
  • Both Tennessee and Auburn are riding "5-year success" numbers to a projected bounce-back season.  I doubt they both bounce back, but I pretty much guarantee at least one will.
  • Meanwhile, Arkansas is projected to be quite stout this season, but their schedule bites them a bit, and they end up at 8-4...which is still decent improvement.
  • Poor Mississippi State.  It's quite possible that Dan Mullen, their offensive whiz-kid coach they hired from Florida, can whip up some offensive success and make MSU better than expected, but the schedule is just brutal.  Only two of their losses (Houston, Middle Tennessee) are projected within less than ten points, meaning anything better than 3-9 will take a pretty hefty upset.

Sun Belt


Proj.
Conf.
Proj.
Overall
Proj.
Bowl
Troy 8-0 10-2 Papajohns.com
Middle Tennessee 7-1 9-3 New Orleans
UL-Lafayette 5-3 6-6 Texas
Florida Atlantic 4-4 5-7
UL-Monroe 4-4 5-7
Florida International 4-4 4-8
Arkansas State 2-6 3-9
North Texas 1-7 1-11
Western Kentucky 1-7 1-11
  • Tight wins over Memphis (2.6 points), Mississippi State (5.4), Florida Atlantic (1.3), UL-Lafayette (6.3) and UL-Monroe (0.1) drive Middle Tennessee to a lovely projected season, but going 5-0 in games that close is a bit much to ask, I would think.
  • I'm not sure how this scenario would play out--if, because other conferences struggle to fill their bowl allotments and a better bowl than New Orleans opens up, I would assume the Sun Belt would try to strive for Troy to fill that slot and have their runner-up go to New Orleans instead, but I'm not sure.  That's what I did here, with Troy jumping up to PapaJohns.com, while Middle Tennessee fills in in N'awlins.

WAC


Proj.
Conf.
Proj.
Overall
Proj.
Bowl
Boise State 8-0 13-0 Liberty
Nevada 7-1 10-2 New Mexico
Hawaii 5-3 9-4 Hawaii
Fresno State 5-3 6-6 Humanitarian
Louisiana Tech 4-4 5-7
Utah State 4-4 5-7
San Jose State 2-6 3-9
New Mexico State 1-7 2-11
Idaho 0-8 0-12
  • For what it's worth, I actually do think Utah State could be pretty solid this year.  I know you were dying to know that.
  • Pretty clear who the class of the conference is here, though Boise's projections are interesting for two reasons: 1) they're projected to beat Oregon, and 2) if I'm not mistaken (and I very well could be), if two non-BCS teams go undefeated, the BCS bowls only have to take one unless one is in the title game.  Is that right?  If so, the lower-ranked of TCU and Boise would be S.O.L., and I'm not sure which team that would be.  I had TCU ranked higher, so I went with them, but thanks to their reputation, Boise might actually be ranked higher despite losing head-to-head with TCU last year.

Bowl Projections

Date Bowl Tie-ins Matchup
12/19 New Mexico MWC vs WAC Nevada (10-2) vs Toledo (6-6)
12/19 St. Petersburg Big East vs C-USA Houston (9-3) vs South Florida (8-4)
12/20 New Orleans C-USA vs Sun Belt #1 Middle Tennessee (9-3) vs SMU (7-5)
12/22 Las Vegas MWC #1 vs Pac-10 BYU (10-2) vs Oregon State (9-3)
12/23 Poinsettia MWC vs Pac-10 #6 Notre Dame (6-6) vs UCLA (6-6)
12/24 Hawaii C-USA vs WAC Hawaii (9-4) vs Marshall (7-5)
12/26 Motor City Big Ten #7 vs MAC Central Michigan (9-4) vs Michigan (6-6)
12/26 Meineke Car Care ACC #5-7 vs Big East #3 Pittsburgh (8-4) vs Miami-FL (7-6)
12/26 Emerald ACC #5-7 vs Pac-10 Wake Forest (8-4) vs Arizona (7-5)
12/27 Music City ACC #5-7 vs SEC
Ole Miss (8-4) vs Virginia Tech (7-5)
12/28 Independence Big 12 vs SEC Kansas (8-4) vs Auburn (7-5)
12/29 Eagle Bank ACC #8 vs Army Maryland (7-5) vs Temple (6-6)
12/29 Champs Sports ACC #4 vs Big Ten #4-5 Boston College (9-3) vs Minnesota (7-5)
12/30 Humanitarian MWC vs WAC Ohio (7-5) vs Fresno State (6-6)
12/30 Holiday Big 12 #3 vs Pac-10 #2 USC (10-2) vs Missouri (10-3)
12/30 Texas Big 12 #8 vs Navy Michigan State (6-6) vs UL-Lafayette (6-6)
12/31 Armed Forces C-USA vs MWC Utah (9-3) vs Southern Miss (9-4)
12/31 Sun Big 12 vs Pac-10 #3 California (10-2) vs Texas Tech (8-4)
12/31 Insight Big Ten #6 vs Big 12 #6 Northwestern (7-5) vs Lousiville (7-5)
12/31 Chick-Fil-A ACC #2 vs SEC Florida State (8-4) vs Arkansas (8-4)
1/1 Outback Big Ten #3 vs SEC Tennessee (8-4) vs Illinois (7-5)
1/1 Capital One Big Ten #2 vs SEC Georgia (10-2) vs Iowa (10-2)
1/1 Gator ACC #3 vs Big East/ND West Virginia (8-4) vs Georgia Tech (8-4)
1/1 Rose BCS vs BCS Penn State (12-0) vs Oregon (11-1)
1/1 Sugar BCS vs BCS Alabama (11-2) vs Ohio State (11-1)
1/2 International Big East vs MAC Connecticut (8-4) vs Northern Illinois (7-5)
1/2 PapaJohns.com Big East vs SEC Troy (10-2) vs Cincinnati (8-4)
1/2 Cotton Big 12 #2 vs SEC Oklahoma State (10-2) vs LSU (10-2)
1/2 Liberty C-USA #1 vs SEC Boise State (13-0) vs Tulsa (10-3)
1/2 Alamo Big Ten #4-5 vs Big 12 #5 Nebraska (9-3) vs Wisconsin (8-4)
1/4 Fiesta BCS vs BCS TCU (12-0) vs Oklahoma (11-1)
1/5 Orange BCS vs BCS Clemson (10-3) vs Rutgers (9-3)
1/6 GMAC ACC #9 vs MAC N.C. State (7-5) vs Bowling Green (7-6)
1/7 BCS Championship BCS #1 vs BCS #2
Florida (13-0) vs Texas (13-0)
  • Most interesting matchups: Independence, Cotton, Sugar, Gator, and Music City Bowls.
  • Least interesting: Texas, Texas, Texas, Texas, Texas, and Texas Bowls.
  • I would NOT be excited about playing USC in San Diego.  Opportunity for greatness, etc., but yikes.
  • I can pretty much guarantee that the BCS Championship Game won't be this easy to pick.  Strange things always happen (2004-05 aside), and needless to say the preseason #1 and #2 teams rarely make the title games in such clean fashion.
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