Sports

TCU in the Title Game? Don't Bet On It

The latest BCS rankings have Florida, Alabama and Texas in the top three spots. But it’s the team at No. 4 that might determine who plays for the national championship. . . .

TCU is fourth, and I’m guessing that the voters will do anything they can to prevent TCU from playing for the title. Because of that, don’t be surprised by a Florida-Alabama rematch in the BCS championship game.

Florida has South Carolina, Florida International, and Florida State left before facing Alabama in the SEC title game. Alabama has Mississippi State, Chattanooga, and Auburn remaining in the regular season. If both teams go into the SEC finale unbeaten, and then play a reasonably close game, I’ll bet the loser stays ahead of TCU in the rankings.

Texas controls its own destiny. The Longhorns have Baylor, Kansas, Texas A&M, and then the Big 12 title game. If they remain unbeaten, they’ll wind up in the title game, ahead of the SEC runner-up.

But the primary goal for the voters will be keeping TCU out of the championship game. I’m not saying that’s right; I’m just predicting what will be going through their heads. I mean, would you want something called the Horned Frogs playing for the title? Nobody outside of Fort Worth wants to see that.

TCU does, however, have better credentials than Boise State. The Horned Frogs have defeated Clemson (15th in the Sagarin Ratings) and BYU (23rd) and has Utah (29th) this week. Boise State has defeated Oregon (sixth by Sagarin) and Fresno State (26th) and nobody else ranked higher than 89th.

By the way, here’s an interesting quirk in the Sagarin Ratings: Oregon has two losses, but is the highest-ranked team that isn’t undefeated. The Ducks are ahead of unbeaten Boise State, and also ahead of the five teams who have one loss. Oregon has played five teams ranked in the top 30 by Sagarin; the only other top-30 team to do that is Oregon State.

But I digress. When it comes to the national-title game, I would bet that the voters will gladly put a one-loss team from a BCS conference ahead of TCU, which probably would cause Sen. Orrin Hatch to have a meltdown.