Texas or TCU: Who Gets the BCS Championship Invite?

Husker FanCorrespondent INovember 17, 2009

WACO, TX - NOVEMBER 14:  Head coach Mack Brown of the Texas Longhorns watches his team against the Baylor Bears in the fourth quarter on November 14, 2009 at Floyd Casey Stadium in Waco, Texas.  The Longhorns beat the Bears 47-14.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Just last month, I posed the question of whether Texas running through the college football season and finishing 13-0 would be good enough for them to garner a spot in the BCS national championship game.


I now come back to ask the very same question.

Right now, it looks like a the BCS title game will be a battle between Texas and whichever team comes out of the SEC as champion. But we need to take a closer look at the past month to see inside of what has happened in such a short period of time.

Texas owns a single victory over a team currently ranked in the BCS top 25 at the moment, Oklahoma State. The Pokes still have a game at Oklahoma in the tightly contested Bedlam Series rivalry game on tap. A loss to the Sooners could prove to be very detrimental to the Longhorns if they want to hold their advantage over the Horned Frogs from TCU.

After all, we are starting to see questions asked on whether Texas is even the best team in the state of Texas, aren't we?

When I wrote the previous article, there were four teams ranked in the top 25 that Texas had on their schedule. Very nice numbers for a team running toward a national title bid. 

However, the teams that were ranked in that top 25 faced an uphill battle in remaining in those spots. That was mainly due to some out-of-conference losses by those teams along with some tough in-conference games that could start to seriously take hits on Texas' overall strength of schedule.

I could not have been more right.

Like I said in that previous article, I would not be surprised if Texas had only one team that they had played that would end up with a top-25 ranking. 

If Oklahoma were to beat Oklahoma State, which is very likely, they might not even end up with a single team ranked in the top 25 of the BCS polls. Even with a win over Okie State, it would be hard to see a four-loss Oklahoma team climb much higher than the bottom of the BCS top 25. And a three-loss Oklahoma State team might be hard pressed to find a top-25 ranking, especially if they were to get blown out by the Sooners on the road. 

So you say, what is the argument for TCU?

First and foremost, the Horned Frogs have three wins over teams currently ranked in the top 25 of the latest BCS poll (Utah, BYU, and, Clemson). Two of those wins came on the road, and TCU also played out-of-conference games against Virginia and the previously mentioned Clemson to boot.

Who did Texas play in non-conference? Louisiana-Monroe, Wyoming, UTEP, and UCF. 

I don't think anybody would argue that TCU played a much tougher non-conference schedule. Throw in an out-of-conference victory over an SMU team that might win the Conference USA crown, and we can easily see that TCU played a much more rugged non-conference schedule.

Now for the conference-scheduled games. As was mentioned earlier, TCU has defeated BYU and Utah. Two teams that are currently ranked in the BCS top 25. One of those will assuredly end up ranked in the BCS top 25 unless either one of them loses to either Air Force or San Diego State at home before they lock horns in the Holy War. 

In a nutshell, Texas fans need to root for Air Force this week against Utah and for Utah to beat BYU to improve their chances of outlasting the Horned Frogs. I doubt that happens.

Now for Texas' final schedule.

A Kansas team at home that is currently on a five-game losing streak, and at a rival Texas A&M team that just got beat 65-10 by Oklahoma. 

Both teams have an equal 5-5 record and are in dire need of a win to at least gain a bowl game invitation. For Texas A&M, it is very possible if they are to take care of business against Baylor at home. But that isn't exactly guaranteed. 

Kansas goes on the road to Austin this week and then plays cross-state big-time rival Missouri to finish the season. Unfortunately for Texas, they have played all of those teams. That means the wins and losses will assuredly counteract anything that could add to their SOS.

Thus, the next factor that Texas fans should be rooting for is the highest ranked team to gain entrance into the Big 12 Championship game for Texas to gain SOS points as well as voting points.

That team is Nebraska. 

This weekend Nebraska will be entertaining the Kansas State Wildcats in a home game for entrance into the Big 12 Championship game regardless of what happens in the Nebraska at Colorado contest. 

If Kansas State were to lose this game, they aren't even bowl eligible. If they beat Nebraska, they are the Big 12 North representative. Pretty pathetic, right? 

Therefore, as much as it pains Texas fans, they will be rooting heavily for Nebraska to not only defeat Kansas State this weekend, but also Colorado next weekend to roll into the Big 12 Championship game with a 9-3 record and possible BCS top-25 ranking. 

If Kansas State were to beat Nebraska in Lincoln, then Texas would be facing a 7-5 Kansas State team that will not give them any voting points, much less needful SOS points. 

How about a peek at the current BCS standings, shall we?

Right now, Texas enjoys a .9261 BCS rating over TCU's .8685 rating. Seems pretty dominating doesn't it? Well, let us look back at the Week One rankings. Texas was at .8911 while TCU was at .7139. Obviously we can see the amount of ground that TCU has already made up on the Longhorns.

Now for the SOS rankings. According to Jeff Sagarin, the Longhorns have the 50th ranked SOS in the country. TCU has the 48th. His rankings also have TCU ranked third, one spot ahead of Texas. 

If you take a closer look at the computer rankings, you see that Texas enjoys a .88 versus a .87 ranking over TCU. That isn't that hard to overcome from a computer perspective. Especially when you consider the factors I already gave when you compare the schedules of TCU and Texas.

Now for the real part, the humans.

Right now, the biggest factor in favor of Texas is the human voters. Between the Harris Poll and the USA Today poll, the Longhorns are currently ranked second compared to fourth for TCU. The discrepancy on points in those polls are huge in Texas' favor. However, if TCU were to start swaying public opinion and voting opinion, this gap could close in a hurry. Especially if Texas isn't overly impressive in their final games. 

Once again, if Texas and TCU were to run the table, and we get an undefeated champion out of the SEC, we will likely be down to a voting decision between Texas and TCU.

Up until now, we have seen normal voting out of the human polls with simple beliefs in moving teams up when they win over teams that lose. 

The real question will start to be brought up to the human polls in the next few weeks if status quo holds true.

Who will you vote into the National Championship game? An undefeated Texas or an undefeated TCU? SOS will largely begin to come into question, and we will start to see (once again) coaches campaigning for their teams. As much as Mack Brown doesn't want to do it, he may well be faced with a similar situation as the one he and his Longhorns found themselves in last year. 

With all the upside being brought about lately for the non-BCS schools to get a chance, I'll guarantee the strength of schedule and "who have you beat" arguments start to rage over the next several weeks if all of these teams remain undefeated.

So, I'll ask again. Is a 13-0 Texas team guaranteed a shot in the BCS National Title game?

It isn't that easy to answer right now. Or is it?


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