The Confidential

The ACC Sports Blog

Oklahoma St. Loss Opens Door For ACC

While not an Atlantic Coast Conference game, the ACC was greatly benefited by the result of last night’s Oklahoma State-Iowa State game.  As you likely know by now, the #2 Cowboys were upset by Iowa St. in double overtime, 37-31.  Oklahoma State was not merely #2 in the polls, it was #2 in the BCS standings.  So this loss has ramifications well beyond the programs involved.

Right now, LSU is the only school that controls its own destiny.  It has games against Mississippi, Arkansas, and in the SEC title game.  If it wins out, it will play for the national title. After LSU, there are a bunch of one loss schools that are hoping to win out and also play in that game:

  • Oklahoma State.  With a loss to Iowa State–even in overtime–one has to think that Oklahoma State is out of the mix.  Iowa State is not the type of loss that will impress the pollsters.  In addition, they have yet to play Oklahoma.  Also, the Big XII does not have a title game this year.  So it is doubtful that Oklahoma State can get back into the mix.
  • Oklahoma is actually sitting in a better position than Oklahoma State.  At #5 in the BCS standings, Oklahoma has games against Baylor, Iowa State, and Oklahoma State.  They also defeated Florida State on the road.  If Oklahoma wins out, they only have to move up a few spots in the BCS standings.  Finally, Oklahoma is the type of school that pollsters would love to see play LSU.
  • Alabama and Oregon are interesting options.  They sit about Oklahoma and would certainly seem to have first crack at LSU.  The problem here is that both have already lost to LSU.  It is doubtful that the pollsters have any great zeal to vote for a rematch in the national title game.  If there is no choice–so be it.  Not helping either school’s cause is a relatively weak closing schedule.
  • Arkansas is interesting.  At #6 in the BCS standings, they can throw a wrench into everyone’s plans.  After Mississippi St., they play LSU.  Arkansas’s only loss is to Alabama.  So if Arkansas beats LSU, that means that a perfect 1-1 round robin of victories between the three schools confuses the BCS standings.  However, if LSU loses, the chaos will be at maximum power.  This whole exercise is to see who would play LSU.  So we have to assume that Arkansas loses to LSU to even begin to predict how this plays out.  So that eliminates Arkansas.

Once you get past those five schools, the next two in the BCS rankings are Clemson and Virginia Tech.  If all of these schools win out, here is what the BCS standings should be going into the final week: (1) LSU, (2) Oregon, (3) Alabama, (4) Oklahoma, (5) Clemson, (6) Virginia Tech, (7) Oklahoma State, and (8) Arkansas.

Oregon’s championship game will be against a team with no more than 8 wins.  That is not likely to help their cause.

Alabama and Arkansas will not play.  Instead, LSU would face Georgia.  Again, it has to be assumed that LSU will win out. The bottom line is that Alabama and Arkansas will be deprived of an opportunity to play that all-important one more game.

Although it will not be a conference game, Oklahoma will play Oklahoma State.  Assuming Oklahoma wins, that would be a good win for them.

Clemson will play Virginia Tech, with both sitting at 11-1.

If that situation unfolds, it is not difficult to envision the ACC champion at 12-1 moving past Oklahoma and Oregon.  This is especially true if Clemson is the team that wins out.  Compare the wins by the various teams:

  • If Clemson wins the ACC title at 12-1: Florida State, Virginia Tech (twice), Auburn, and South Carolina.
  • If Oklahoma wins out: Florida State, Kansas State, Oklahoma State
  • If Oregon wins out: Stanford, USC
  • If Alabama wins out: Arkansas, Penn State, Auburn
  • If Virginia Tech wins out: Clemson (split), Virginia

If you go by great wins, Clemson looks pretty good.  If a voter really parses out the schedules, it should come down to Oklahoma or Clemson battling to see who plays LSU.  Either game would draw national interest–maximized further by avoiding a rematch–and feature top-notch 12-1 teams.

Will we get there?  Who knows?  But Clemson has the ability to take advantage of this loss and inject themselves back into the national title picture.  And that is good news for the ACC.


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