On paper, Florida State and Oregon are battling for a spot in the BCS title game opposite mighty Alabama. But, should both teams win out, it won’t be much of a battle. Much of the ACC has ranged from mediocre to bad this season (as it does every season). Barring a substantial change in public perception, that weakness will cost Florida State.
The BCS formula is a hodgepodge of flawed polling methods. It has no predictive value. Its primary attribute is obfuscating the process enough to deflect blame. We could dive into the complex (and often asinine) methodologies for ranking teams the formula uses. But, broadly, the formula is simple. Two-thirds is conventional public opinion (Coaches Poll, Harris Poll). One-third is computer polling which, records equal and margin of victory outlawed, is schedule strength.
Presuming Florida State and Oregon both finish 13-0, the Ducks will have a clear schedule strength advantage. Here is a look at the ACC. Florida State’s opponents have an asterisk. As a rough estimate, we ranked teams using Football Perspective’s SRS ratings.
Compare the ACC to the Pac 12. Oregon’s opponents have an asterisk as well.
The Pac 12 is much stronger than the ACC this year. That disparity is exacerbated by Oregon and Florida State’s respective schedules. The Ducks play six of the Pac 12 teams in the SRS Top 30. The Seminoles play just two conference opponents in the SRS Top 30. FSU plays six of the conference’s seven worst teams, all outside the SRS Top 50. Now, we’ll throw in the non-conference schedules.
The FCS games cancel out. Florida is better than Tennessee. But whatever advantage FSU derives from that is negated by playing Nevada and Idaho. Virginia is better than either team. So is playing a ninth conference opponent such as Utah.
Both human polls rank Oregon ahead of Florida State. The Seminoles led the Ducks in the BCS rankings the first week based on the computer polls. But that is because Oregon’s schedule is backloaded. Oregon moved ahead in the BCS rankings and the computer polls the second week, after the Ducks played UCLA and the Seminoles played N.C. State. That will only continue as Oregon faces its tougher opponents.
Oregon has Stanford (8), Utah (25), Arizona (19) and Oregon State (28) remaining. Florida State plays two good opponents: Miami (22) and Florida (24). The rest left are Wake Forest (70), Syracuse (84) and Idaho (120). Both teams play a conference title game, but playing Arizona State or another Pac 12 team will only help Oregon compared to Florida State’s opponent, which will be Miami or Virginia Tech.
The schedule disparity forces Florida State to overturn a locked-in Oregon in the human polls. It’s not clear how that could happen without the Ducks losing. The Seminoles don’t have a Clemson-like opponent to blow out to get another boost (even that didn’t move them ahead of Oregon). The spread is more than three touchdowns in their “Top 10 showdown” with Miami. It’s hard seeing Oregon moving themselves down. Some thought the Ducks were underwhelming against UCLA, which was in the Top 15; Oregon won by four touchdowns.
Florida State may be on par with Oregon and Alabama. They could be better than both teams. But, unless one of those two loses, Florida State won’t get a chance to prove it.
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