Everyone loves bowl scenarios! Reader Michael Pang writes in:
Love the blog. Been a devoted reader ever since I stumbled across it some time ago.
Regarding the bowl scenarios, I had found the rule regarding a 7-5 versus 6-6 team, but you guys amended it already.
One thing to point out - Oregon State went to the Sun Bowl last year. If the Pac-10 gets 2 teams in the BCS, then Oregon State is the likely conference #4 (assuming the three leaders UO, ASU, & USC win out). What are the odds the Sun Bowl will take OSU again?
Anyway, another scenario to gum up the works…
The answer to your question, Michael, is that the odds of the Sun taking OSU again are not good — if the Sun has a choice about the matter. However, I’m not entirely convinced that they will.
In general, bowls don’t like to take the same team in consecutive years. There are exceptions, such as Las Vegas’ hosting BYU both of the last two years — and they might get them again this year. Why the Mormons like Sin City so much, I couldn’t begin to tell you, but fans of most teams tend to sour on vacationing in the same spot every year. Some bowls even have provisions allowing them to pass over a team in the standings if that team went to the same bowl the year before, though I don’t know that any of those bowls are ones with Pac-10 tie-ins.
So what ARE the selection procedures the Sun Bowl has to use? Well, besides the NCAA rules we discussed the other day (all teams with winning records must be taken before a 6-6 team can be considered), I’m not entirely sure. The Pac-10 doesn’t publish any current guidelines; the most recent were those included in the 2005 Pac-10 Media Guide, found here. The Sun Bowl procedures given are similar to those for all the other non-BCS bowls:
After the Pac-10 champion to the Fiesta Bowl (or BCS Championship Game) and a second Pac-10 team to the Pacific Life Holiday Bowl, the Vitalis Sun Bowl receives the highest remaining team in the Pac-10 standings. If there is a tie for that position, the Vitalis Sun Bowl has the right to select from between or among the tied teams.
If we assume that these rules are still in place today (and this website seems to think so, though it’s hosted on Geocities, so I’d take it with a grain of salt), then in the scenario outlined by Michael above, Oregon State would be alone in 4th place, and with 2 Pac-10 teams in the BCS, they would be the only available selection for the Sun Bowl. Of course, I wouldn’t be surprised if the rules had changed; if that were the case, and the Sun didn’t want Oregon State again, Cal would likely (assuming they win Big Game) be the only other viable candidate.
And what do the ‘experts’ at ESPN think? Mark Schlabach has Oregon State in the Sun and Cal in the Emerald, but Ivan Maisel puts Cal in the Sun and relegates Oregon State to the Emerald. Does Maisel know something I don’t? Perhaps. I mean, that Stanford education has got to be good for something, right?
Anyway, my take is that if the Sun has a choice, they probably don’t take Oregon State again, but I’m skeptical that they’ll have that choice.