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BCS Scenarios (12/3/13)

John Ewing (@johnewing) and Paul Bessire (@predictmachine)
By John Ewing
After a wild weekend in college football we look at the probability of different BCS National Championship scenarios. Please note that all of these scenarios assume that Florida State and/or Ohio State would have to lose for an SEC team to make it into the BCS Championship Game. 
 


Florida State vs. Ohio State
 
As it stands now an ACC vs. B1G showdown in the BCS Championship Game is more likely than not. In sportsbooks, Florida State is currently a 29.5 point favorite over Duke in the ACC Championship game (and we do not see it much differently than that). Ohio State has won 24 straight games and will need to ride an offense that averages more than 48 points and 530 yards of total offense per game, to its toughest and most important win of the season over Michigan State in Indianapolis this week. Both teams are favorites to win this week. 
 
Likelihood of this Matchup: 57.3%
 
Projected BCS Championship Game Result (based on 50,000 simulations of the hypothetical game): Florida State wins over Ohio State 73.7% of the time by an average score of 41-30.
 
Florida State vs. Auburn
 
Michigan State has won eight games in a row. During that stretch, they have allowed just 11 points per contest. As a slight underdog, the Spartans have a decent chance to upset the Buckeyes and open the door for Auburn to play for the championship. In order for this scenario to happen, Auburn completes one of the greatest turnarounds of any program in college football history by defeating Missouri and capturing its first conference championship since 2010.
 
Likelihood of this Matchup: 17.4%
 
Projected BCS Championship Game Result: Florida State wins over Auburn 78.3% of the time by an average score of 42-28.
 
Florida State vs. Missouri
 
In a more likely occurrence than the previous result (yes, we project Mizzou to defeat Auburn in the SEC Championship Game), Ohio State loses to Michigan State and Missouri beats Auburn. Mizzou, by virtue of being the SEC Champion would likely jump Alabama in the BCS Rankings. This matchup would actually pit #1 vs. #3 in our College Football Power Rankings, which is the best matchup (from a Power Rankings standpoint) that we could get in the BCS National Championship game. 
 
Likelihood of this Matchup: 19.5%
 
Projected BCS Championship Game Result: Florida State wins over Missouri 78.1% of the time by an average score of 39-25.
 
Alabama vs. Auburn
 
Could the BCS Title game be a rematch of the Iron Bowl? In a highly unlikely scenario, both Florida State and Ohio State lose in their respective conference championships. Auburn wins the SEC Championship making it possible for the Crimson Tide, which lost on a fluky incredible play, to have a shot at three-peating. And for what it's worth, the likelihood of someone with two career FG attempts converting a 57 yard field goal is about 15% while the likelihood of converting a 40 yard Hail Mary pass is about 8%. However, the chance of a blocked or missed FG being returned for a touchdown is about five times as likely as a return of an intercepted Hail Mary. Give Auburn credit for its win. Though the final play was spectacular, the Tigers were still 49% likely to win the game over the number one team in the country with one second left. 
 
Likelihood of this Matchup: 1.1%
 
Projected BCS Championship Game Result: Alabama wins over Auburn 67.3% of the time by an average score of 35-28
 
Other Potential BCS Scenarios
Ohio State vs. Missouri: 1.9% likely, Ohio State would win over Missouri 51.0% of the time by an average score of 34-33.
 
Ohio State vs. Auburn: 1.7% likely, Ohio State would win over Auburn 54.2% of the time by an average score of 37-34.
 
Alabama (assuming Alabama gets in if OSU and FSU lose) vs. Missouri: 1.2% likely, Alabama wins over Missouri 64.3% of the time by an average score of 31-26.

What Does This Mean?
Based on all of that, here are the chances for each team that is still alive to win the BCS National Championship:
  • Florida State: 71.1%
  • Ohio State: 17.0%
  • Missouri: 5.6%
  • Auburn: 4.9%
  • Alabama: 1.4%
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