A year's worth of bubble talk reaches a crescendo today. After days, weeks, and months of speculation, we can finally move on with our lives knowing who's in and who's out of the big dance. In order to help the committee with their job because they all have OKTC bookmarked, here are the power projections for the 11 teams looking to get their ticket punched if they played one another in a round robin format.
I don't claim to know who will get in the field. Afterall, my job's not to tell the committee which team is most deserving but rather rank them from an oddsmaker's perspective.
I'm no apologist for any of these teams listed since winning trumps all and had each of them done more of that throughout the year, they wouldn't even be in this discussion.
Keep in mind the oddsmaking fraternity prides itself on not over reacting to one loss so those looking for volatile swings after a week's worth of conference tournament results will be disappointed with my 1-11 bubble power chart. For ease of reading, each potential matchup is listed under the team that would be favored if the 2 sides went head to head. THIS IS NOT A COLUMN TO PROJECT THE FIELD but instead reveal how oddsmakers would make their decisions if placed in charge of the bubble
1) Middle Tennessee State
The Blue Raiders would be favored over everyone on this list...or at least should be although it's a fair assumption to make that books would need to adjust their point spreads given MTSU's mid major address compared to BCS conference members.
MTSU (Pk) vs Iowa, MTSU (-1.5) vs UVA, MTSU (-2) vs Ole Miss, MTSU (-2) vs Kentucky, MTSU (-3) vs Boise St, MTSU (-3) vs Lasalle, MTSU (-3) vs Southern Miss, MTSU (-4) vs Maryland, MTSU (-4) vs Alabama, MTSU (-4) vs Tennessee
Iowa's resume won't wow anyone and as a result I don't expect them to get considered for an at large birth. Simply put, the Hawkeyes were a casualty of the ultra competitive Big Ten and just didn't notch enough wins over the league's heavyweights despite ranking in the top 35 of our power poll for the entire last month.
Iowa (-1.5) vs UVA, Iowa (-1.5) vs Ole Miss, Iowa (-2) vs Kentucky, Iowa (-2.5) vs Boise St, Iowa (-2.5) vs Lasalle, Iowa (-2.5) vs Southern Miss, Iowa (-4) vs Maryland, Iowa (-4) vs Alabama, Iowa (-4) vs Tennessee
The Cavaliers did a better job to play themselves out of the tournament than any team in the country the last few weeks. While they don't currently look like a side passing the eye test, their power potential still trumps most of their bubble competition.
UVA (-1) vs Ole Miss, UVA (-1) vs Kentucky, UVA (-1.5) vs Boise St, UVA (-1.5) vs Lasalle, UVA (-1.5) vs Southern Miss, UVA (-2) vs Maryland, UVA (-2.5) vs Alabama, UVA (-2.5) vs Tennessee
4) Ole Miss
Win and you're in...lose to Florida by double digits and all of Rebel nation will be waiting until the final field is announced.
Ole Miss (PK) vs Kentucky, Ole Miss (-1) vs Boise St, Ole Miss (-1) vs Lasalle, Ole Miss (-1) vs Southern Miss, Ole Miss (-1.5) vs Maryland, Ole Miss (-1.5) vs Alabama, Alabama (-2) vs Tennessee
When you lose by double digits to Vanderbilt in a game that means the world to you it's hard to justify your inclusion in the tournament, even as the defending champion.
Kentucky (Pk) vs Boise St, Kentucky (Pk) vs Lasalle, Kentucky (Pk) vs Southern Miss, Kentucky (-1) vs Maryland, Kentucky (-1) vs Alabama, Kentucky (-1) vs Tennessee
6) Boise St
This isn't football where the little guy can't get his chance. How damaging was the loss to San Diego St in the 1st round of the MWC tourney? Only time will tell.
Boise St (Pk) vs Lasalle, Boise St (Pk) vs Southern Miss, Boise St (-1) vs Maryland, Boise St (-1.5) Alabama, Boise St (-1.5) vs Tennessee
The poster children for the curious case of the Atlantic 10 and how many bids the league will actually be granted given that it was the toughest non BCS conference this season.
Lasalle (PK) vs Southern Miss, Lasalle (-1) vs Maryland, Lasalle (-1.5) vs Alabama, Lasalle (-1.5) vs Tennessee
8) Southern Miss
The talent is there to make a case for inclusion but the resume lacks any real substance. Even 1 win over C-USA champion Memphis would have moved the Golden Eagles up this list.
Southern Miss (-1) vs Maryland, Southern Miss (-1.5) vs Alabama, Southern Miss (-1.5) vs Tennessee
Beating Duke twice holds water in my book however the OT loss at UVA after blowing a double digit lead last weekend didn't help the Terps chances.
Maryland (-1) vs Alabama, Maryland (-1) vs Tennessee
Anthony Grant's team put together the most non-descript resume of a SEC team I can ever remember.
Alabama (Pk) vs Tennessee
Cuonzo shouldn't have been so confident after beating Missouri in the regular season finale in my opinion, knocking off Alabama would have given the Vols the final push they needed to grab one of the last remaining bids.