Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Victoria Times NCAA Football Simulation (Ryan's Version)

It's that time of year again. The time that I tell you the results of the annual football simulation we run through What If Sports, run in order to find a national champion, with all decisions based on how things play out on the field. This means a tournament with only conference champions, and seeding based on results, with no polls used at any point. For a more complete information on how the simulation works, click the "simulation" tag at the bottom of the page. Without further ado, here are the results!

Dixie: Champion: Alabama (2010 - Georgia)
Good Surprise - Mississippi
Bad Surprise - Clemson
Order of finish - Alabama, South Carolina, Mississippi, Mississippi State, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Louisiana-Monroe, Auburn, Clemson, UAB
Note - Alabama actually won the conference easily, thanks to South Carolina going 0-3 out of conference.

Great Basin: Champion: Oregon (2010 - Boise State)
Good Surprise - Utah State
Bad Surprise - Nevada
Order of finish - Oregon, Boise State, Utah State, Utah, Washington, Washington State, Oregon State, Nevada, Idaho, UNLV
Note - This was the highest finish for Washington State by a substantial margin. Oregon won the conference for the first time.

Appalachian: Champion: Cincinnati (2010 - Louisville)
Good Surprise - Ohio
Bad Surprise - Pitt
Order of finish - Cincinnati, Virginia Tech, West Virginia, Ohio, Marshall, Louisville, Virginia, Kentucky, Pittsburgh, Miami (OH)
Note - Except for last year, this conference always seems to come down to Cincinnati, Virginia Tech and West Virginia.

Great Lakes: Champion: Bowling Green (2010 - Michigan State)
Good Surprise - Bowling Green
Bad Surprise: The Big Ten
Order of Finish - Bowling Green, Toledo, Michigan State, Michigan, Central Michigan, Western Michigan, Ohio State, Eastern Michigan, Kent State, Akron
Note - Two strong Big Ten teams, Michigan State and Michigan were abysmal, meaning this was the first time a MAC team won the conference

New England: Champion: Penn State (2010 - Maryland)
Good Surprise - Buffalo
Bad Surprise - Rutgers
Order of finish - Penn State, Buffalo, Syracuse, Temple, Connecticut, Boston College, Rutgers, Navy, Maryland, Army
Note - Buffalo will be rewarded for their strong season with a non conference schedule including games against Wisconsin, North Carolina and Oklahoma. Also, Penn State... Awkward.

Florida: Champion: Southern Miss (2010 - Florida State)
Good Surprise - Florida International
Bar Surprise - Miami (FL)
Order of Finish - Southern Miss, Florida, Florida State, Florida International, South Florida, Miami (FL), Central Florida, Troy, Tulane, Florida Atlantic.
Note - No teams from Florida in the tournament this year, and the first C-USA team to make the tournament.

Gulf Coast: Champion: Texas (2010 - TCU)
Good Surprise - Texas
Bad Surprise - Louisiana-Lafayette
Order of Finish - Texas, LSU, Houston, Texas A&M, TCU, Louisiana Tech, SMU, North Texas, Rice, Louisiana-Lafayette
Note - What? I don't think the expected team has ever won this conference.

Midwest: Champion: Iowa (2010 - Iowa)
Good Surprise - Minnesota
Bad Surprise - Purdue
Order of Finish - Iowa, Wisconsin, Notre Dame, Northwestern, Minnesota, Northern Illinois, Illinois, Indiana, Purdue, Ball State
Note - Of all conferences, the Midwest was one of only two to have a repeat champion (Great Plains being the other). And Minnesota went 6-6, which is preposterous.

Tobacco Road: Champion: Wake Forest (2010 - Tennessee)
Good Surprise - Vanderbilt
Bad Surprise - East Carolina
Order of Finish - Wake Forest, North Carolina, Vanderbilt, Tennessee, North Carolina State, Duke, Middle Tennessee State, Western Kentucky, Memphis, East Carolina
Note - This is a weird conference. It has a bunch of otherwise strong middle of the pack teams, but no true powerhouse. Good for Wake Forest.

California: Champion: USC (2010 - Stanford)
Good Surprise - Arizona
Bad Surprise - Stanford
Order of Finish - USC, Arizona State, Arizona, Stanford, Fresno State, UCLA, San Jose State, California, San Diego State, Hawaii
Note - I am not the NCAA, so USC is eligible. And last years national champs, Stanford, were only 6-6.

Great Plains: Champion: Oklahoma State (2010 - Oklahoma State)
Good Surprise - Missouri
Bad Surprise - The real life Cotton Bowl
Order of Finish - Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Missouri, Tulsa, Arkansas, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa State, Kansas State, Arkansas State
Note - Another top heavy conference, that should have been a greater dog fight and better in non conference.

Mountain West: Champion: Texas Tech (2010 - Baylor)
Good Surprise - Texas Tech
Bad Surprise - Wyoming
Order of Finish - Texas Tech, BYU, Baylor, Colorado, UTEP, Air Force, Wyoming, Colorado State, New Mexico State, New Mexico
Note - I guess I sort of thought Wyoming would be a top 4 team in this conference.

There were no winless or undefeated teams. The Gulf Coast conference was the top conference in terms of strength, which meant Texas was the overall number one seed. The new pods for next season will be California-Great Basin-Dixie-Mountain West
Great Plains-Midwest-Tobacco Road-New England
Gulf Coast-Appalachian-Great Lakes-Florida

Tobacco Road and Great Lakes swapped due to results in the tournament this year, otherwise all 12 Big 10 teams would have been in the same pod. Other than that, it's strangely geographically oriented, especially with all three western conferences in a pod.

All right, here are the results of the tournament. The Championship game, as with real life this year, would have been at the Orange Bowl.

FIRST ROUND
Peach Bowl - 9 Wake Forest 38 (OT) 8 Bowling Green 35 - Wake Forest was down 17 going into the 4th quarter, but came back to win a thriller.
Gator Bowl - 12 Texas Tech 31 5 Iowa 26 - Iowa has made the tournament 3 times, and is yet to win a game
Citrus/Capital One Bowl - 11 Oklahoma State 72 (5 OT), 6 Oregon 70 - Brandon Weeden threw for 7 TDs and 572 yards in this barn burner.
Liberty Bowl - 7 Southern Miss 46, 10 Penn State 40 - Brett Favre surely would have been in attendance. Southern Miss prevented what would have been a very awkward game between Penn State and USC, and were the only higher seed to win in the first round.

QUARTERFINALS
Orange Bowl - 1 Texas 27, 9 Wake Forest 17 - The Demon Deacon magic couldn't carry over to the quarters, and in their second game against a team wearing orange, they were manhandled.
Cotton Bowl - 4 Alabama 31, 12 Texas Tech 29 - This game was certainly a lot closer than it should have been, but Alabama couldn't slow down the spread.
Sun Bowl - 11 Oklahoma State 45, 3 Cincinnati 27 - Weeden went ahead and through for 4 more in this one, which went much more smoothly than the game against Oregon.
Fiesta Bowl - 2 USC 37, 7 Southern Miss 31 - Hey, not bad for the first Conference USA team in the tournament, winning a game and all.

SEMIFINALS
Rose Bowl - 4 Alabama 37, Texas 10 - As it turned out, Texas' only losses were to LSU and Alabama all season
Sugar Bowl - 11 Oklahoma State 34, 2 USC 31 - Weeden slowed down, only throwing 1 TD in the semifinal. Oklahoma State is the second team ('09 Florida) to reach the championship game after playing a first round game in the history of our sim.

CHAMPIONSHIP
Oklahoma State 49, Alabama 24 - In an offense vs defense struggle, the offense won. Brandon Weeden threw 6 more TDs, giving him 18 for the tournament. Oklahoma State, who felt they should have made the real national Championship Game ended up defeating the NCAA national Champion in our sim.
 There were a few quirks and peccadilloes with this simulation, like Clemson and Kansas State being dreadful, and a Iowa, Bowling Green and Texas winning their conferences, but in the end, the championship game was between two deserving teams that played everything out on the field, just like everyone wanted. Until next year, and congratulations, Oklahoma State!

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