Chaos Theory and Winning the West

This is going to be an absolute cluster. Currently, there is a 4 way tie for 1st place in the SEC West and chaos heading into the Final Weekend. Here we go with the overall standings

Team SEC Next
Vandy 20-7 @UGA
Carolina 20-7 @Bama
Florida 20-7 UK
Georgia 15-12 Vandy
Arkansas 13-14 Ole Miss
Auburn 13-14 @UT
Alabama 13-14 Carolina
Miss State 13-14 LSU
Ole Miss 12-15 @Arkansas
LSU 11-16 @MSU
Kentucky 7-20 @UF
Tennessee 5-22 Auburn

Now, before we go on, Let’s see what it would take for Auburn just to make Hoover. The Auburn Network guys claimed the magic number was just One Game. I’m going to try to double check that. To make Hoover, you have to be better than 4 teams. We already know two of those (UT/UK) and currently Ole Miss/LSU are taking up the rear in the West. So, Auburn just has to be better than UM and LSU. If Auburn just wins 1 game next weekend, that puts Auburn at 14-16 in the SEC.

MSU Finish 16-14 15-15 14-16 13-17
LSU Finish 11-19 12-18 13-17 14-16

UM/ARK Ark Sweep Ark W UM W UM Sweep
Ark Finish 16-14 15-15 14-16 13-17
UM Finish 12-18 13-17 14-16 15-15

It’s looking like the Radio guys were correct (they normally are). Even if Ole Miss sweeps that would put Arkansas at 13-17 and Auburn would still make the tournament. The only chaos might come in if there is a four way tie. In other words, if LSU wins and Ole Miss Wins, putting UM/AU/Ark/MSU all at 14-16 in the SEC. Let’s go ahead and throw it into the ultimate chaos mode and say Bama takes 1 (and only 1) game from Carolina. Putting them at 14-16 also. That would bring up a 5 Way Tie. Which brings up this tiebreaker:

2. Three-Team Tie (or more): When three or more teams are tied for a finish, the following procedure will be used (in descending order until the tie is broken): Once the tie has been reduced to two teams, the two-team tiebreaker procedure as stated in No. 1 above will be used.
A. If all three teams are common opponents: Total won-lost percentage of games played among the tied teams.
B. Won-lost percentage of the tied teams versus the No. 1 seed and proceeding through the No. 8 seed, if necessary, using common opponents only.
C. If three or more teams still are tied, the Commissioner will conduct a draw.

Let’s break that down:

Team AU Bama MSU UM Ark Total
Auburn XX 2-1 0-3 2-1 2-1 6-6
Alabama 1-2 XX 2-1 2-1 2-1 7-5
MSU 3-0 1-2 XX 2-1 1-2 6-6
Ole Miss 1-2 1-2 1-2 XX 2-1 5-7
Arkansas 1-2 1-2 2-1 1-2 XX 5-7

In that case? Auburn’s in, Arkansas is out of the tournament, based both on that tiebreaker and if Carolina ends up being the Number 1 seed, Ole MIss holds that tie breaker.

One other scenario would be if LSU swept State, putting the Bengals at 14-16.

Team AU Bama LSU UM Ark Total
Auburn XX 2-1 2-1 2-1 2-1 8-4
Alabama 1-2 XX 2-1 2-1 2-1 7-5
LSU 1-2 1-2 XX 2-1 0-3 4-8
Ole Miss 1-2 1-2 1-2 XX 2-1 5-7
Arkansas 1-2 1-2 3-0 1-2 XX 6-6

In that case? Auburn wins the West, MSU and Ole Miss are out.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get on to the ultimate goal. Winning the West. Let’s run down the scenarios:

Auburn Sweeps UT (Finish SEC 16-14)

That puts Auburn at 16-14. Do the Tigers need any help at that point? Actually, yes. If MSU Sweeps LSU then MSU would win the West (State holds the Tiebreaker). Even if Arkansas and Alabama sweep their series, Auburn still owns the tiebreakers over the Tide and Razorbacks.

Auburn Takes Series from UT (Finish SEC 15-15)

Auburn needs:

  • LSU to take series/Sweep Mississippi State
  • Carolina to take 1 game from Alabama
  • Ole Miss to take 1 game from Arkansas

Auburn Drops Series vs UT (Finish SEC 14-16)

Auburn needs (see Final Chaos Scenario):

  • LSU to Sweep Mississippi State
  • Ole Miss to Win/Sweep series against Arkansas
  • Carolina to Win/Sweep series from Alabama

Also of note in this scenario, Auburn would need a win Tuesday against South Alabama OR a win in the SEC Tournament, to preserve a chance at an NCAA Tournament berth.

Auburn is swept by UT (Finish SEC 13-17)

At that point, Auburn would NOT be able to win the West. Auburn could still make Hoover, but it gets complete confusing. In that case Auburn needs:

  • Arkansas to take/sweep series from Ole Miss
    • OR Ole Miss to sweep Arkansas
  • Mississippi State to take just 1 game from LSU
  • Prayer

If Arkansas drops the series to Ole Miss (but doesn’t get swept) then Auburn would need Carolina to Sweep Alabama AND would need Mississippi State to take 1 game from LSU. Also, in that scenario, Auburn would need either 1 win in Hoover and 1 vs South Alabama or 2 wins in Hoover. Honestly, I don’t even want to think about that scenario. Just typing it makes my head and soul hurt. Looking back and thinking on it, I think the only way Auburn doesn’t make the SEC Tournament is if UM Takes series from Arkansas, Bama takes 1 from Carolina and LSU sweeps Mississippi State (forcing MSU/Auburn in to a Head to Head tie breaker). That’s a very worst of worst case scenarios. Honestly, let’s not even mention that again.

Bottom Line? Auburn’s win vs Alabama set them up in position that they can take care of business themselves. Auburn is traveling to the absolute worst team in the SEC. If we can’t take a series from UT then we have no businesses being SEC West Champs. If we get SWEPT by Tennessee? Then Auburn has no business even going to Hoover.


Anonymous said…
in the 15-15 sitch, lsu does not need to swwep msu. They just need to take 2 of 3.
kevin0ives said…
Thanks for the heads up. I made the correction. After a while all the numbers started to jumble on the page.
Anonymous said…
I looked at the runs scored and allowed by the six West teams in contention. Wow, the Pythagorean looks ugly for Auburn:

R RA Pyth
AU 311 310 0.50
UA 280 229 0.60
LSU 355 242 0.68
OM 287 248 0.57
Ark 273 183 0.69
MSU 326 238 0.65

How are we in contention? Normally to outperform your Pythagorean projection you need a dominant closer so that you can "hand pick" your wins. Are we just lucky? Did we play a harder schedule?


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