Now that we have reached the month of February, it is time to really start talking about the at-large resumes of bubble teams. The bubble has been bad for most of this season and still kind of is. But luckily, lately, bubble teams have started to pick up some good wins. Here are some teams that, as of right now, have a chance but with a very steep hill to climb.
Current Darkhorse At-Large Candidates
Ohio State Buckeyes
It is really weird that we have gotten to the point where Ohio State is now in this position. Their loss on Thursday night against Wisconsin dropped their record to .500 and was their eighth loss in their last nine games. Luckily for them, their metrics are still pretty good. They did drop seven spots in the NET rankings to three, which is their lowest point this season. But it’s still a good number. Their loss to Minnesota hurts a lot, though. Six of their remaining nine regular season games are quad-ones, and the other three are quad-twos. The Buckeyes have plenty of opportunities, but they will need to turn things around immediately.
Virginia Tech Hokies
Virginia Tech had a seven-game losing streak that killed them before beating Duke on January 23rd. Before it, they were 11-1 and ranked. They now find themselves in an extremely difficult spot. There is plenty of talent on their roster in guys like Hunter Cattoor, Justyn Mutts, and Sean Pedulla, so they are capable of turning things around. There are just two problems. The first is that the quad-three loss to Boston College really hurts. The second is that there are not many opportunities remaining to pick up good, quality wins. The good thing, though, is that at least they have multiple wins against teams that are currently in the field or just outside of it. But their window is closing fast.
Mississippi State Bulldogs
Are you seeing a trend here? Mississippi State is another team that has been hurt by a big losing streak. After starting off the season 11-0 and rising to #15 in the AP Poll, the Bulldogs lost eight of their next nine. Thankfully none of those losses were bad ones. The problem is that they only have two wins against teams that I currently have in the field. Two quad-one and five quad-two opportunities remain, and they’ll need to win a bunch of them to have a shot at going dancing as an at-large selection.
For the second straight year, Oregon has been one of the most disappointing teams in the country. I don’t know what is wrong with them. They have improved over the past month, picking up a great win against Arizona and sweeping Utah. Three quad-one and two quad-two games remain on their schedule. There is a ton of talent on the Ducks’ roster. More than enough to get a bunch of good wins. Hopefully, they can do it.