Once again, it's time for Raymond to come up with an absurd, arbitrary criterion for filling out his NCAA bracket.

This year, I look at the strength of the school's football team, on the theory that a school with a strong football team and a strong basketball team has clearly invested a lot in its athletics program. My ranking of football teams is about as scientific as my ranking of basketball teams:

  • If the school ended last season with a BCS ranking, I used that.
  • If a school wasn't ranked but received votes in the AP ranking, then I gave it a rank of 30 (and if two such schools faced each other, I looked at who got more votes).
  • If a school still isn't ranked, then I looked to see if it had been ranked at any time earlier in the season; if so, then I gave it a rank of 40.
  • If a school still isn't ranked, but it appeared on the equally-scientific ESPN Fan Rankings, then I gave it a rank of 50.
  • If a school still isn't ranked, but it has a Division I FBS football team, then I gave it a rank of 80. If two such schools faced each other, then I gave what appeared to be the weaker school a rank of 90.
  • If a school still isn't ranked, but it has a Division I FCS football team, then I gave it a rank of 100. If two such schools faced each other, then I gave what appeared to be the weaker schools a rank of 101. (Why 101 instead of 110? Who cares!)
  • If a school still isn't ranked, but it has a football team in some other division, then I gave it a rank of 150.
  • If a school still isn't ranked because its football team is new, then I gave it a rank of 200.
  • If a school still isn't ranked because it doesn't have a football team, but it had one in the past, then I gave it a rank of 300.
  • If a school still isn't ranked because it never had a football team, then I gave it a rank of 400.

(As a special case, USC received its rank of 22 from two years ago, because it was forced to sit out the 2010 season as part of its punishment for "several major rules violations." Now that's what I call dedication to athletics!)

I made up all these rules on the fly, which is why the spacing is so uneven and why they were not necessarily applied fairly across the board, but that's what makes it highly scientific.

As before, once the field has been narrowed to eight teams, the results are determined by a coin flip.

Update:

  • Correct predictions are in green.
  • Incorrect predictions are in red.
  • (!) marks upsets correctly predicted.
  • (*) marks upsets predicted but did not take place.
  • (x) marks actual upsets not predicted.

Opening Round Games

Texas-San Antonio(200) Alabama State
(80)
Alabama State(80)
UAB(90) Clemson
(80)
Clemson(80)
UNC-Asheville(400) Arkansas-Little Rock
(300)
Arkansas-Little Rock(300)
USC(22*) USC
(22*)
VCU(400)

East bracket

1Ohio State(6) Ohio State
(6)
Ohio State
(6)
Ohio State Ohio State
16Alabama State(80)
8George Mason(400) Villanova
(100) (*)
9Villanova(100)
5Kentucky(80) Kentucky
(80)
West Virginia
(30) (*)
12Princeton(100)
4West Virginia(30) West Virginia
(30)
13Clemson(80)
6Syracuse(80) Syracuse
(80)
Syracuse
(80) (x)
Washington
11Indiana State(90)
3Xavier(300) Xavier
(300) (x)
14Marquette(310)
7Washington(30) Washington
(30)
Washington
(30)
10Georgia(50)
2North Carolina(50) North Carolina
(50)
15Long Island(400)

West bracket

1Duke(90) Duke
(90)
Michigan
(80) (x)
Arizona Arizona
16Hampton(100)
8Michigan(80) Michigan
(80)
9Tennessee(90)
5Texas(40) Texas
(40)
Arizona
(40)
12Oakland(400)
4Arizona(40) Arizona
(40)
13Memphis(80)
6Connecticut(30) Connecticut
(30)
Missouri
(12) (*)
Missouri
11Bucknell(100)
3Cincinnati(80) Missouri
(12) (*)
14Missouri(12)
7Temple(80) Penn State
(40) (*)
San Diego State
(30)
10Penn State(40)
2San Diego State(30) San Diego State
(30)
15Northern Colorado(200)

Southeast bracket

1Pittsburgh(80) Pittsburgh
(80)
Pittsburgh
(80) (x)
Wisconsin Michigan State
16Arkansas-Little Rock(300)
8Butler(100) Butler
(100)
9Old Dominion(101)
5Wisconsin(4) Wisconsin
(4)
Wisconsin
(4)
12Belmont(150)
4Kansas State(40) Kansas State
(40)
13Utah State(80)
6BYU(39) BYU
(39)
BYU
(39)
Michigan State
11Wofford(100)
3St. John's(200) St. John's
(200) (x)
14Gonzaga(300)
7UCLA(80) Michigan State
(7) (*)
Michigan State
(7)
10Michigan State(7)
2Florida(30) Florida
(30)
15UCSB(400)

Southwest bracket

1Kansas(90) Kansas
(90)
Illinois
(80) (*)
Illinois Texas A&M
16Boston University(300)
8UNLV(90) Illinois
(80) (!)
9Illinois(80)
5Louisville(82) Louisville
(82) (x)
Louisville
(82)
12Morehead State(100)
4Vanderbilt(90) Vanderbilt
(90) (x)
13Richmond(91)
6Purdue(90) Purdue
(90)
USC
(22*)
Texas A&M
11Saint Peter's(300)
3Georgetown(100) USC
(22*)
14USC(22*)
7Texas A&M(18) Texas A&M
(18) (x)
Texas A&M
(18)
10Florida State(23)
2Notre Dame(30) Notre Dame
(30)
15Akron(80)

Finals

Ohio State Ohio State Michigan State
Arizona
Michigan State Michigan State
Texas A&M