Old School – Top 10 Contenders to the BCS Title – Week 7

Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy! The BCS standings are here. (Sarcasm)

If you’ve been reading my column all season, you know that I’m not a fan of the BCS bowl system. I’d rather have “Playoffs!“(Jim Mora voice). If you haven’t been reading, you can catch up by reading here and here.

The standings were released this past Sunday night on ESPN, and LSU is the big winner.

LSU and Alabama from the SEC come in at one and two, and Oklahoma and Oklahoma State from the Big 12 come in at three and four (see the top 10 below).

Now just for fun (more sarcasm), let’s take a look at the official explanation for the BCS:

  • Team percentages are derived by dividing a team’s actual voting points by a maximum 2850 possible points in the Harris Interactive Poll and 1575 possible points in the USA Today Coaches Poll.
  • Six computer rankings calculated in inverse points order (25 for No. 1, 24 for No. 2, etc.) are used to determine the overall computer component. The best and worst ranking for each team is dropped, and the remaining four are added and divided by 100 (the maximum possible points) to produce a Computer Rankings Percentage. The six computer ranking providers are Anderson & Hester, Richard Billingsley, Colley Matrix, Kenneth Massey, Jeff Sagarin and Peter Wolfe. Each computer ranking accounts for schedule strength in its formula.
  • The BCS Average is calculated by averaging the percent totals of the Harris Interactive, USA Today Coaches and Computer polls.

Is anyone more confused than before you read that explanation?

Since my column is about the top 10 contenders, I’m just going to list the top 10 teams in the BCS rankings:

1. LSU 7-0

2. Alabama 7-0

3. Oklahoma 6-0

4. Oklahoma State 6-0

5. Boise State 6-0

6. Wisconsin 6-0

7. Clemson 7-0

8. Stanford 6-0

9. Arkansas 5-1

10. Oregon 5-1

Read the complete list here.

Now it would be easy for me to just plug these rankings into my own rankings the rest of the year, but since the BCS rankings are mostly opinion, my rankings will be based on my own opinion.

I find it interesting that Arkansas and Oregon are ahead of No. 11 Kansas State, who’s undefeated, considering both teams’ one loss is a blow out. But even more interesting is that many of the teams ranked after Kansas State also have one blowout loss on their record. No. 12 Virginia Tech lost 23-3 to Clemson. No. 13 Nebraska lost 48-17 to Wisconsin. No. 15 West Virginia lost 47-21 to LSU. No. 16 Michigan State lost 31-13 to Notre Dame.

Which brings me to a couple of questions:

Shouldn’t No. 14 South Carolina be the highest ranked one-loss team since their loss was only by three points to defending champ Auburn?

And if those teams have blowout losses, why should undefeated Houston be all the way down at No. 19? Conventional wisdom would say that an undefeated team should be ranked higher than a team that has been blown out.

This year, I don’t believe a one-loss team will be given a title shot (unless everyone has at least one loss), which is why I’ve already eliminated one-loss teams like Oregon and Arkansas from my list of contenders. A ton of losing will have to happen in front of them to get back in it.

The only team that might have a chance to still be in the BCS title game with one loss would be the loser of the LSU and Alabama game.

And even then, I think a lot of losses will have to happen in front of them, because whoever loses that game will most likely not win the SEC. In fact, they won’t even win their division of the conference. The argument among the pollsters will be: “If a team can’t win their conference, that team can’t be a BCS champion.”

We saw this case in 2007.

Georgia finished the regular season ranked No. 4 but did not win the SEC East. No. 7 ranked LSU beat SEC East winner Tennessee in the SEC Championship game. No. 1 Missouri and No. 2 West Virginia lost, and LSU leapfrogged Georgia and many others in the BCS rankings. The Tigers went on to the BCS title game and beat Ohio State.

So that’s why I only have undefeated teams in my rankings for now. As long as there are at least two undefeated teams, no one else will be a contender.

And with all of that being said, we are down to just 10 undefeated teams left in college football. Last week, Michigan went down to rival Michigan State, Georgia Tech lost to Virginia, and Ohio State beat previously undefeated Illinois.

Michigan - The Wolverines offense never got in sync against their in-state rival Michigan State and lost 28-14. (Brady) Hoke-a-mania may still be running wild in Ann Arbor, but we will have to wait at least another year nationally.

Georgia Tech - The “Ramblin Wreck” got a dose of their own medicine last week as Virginia used a prolific ground game (272 rushing yards) to outlast Georgia Tech 24-21.

Illinois – The Fighting Illini did not score until the fourth quarter. A recipe for disaster.

10. Houston – It’s highly doubtful that Houston can make it all the way to the BCS title game. Unfortunately, in the BCS system, perception, conference alignment, reputation and tradition carry a lot of weight in the polls. Polls make up for 2/3 of the BCS formula, and the Cougars have a slim shot of being voted in at No. 1 or No. 2 at the end of the season since they play in Conference USA. A more realistic goal for the Cougars is going undefeated and hoping to get an invitation to the Fiesta or Sugar Bowl.

9. Kansas State – The Wildcats have defeated one top-25 ranked team at this point during the season in the Baylor Bears. If K-State takes care of Kansas this week, here’s what awaits them: No. 3 Oklahoma, No. 4 Oklahoma State, No. 17 Texas A&M and No. 24 Texas (All rankings are BCS rankings).

8. Clemson - The Tigers once trailed Maryland by 18 points last week. But, while it was unimpressive how they got down, it was impressive how they got back up and won. Hmmm….I am suddenly reminded of an Audio Adrenaline song. Searching Youtube… Here it is:

7. Oklahoma State – The Cowboys beat Texas by twelve last week and will travel to Missouri Saturday. Road wins can be tough, but I see no upset here.

6. Oklahoma – Since Oklahoma State beat the Longhorns last week, the Sooners have another win that looks like it won’t be as good of a win as I thought, just as the Florida State win has lost its luster. Texas Tech comes to town Saturday, and Oklahoma’s offense will need to be productive because the Red Raider offense is very capable of putting up a lot of points (43.8 per game).

5. Boise State – The thing that always hurts the Broncos is the timing of their schedule. Their big wins typically happen early in the season. Whether it has been Oregon, Oregon State, Virginia Tech or Georgia, the big win of the year has been early in the season. And people have short memories. What happens late in the season is fresher on voters’ minds than what happens at the beginning of the season.

4. Stanford – Andrew Luck has passed for 18 TDs and thrown only 3 interceptions. He is completing passes at an incredible 71.3 percent. Yet it seems no one is really talking about Luck and the Stanford Cardinal. East Coast bias perhaps?

3. Wisconsin – The Badgers take on Michigan State this week, who are fresh off of taking down previously undefeated Michigan. I’m interested in seeing what the Badgers prolific offense will do against the tough Spartan defense.

2. Alabama – The Tennessee-Alabama rivalry is an old one. The Vols and the Crimson Tide first played against each other in Birmingham back in 1901. Alabama leads the rivalry 47-38-7. Expect them to go up 10 wins in the rivalry on Saturday.

1. LSU – Defending BCS champion Auburn comes to town this Saturday. Former champ vs. future champ?

 

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