Old School – Top 10 Contenders to the BCS Title (Week 12)

Old School – Top 10 Contenders to the BCS Title (Week 12)

“I’ve made a mess of me.” The chorus line of Switchfoot’s popular hit “Mess of Me” comes to mind when thinking about the BCS title races. What a mess we have! We have a clear number one with LSU, but after that, a bunch of one-loss teams who feel like they deserve a chance to play for the BCS title. Oh, and one other undefeated team no one wants to give credit to in 12-0 Houston.

Over the past two weeks we’ve seen multiple top-ranked teams fall. Boise State started the mess two weeks ago by losing yet another close game by missing a makable field goal in the final moments. Last season it was against the Nevada, this year to TCU.

Stanford went down next with their big game against Oregon later that night, and it was never in doubt. The Ducks flew around the tree-like Cardinal defense as LaMichael James and company ran right past the seemingly rooted Stanford defenders. Oregon had their own chance to make a strong impression on pollsters last weekend after being bumped up to No. 4 in the BCS standings but lost a close one again.

Last Friday, the Oklahoma State Cowboys dealt with tragedy, finding out the news that their women’s basketball coach and an assistant coach had been killed in a plane crash. I don’t know if heavy hearts played a factor but the game at Iowa State was not the cakewalk many expected it to be. The Cyclones pulled off the big upset winning 37-31 in double-overtime. Just the previous week, Oklahoma State won 66-6.

The loss allowed many teams previously thought to be out of the BCS race to get right back in it. But many could not take advantage. Then No. 7 Clemson lost badly to unranked NC State, No. 4 Oregon lost to USC, and Oklahoma got beat by Heisman candidate Robert Griffin III and the Baylor Bears.

This Friday, Arkansas had a chance to make their case for the BCS title game and force a three-way tie in the SEC West by taking on No. 1 LSU. The game was tight through one half, but LSU blew the Razorbacks away winning 41-17.

So in order to solve the BCS mess I want to infuse a little bit of reason and logic into this discussion. At least my personal logic and reasoning. I’m well aware that what I will conclude will not be the popular train of thought (which is an LSU-Alabama rematch). I am forgoing my weekly rankings in order to sort this out.

The No. 1 and No. 2 ranked teams play each other in the BCS title game, and LSU has all but sowed up their number one spot in the standings. One game still remains against SEC East champion Georgia next week in the SEC Championship but to keep some sanity in this column, we are going to assume LSU wins and stays at No. 1. Arkansas eliminated themselves from contention Friday with their second blowout loss of the season.

Let’s take a quick look at the current BCS Standings with up-to-date records:

  • 1. LSU 12-0
  • 2. Alabama 10-1
  • 3. Arkansas 10-2
  • 4. Oklahoma State 10-1
  • 5. Virginia Tech 10-1
  • 6. Stanford 10-1
  • 7. Boise State 9-1
  • 8. Houston 12-0

In this system I think that you should have to win your conference to get a chance to win the BCS title. Boise State lost to TCU, and the Horned Frogs have now clinched the Mountain West title. So even though Boise State is still high in the rankings, there is no way they deserve to play in the BCS title game, despite the impressive season opening win against Georgia, who’s now ranked 13th.

This also rules out Stanford. Stanford lost to Oregon and thus lost control of their PAC-12 destiny. Oregon will have to lose to 3-8 Oregon State Saturday in order for Stanford to win the PAC-12, which is very unlikely.

This also means that big bad Alabama, who will not win the SEC West division or the SEC Championship, should also be ruled out of the BCS title game.

Alabama going to the BCS title game would be completely unfair to LSU. LSU has already proved that they can beat Alabama, and they did it on the road in Tuscaloosa. Alabama would be getting rewarded for losing that game. While Alabama will be resting at home, LSU will have to go out and beat the 13th ranked Bulldogs in the SEC Championship game to ensure their place in the BCS title game. So, I’m sorry, Alabama. You guys have had your chance, you lost it, and we need to find another team to play in the title game.

  • 1. LSU 12-0
  • 2. Alabama 10-1
  • 3. Arkansas 10-2
  • 4. Oklahoma State 10-1
  • 5. Virginia Tech 10-1
  • 6. Stanford 10-1
  • 7. Boise State 9-1
  • 8. Houston 12-0

Let’s talk about Virginia Tech. The Hokies have the worst resume of all the one-loss teams. Though the Hokies have managed to rack up 10 wins, a lot of them have been less than impressive. They only beat Duke by 4, UNC by 3 and ECU by 7. They have beaten only one currently BCS ranked team in No. 23 Georgia Tech. The other BCS ranked team they played was No. 17 Clemson. Virginia Tech put up very little fight in that game, losing 23-3. A 20 point loss to a team who lost by 24 to NC State. Not exactly championship material, huh?

Let’s move on to Oklahoma State. The Cowboys have had a lot of great wins, but one pretty bad loss last week to Iowa State. The Cyclones are unranked and under .500 in Big 12 play. You have to count that against them in the argument of reaching the BCS title game. The Cowboys still have one big game on their schedule at Oklahoma. If they are able to win that game they will win the Big 12 and have strong wins over Oklahoma, Baylor, Texas and Kansas State. That’s certainly the best case of all of the one-loss teams, but I just have the feeling that after last week’s let down, that in the tight moments of their game next week, they might find themselves doubting themselves against the big brother who always beats them (Oklahoma is 86-16-7 all-time vs Oklahoma State). So, for the purposes of this column, I am going to pencil in a loss, thus keeping them out of the title game.

So what do we have left?

  • 1. LSU 12-0
  • 2. Alabama 10-1
  • 3. Arkansas 10-2
  • 4. Oklahoma State 10-1
  • 5. Virginia Tech 10-1
  • 6. Stanford 10-1
  • 7. Boise State 9-1
  • 8. Houston 12-0

That’s right, common sense and logic should tell us that the game we should get is:

Undefeated LSU vs. undefeated Houston.

I know that Houston may only have one ranked win on their resume (depending if C-USA title game opponent Southern Mississippi is ranked next week) but I think they should be in the title game. Houston has no control over their schedule so you can’t fault the players for that. They have gone out and won every game and are averaging 53 points per game doing it.

LSU has already proved they can beat Alabama, Oregon and Arkansas–three top-10 teams. Stanford, Boise State and Virginia Tech have put together similar resumes to Houston but have already lost a game. And Oklahoma State has that bad loss to Iowa State.

LSU has already accomplished so much this season and passed so many tests, they might as well play the only remaining undefeated team, even if it would be a big mismatch. Take a look at what LSU has gone through: A 40-27 win on a neutral field vs. No. 10 Oregon, a 45-10 win vs. No. 24 Auburn, a 9-6 win at No. 2 Alabama and a 41-17 blowout of No. 3 Arkansas.

It’s by far the most impressive resume out there. We should probably go ahead and give them the title if they beat No. 13 Georgia next week.

And what would they prove if they just beat Alabama again? Nothing. They’ve already beaten them!

If Alabama gets the opportunity to play them and then beats them, it just proves how broken the BCS is. A team will have won the BCS title having not won their own conference or even their division and been given the gift of a rematch against the team that eliminated them from their conference championship.

This is more of an argument of what these one-loss teams haven’t done as opposed to Houston having earned a title shot. Each of these teams have a big black mark on their resumes. Houston has played out their schedule and has not lost.

So why not just give Houston the shot? It would be the No. 1 ranked offense (Houston) against the No. 2 ranked defense (LSU). College football’s best quarterback statistically, Case Keenum, against the second best defense.

At least then we will know if they were good enough. I sure would hate to see LSU beat Alabama again and have Houston win their BCS Bowl, remain undefeated and leave us with a big “What If?”

But, most likely, if Alabama beats Auburn Saturday they will hold onto their No. 2 ranking, and we will get a rematch of the “greatest game of all time,” which set football back 60 years with a 9-6 display of awful quarterbacking.

Which I guess is pretty fitting since we still don’t have a playoff system.