BCS - What Matters?
Oct. 29, Week 2
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As always, before diving in, three key things to keep in mind.
1) It's all about the humans. The computers count for a third of the
standings, while the humans account for the other two-thirds.
The wires and chips will have their say, but it will
take something truly major for the top two teams in
human polls to not play for the BCS championship.
2) Don't get into a twist over the computers over the first few weeks – especially right now. Many of the formulas kick into gear once the entire season is over, so the difference between the second-to-last computer
standings and the final ones could be night and day. Basically, the first half of the season doesn't matter at all according to some of the formulas.
3) The AP poll is meaningless. Many major media outlets still use and reference the AP rankings, but the Coaches' poll counts for a third, and the ever-mysterious Harris Poll counts for the other third of the human equation. Those are the ones to focus on and scrutinize.
Here's what matters from the second BCS ranking of the season …
And now, it's over unless ...
Florida State can get into the top two in the human polls.
Oregon not only jumped up past Florida State into the coveted No. 2 spot; it did it in a big way with a massive gap opening up. It might seem repetitive, but it's the key part of the puzzle. The teams in the top two in the human polls will end up playing in the BCS championship, so unless
Florida State can somehow impress enough to break into the top two in either the Harris of Coaches' poll, the championship matchup is set.
So what can the Seminoles do? They have to obliterate everything left in their path. Style points don't matter
quite yet for Ohio State at No. 4 - more on that in a moment - but they will for FSU, because if there's the slightest hiccup by Oregon with any sort of close call, there could be a flip-flop.
How close is this? Oregon is up just 1,483 to 1,419
in the Coaches' and 2,492 to 2,386 in the Harris.
It's a beauty contest now more than ever.
You were sleeping and you missed it, but ...
San Diego State lined up for a field goal and a chance to knock Fresno State out of the ranks of the unbeatens and out of the BCS, but
the kick was blocked and Derek Carr and the Bulldogs came through in overtime. If you're a fan of a Big Ten team other than Ohio State, and you want to see the league put a second team into the BCS, you need Fresno State and Northern Illinois to lose.
If you're an NIU fan, hope and pray that Fresno State finally falls on the wrong side of one its now-patented close calls. There's still a show with Nevada up next, road trips against dangerous Wyoming and San Jose State
offenses, and possibly a Mountain West title game against - most likely - Boise State to deal with again.
Ohio State can put up all the points it wants against Penn State, but
The team needs lots and lots of help. OSU can crank
out massive numbers, and it can finish the regular
season with a Big Ten championship and a 25-0 record
in the Urban Meyer era, and none of it matters
unless two of the top three teams lose. Think about
it. THE Ohio State University, the biggest of big
programs in the biggest - not the best - of
conferences with, arguably, one of the five best football coaches on the planet doesn't control its own destiny. Such is life in the last year of the BCS, but the human voters aren't going to budge on the firm No. 4 spot unless there's a loss up top.
Well hello, Baylor
It's going to be one of the more interesting questions over the next few weeks - where does Baylor end up if it goes
unbeaten? There are several problems with the Bears and their rise up the ranks. First, they need three of the top four teams to lose, and Miami can't shock the world and run the table.
Second, the lack of a Big 12 championship is a huge issue. Alabama, Oregon, Florida State and Ohio State could all possibly end up with a conference title game as a 13th chance to show what they can do. Finally, the Big 12 is at the bottom of the top five league pecking order.
If all things are equal, this year, the unofficial order goes SEC champion, Pac-12, ACC, Big Ten, Big 12. The Bears need every break possible to move up into the top two, including the little matter of taking care of business to get to 12-0.
The lurking team to keep an eye on is ...
Stanford, with Auburn and Missouri close by.
The problem is that a one-loss Stanford, even with a Pac-12 title, would still fall behind a one-loss SEC champion in the pecking order, but if there are wins over
Arizona State (maybe twice if the the two meet in the Pac-12 championship), UCLA (maybe twice), Washington, Oregon State at Oregon State, Oregon, USC at USC and Notre Dame on the
résumé, a one-loss ACC champ probably wouldn't be a
problem and a one-loss Big Ten and Big 12 champion
would be long gone.
It's a simple deal for all the one-loss teams up
high in the standings. Unbeaten BCS conference teams
get in first, meaning Alabama, Oregon, Florida
State, Ohio State, Baylor and Miami would all most
certainly get the nod over any other one-loss team,
even from the SEC. There's still a long, long way to
go, and it's certain that at least one will lose -
Florida State and Miami play each other - so if
Stanford could take care of Oregon and win out, at No. 5 at the moment, it could fly up
quickly if and when Ohio State and Baylor lose. It would take some help, and it might require
some worrying about the SEC, but the Cardinal have
to keep on pressing.
And that's where Auburn and Missouri come in.
If the Auburn version of the Tigers win out, that
would mean they'd have beaten Texas A&M, Ole Miss, Arkansas and Tennessee on the road
along with Georgia and Alabama at home, and then either South Carolina or Missouri in the SEC championship. Missouri's road is even better for the BCS standings with a road game at Ole Miss to deal with along with a date at Tennessee, Texas A&M, and then, most likely, Alabama in the SEC championship.
A one-loss SEC champion might leapfrog a one-loss
Stanford, but it would be a battle between the