BCS Analysis & Breakdown - Week 6
Texas Tech QB Graham Harrell
Texas Tech QB Graham Harrell
Posted Nov 23, 2008

Graham Harrell and Texas Tech are out of it, right? Not if Oklahoma State beats Oklahoma. USC is still in the national title mix, while Utah still has a big beef. Pete Fiutak examines it all in the breakdown and analysis of the top ten teams in the latest BCS rankings.

2008 BCS Analysis

Week 6

By Pete Fiutak   

BCS Rankings | Computer Rankings

- BCS Analysis Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5

And now things get interesting. Very, very interesting.

In the big news of the BCS day, Texas moved up to two and Oklahoma is up from five to three. That means that this weekend should be all about style points as Texas needs to impress the humans to say ahead of OU, because it's the computers who currently like the Longhorns. More on this in a moment.

The Top 25
- Expanded BCS Rankings

1. Alabama
2. Texas
3. Oklahoma
4. Florida
5. USC
6. Utah
7. Texas Tech
8. Penn State
9. Boise State
10. Ohio State
11. Georgia
12. Oklahoma St
13. Missouri
15. Ball State
16. Cincinnati
17. Oregon State
18. BYU
19. Michigan St
20. Florida State
21. Boston Coll.
22. Georgia Tech
23. Oregon
24. Northwestern
25. Pitt

Texas Tech excused itself from the national title chase moving all the way down to seventh, while Penn State didn't budge off the No. 8 spot despite blowing away Michigan State. More on this in a moment, as well.

USC is in range at five, but it's all about the Big 12 and the SEC at the moment. If the champions of the two conferences, including Alabama, finish with one loss, they're playing each other for the national title and USC, Utah, and everyone else will be on the outside looking in.

Utah is going to the BCS, which is what everyone knew after the win over BYU, but now it's confirmed at the No. 6 spot. Boise State is at nine, and isn't likely to move any higher unless there are some monumental upsets, while an unbeaten Ball State is the fourth non-BCS team in the rankings, coming in at 15th, one spot behind TCU.

Basically, here's what you need to know ...

1. If there aren't any upsets this weekend, the SEC champion will be playing for the national championship. The big question mark is Missouri. If the Tigers win the Big 12 Championship, will the BCS put in a one-loss Oklahoma or Texas (whichever one is left out) over USC? That will be the big fight unless the Tigers lose, and then Oklahoma or Texas (whichever one gets into the Big 12 title game) will play the SEC champion.

2. Utah can continue to have a major complaint. On merit, USC has no case for being ranked ahead of the Utes. The computers realize this, but the humans don't. The Utes have a better computer ranking than USC, they beat Oregon State, USC lost to Oregon State, and the Mountain West went 6-1 vs. the Pac 10. However, even after a blowout win over a good BYU, USC is No. 5 and Utah No. 6.

3. Work with me here. Penn State is firmly stuck on the No. 8 spot. However, forgetting about what happens in the SEC, if Oklahoma State beats Oklahoma, which isn't all that far-fetched, then the Big 12 South goes to a two-team tie-breaker and Texas Tech, if it beats Baylor, would face Missouri. If the Red Raiders beat the Tigers, would the voters still want them in the national title game over Texas and Penn State after what happened this last week in Norman? No way. Also, if that happens, then Texas wouldn't have won its division, much less its conference, so to put the Longhorns in would mean a 2001 Nebraska scenario which the college football public and voters have been loathe to repeat.

If Oregon State beats Oregon, then it wins the No. 1 spot in the Pac 10, and while USC would win a share of the title with a win over UCLA, would the voters still want USC in over Penn State? The computers wouldn't. Therefore, all it'll take is for two reasonable things to happen (Oklahoma State over OU and Oregon State at home over Oregon) and then Penn State would have a case, unless the voters really did go bold and decided to go with Utah. In other words, while there's too much traffic ahead for Penn State to get to the national title, the debating and politicking might not be over.

4. It's over. Utah will get the automatic BCS slot. As it looks now, the SEC and Big 12 will each get two teams in, Utah and Penn State have automatic berths, and the ACC and Big East champions will get automatic spots. That means there are two spots available, and it comes down to the Civil War. If Oregon State beats Oregon, assuming USC beats Notre Dame and UCLA, the Pac 10 will get two teams in with the Beavers going to the Rose Bowl. If Oregon beats Oregon State, then Ohio State will likely get the final BCS spot.

Don’t forget that the BCS takes the entire season into account, so there will be wild changes from the computers at the end, but the two human polls will be the biggest factors.

The Big Winners: Oklahoma (moved from No. 5 to No. 3), USC (6 to 5), Oregon State (21 to 17)
The Big Losers: Penn State (didn't move from 8), Texas Tech (2 to 7), USC (didn't jump over USC after big win)

1. Alabama      Score: 0.9872  Last Week: No. 1
Alabama moved up even more as it's now No. 1 by both the humans and the computers after being No. 2 by the computers last week behind Texas Tech. Obviously, Bama is playing for the national title by beating Auburn and Florida, and with the Gators getting so much respect, the Tide could still play for it all if it loses to Auburn and wins the SEC title game.

predicted wins: Auburn
predicted losses: SEC Championship (Florida)
predicted record: 12-1
predicted bowl: Sugar Bowl
toughest test: SEC Championship vs. Florida

2. Texas       Score: 0.9209   Last Week: No. 3
Texas has the computers to thank for the No. 2 spot, because both human polls have Mack Brown's club at No. 4. A blowout win over Texas A&M is a must, or else Oklahoma, if it beats Oklahoma State, will start to get more respect from the computers and won't get any less from the humans. All UT wants is a chance for a repeat battle against Missouri, and for one week, it's still in the mix.

predicted wins: Texas A&M
predicted losses: none
predicted record: 11-1
predicted bowl: Sugar Bowl
toughest test: Texas A&M

3. Oklahoma      Score: 0.9125  Last Week: No. 5
Oklahoma did what it had to do to get in a position to play for the Big 12 and national title by blowing away Texas Tech. Now there's just one more hurdle to overcome to get into the No. 2 spot and into a chance to play Missouri. The humans are on board, with the Coaches' Poll putting the Sooners at No. 2 while the Harris Poll has them at 3. Oklahoma State, ranked 12th in the BCS, is a great team, and if OU does next week what it did to Texas Tech, it'll be in the Big 12 title game without a question.

predicted wins: at Oklahoma State, Big 12 Championship (Missouri)
predicted losses: None
predicted record: 12-1
predicted bowl: BCS Championship
toughest test: at Oklahoma State

4. Florida        Score: 0.8755   Last Week: No. 4
Talk about focused, to a man, Florida said it was going to be business as usual against Citadel. 70 points and over 700 yards later, the team made its statement that it's not planning on letting down any time soon. The computers are still less than thrilled, partly because the SEC stinks and partly because of the loss to Ole Miss, but the humans are on board with the Harris Poll ranking the Gators No. 2 and the Coaches' Poll putting them at third. All that matters is winning the last two games. With wins over Florida State and Alabama, Florida will be playing for the national title.

predicted wins: at Florida State, SEC Championship (Alabama)
predicted losses: None
predicted record: 12-1
predicted bowl: BCS Championship
toughest test: SEC Championship vs. Alabama

5. USC    Score: 0.7974  Last Week: No. 6
The Trojans probably won't earn the Pac 10's No. 1 spot, and the computers have them eighth overall, with four of the six ranking them eighth or lower, yet the humans are falling for the blowout wins over bad teams. Ranked fifth in both polls, the humans are keeping USC alive in the national title hunt. The dream is for Missouri to win the Big 12 championship game after getting a little more help from somewhere to get within range. If USC isn't in the top four after next weekend, it's not going to happen.

predicted wins:
Notre Dame, at UCLA
predicted losses: None
predicted record: 11-1
predicted bowl: Fiesta Bowl
toughest test: at UCLA

6. Utah      Score: 0.7858  Last Week: No. 7
No. 5 in the computer polls but seventh in the Coaches' and eighth in the Harris, Utah is too far out of range to have any honest dreams of playing for the national title. On the plus side, this is the only two-time BCS buster and it'll be a lock to go somewhere, which above all else, means a ton of extra cash compared to the Las Vegas Bowl.

Done ... Record: 12-0
predicted bowl: Fiesta Bowl

7. Texas Tech    Score: 0.7789    Last Week: No. 2
And there goes that ... maybe. If Oklahoma State beats Oklahoma and Texas Tech beats Baylor, then it'll be the Red Raiders playing Missouri for the Big 12 title. If they win the conference championship, would Texas get into the national title? Not a chance. The computers still love the Red Raiders, and the humans would either have to follow, or face the Utah vs. USC debate as to which one should be sent to Miami.

predicted wins:
predicted losses: None
predicted record: 11-1
predicted bowl: Gator Bowl
toughest test: Baylor

8. Penn State     Score: 0.7520   Last Week: No. 8
While Penn State would have a big argument to be in the national title game if Missouri wins the Big 12 title, it's not going to happen. Enjoy Pasadena. Either it'll be a rematch against Oregon State, even though the Nittany Lions won 45-14 in Happy Valley earlier this year, or it'll be a tremendous battle against USC.

Done ... Record: 11-1
predicted bowl: Rose Bowl

9. Boise State  Score: 0.6581   Last Week: No. 9
Boise State survived a late run by Nevada and just needs to get by an underachieving, mediocre Fresno State to be unbeaten, but it'll get left out of the BCS hunt thanks to Utah's great year. Barring a huge upset, the Broncos will have to settle for the No. 9 ranking while watching a few teams with far, far lower rankings get in. 

predicted wins:
Fresno State
predicted losses: None
predicted record: 12-0
predicted bowl: Roady’s Humanitarian Bowl
toughest test: Fresno State

10. Ohio State     Score: 0.6210  Last Week: No. 11
Ohio State will get out the Nikes along with the yellow and green pom-poms as it roots for Oregon to upset Oregon State in Corvallis. If the Ducks win, the Buckeyes will be all but certain to get the tenth BCS slot, but if the Beavers win, then it'll be off to Florida for a New Year's Day game against (cue ominous music) the SEC.

Done ... Record: 10-2
predicted bowl: Capital One Bowl

In Range
11. Georgia   Score: 0.6020
12. Oklahoma State   Score: 0.5705
13. Missouri   Score: 0.5589
14. TCU   Score: 0.4702
15. Ball State  Score: 0.4379