2009 BCS Analysis & Breakdown, Nov. 1
Texas WR Malcolm Williams
Texas WR Malcolm Williams
Posted Nov 1, 2009

There's no real change at the top and there wasn't the overall movement you might expect. Oregon actually went down in the computer rankings, and outside of a meaningless flip-flop of Alabama and Texas in the top three, the big boys didn't budge. Pete Fiutak breaks it all down with the analysis of the Week Three BCS rankings.

2009 BCS Analysis

Week 3 ... Nov. 1

- 2009 CFN Rankings
- 2009 Harris Poll
- 2009 Coaches' Poll 
- 2009 BCS Rankings

- BCS Breakdowns Week 1 | Week 2

The Top 25
- Expanded BCS Rankings

1. Florida
2. Texas
3. Alabama
4. Iowa
5. Cincinnati
6. TCU
7. Boise State
8. Oregon
9. LSU
10. Georgia Tech
11. Penn State
12. USC
13. Pitt
14. Utah
15. Houston
16. Ohio State
17. Miami
18. Arizona
19. Oklahoma St
20. California
21. Wisconsin
22. Notre Dame
23. Virginia Tech
24. Oklahoma
25. South Florida

There weren't many dramatic changes and the national title picture remains the same as long as the top three stay unbeaten.

There was a little bit of movement up top, but it doesn't matter. Florida stayed at No. 1 and Iowa is still at No. 4 after a shaky performance against Indiana, but Texas and Alabama flip-flopped spots with the Longhorns going from No. 3 to No. 2. Of course, if Alabama wins out, including a victory over Florida in the SEC championship, it'll play for the national title. Everyone outside of the top three needs a Texas loss and/or a one-loss SEC champion to get into the discussion, and there was more jockeying among the contenders this week to try to get into position if the big breaks come.

Cincinnati went from being out of the picture and put on the pay-no-mind list last week at eight to being deep in the heart of the national championship chase in just one week. The 28-7 road win at Syracuse wasn't that impressive, but the USC loss and wee bit more love from the computers, moving the Bearcats from sixth to fifth, were enough to cause a big jump up to the No. 5 spot and within range of one of the coveted top two spots.

Cincinnati's leapfrog into the top five means that TCU and Boise State stayed the same at No. 6 and No. 7, respectively, while Oregon made a nice jump up two spots to No. 8 after the big win over USC. The Trojans dropped from sixth to 12th and far out of the national title picture, but the biggest loser might be Virginia Tech, who dropped from 13th, and within range of an at-large BCS spot, to a disastrous 23rd after the home loss to North Carolina.

Other interesting notes from the Week Three rankings …

- Notre Dame gets an automatic bid if it finishes in the top eight, and can be picked as an at-large team if it finishes in the top 12, but there's almost no movement whatsoever week after week. At No. 23 last week, the Irish only moved up one spot to 22 after blowing away Washington State mainly because the computers weren't happy. The Irish were 19th last week according to the computers and were 23rd this week. There's a long way to go to get into position for a big game, but all it'll take is a spot in the top 12. The Fiesta, assuming Texas is in the BCS Championship and the Sugar takes the SEC championship loser, would take the Irish in a heartbeat as its at-large pick.

- In the hunt for the automatic spot for a non-BCS team, TCU stayed ahead of Boise State, but there are other teams lurking. Utah, who still gets to play TCU and BYU and only has one loss to Oregon, moved up from 16th to 14th, while Houston crept up a little bit from 18th to 15th.

- The ACC is doing everything possible to not get two teams into the BCS. After appearing to be a lock to get a second team into the big money games for the first time, the ACC saw Miami suffer a disastrous collapse to Clemson two weeks ago and last week lost Virginia Tech from the picture in the loss to North Carolina. Georgia Tech even if it's 11-1 going into the ACC title game, will likely have to win the championship game to get into a BCS bowl. There will be several more attractive at-large choices available.

- LSU stayed at No. 9, but it's in a better position than anyone ranked outside of the top three. There would be a major discussion if Iowa and/or Cincinnati finish 12-0, but if the Tigers beat Alabama this week and run the table on the way to the SEC Championship, and avenges the earlier loss to Florida to finish 12-1, it will be hard to keep them out of Pasadena.

- Keep an eye on Penn State at 11. The Nittany Lions don't have a chance to get into the national title discussion, but if they can beat Ohio State and end up 11-1, they'll get an at-large BCS bowl bid.

The Big Winners:
Cincinnati (8th to 5th), Oregon (10th to 8th), Utah (16th to 14th)
The Big Losers:
USC (5th to 12th), Virginia Tech (13th to 23rd), Notre Dame (only moving from 23rd to 22nd)

1. Florida Score: 0.9918
With Texas moving to No. 2, the score widened and Florida is now more firmly entrenched in the top spot than last week. Last week Iowa was No. 1 according to the computers, but this week it's Florida with five of the six putting the Gators in the top spot. Only the Wolfe formula has UF at No. 2. With South Carolina's loss to Tennessee, Florida has won the East and is in the SEC Championship, but that's hardly the team's overall goal.

Predicted Wins:  Vanderbilt, at South Carolina, FIU, Florida State, SEC Championship
Predicted Losses: None
Predicted Final Record: 13-0
Predicted Bowl: BCS Championship
Toughest Remaining Tests:  at South Carolina, Florida State, SEC Championship

2. Texas  Score: 0.9227
After blowing away Oklahoma State in Stillwater, Texas moved up into the No. 2 spot and is now more comfortable than ever in the national title chase. The computers vary on their respect, with Sagarin still not showing much of a belief in the Horns ranking them ninth, but it's better than last week when they were a ridiculous 14th. The question at this point is whether or not Texas would play for the national title with one loss, but that's up to the humans. If Texas wants to play for the national title, all it has to do is win five more games as a double-digit favorite in each.

Predicted Wins: UCF, at Baylor, Kansas, at Texas A&M, Big 12 Championship
Predicted Losses: None Predicted Final Record: 13-0
Predicted Bowl: BCS Championship
Toughest Remaining Tests: at Texas A&M

3 . Alabama  Score: 0.9166
The move down from three to two doesn't matter. The computers actually moved the Tide up from five to a tie at No. 3 with Texas, and, of course, the spot in the national title is assured by winning out. There's a huge gap between Bama and Iowa, and there's absolutely no chance whatsoever of moving down without a loss.

Predicted Wins: LSU, at Mississippi State, Chattanooga, at Auburn
Predicted Losses: SEC Championship
Predicted Final Record: 12-1
Predicted Bowl: Sugar Bowl
Toughest Remaining Tests: LSU, at Auburn

4. Iowa  Score: 0.8407
Even with the near-disaster of a performance against Indiana, Iowa stayed firm at No.4  and actually moved up a bit in its overall score. As head coach Kirk Ferentz put it last week, the computers don't have eyes, after being ranked No. 1 by the wires and buttons, but the humans do and they still chose to boost the Hawkeyes up in both polls. The computers moved them down to No. 2, but if they beat Ohio State and end up running the table, they'll likely finish No.3 and be just barely on the outside looking in.

Predicted Wins: Northwestern, Minnesota
Predicted Losses: at Ohio State
Predicted Final Record: 11-1
Predicted Bowl: Rose Bowl
Toughest Remaining Tests: at Ohio State

5. Cincinnati Score: 0.8033
After what seemed like a devastating drop last week, Cincinnati moved up to the No. 5 spot and in a position to challenge for a BCS Championship slot with several big breaks. But now the tough part of the schedule kicks in and the bull's-eye is squarely on the team's back. National title talk is nice, but winning the Big East title and getting an automatic bid is nothing to dismiss. The computers are showing more and more respect, and the Harris Poll has the Bearcats ahead of Iowa and TCU.

Predicted Wins: Connecticut, West Virginia, Illinois
Predicted Losses: at Pitt
Predicted Final Record: 11-1
Predicted Bowl: Sugar
Toughest Remaining Tests: Connecticut, West Virginia

6. TCU Score: 0.8008
TCU, realistically, has no chance of getting into the top two and into the BCS Championship, so the goal is to stay ahead of Boise State and get an automatic bid into one of the big games. That will only happen by keeping the momentum going, and there's a chance to move into the top five in the coming weeks with a nice game against Utah ahead and with Cincinnati ahead by a paper thin margin. As long as the wins keep coming, Boise State will stay a step behind the Horned Frogs in the race.

Predicted Wins: at San Diego State, Utah, at Wyoming, New Mexico
Predicted Losses: None
Predicted Final Record: 12-0
Predicted Bowl: Sugar Bowl
Toughest Remaining Tests: Utah, at Wyoming

7. Boise State Score: 0.7863
Boise State needs help, and lots of it. The Oregon win over USC should've done something for the overall score, but it didn't. In fact, the margin between the Broncos and TCU widened. The BCS Championship is out of the question at this point and it's going to take a TCU loss to get into the BCS. None of the BCS bowls are doing jumping jacks over the idea of getting Boise State over a team like Penn State or USC, and if Notre Dame is in range, forget about it.

Predicted Wins: at Louisiana Tech, Idaho, at Utah State, Nevada, New Mexico State
Predicted Losses: None
Predicted Final Record: 12-0
Predicted Bowl: Poinsettia
Toughest Remaining Tests: at Louisiana Tech, Nevada

8. Oregon Score: 0.7651
Oregon might be playing better than Boise State right now, and it might be playing better than anyone in America, but the opening day loss on the blue turf in Boise will be an anchor for the rest of the season. The humans boosted the ranking, but the computers actually moved the Ducks down from sixth to seventh. There are more chances for decent wins ahead playing four teams that will likely end up in bowls. Oregon is on the fast track to the Rose Bowl, and with Arizona, the No. 2 Pac 10 team, facing a tough schedule ahead, it's going to take a major collapse for Oregon to not be in Pasadena.

Predicted Wins: at Stanford, Arizona State, Oregon State
Predicted Losses: At Arizona
Predicted Final Record: 10-2
Predicted Bowl: Rose
Toughest Remaining Tests: at Stanford, at Arizona

9. LSU Score: 0.7127
The No. 9 ranking doesn't really matter. If LSU beats Alabama this week, it'll be in the discussion for the national title. If the wins follow against Ole Miss and Arkansas, along with the layup against Louisiana Tech, and the Tigers are 11-1 going into the SEC Championship against Florida, a spot in the BCS Championship will probably be on the line. Good luck convincing America that a one-loss LSU team that beat the Tide and the Gators should be out and Iowa should be in.

Predicted Wins: Louisiana Tech, at Ole Miss, Arkansas
Predicted Losses: at Alabama, 
Predicted Final Record: 10-2
Predicted Bowl: Capital One
Toughest Remaining Tests: at Alabama, at Ole Miss

10. Georgia Tech  Score: 0.6287
The Yellow Jackets struggled with Vanderbilt but still moved up into the top ten. The steps are slow, but if they can keep on winning and just get to the ACC Championship, there's a chance to potentially get an at-large BCS bid even in a loss in the title game. That's unlikely, but there's a chance. It would take a big move up into the top six of the human polls to probably make it happen, but Tech will likely need to win the ACC title and go to the Orange Bowl to be in.

Predicted Wins: Wake Forest, at Duke, Georgia, ACC Championship
Predicted Losses: None
Predicted Final Record: 12-1
Predicted Bowl: Orange
Toughest Remaining Tests: at Duke, Georgia

In Range:
11. Penn State Score: 0.6166
12. USC Score: 0.5336
13. Pitt Score: 0.4921
14. Utah Score: 0.4226
15. Houston Score: 0.4209
16. Ohio State Score: 0.3784
17. Miami Score: 0.3707
18. Arizona Score: 0.2589
19. Oklahoma State Score: 0.2179
20. California Score: 0.2095