2009 BCS Analysis & Breakdown, Nov. 15
Georgia Tech RB Jonathan Dwyer
Georgia Tech RB Jonathan Dwyer
Posted Nov 15, 2009

And the big news is ... nothing. The top teams stayed put, and while there was some jockeying for a possible at-large bid by Stanford, Oklahoma State, and Penn State, the overall picture stays the same for now. But who else has a shot to get into one of the big money games? Pete Fiutak breaks it all down with the analysis of the Week Five BCS rankings.

2009 BCS Analysis

Week 5 ... Nov. 15

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

- BCS Breakdowns Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4

The Top 25
- Expanded BCS Rankings

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

And the big news is ... nothing. 

Florida, Alabama, Texas, TCU, Cincinnati, Boise State, Georgia Tech, and LSU all stayed put in the top eight. The TCU blasting of Utah didn't move the overall needle enough to get appreciably closer to Texas at No. 3, Ohio State was able to move from 11th to 10th, but nowhere near the range to be considered for anything other than the Rose Bowl, and Pitt and Oregon moved up a bit as USC and Iowa lost, but not enough to make an overall difference.

A few huge winners in the discussion for an at-large bid were Oklahoma State, Penn State, and Wisconsin. The Cowboys moved into range with a win over Texas Tech to go from 19th to 12th, while Wisconsin moved from 20th to 16th. Penn State has a strong chance to make a big statement against Michigan State, but after moving up from 18th to 14th, and one spot behind Iowa, it might take a Hawkeye loss to Minnesota to get in.

The other key climber was Stanford, who moved up from 27th to 17th after blowing out USC. If the Cardinal can win out, it might end up earning an at-large BCS slot if Oregon goes to the Rose Bowl.

But overall, for the national championship chase, nothing up top is going to change unless Texas loses or else if the SEC champion has one loss (Florida needs to lose to Florida State or FIU or Alabama has to lose to Chattanooga or at Auburn).

Other interesting notes from the Week Five rankings …

- The ACC needs Georgia Tech to go 11-1, with a win over Georgia, before losing to Clemson (if the Tigers beat Virginia to win the Atlantic) to get two teams in. But the Yellow Jackets would have to make it close against the Tigers. With no conference other than the SEC assured of a second spot, Georgia Tech might be attractive.

- Would Cincinnati get in with a loss to Pitt? It depends on whether or not the BCS thinks the Bearcat fans would travel. UC would be a tough sell over Iowa, which would bring its tremendous fan base wherever it plays. Would a one-loss Cincinnati have more juice than an unbeaten Boise State? Not likely. The Bearcats are all but out of the national title talk at the moment, but if they can blow away the Panthers and finish a strong 12-0, they'll likely leapfrog the Horned Frogs in the human polls.

- Shockingly, with losses to UTEP and UCF on the résumé, Houston is still in the top 25 at No. 24.

- In the argument about the nation's best conference, the Pac 10 can throw its hat into the ring with Oregon No. 11, Stanford No. 17, USC No. 18, Oregon State No. 19, Cal No. 25, and Arizona No. 26.

The Big Winners:
Oklahoma State (19th to 12th), Penn State (18th to 14th), Wisconsin (20th to 16th)
The Big Losers: USC (9th to 18th), Miami (14th to 20th), Houston (15th to 24th)

1. Florida Score: 0.9833
As sluggish as the Gators have been, they remain a firm No. 1. Both human polls have them in the top spot, as do three of the six computers. Realistically, it would take a miracle for Florida to lose to FIU or Florida State at home, but if they did, that would be enough to potentially get knocked out of the nation title chase if it went on to beat Alabama. The computers wouldn't take too kindly to a loss to the Golden Panthers or the weakened Noles.

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

2. Alabama  Score: 0.9521
Being ranked first by three computers is enough to overcome being ranked third by both human polls. The Tide still controls its own destiny in the national title chase, but unlike Florida, they still might be able to sneak into the BCS Championship with a loss. If they lose at Auburn but come back to beat the No. 1 team impressively, it might be tough to vote in TCU or Cincinnati in.

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

3. Texas  Score: 0.9261
The only worry is the lucky punch. Kansas hasn't shown anything on offense lately, but it has the potential to light up the scoreboard with good passing weapons, while Texas A&M has a flaky enough offense that it could go ballistic in the home rivalry game. The other concern might be the Nebraska defense, if the Huskers don't blow it against Kansas State. The last things Texas wants to deal with is a Bo Pelini-coached defense that's told it doesn't have a chance.

Predicted Wins: 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

4. TCU Score: 0.8698
The Horned Frogs made their whopper of a statement in a blowout win against Utah and ... nothing. While it was an impressive performance, they might be overlooked for the No. 4 spot if Cincinnati is impressive against Pitt. However, the win over the Utes was enough to cement them into the automatic bid for the non-BCS conference winner ahead of Boise State. Fourth in four of the computer polls, after being ranked No. 4 by five of them last week, they need some luck.

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

5. Cincinnati Score: 0.8536
The computers continue to be big fans putting the Bearcats No. 3, but that could quickly fade away with a loss at Pitt to close out the Big East season or with a gaffe against an Illinois team with more talent than it's playing with. Would they get in with an at-large big with one loss? It would be an interesting debate with the Boise State fans, but the bigger overall question might be the national championship chase. If a miracle happens and there's an opening up top with a Texas loss or a one-loss SEC champion, because of the computers and because of how well Pitt is playing, there's a good shot an unbeaten Bearcat team could move up to No. 2 with the right breaks.

Predicted Wins: Illinois
Predicted Losses: at Pitt
Predicted Final Record: 11-1
Predicted Bowl: Meineke Car Care
Toughest Remaining Tests: at Pitt

6. Boise State Score: 0.8130
The Nevada game coming up should earn more respect than it's going to get. It's 100% about style points now. TCU isn't likely to lose again, to Boise State's debate will be with the ACC's second team (it wins that fight), Iowa or Penn State (it loses that one), and a Stanford team that would send 12 fans to Glendale (flip a coin on that if there's a chance for a Stanford-Iowa matchup). The computers knocked the Broncos down from seventh to sixth.

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

7. Georgia Tech  Score: 0.7607
Can Georgia Tech get an at-large big at 12-2 with a loss in the ACC Championship? No at 11-3, with a loss to Georgia, maybe at 12-2 with a close loss to a hot Clemson. The Yellow Jackets moved up from seventh to sixth according to the computers, but are still firmly entrenched at No. 7 in the human polls with little room to move without some major upsets and a Cincinnati loss.

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

8. LSU Score: 0.6648
On an island, LSU is bound for the Capital One Bowl. It can't get into the BCS, Florida and Alabama will take up the SEC's two spots, and it's almost guaranteed to play on New Year's Day no matter what. They could lose to both Ole Miss and Arkansas, and at worst, end up in the Cotton Bowl. The humans aren't fans after the close call against Louisiana Tech, but the two losses came to Florida and Alabama; the computers like that.

Predicted Wins: at Ole Miss, Arkansas
Predicted Losses: None
Predicted Final Record: 10-2
Predicted Bowl: Capital One
Toughest Remaining Tests: at Ole Miss

9. Pitt Score: 0.6569
The Panthers are in the discussion, but if they go 10-2 with a loss to Cincinnati, it likely won't be enough to earn an at-large BCS slot. The Backyard Brawl with West Virginia doesn't really matter; it's a one game season. If they beat Cincinnati, they'll earn the Big East's BCS bid. On a six-game winning streak with a nationally televised win over Notre Dame, everyone saw how good they are. Now they get two big chances to make even bigger statements to both the humans and the computers.

Predicted Wins: at West Virginia , Cincinnati
Predicted Losses: None
Predicted Final Record: 11-1
Predicted Bowl: Orange
Toughest Remaining Tests: at West Virginia, Cincinnati

10. Ohio State  Score: 0.6495
It's funny how everyone refuses to cement Ohio State in the Rose Bowl; like there's some chance of sneaking into the BCS Championship. Ranked 11th by the computers and with two losses, it's relatively safe to say that the Buckeyes can be prepared to leave Pasadena early in the first week of January instead of January 8th.

Predicted Wins: Michigan
Predicted Losses:None
Predicted Final Record: 10-2
Predicted Bowl: Rose
Toughest Remaining Tests: None

In Range:
11. Oregon Score: 0.6265
12. Oklahoma State Score: 0.5628
13. Iowa Score: 0.5318
14. Miami Score: 0.4529
15. Virginia Tech Score: 0.4036
16. Wisconsin Score: 0.3583
17. Stanford Score: 0.3406
18. USC Score: 0.2714
19. Oregon State Score: 0.2487
20. Miami Score: 0.1936