Alabama Football: Why BCS Rankings Should Mean Nothing to the Undefeated Tide
Sunday night, the college football world will be introduced to the first version of the 2012 BCS rankings. The Alabama Crimson Tide is currently ranked at the top of both the AP and USA Today polls, but could find themselves a little further down the line than the human polls would lead us to believe. The fact is, though, that it just doesn't matter. Not right now.
In an article from Yahoo Sports, Pat Forde suggests that Alabama would likely be ranked No. 5 by the combined computer polls. Forde also states, and correctly so, that the computer polls are run on incomplete data and could change significantly with each week.
While Alabama will likely ride its favorable and significant advantage in the human polls to the top of the BCS heap come Sunday night, where the Tide land in the initial BCS poll really means very little. This is assuming, of course, that Alabama continues to win.
With six consecutive BCS championships, any undefeated team from the Southeastern Conference is a sure bet to win one of the two cherished slots in the BCS Championship game. Alabama, South Carolina, Mississippi State and Florida all have that opportunity entering the seventh week of the season.
In all, there are 16 remaining undefeated teams in the FBS. Most of them, however will slowly matriculate their way back to the pack as the season works towards its regular-season close.
Undefeated Texas-San Antonio is not only left out of the current top 25, but it hasn't even gotten the first vote. Along with Ohio and Louisiana Tech, UTSA makes the list of three teams that have absolutely no chance of making it to the title game no matter what they do.
Cincinnati, Rutgers and Louisville are all unbeaten out of the Big East, but they also play each other and only one of them can come out of the regular season without a loss. Currently, neither of these three is ranked higher than No. 18 in the AP poll.
Who is most likely to face Alabama in the BCS title game?
Oregon and in-state rival Oregon State play each other November 24, eliminating one of them from contention.
Ohio State is ineligible due to NCAA sanctions.
As impressive as Notre Dame has been thus far, the Irish still have to host No. 17 Stanford before road trips to both No. 13 Oklahoma and No. 11 USC. Their chances of running the table are less than slim.
West Virginia hosts Kansas State next week in a game that will knock the Big 12—or whatever it is called these days—down to one remaining undefeated team.
So through natural attrition and the elimination of the smaller programs, the undefeateds are now down to three, not including the SEC champion. This does not even account for upsets, which are bound to happen as they do every year.
As for Alabama, sweeping through the remaining conference slate would leave it as the potential fourth undefeated come December 2. Under this scenario, the Tide would undoubtedly reach the title game once again. Their most likely opponent would be an unbeaten Big 12 or Pac 12 champion, both of whom would get the call before an undefeated Big East champion .
With its current standing in the human polls and carrying its status of defending champ proudly on its broad shoulders, Alabama has absolutely nothing to worry about as long as the wins continue to roll in.
If the Tide were to stumble, now that would change the rules quite a bit. Even if this possibility is unlikely, and something that 'Bama fans would prefer not to think about, rooting against any unbeaten team is time well spent.
For now, though, Alabama has yet to lose. Alabama is the No. 1-ranked program in the country. Alabama is the king of the college football mountain. And as long as the status quo remains unchanged, the polls just don't mean a thing.
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