College Football: BCS Winners and Losers
For years, they have been criticized mercilessly. They have been dissected from every angle imaginable, and they have been the subject of the scorn of college football fans across the country.
They're what the fans love to hate.
They are the BCS standings, and they're officially back for 2012.
As they have done in seasons past, the standings are already creating controversy and debate among fans and analysts.
Not surprisingly, the Alabama Crimson Tide find themselves atop this year's first set of rankings. The position of every other ranked team, however, is being questioned as we speak.
Some teams benefited from the various BCS polls, while others were given an unfavorable ranking.
Here are five winners and losers from this season's first BCS standings.
Winner: #2 Florida
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Even though they've put together a surprising 6-0 start and have already beaten two ranked opponents, the Gators are lucky to be ranked second.
While Florida's defense has been exceptional, the offense has been very inconsistent throughout the first six games.
Mike Gillislee has been solid in the backfield, but Jeff Driskel has struggled to throw the football at times. Then again, he may not have to if he can run for 177 yards like he did against Vanderbilt.
In addition, the Gators still lack a "go-to" wide receiver who can always be counted on.
Still, this team has found a way to win every game thus far. They currently lead the SEC East division, and they control their own destiny.
The Gators now face South Carolina and Georgia in consecutive weeks. If they survive those two games, they will have an easy route to the SEC title game, as well as a terrific shot at a title-game berth.
Loser: #3 Oregon
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Most teams would be thrilled with a No. 3 ranking in the first BCS standings. The Oregon Ducks, however, should probably be runners-up right now.
The Ducks have put up more than 42 points in each of their games this season. They absolutely demolished Arizona and Washington, their best opponents to date.
Marcus Mariota has looked nothing like a freshman at quarterback. In addition, the Ducks once again have a dominant rushing attack.
They face a few tough opponents down the road. They include USC, Stanford and Oregon State. Right now, they look like they should be favored in each of those games.
The Ducks have not provided any legitimate reasons to merit their drop below Florida. Most would agree that they are the one team that could give Alabama a real run for its money.
Winner: #5 Notre Dame
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Irish eyes are definitely smiling in South Bend.
The Fighting Irish, much like the Gators, have found a way to win close games.
The team's strong suit has been its defense. Led by Manti Te'o, Irish defenders have only allowed 8.7 points per game, good for second in the country.
The offense has been up-and-down throughout the season, but the defense is so good that this has not mattered.
Their toughest remaining opponents are Oklahoma and USC. Should they take those two games, the rest of the schedule is winnable.
Most fans either love or hate Notre Dame. Whichever side one falls on, we can all agree that the Irish are legitimate BCS contenders.
Loser: #8 Oregon State
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The Beavers have been the most pleasant surprise in college football.
They currently sit undefeated at 5-0 overall and 3-0 in the Pac-12.
Even with Sean Mannion's knee injury and subsequent absence, the Beavers solidly defeated BYU this past weekend. Their defense is solid, allowing only 18.4 points per game.
Their schedule, however, is not favorable, aside from a postponed matchup against Nicholls State.
The Beavers are losers in the standings because they find themselves behind one-loss LSU and South Carolina.
Even if their opponents weren't as tough, they deserve to be ahead of those two teams for the time being.
Winner: #12 Mississippi State
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Although they are undefeated, the Bulldogs are not deserving of their current ranking.
While 6-0 is nothing to sneeze at, their conference victories have been against SEC bottom-feeders.
They only beat Troy by six points. None of their wins can be considered a signature win. The defense has been solid, and so has the ground game.
Still, Dan Mullen's squad is not as good as the West Virginia or Florida State teams that it's overtaken.
The Bulldogs' remaining schedule is absolutely brutal. They will very likely falter at least once before the season is over, ending their slim BCS hopes.
Loser: #14 Florida State
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I know they lost to North Carolina State, but the Seminoles deserve better than a No. 14 ranking.
Until that loss, EJ Manuel was considered a Heisman favorite. The offense as a whole is one of the best in the country.
Their defense is even better, as it ranks fourth in the nation in points allowed per game. They rebounded from a loss nicely by thrashing Boston College 51-7.
All in all, they deserve to be higher in the standings.
Luckily for the Seminoles, their schedule is relatively easy until their final game, a showdown with in-state rival Florida.
If they run the table, they should end up in a prestigious bowl.
Winner: #15 Rutgers
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For a team that hasn't beaten a currently ranked opponent, Rutgers is in a pretty good BCS position.
The Scarlet Knights are currently giving up less than 12 points per game. The defense has carried this team through the season's first half.
As for the offense, Gary Nova has looked solid throwing the football. Then again, a lot of guys would look good playing against Howard and Tulane.
Even their marquee non-conference opponent, Arkansas, is among the most disappointing in football.
What does this all mean? It means that this team should not be ranked 15th. Their ceiling is around the low 20s.
Loser: #17 Texas Tech
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After throttling West Virginia, Texas Tech deserves to be ranked higher than 17th.
What's even more of a crime is the fact that the Mountaineers are still ranked ahead of the Red Raiders.
This team is one of the most balanced in football. Seth Doege has already thrown for 21 touchdowns.
In addition, the Red Raiders' scoring defense ranks within the nation's top 20. They also beat the Iowa State Cyclones, who cracked this first set of rankings.
They are an opponent that no one wants to face.
This team is an offensive juggernaut, and it also has a solid defense. If the Raiders can beat TCU, Texas and Kansas State, they will climb the ranks in a hurry.
Winner: #24 Iowa State
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When most people think of Iowa State, they think only of the team's monumental upset over Oklahoma State last season.
However, this team is solid.
Although the Cyclones have two losses, they were against teams that are currently ranked high in the BCS.
Their strength lies on the defensive side of the football. This is good because their offense has looked abysmal at times this season.
Still, they found a way to beat TCU, which is probably why they are in the ranking to begin with.
Basically, the Cyclones are lucky to even be ranked in the BCS. They are not ranked in the AP and Coaches' Polls for a reason.
They are in no way a legitimate BCS threat, and they should exit the polls relatively quickly.
Loser: #25 Texas
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Unlike the other teams on this list, Texas deserves its plunge in the polls.
After losing a shootout with West Virginia, the Longhorns were nothing short of pathetic against the rival Sooners.
Until that game, it was believed that David Ash had become the answer at quarterback. He struggled mightily, however, and was forced to leave with a wrist injury.
Then again, it will not matter who is under center if the defense continues to give up more than 45 points per game, which it has done the past two weeks.
The Longhorns were a sleeper pick from the Big 12 when the season started.
Now, they face a severe uphill battle for a spot in a BCS bowl game.