College Football

Alabama Is No. 1 in BCS Standings, but Who's the Real No. 2?

GAINESVILLE, FL - OCTOBER 06:  Tharold Simon #24 of the LSU Tigers attempts to tackle Quinton Dunbar #1 of the Florida Gators during the game at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on October 6, 2012 in Gainesville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images
Barrett SalleeSEC Football Lead WriterOctober 15, 2012

To the surprise of nobody, Alabama topped the first edition of the 2012 BCS standings when they were released on Sunday night.

But it wasn't the top spot in the standings that got the attention of the nation, it was the team that chimed in at No. 2.

The Florida Gators currently occupy the No. 2 spot ahead of No. 3 Oregon, despite trailing the Ducks in the Harris Interactive and USA Today Coaches Polls, which comprise two-thirds of the BCS equation.

But are the Gators really the second-best team in the country?

Road wins at No. 18 Texas A&M and Tennessee, along with the home victory over No. 6 LSU certainly suggest that they have the best resume in the country, which is precisely why the BCS computers rank them as the nation's best team.

But they are far from perfect.

Jeff Driskel has proven to be the answer at quarterback due to his dual-threat capabilities, but the Gators still rank last in the SEC in passing offense with 145 yards per game—17 yards per game behind 13th-place Auburn. Yes, that Auburn.

That isn't necessarily a knock against Driskel.

It's clear that Florida's game plan is to win football games by running the ball and playing defense, which is why Will Muschamp's crew has been so successful this season. Driskel hasn't developed into a good passer simply because he hasn't been asked to do so yet.

But computers don't have eyes, and Oregon has passed the eye test with flying colors.

The Ducks currently boast the nation's eighth-best offense, which averages 541.7 yards per game. You could make the case that both De'Anthony Thomas and Kenjon Barner are legitimate candidates for the Heisman Trophy, and redshirt freshman Marcus Mariota has stepped in a quarterback, and the offense hasn't missed a beat.

The knock against the Ducks has always been defense, but this crew brings it on both sides of the ball.

They currently rank 44th in the country in total defense, allowing 359.8 yards per game. Not great, but those numbers are skewed a bit based on the offense that they run.

Oregon is currently ninth in the country in opponent's third-down conversion percentage (29.17 percent) and second in the country in opponent's plays of 30 or more yards (three).

Limiting big plays? Strong on third down? That's all you need to do when you have an offense that's as potent as Oregon's.

Florida certainly deserves the No. 2 spot in the BCS standings for now due to its resume and the fact that these are standings, not a poll. But the Gators still have a few glaring weaknesses—most notably the passing game—which prevents them from being the true No. 2 team in the country.

 

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