Until Alabama falters, nobody will be able to catch them in the BCS standings.
Week 8 of the college football season means that the first BCS standings have been released. And as usual, there is no lack of discussion to be had around them. Reigning national champion and currently undefeated Alabama takes the top spot, of course; but after that, it's a jumble of very good teams from a variety of conferences fighting their way up the rankings.
Just as exciting as where every team ends up in each week's standings is a look ahead at upcoming schedules and the games that will determine who stays among the top-ranked and whose stay will be short-lived.
Here's a look at some of college football's best storylines so far in 2012, based on the Week 8 rankings—who is ranked too high, who is ranked too low, whose ranking is the biggest surprise and who has truly earned the spot they've been given. At the end, you'll find a complete list of the BCS Top 25.
Biggest Surprise: No. 2 Florida Gators
This is not to say that the Gators don't deserve their spot—coach Will Muschamp's undefeated squad plays in the brutal SEC East and has knocked off two ranked opponents in Tennessee and LSU—but who saw it coming?
Florida was ranked No. 23 to start the season, and the team did not even crack the Top 10 in any major polls until Week 6. Suddenly, the Gators are No. 2 in the BCS standings following a big win on the road against Vanderbilt this past weekend.
Whether or not you think the Gators are deserving of No. 2 or not, you won't have to wait long to find out either way—Florida hosts No. 7 South Carolina on Saturday. The Gamecocks, who fell from the No. 3 spot after a 24-23 loss to LSU last weekend, will be quite the test for the nation's surprising No. 2.
Team That Has Earned Its Spot: No. 5 Notre Dame Fighting Irish
There's no denying it: Notre Dame is back.
The team is not without its problems, such as questions at the quarterback position, but the Irish are making it work. Not only are the Irish 6-0, but Notre Dame has already picked up wins against three ranked opponents in Michigan, Michigan State and Stanford.
While the Irish have earned their Top Five ranking to this point, their work is far from done. No. 9 Oklahoma and No. 10 USC are just two of the grueling tests that still await Notre Dame this season.
Ranked Too High: No. 10 USC Trojans
USC has won the games it was supposed to, and with No. 3 Oregon and No. 5 Notre Dame still ahead on the schedule, there's plenty of opportunity to move back up. But the Trojans haven't blown many teams out, and their only game against a ranked opponent (Stanford) resulted in the team's only loss.
When you consider the fact that the teams USC has beaten—Hawaii, Syracuse, California, Utah and Washington—have a combined record of 11-20 this season, it seems a little bit absurd to keep the Trojans ahead of teams that are playing much more strenuous schedules and having similar success.
Ranked Too Low: No. 14 Florida State Seminoles
At 6-1, FSU has only one blemish on its schedule so far: a one-point loss to North Carolina State on the road. Aside from that, the Seminoles have annihilated everyone else they've come across, including a Clemson team that was ranked among the Top 10 at the time.
The Seminoles are among the six best teams in the country, both in scoring offense and scoring defense, and they've already rebounded from their lone loss by slaughtering Boston College, 51-7.
Leaving the Seminoles at No. 14 seems at least three or four spots too low. But unfortunately for them, playing an ACC schedule that lacks another ranked team at this time, the Seminoles will probably have to run the table until they meet No. 2 Florida in the season finale to get the respect they deserve.