College Football: Relax Oregon, First BCS Standings Are Meaningless
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The first edition of the BCS standings came out this past Sunday, and you'd think given all the debate, discussion and argument that they were set in stone.
The most vocal opponents of the rankings were based in Eugene, Oregon, where the No. 2 ranked Oregon Ducks, fell to No. 3 in the BCS behind the Florida Gators. Listening to Oregon fans since, you'd think that the rankings constituted the greatest heist in the history of college athletics.
The simple fact of the matter is at this extremely early stage of the college football season, the Florida Gators have accomplished more than any other team. They own road wins over No. 18 Texas A&M, Tennessee and a home win over LSU.
Oregon? You don't get credit for wins over Arkansas State, or Fresno State or even Tennessee Tech. Washington and Arizona are good football teams sure. But would you argue they are better than A&M and LSU?
You could even make an argument, that Notre Dame has, at this snapshot in time, beaten better teams than the Ducks. Michigan, Michigan State, Miami and Stanford are certainly a higher level of opposition. It's not even a debate.
So Oregon, rather than complaining, should look in the mirror. This is what does, and should happen, when you schedule inferior non-conference opponents. Now every team does it. And yes, Alabama doesn't deserve credit either for beating up on Western Kentucky and Florida Atlantic.
But at least they beat Michigan.
Same goes for Kansas State. You don't earn anything by beating North Texas and Missouri State at home. But you get a ton of it for going on the road to Norman and shutting down the Sooners.
Given these realities you could easily make the argument that Oregon is ranked too high not too low.
The BCS rankings are not a measure of talent, expectations or even a gauge of the future outcomes for each team. They will change in a thousand different ways between now and the National Championship game on Jan. 7.
And all Oregon needs to do to likely be one of the teams competing in South Florida, is take care of business on the field. Running the table will require them to win at Arizona State, USC, Oregon State and home against Stanford.
That is anything but an easy task, but if accomplished you can mark down that regardless of what this week's standings say, Oregon will be in the national title game.
The Gators have an equally tough road to hoe, at least in their conference schedule. It begins this week with a home game against an angry South Carolina bunch, fresh off a close loss to LSU. The Georgia Bulldogs come to town the following week.
That's two games against teams ranked inside the top 15, in back to back weeks, and nobody would be surprised if Florida lost one or even both of those games. If they can get through the Gamecocks and Bulldogs the schedule eases a bit with games against Missouri, Louisiana-Lafayette and Jacksonville State.
The Gators end the regular season with only their fourth road game, an odd piece of information to be sure, against in-state rival Florida State.
For them running the table would certainly be impressive and met with a likely SEC Championship Game battle with No. 1 Alabama.
The rest of the top five likewise have been impressive, but have a lot left to prove. A big win over Oklahoma notwithstanding, the Wildcats travel to Morgantown this week to face an offensively talented, and ticked off, West Virginia team.
After that it's a home game with No. 17 Texas Tech, before a trip to No. 23 TCU and the season finale at home against No. 25 Texas. There are certainly losable games remaining in that group.
The Fighting Irish have gotten the most publicity of late, especially after their victory preserving goal-line stand, against Stanford this past weekend.
The Irish host BYU this weekend and a win would set them on a collision course for their biggest game in years, a trip to Norman to face the No. 9 Oklahoma Sooners. The Irish also have a season ending trip to Southern California, and despite their impressive start, have much to prove.
So don't worry Oregon. Everyone in front and in back of you has a lot to prove, as do you. And at the end of the day, you're still more likely to come out unscathed than any of them.
The legendary Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis is best known for his quote "Just win baby!" And that's all Oregon needs to do to ensure a trip to Miami.
And it wouldn't hurt to schedule a non-conference opponent with a pulse every now and then.
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