Pac-12 Football: Why Stanford Is the Most Underrated Team in the BCS Rankings
The Stanford Cardinal are No. 8 in the latest BCS rankings, but they have a legitimate gripe about being too low in the rankings.
Having just picked up a big win over former No. 2 Oregon at Auzten Stadium in overtime last week, Stanford clinched the Pac-12 North by beating UCLA on Saturday, 35-17, and will get a chance to play the Bruins again with the Pac-12 title on the line.
Given their solid win over the Bruins on Saturday, odds are they'll win the conference and pick up an automatic bid to the Rose Bowl.
Beside their win over Oregon, who sits at No. 5 in the BCS, Stanford also has wins over No. 15 Oregon State and No. 17 UCLA. Their two losses are to No. 1 Notre Dame and No. 25 Washington.
Anyone who watched that Notre Dame game knows how lucky the Irish were to come away with that win on that controversial goal-line stand.
And can someone please explain to me how Stanford beats Oregon head-to-head on the road and yet the Ducks are ranked three places ahead of the Cardinal?
So, what is holding Stanford back? Interestingly enough, it isn't the computers. Only one computer ranking has Stanford as low as No. 8—they average out at No. 5.
As it turns out, it's the humans that aren't impressed. Stanford is No. 11 in both the coaches' and Harris polls.
To make my point, let's compare Stanford's resume with a team ranked one spot ahead of the Cardinal in the BCS, four spots in the coaches' poll and three in the Harris.
That would be 10-2 LSU. Both of them have identical records, so let's look at the overall body of work.
Is Stanford Underrated?
LSU's losses are against No. 2 Alabama and No. 4 Florida, while they have wins over No. 10 Texas A&M and No. 12 South Carolina.
While Stanford's loss against Washington is worse than LSU's against Florida, the Cardinal has a win against a team currently ranked in the top five while LSU doesn't.
Case in point, the computers have LSU three spots behind Stanford.
Now, let's also apply the so-called "eye test" on these two teams. LSU has had close wins against the likes of 3-9 Auburn, 5-6 Ole Miss and 4-8 Arkansas. LSU beat all of these teams by a touchdown or less.
The only team with a losing record that has come within a touchdown of Stanford was 3-9 Washington State.
If someone put me on a selection committee, I'd put the Cardinal ahead of the Tigers.
In the end, it might not matter. All Stanford has to do is beat UCLA again in the Pac-12 Championship Game and they go to the Rose Bowl. If they lose, well, then they don't get to go.
Still, the Cardinal deserves more love than they're getting in the polls right now.
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