College Football Teams That Are BCS Fool's Gold
The first BCS rankings of 2013 were released this week, and after an upset-riddled first half of the season, there were many surprises near the top.
Missouri, Miami, Auburn and Texas Tech are all slated near the top of the standings after starting the season unranked in polls. Those four teams are still to be tested and will be put through their paces through the remainder of the season.
While the prospects are bright and shiny for a number of teams at this point, that luster will rub off eventually, revealing a dull interior.
The following five teams have good value now, but are destined to drop before all is said and done. So sell now and buy some real gems elsewhere in the rankings.
Week 9 Ranking: 18
Northern Illinois created a tsunami of controversy when it made the Orange Bowl as a 12-1 MAC champion last season. The Huskies had just one win over a BCS automatic qualifying team, and that came over Kansas, which finished 1-11 last year.
The Huskies will have a better resume in 2013 if they run the table. They already have two wins over Big Ten opponents, Iowa and Purdue. However, though they look better on paper, they haven't been playing like a BCS-caliber team.
NIU has allowed 17 or more points in every game this year, despite playing an overall soft schedule. Jordan Lynch can only carry the Huskies so far and their defensive issues are likely to catch up to them eventually.
Keep an eye on their Nov. 13 "MACtion" date on Wednesday night against Ball State. If they make it past that and win the MAC championship, they still might not even make the BCS. Fresno State is ranked slightly higher than NIU at No. 17. If the Bulldogs win out, they are more likely to earn the at-large bid than the Huskies.
Week 9 Ranking: 10
Texas Tech is sitting pretty at 7-0, right alongside Baylor as the Big 12's two best BCS candidates.
The league is still wide open. Texas, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State are all still alive in the race for the conference crown, but at this point, Texas Tech and Baylor have separated a bit at the top.
And between TTU and BU, the Bears have separated from the Red Raiders.
Baylor had one near-slip-up on a slow day against Kansas State, but pulled away for a 10-point win in the fourth quarter.
TTU has been much more suspect, especially since starting Big 12 play. The Red Raiders eked out a seven-point win against Iowa State, then trailed West Virginia in the fourth quarter before taking over late. By comparison, Baylor outscored ISU and WVU by a combined 144-49.
Texas Tech isn't a bad team by any means, but all of its toughest opponents still remain on the schedule. Even if the Red Raiders make it past OU and OSU, they'll still have to go through Baylor, which they just don't look capable of doing.
Week 9 Ranking: 7
Miami is in a situation very similar to that of Texas Tech.
The Hurricanes are a talented team, but they are a clear No. 2 to their biggest conference competitor, Florida State.
Against a 1-5 North Carolina team last week, Miami need a touchdown in the final 20 seconds to escape with a win. While that win was too close for comfort for The U, it made its BCS prospects too weak for comfort.
The Canes have two great running backs in Duke Johnson and Dallas Crawford, but can't afford inconsistent play from quarterback Stephen Morris. After he threw four interceptions against UNC, it's a no-brainer who would be favored in a head-to-head battle between Morris and FSU's Jameis Winston.
Just as Texas Tech won't be able to go through Baylor, Miami won't be able to go through FSU. In fact, the Canes might not even make it past Virginia Tech's stingy defense.
Week 9 Ranking: 6
After a crippling loss to Utah, Stanford revived itself with a 24-10 win over UCLA.
The Cardinal are now sitting up at No. 6 as the biggest threat to Oregon in the Pac-12. They shut down the Ducks last season and, theoretically, could do it again.
However, in reality, the Ducks have looked unbeatable, and with quarterback Marcus Mariota playing better than anyone else in the country, even Stanford's stingy defense won't be able to stop UO.
That game is Stanford's only hope for making the BCS, but the Cardinal aren't consistent enough offensively to keep up with the Ducks, especially given Oregon's improved defensive play.
Week 9 Ranking: 5
Missouri deserves all the credit in the world for surging from the bottom of the SEC to near the top of the nation.
The Tigers are all but a lock for the SEC East title and can lock that down against South Carolina this week. Their BCS prospects look great right now, but they'll still have to beat South Carolina and perhaps even Texas A&M to earn the BCS bid.
With BCS hopefuls LSU and Auburn not far behind them in the standings, they still have to finish strong. As well as Mizzou has played, its two biggest wins have come against depleted Georgia and Florida teams. That isn't exactly a fluke, but South Carolina, Ole Miss, Texas A&M and, certainly, Alabama won't be pushovers.
Mizzou will need to win at least two of those games to make the BCS. Right now, its future is still uncertain. A win over the Gamecocks would change that.
For now, though, the verdict is still out on the Tigers.