The conference titles have been settled. The two top teams in the country are agreed upon. The only major questions left to be answered is which teams will end up in what bowls and, perhaps more importantly, which schools will receive at-large BCS bids.
All in time, folks—all in time.
For now, let's take a look at this week's Associated Press and USA Today coaches polls, the last time they'll change before the final polls at the end of the season. It's been a wild and crazy ride in college football this year—here's how it looked once it ended.
|Week 16 Associated Press Rankings|
|Week 16 USA Today Coaches Poll|
The truly interesting thing left to debate in this college football season is which schools deserve at-large bids. Alabama and Ohio State are virtual locks, and it seems like a safe bet that the Orange Bowl will select Clemson. So who will that fourth team be?
At this point, it seems likely to come down to three teams—Oregon, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State—and will more than likely be a decision made by the Sugar Bowl. A chance to finally see Alabama face Oregon is enough to get any college fan excited, even if the potential matchup has lost some of its luster with each team losing games this season.
Oklahoma State's loss to Oklahoma not only dropped it down both sets of rankings, it likely ensures that the Big 12 will get just one team into a BCS Bowl. Oklahoma probably isn't sexy enough for the Sugar Bowl this season over Oregon, despite the big win on Saturday.
Arizona State's big loss to Stanford, 38-14, also drops it down both rankings and likely removes it from the BCS discussion.
Of course, none of this would have mattered if Northern Illinois had finished undefeated. The Huskies couldn't close out the season, however, and were hammered in both polls for their failure to do so.
Speaking of lamenting, the SEC is surely lamenting the rules that allow just two teams to play in BCS bowls. Both South Carolina and Missouri are fairly high up in the rankings, yet neither will be eligible for a BCS berth with Auburn heading to the national championship and Alabama the obvious choice for the team's at-large bid.
Beyond that, it was a great weekend for Stanford and Michigan State, as both schools earned a trip to the Rose Bowl and a bump in both sets of rankings. Football purists will surely love this game, as both schools play good defense, love to run the ball and win games in the trenches.
Meanwhile, Ohio State's first loss in two seasons dropped them down both sets of rankings, but the Buckeyes will still likely be heading to the Orange Bowl to take on Clemson in a game that should be one heck of an offensive display.
It isn't the national title shot they were hoping for, but a BCS at-large bid is still a pretty solid consolation prize.