Boise St. at the Top of the BCS: Really?
Just saw ESPN's prediction that Boise State will be at the top of the BCS, and actually, it makes a little bit of sense.
First, Boise State played two BCS schools (Oregon State and Virginia Tech) in its major non-conference games. Oregon State just beat No.9 Arizona in one of the country's top conferences and also played TCU close, and despite some ugliness from Tech (like losing to James Madison in the biggest upset since Appalachian State undid Michigan in 2007), the Hokies are unbeaten in the ACC. Their record includes a victory over then-unbeaten NC State. Suddenly, things are looking up for Boise.
Oregon coming second makes absolute sense, too. OK, so they won on the road against an awful Tennessee side, though UT did play them close until the second half. The Volunteers also challenged Florida and should have beaten LSU on the road. Sure, the rest of Oregon's non-conference games were against complete cupcakes, but they smacked Stanford in conference play.
TCU comes third, probably because of the fact that they are not only the best team in Texas but also have a win over Oregon State. They also trounced Baylor, and keeping Robert Griffin quiet is probably a harder feat than it seemed. We don't think that TCU will actually be third when it all plays out (nor Boise first, for that matter!) because of the relative strength of the Pac-10, SEC and Big Ten that will play out in the wash.
Oklahoma's fourth position is due to the fact that they've not only beaten ranked (or should we say "rank?") Texas, but they also have a thumping win over then-ranked Florida State and are still unbeaten. Florida State (back in the rankings) just hammered Miami (moving out of the rankings) in the "wide right no more, just a Noles-like ass-beating" Bowl.
Ohio State is fifth, quite simply because of two things. First, their win over Miami suddenly doesn't look so hot after what Florida State did to them in the ACC. Secondly, they've only played one game on the road and sincerely struggled. If they beat ranked Wisconsin and Iowa, look for them to jump up the standings. Speaking of which, if ninth-ranked Michigan State continues to win, then expect the Spartans to make a dark horse challenge too (although the struggling win over Notre Dame doesn't look too pretty at the moment).
LSU is quite a way behind in sixthth for good reason. First of all, the fact that they eked out wins against a stricken North Carolina and an awful Tennessee—plus a win over West Virginia (who play in, let's face it, a basketball-only conference) that wasn't overly-convincing—doesn't make their strength of schedule, well, strong. However, if the Tigers beat Alabama, Auburn and Arkansas, we can see a jump up the rankings.
Nebraska fans will be furious about being a projected seventh, but it is for good reason. The Huskers bashed Washington on the road, a result which is looking worse and worse after the Huskies were beaten by BYU and Arizona State, too. Nebraska will beat Texas without applause, although wins over Oklahoma State and Missouri (they'll be praying that both teams are unbeaten before Taylor Martinez gets to them) might restore some upwards balance.
On the other side, Auburn's win over Clemson may not look so pretty, but THAT win over South Carolina was HUGE considering the Gamecocks' win over Alabama on Saturday. Sure, they struggled against Kentucky, but everyone was really watching the Florida-LSU game, weren't they. Again, if they can unseat LSU and Alabama, then we may well see some upwards momentum.
The 10th-place wildcard is, in fact, Alabama. Don't sleep on them, Bud Fox. Here's why: Alabama may have lost some BCS points for not trouncing Penn State (who are awful this year) in its only non-conference game of note this year. They weren't given any points for beating ranked Arkansas and were given a further kick in the [coughs] by losing at South Carolina and looking awful doing so. But get this: Alabama, who have beaten three ranked teams, may well come through the season with a great resume if they beat highly-ranked LSU and Auburn (we're predicting they win their other games handsomely (yes, we'll sleep on Ole Miss, thanks). The wins will set them up nicely for the SEC Championship Game against South Carolina/Florida, which they'll probably win, giving them wins over six ranked teams. That sort of form gets you to a National Title Game.
Early Prediction: Ohio State plays Alabama for the title. Sorry, everyone else.
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