BCS Rankings Week 2: 25 Things We Learned From the Second BCS Rankings Poll
Now that we have the second edition of the BCS Rankings for a couple hours, it's a good bet that any and all gripes about the placement of the teams have been aired.
Let's be honest, we all only really care about the Top 10, but the rankings tell us plenty about the other 15 teams too.
So let's go down the list in ascending order, and see what we can learn about each team that made the cut in these new rankings.
No. 25 Baylor
What we learned: There's more to Baylor than Lady Bears Basketball.
No doubt the only familiarity you had with Baylor athletics in recent years was with the Lady Bears team that won the Division I Basketball championship in 2005.
And who can blame you? The Bears just cracked the AP Top 25 for the first time since 1993 and haven't been to a bowl game since they lost the 1994 Alamo Bowl to Washington State.
The bad news for the Bears? They still have to play Texas, Oklahoma State and Oklahoma.
Enjoy it while you can, Bears fans.
No. 24 Nevada
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What we learned: There's more to the WAC than just Boise State.
It's about time the Wolf Pack got some national respect, given that the offense crafted by head coach Chris Ault is the hot new thing in college football.
Yes, Nevada gave the world pistol offense, and they still probably run it better than anyone. They're currently sixth in the nation in yards per game (just behind Baylor, as a matter of fact), and senior quarterback Colin Kaepernick is more experienced with the pistol than any other quarterback.
Their appearance in the BCS Top 25 probably won't satisfy the Boise haters, but one suspects that Wolf Pack fans are happy regardless.
No. 23 Virginia Tech
What we learned: You're good, but you still lost to James Madison.
In its past six wins, Va Tech has looked like the class of the ACC. But yes, they still lost to James Madison. If you thought that was bad for Boise, look what it's done to the Hokies.
The Hokies are better than No. 23, and they probably deserve better.
But they also lost to James Madison...
No. 22 Miami
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What we learned: The voters weren't complete idiots when they picked Miami as the No. 13 team in the preseason polls.
The Hurricanes weren't on the initial BCS Top 25, but their win on Saturday over the Tar Heels was apparently good enough to earn them a spot.
Miami was thought pretty highly of at the start of things this year, but their high hopes were irreparably screwed when they got beat by Ohio State in their second game of the year. A bad loss at Florida State set them back even farther.
But for good or ill, here they are again.
No. 21 Mississippi State
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What we learned: Beating the University of Alabama-Birmingham isn't all that impressive.
Which is true, of course. The Bulldogs were ranked No. 24 in the first rankings, and barely survived a back-and-forth affair with the Blazers on Saturday. The Blazers actually had the lead early in the fourth quarter, only to watch the Bulldogs pull away late.
For the record, this is a Mississippi State team that only lost to Auburn by three points. You have to wonder if they would be anywhere near the BCS if they weren't in the SEC.
No. 20 South Carolina
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What we learned: There's no forgiving that loss to Kentucky.
After the Gamecocks beat Alabama, they made it all the way to No. 10 in the AP and No. 12 in the USA Today poll. When they subsequently lost to Kentucky, the jig was up.
They edged Vanderbilt on Saturday, but that was only good enough to bump them one spot in the BCS, which seems fair.
No. 19 Arkansas
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What we learned: Pulling out a win amidst thunder and lightning is worth certain considerations.
By the time Arkansas wrapped up their win over Ole Miss on Saturday, they had braved two lightning storms and a late surge by Jeremiah Masoli. If that isn't a test of true grit, what is?
The Razorbacks jumped four spots from No. 23 to their current No. 19 with the win, overtaking conference rival South Carolina in the process.
No. 18 Iowa
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What we learned: Beating yourself is a bad idea.
Iowa lost at home to Wisconsin by a single point on Saturday, but they have nobody but themselves to blame for finding themselves at the back of the bus because of it.
Iowa had 12 seconds to play with and a timeout to work with in Wisconsin territory, but inexplicably called that last timeout. Adam Robinson couldn't get out of bounds on a check down pass from Ricky Stanzi on the next play, and the clock ran out on the Hawkeyes.
Of course, if Iowa hadn't also missed an extra point earlier in the game, that final drive would not have been so desperate.
It's a shame really. Iowa's a good team.
No. 17 Oklahoma State
What we learned: Losing a barn burner to Nebraska isn't all that damning.
That may be true. Nebraska was, after all, the No. 16 team in the BCS, and has subsequently swapped places with Oklahoma State after beating them 51-41.
The Cowboys have nothing to be ashamed of, however. Especially not senior running back Kendall Hunter, who rushed for 201 yards on the Cornhuskers and went over 1,000 yards on the season in the process.
No. 16 Florida State
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What we learned: It's good to have a bye.
We don't know anything more about the Seminoles than we knew last week, when they secured a No. 17 ranking with a tough win against Boston College.
Instead, they have an extra week to prepare for their game at NC State.
NC State, by the way, beat Boston College much more handily than the Seminoles, stomping all over the Eagles 44-17.
No. 15 Arizona
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What we learned: No Nick Foles, no problem.
Taking on a tough Washington team without star quarterback Nick Foles turned out to be no real trouble for the Wildcats, who easily dispatched the Huskies 44-14.
Foles' backup, Matt Scott, passed for 233 yards and two touchdowns, compiling a 200.8 passer rating. Foles himself hasn't had a passer rating over 200 in any of his six starts this season.
No. 14 Nebraska
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What we learned: Taylor Martinez can throw the ball too.
The true freshman's Heisman hopes probably fell by the wayside in Nebraska's loss to Texas, but Taylor Martinez came out firing against the Cowboys on Saturday. Martinez finished the day with 323 yards and five touchdowns through the air. He'd had only three passing touchdowns coming into the game.
The Cornhuskers probably won't get as high as No. 5 again, but their win over Oklahoma State must have felt good anyway.
No. 13 Stanford
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What we learned: You have to do better than that against Washington State.
The Cardinal ran their record to 6-1 with a 38-28 win at home against Washington State, but actually took a step back in the BCS standings from No. 12 to No. 13.
Stanford could probably stand to learn a lesson or two about finishing. They didn't show up at all in the second half against Oregon, and they let Jeff Tuel throw three touchdowns in the fourth quarter of Saturday's game.
No. 12 LSU
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What we learned: Big plays can be a real killer.
LSU played Auburn really tough Saturday afternoon, but they were undone by a two long runs in the second half. One was a 49-yard scamper by Cam Newton that was a thing of beauty, and the other was a 70-yard run by Onterio McCalebb that gave Auburn a lead they would not give back.
McCalebb's other three carries went for only 14 yards.
It was also apparent that LSU simply does not have a reliable quarterback, which you can only get away with for so long before somebody beats you.
No. 11 Ohio State
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What we learned: The computers are not impressed by 49-0 wins over Purdue.
Ohio State let Purdue feel the wrath of a team that was the best in the country at one point, but they too dropped in the BCS rankings.
Both the writers and the coaches have them ahead of Oklahoma at No. 10, but the computers see the Buckeyes as more of a No. 11-type team.
This is why people hate the BCS.
No. 10 Wisconsin
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What we learned: Keep finding a way to be underestimated, Wisconsin. It's working out for you pretty well.
Indeed, there were plenty of people who thought that the euphoria of beating up on Ohio State would be short lived for the Badgers, as they surely were not going to be able to waltz into Iowa and tell the Hawkeyes what's what.
So much for that. The Badgers are for real, folks. Their only loss was to Michigan State, which is now sitting pretty at No. 5. The Badgers don't play another ranked opponent the rest of the way, so things could get very interesting in the Big Ten if the Spartans happen to drop a game before the end of the year.
No. 9 Oklahoma
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What we learned: The computers were wrong. Again.
Indeed, the voters knew Oklahoma wasn't the best team in the country, instead giving the nod to Oregon. Surprise surprise, Oregon is No. 1 in the polls again this week, and Oklahoma has dropped eight places in the BCS. That sounds about right, given that they lost to a Missouri team that is making a surprising run at an unbeaten season.
In any case, unless something crazy happens, that one loss should eliminate Oklahoma from BCS considerations.
No. 8 Utah
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What we learned: You can be undefeated all you want, but you're still not better than a one-loss Alabama.
This is also probably true. Nevertheless, it's hard to grasp how dominant the Utes have been until you take a step back and look at the results of their last six contests.
Including their latest 59-6 beatdown against Colorado State, Utah has also won games by scores of 68-27, 56-3, 56-14, 38-10 and 30-6. The only other teams who have even sniffed results like that are Oklahoma State and, of course, Oregon.
The Utes may not be better than 'Bama, but they're damn good.
No. 7 Alabama
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What we learned: It looked doubtful after one half, but the SEC is still set to be decided on November 26th.
November 26th, for your information, is when the Crimson Tide squares off at home against No. 1 Auburn. To steal the tagline from Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, that one should be an epic of epic epicness.
Also, if you didn't see Alabama's game against Tennessee, you missed an absolute clinic by Julio Jones. Jones set an Alabama record with 221 yards on 12 catches, several of which looked like they were impossible.
No. 6 Missouri
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What we learned: It's good to beat the king.
The Tigers have come a long way since starting the season outside the polls. It's hard to imagine that their win over Oklahoma is their only win over a ranked opponent, but you can't say they didn't pick the right team to beat.
The only other ranked team they play the rest of the way is Nebraska, so an unbeaten season is hardly out of the question.
No. 5 Michigan State
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What we learned: Never trust the Michigan State when it sends the special teams out.
The Spartans probably aren't the fifth best team in the country. Alabama could probably beat them.
But you still have to love this team. They're having their best season in over 40 years, and Mark Dantonio clearly wants to do everything in his power to take it all the way.
It's not every year that a single team can run two trick plays on special teams that directly result in a pair of wins.
No. 4 TCU
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What we learned: The best rushing attack in the country is no match for Ed Wesley and the Horned Frogs.
Air Force came into their game against TCU with 2,428 rushing yards, by far the most in the country.
The Horned Frogs beat them at their own game, out-rushing the Falcons 377 to 184. The main culprit for TCU was sophomore running back Ed Wesley, who ran for a career-high 209 yards on 28 carries, adding two touchdowns in the process.
No. 3 Boise State
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What we learned: Scheduling their next game on a Tuesday is a pretty good way to get people to stop bitching about how overrated Boise State is.
Not much to report here. The Broncos haven't budged from their spot in the first BCS rankings, despite all the action around them.
They play Louisiana Tech on Tuesday night.
No. 2 Oregon
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What we learned: The computers are still not impressed.
It's teams like Oregon that are the reason why people hate the BCS. OK fine, Oregon has played a pretty weak schedule so far. But any team that can light up the scoreboards like they can clearly has an appeal on the human mind.
The Ducks scored 60 points again, and racked up nearly 600 yards again. Chip Kelly is an offensive genius, and putting SportsCenter anchors on his play cards was a nice touch.
No. 1 Auburn
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What we learned: You can't ignore the best in the SEC for long.
As good as Oregon is, it's hard to find fault with Auburn's new No. 1 ranking. They're the best team in the best conference, and just pulled out a convincing win over the No. 6 LSU Tigers.
Also, Cameron Newton is pretty obviously the best quarterback in the country right now. He set all kinds of records with his performance against LSU, in which he ran for a career-high 217 yards with two touchdowns.
Once again, their season-ending showdown with Alabama will be epic.