Week 12 of the college football season has come and gone, giving us time to reflect. Take a deep breath, look at the standings and simply admire the teams in contention.
Ah, BCS mayhem at its finest.
Four teams currently sit undefeated, which tends to convolute things when only two get a chance play for the national title. But, this is the world we live in and the things we have to deal with. The absence of a playoff system means if Auburn gets past 'Bama, we'll likely see two undefeated teams on the outside looking in.
But getting past the obvious choices for tops in the country, there are several teams placed wrongly by the computers and the human polls.
The teams with the best case to be made about their low rankings are:
Nebraska - The Cornhuskers have been on the mark all season with a 9-1 record and back to back wins against ranked teams in October. All this with just a true Freshman at quarterback. Their reward? A ranking of eighth behind such question marked teams as Stanford, who lacks multiple wins against ranked teams and got run over by Oregon. Nebraska's lone defeat is a puzzling home loss to Texas. One off day, however, should not excuse a ranking this low.
Nevada - The Wolf Pack are having one hell of a season and coincidentally getting the shaft from the human polls. Despite being 9-1, in the same conference as Boise State and having a more impressive out of conference body of work, Nevada sits at 18 behind a flurry of two-loss teams and a three-loss South Carolina Gamecocks squad. The problem for the Wolf Pack is that even if they step up and knock off Boise, most will attribute it to Boise's lack of skill rather than Nevada's effort.
On the other side of the spectrum, we have teams who have done little to earn their high ranking. The main pretenders of this college football season are:
Stanford - Being the second best team in the PAC-10 means a lot most years, but not this one. It appears as if it's Oregon on top, then Stanford in a distant second, with Arizona as a close third.
A down year in the conference compounded with the dominance of Oregon means most will overrate the second best looking team. Stanford is hardly in the top 30 for most statistical categories and only squeaked past USC at home. They have a great QB and head coach, which makes them better to look at, but their rightful place is closer to 10 than their current No. 6.
Alabama - I don't know if it's that Southern hospitality or what, but most pollsters are still crushing on 'Bama from the beginning of the season. The fact is that this Alabama team has a slow developing offense, a clearly overrated D, and could pick up a third loss against the electric Auburn Tigers.
Their dynamic running game has been far from it despite two very talented backs. Yet, the Tide sit at 11 and are the top ranked two-loss team. They may have the talent to be the best two-loss team in the country, but their play has suggested otherwise.
All four of these teams, whether positively or negatively, have proven with their play on the field that they do not deserve their current ranking.
Nevada have an offense that is just as explosive as almost any team's in the country.
Nebraska have one loss and are led by a true freshman under center. Despite their consistent play, they are constantly disrespected by pollsters and analysts.
Stanford have just one impressive win all season and looked pretty shaky against what should be lesser competition in ASU and USC.
Alabama have simply been overrated all season. Their resumé speaks for itself: The defense is solid, but not dominating, and the offense lacks big play ability,
These teams often get exposed in BCS bowl play when are paired against superior competition. Only time will tell if these teams finally earn their rightful places in the college football landscape, but if they don't it could make for some lame bowl games.