BCS Rankings Week 12: 10 Teams Better than Their Current Ranking

Thomas CopainCorrespondent INovember 16, 2010

BCS Rankings Week 12: 10 Teams Better than Their Current Ranking

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    Don't you just love this time of the year?

    The weather changes to a crisp chill, the sound of jingle bells start to fill the air as the calendar edges towards December, time with family and friends start to loom ahead.

    And a computer makes college football fans across the country either leap in celebration or pull their collective hair out.

    Yes, college football is deep in the heart of BCS season and the implications that come with it. There's very little debate about who the four best teams in the country are according to the rankings entering this week (where they should be ranked is a different story).

    However, there are others whose accomplishments to this point have perhaps been de-valued by the much-maligned BCS equation.

    So here are 10 teams who are better than their current BCS Ranking.

10. Syracuse

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    How They Got Here

    The Orange are 7-3, a game back of first place in the Big East.

    They have road wins against South Florida and West Virginia. Syracuse is bowl eligible for the first time since 2004, thanks in large part to the play of junior quarterback Ryan Nassib and a defense that allows 17.8 points per game, 13th in the country.

    Why They'll Climb Higher

    Two wins in its final two games (including a big conference game this week against Connecticut) would give Syracuse nine wins for the first time since the Paul Pasqualoni era.

    Help from South Florida this week against Pitt would move the Orange closer to the conference title. Something the program hasn't sniffed in close to a decade.

    Final BCS Ranking

    25th. Someone has to win this conference. Right?

9. Iowa

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    How They Got Here

    A solid team with a dominant, aggressive defense, a quarterback that just finds ways to win games and one of the better coaches in the country in Kirk Ferentz.

    Unfortunately for the Hawkeyes, they were done in by three losses by a combined 12 points.

    Why They'll Finish Higher

    Very rarely do Kirk Ferentz-coached teams have a drop off at the end of the year.

    The 2008 Penn State team can account for that. He'll have them ready to play against Ohio State in a big game next week, followed by Minnesota and then the bowl game.

    One thing to remember: Iowa almost beat the Buckeyes last year with a backup quarterback.

    Final BCS Ranking

    18th. Just too talented and too well-coached to completely fall off the map.

8. South Carolina

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    How They Got Here

    The Ol' Ball Coach relied on two of the best young players in the country in freshman running back Marcus Lattimore and sophomore receiver Alshon Jeffery to take the Gamecocks to its first SEC Championship Game.

    Wins over Alabama and Florida (in Gainesville, no less) didn't hurt, either.

    Why They'll Climb Higher

    Two winnable games to finish out the season against Troy and at Clemson will give South Carolina a lot of confidence and momentum heading into Atlanta and a rematch with Auburn.

    Remember, the Tigers did beat South Carolina, but needed a second-half comeback to do so.

    Final BCS Ranking

    14th. Easily the best season Spurrier's had in Columbia.

7. Virginia Tech

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    Why They Got Here

    When the voices around big-time college football champion for a playoff, the Hokies' type of season is always a major argument why.

    Virginia Tech is a classic example of a team who struggled early, but is hitting its stride at the right time.

    Eight straight wins and a chance to lock up another trip to the ACC Title. Just another ho-hum year in Blacksburg.

    Why They'll Finish Higher

    Barring a collapse against Miami and Virginia the next two weeks, the Hokies will be heading to the ACC Championship.

    And looking out toward the rest of the conference, is there any other team that could really challenge them out of the Atlantic?

    Final BCS Ranking

    11th. Va Tech should secure another trip to a BCS Bowl.

    But you know they're looking back at the first two weeks of the season and wondering "What If..."

6. Michigan State

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    How They Got Here

    The Spartans used everything from comebacks (against Northwestern) to trickeration (against Notre Dame) to just good, old-fashioned Big Ten football (against Michigan).

    The result is coach Mark Dantonio has a strong team that is in great position to make a trip to Pasadena if things continue to fall its way.

    Why They'll Finish Higher

    Two games left (Purdue, at Penn State) where Sparty should be a favorite, combined with no Ohio State on the schedule and the head-to-head tiebreaker with Wisconsin thanks to a win back in October.

    This used to be a program that seemed to be snakebitten in recent years. This may be the year the karma swings back in MSU's favor.

    Final BCS Ranking

    10th. Spartans finally starting to reach their potential.

5. Oklahoma State

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    How They Got Here

    Oklahoma State turned out to be the beneficiary in a year where the Big 12 South turned into the Bizarro World—down is up and up is down.

    That being said, the Cowboys are a strong team that can both run and throw the ball, with explosive playmakers like running back Kendall Hunter and receiver Justin Blackmon.

    Why They'll Finish Higher

    Barring a slip-up this week, Oklahoma State and Oklahoma will meet next week in Stillwater with the division and a trip to the conference title game on the line.

    And even though Oklahoma might be the better team on paper, the Sooners have had trouble on the road this year. That, combined with the way the Cowboys spread out defenses, could prove to be the difference in that game.

    Final BCS Ranking: Ninth.

    Just like the Spartans, the Cowboys will make 2010 the season they finally live up to the hype surrounding the program in recent years.

4. Ohio State

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    How They Got Here

    As wacky as this college football season has been at times, it's mid-November, and Jim Tressel has his team in the middle of at least another Big Ten Championship.

    The Buckeyes slipped up with a loss at Wisconsin. But Terrelle Pryor, Boom Herron and the rest of the guys in Columbus have righted the ship.

    Why They'll Finish Higher

    Just like Kirk Ferentz rarely seems to get outcoached, Jim Tressel rarely loses in November.

    He's 26-4 entering this season at Ohio State and 65-20-1 overall in his career. He just finds ways to win the big conference games when he needs to.

    Winning in January? That's proven to be a little tougher.

    Final BCS Prediction: Eighth

    They have to hope that Wisconsin and Michigan State get knocked off down the road.

    But it's hard not to see the Buckeyes grab at least a share of the conference title yet again. Some things never change.

3. Wisconsin

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    How They Got Here

    Wisconsin was predicted in the preseason as one of the favorites in the Big Ten.

    So far, they haven't disappointed.

    Although I doubt any of the experts predicted the Badgers would hang 83 on Indiana. And do it without John Clay, either.

    A strong team all around that has received strong performances from Montee Ball and James White at running back with Clay injured.

    Why They'll Finish Higher

    If things play out the way it's expected to the last two weeks, Michigan State, Wisconsin and Ohio State would all finish tied for first in the Big Ten.

    In that case, the Spartans would win the tiebreaker thanks to the head-to-head win against Wisconsin. But if an upset should happen, then Wisconsin's win over Ohio State could become a huge trump card.

    Final BCS Prediction: Seventh

    The Badgers haven't gone to Pasadena since Ron Dayne wore the red and white.

    Perhaps a rematch of that Rose Bowl against Stanford is in order.

2. Nebraska

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    How They Got Here

    A mobile duel-threat quarterback (Taylor Martinez), a big, game-breaking running back (Roy Halu Jr.) and a suffocating defense that's ranked 10th in the nation in points allowed (17.5).

    It feels like 1995 in Lincoln again; the only thing that's missing is Tommie Frazier, Tom Osborne and Grant Wistrom.

    Why They'll Finish Higher

    A trap game with surging Texas A&M in College Station lies ahead this week, but Nebraska has shown during the season that it can deal with a hostile road game (Washington and Kansas State).

    Nebraska should make it to the conference title game with one loss. Despite the offenses of both Oklahoma State and Oklahoma, the Cornhuskers are proving that many times, a good defense will beat a good offense.

    Final BCS Prediction: Fifth

    If it wasn't for the loss against Texas in October, the Cornhuskers could be referred to as one of the best teams in the country.

1. Boise State

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    How They Got Here

    This year's Boise State squad might be this decade's answer to the 1994 Penn State team.

    Those Nittany Lions had a dynamic offense, a strong defense and demolished its opponents. Boise State's done the same thing, albeit in a weaker conference, behind quarterback Kellen Moore's 24 touchdown passes.

    Why They'll Finish Higher

    The Broncos have been gaining on TCU as the season's gone on and are ahead of the Horned Frogs in both the Harris and the USA Today polls.

    A win against No. 18 Nevada would go a long way toward finally pushing the Broncos past TCU. It doesn't hurt that the season-opening win against Virginia Tech is looking better and better each week, either.

    Final BCS Prediction: Third

    The '94 Nittany Lions finished the season undefeated.

    They didn't play for a national championship, either.