The following is a close examination of the Top 10 in the BCS rankings for Week 12.
The question at the heart of this examination, which is answered and ultimately mocked through an examination of the Top 10, is simply, "Why not Boise State?"
What is the NCAA scared of?
What are college football fans scared of?
Read on to find out.
W 34-24 vs. Wisconsin
L 6-37 at Iowa
The Spartans were not so impressive in their latest win at home against Purdue. Heading into the fourth quarter, Sparty was down 28-14.
With a frantic three-touchdown, fourth quarter comeback, they pulled off a 35-31 victory in East Lansing.
That sort of home win against a 4-7 Purdue team is not the way to ingratiate yourself to voters and the computers, hence why Sparty is No. 10.
at Penn State
W 38-35 vs. Texas A&M
L 41-51 vs. Nebraska
The Cowboys clobbered a 3-8 Kansas team this weekend, 48-14.
But what can a win against such a team really tell us other than the fact that Kansas' defense was horribly outmatched against Oklahoma State's offensive weapons?
A win against Oklahoma this week could really set the Cowboys apart from the pack.
W 20-17 at Iowa
L 18-31 at Wisconsin
The Buckeyes won a close road game against a very tough Iowa team, which one would think might help them move up the rankings if there wasn't such a glut of strong 10-1 teams populating spots 10 through five.
But as it is, the Buckeyes are in at No. 8 following a fourth quarter comeback on the road after trailing 17-10.
The Game is next.
W 31-18 vs. Ohio State
W 31-30 at Iowa
L 24-34 at Michigan State
The Badgers have one more big conference victory to laud over their conference rivals. However, they also lost to No. 10 Michigan State.
So, even though they lost to Michigan State, perhaps it's acceptable for them to be ranked in front of the other Big Ten teams in the Top 10.
W 37-35 vs. USC
W 42-17 vs. Arizona
L 31-52 at Oregon
What the Cardinal have going for them? Their only loss came against the Oregon Ducks in Eugene.
What the Cardinal have against them? Their biggest wins are nowhere near the quality of the wins from the Big Ten teams.
As we move along, the picture gets murkier.
vs. Oregon State
W 29-7 vs. Mississippi State
W 24-21 vs. Alabama
L 17-24 at Auburn
The Tigers have played what is probably a markedly more difficult schedule than the rest of the 10-1 teams behind them.
Therefore, according to the formula which determines these rankings, they probably deserve the No. 5 spot as the best 10-1 team.
A win next week at Arkansas gives LSU a shot to sneak into the BCS National Championship Game if Auburn loses.
OK, now seems like a good point to interject.
Look at the teams ranked 10 through five here. Now, explain how the BCS can pretend to be anything other than glorified power rankings.
Sure, LSU probably has an edge on the rest of the 10-1 teams for the top ranking, but how can you possibly differentiate between teams like Michigan State, Oklahoma State, Ohio State, Wisconsin and Stanford?
The answer is you can't.
So many spend their time arguing about the top spots and undefeated teams when it comes to the BCS rankings that they completely miss the biggest reason why the BCS rankings are pointless and crooked.
How can such a demarcation be made between so many teams with the same record with any sanity?
It doesn't really matter too much when considering these specific rankings because conference championships decide the bowl games, more or less; however, if the BCS rankings try to pass off these completely unfounded rankings of teams with similar rankings, then how can their rankings of undefeated teams ever be taken seriously?
Furthermore, the rankings, as they exist right now, only stand to fortify the stranglehold the "major" conferences have on bowl games and the ability to generate money, big-time signings and national championships.
If BCS conferences are always favored due to "style points," how can we ever find out if teams from conferences like the Mountain West or Western Athletic Conference can actually compete with national championship-caliber teams from BCS conferences?
The only way to decide what 10-1 team is best is to allow them to play each other, just as the only way to determine the national champion in college football is to let the teams play one another.
So without further ado, here are the final four teams, all undefeated, and the uncensored take on the BCS given their standing.
W 33-30 at Virginia Tech
The Broncos are 36-1 in the past three seasons. Their only loss came against the TCU Horned Frogs in 2008, which they avenged in 2009.
The Broncos, much like the Horned Frogs, are the equivalent of a fighter that continues to take all comers yet never gets his championship opportunity.
The pathetic thing is that the NCAA is perfectly happy to let this challenger wither and fall to the wayside without giving them a fair shot because they enjoy the money generated from the hierarchy they've established and perpetuate.
A win against Nevada gives Boise State three wins against teams ranked in the Top 25 when they played them.
W 47-7 at Utah
While this is said without any particular enmity for the Horned Frogs, it's blatantly obvious that they've done nothing to be ranked ahead of the Broncos, who started the year ahead of them and beat them at the end of the 2009 season.
Unfortunately, the Horned Frogs are in the same boat as the Broncos, and each team's worst enemy at the moment when going for a spot in the BCS National Championship Game seems to be each other.
at New Mexico
W 35-27 vs. South Carolina
W 65-43 vs. Arkansas
W 24-17 vs. LSU
Yeah, the Tigers are really good with Cameron Newton. They have higher quality wins than possibly any other team in college football.
But it's difficult to shake the perception that, especially for an SEC team, the Tigers defense is awfully vulnerable.
If they get past Alabama in the Iron Bowl and South Carolina in the SEC Championship, will they be able to stop the Oregon Ducks in the BCS Championship?
To reach back in time to provide what an Auburn vs. Oregon national Championship might look like, just think about 2005, when Vince Young beat USC's star-studded offense by himself.
This championship game would be a repeat of that.
So can anybody really say that they'd be that pissed if Boise State and TCU got passed over to see if Cam Newton could outscore Oregon's score-a-minute offense?
Didn't think so.
W 52-31 vs. Stanford
W 53-32 at USC
Oregon had a close call last week against California, only winning 15-13.
Nonetheless, their offense remains the most impressive unit in all of college football.
They don't have the résumé of Auburn, but they are blowing out teams a higher rate than Auburn (weaker schedule be damned).
It means the NCAA can't lose.
If Oregon and Auburn remain undefeated, we are gifted a dynamite matchup for the national championship.
If one of those teams slips, then fans that have been clamoring for Boise State or TCU to get a shot *raises hand* will get their wish.
Unless, of course, they decide to slip a one-loss LSU team in front of both Boise State and TCU, which is far from an implausibility.
While LSU has a greater résumé than Boise State or TCU, such a move would rankle many fans.
But why not circumvent these questions and institute playoffs? Surely in the playoffs Boise State or TCU would be put to the test against quality opponents week after week.
If they make it through, then they deserve to be there.
What does the NCAA have to lose other than the existing power structure that they and the favored universities reap profits from and continually implement to maintain the status quo?
For fans of the big name universities, one question remains constant: If your conferences are so dominant and you're so sure the teams from the power conferences will beat Boise State and TCU, why not give them a shot to prove their worth?
Your team will win anyway, right?
What do you or the NCAA have to lose?