BCS Rankings 2011: What's Really Going On? How the Top 25 Standings Should Go
Tonight the first set of BCS rankings this season were announced on ESPN, and I'm still wondering what's really going on. I may never figure it out, so I decided to give you what you want—well done college football championship rankings.
Like a lot of other analysts and experts, with college football's season halfway done, it seems to me the first round of the BCS rankings bonanza was half-baked.
I can't understand for the life of me why LSU is No. 1, when Alabama has a higher-ranked defense and Oklahoma is the true No. 1 team in the nation, if computer logic is taken out of the equation.
Nothing beats playoffs formulas as America understands via watching professional sports. The discussion of a playoff system in college football has been taken out of the mathematics curriculum this year.
My formulas, however, are based on strengths of schedule, number of other conference teams ranked in the AP and Coaches' Polls' top 25, won loss records (conference and overall) and rankings in FBS offensive and defensive categories.
Other considerations include projections such as, If previous matchups were played again, right now, what could the outcome be?" With this formula as part of the foundation, here are my Roaring 25s.
25. Houston Cougars: Sumlin's Team is Building Something Special
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Coach Kevin Sumlin and the Cougars (6-0, 2-0 C-USA) are roaring like Lions and are already bowling for something special with a bowl-qualified six victories.
They knocked off Rick Neuheisel's UCLA Bruins on September 3 to start Houston's season off strong and haven't let up.
While the Cougars don't have a ranked team on their regular season schedule this season and play in Conference USA, Houston has the No. 1 ranked passing yards per game team and average 47 points per game—No. 4 in the FBS.
24. Notre Dame Fighting Irish: 4 Wins in a Row Means Something to Smile About
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Even though the No. 29 ranked FBS passing Irish lost their first two games of the season to South Florida and Michigan, they turned their season around with a resounding victory over a stout defense (Michigan State) in South Bend, Indiana.
The MSU game was an aberration. The Spartans handled Michigan without much of a problem and Notre Dame highest FBS ranking is No. 29 in passing yards per game.
NDU (4-2) is almost certain to be bowl bound. They have tough tests at Wake Forest coming up, but they have USC, Navy, Maryland and Boston College coming to South Bend.
In other words, the Irish are clinging to bowl hopes.
23. Michigan Wolverines: Clinging to Stay in the Big Ten Chase Again This Season
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The Wolverines (6-1, 2-1 Big Ten), MSU's grasshoppers, are likewise clinging on to stay in my top 25.
Their only loss came to Michigan State on the road, but it was a game that exposed Michigan's passing game. Both quarterbacks struggled to complete passes against the Spartans, who have have one of the best defensive units in the game.
The fact Notre Dame was the the only team to have success against MSU shows how potent the Spartans are on defense.
I'm still scratching my head over the Irish beating State. It shows that victories in the first third of the season are sometimes overrated.
22. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets: Overrated Like Many Teams Early Every Season
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The statement-making and somewhat overrated Yellow Jackets have yet to play a ranked team and won't until they face Clemson in two weeks, but the GTU was ranked No. 12 by the AP until getting upset by the Virgina Cavaliers yesterday.
Tech (6-1, 3-1 ACC) sports the No. 2 ranked rushing attack in the FBS and average 42.9 points per game—No. 10. Their passing game is near the bottom in the rankings, and the loss to UV hurt their credibility.
21. Arizona State Sun Devils: Worshipping the Sun Never Seemed so Right
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Even credible fans of Arizona State University's football team were leaping for joy after the Devils won their first two games this season, including a thrilling win over the visiting Missouri Tigers.
The Sun Devils (5-2, 3-1) have played a decent to tough schedule so far, and their only losses came via upstart Illinois and powerhouse University of Oregon.
If they can stop reading their own press clippings—praising the Devils so to speak—then ASU should be judged worthy of a major bowl.
20. Illinois Fighting Illini: Hot Meal at Home Got Cold While the Bucks Visited
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In the same way, the Fighting Illini (6-1, 2-1 Big Ten) should play in a major bowl. They have only had to fight once away from Champaign so far this season; they've played all of their games at the crib, except for the victory they dished out against Indiana two Saturdays ago.
Their only loss came yesterday to a downtrodden Ohio State team. The Buckeyes had a lot of athletes who were suspended for NCAA infractions when they played Saturday afternoon.
The Illini were ascended the roller coaster before the Bucks sent them plunging. I'll be watching to see if Illinois rises, slows or loops before the season comes to a complete stop.
19. Nebraska Cornhuskers: Blackshirts Bloodied
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The Huskers are known for their Blackshirts' defense similarly stopping the opposition cold, but they have gotten bloodied this year to the tune of giving up almost 30 points per game.
Besides not being able to stop a nose bleed on defense, the loss of preseason All-American, Jared Crick, means someone else will have to help stop the flow.
Life in the Big Ten just got harder in NU's first year. They were ranked in the top 10 when they lost to the team ranked just ahead of them in the two major polls that week on the road (Wisconsin). The problem was the fact that Nebraska lost big to the Badgers.
18. Penn State Nittany Lions: Beaver's Been Good for Them Early This Season
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The Lions (6-1, 3-0) roared out of the gate this season against Indiana State, but they lost big in like fashion to Nebraska-Wisconsin against Alabama at Happy Valley's Beaver Stadium in the second game of the season.
They couldn't have lost big to a better opponent except maybe a couple of other teams on my list. The Nittany's defense is No. 6 in the FBS for points against per game.
The young men who play at Beaver have been getting hot and on a roll by winning five games in a row after getting rolled by the Tide. They are bowl bound but want a major bowl.
In other words, the Lions hope to be coming around the highest mountain when she comes.
17. West Virginia Mountaineers: Mounting a Campaign for a Major Bowl Game
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West Virginia was coming around the mountain ranked No. 13 by the AP last week. In their own stadium, the Mountaineers lost big to LSU earlier this season, and dampened people who were wet over their potential.
They don't really have any stand out victories on their resume, but their passing game ranks No. 4 in the FBS. Young men are just that and not to be compared to animals unless you're a Darwinite.
WVU football is, for now, the beast of the Big East.
16. Baylor Bears: Lost in East Texas by the Brazos River Banks Last Saturday
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Robert Griffin III (RG3) brought the sometimes beast mode Bears back against TCU in the exciting and ever-evolving first game of this season. The Bears stumbled against Kansas State and Texas A&M, both road games, but they still have one of the most explosive offenses in the nation.
Their next game is against Oklahoma State in two weeks. It should be one of the most entertaining of the season. The Bears (4-2, 1-2) will have to fight to become bowl eligible. Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas Tech and Texas remain on their schedule.
I believe they will be bowl bound again this season after finishing (7-5) last year and playing in the Texas Bowl after losing to Illinois last year.
15. Texas A&M Aggies: Beat Baylor Big in Possibly Last Battle of the Brazos
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The Aggies (4-2, 2-1 Big 12) likewise lost their bowl game last season and have lost to Oklahoma State in a squeaker and to Arkansas in College Station.
After beating Baylor in College Station, A&M could be ready to realize the high expectations people had about them before the season began. They'll leave the Big 12 for the SEC next season, which could mean the end of the Battle of the Brazos River with Baylor.
14. Michigan State Spartans: Defense! Defense!
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In comparison, the Michigan State-Michigan game will never die, and the Spartans (5-1, 2-0 Big Ten) have one of the best defenses in the country that no one knows about.
Michigan State has the dubious distinction of being Notre Dame's first victim this season, but I believe the outcome would be different if the teams played right now at a neutral site.
Michigan State is a very dangerous team, and the big boys in the Big Ten had better beware.
13. Georgia Bulldogs: SEC's Most Dangerous Dogs in 2011
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Likewise, beware of the SEC's top dogs who got thumped in their first game of the season by Boise State. Since then, Georgia (5-2, 4-1 SEC) has shown that they can battle back from adversity.
They are a balanced team, have played a tough schedule and scrimmage in one of America's best conferences top to bottom—top heavy this season yet still proportioned.
The Dogs will continue to make noise in the SEC, but they'll miss both LSU and Alabama this season.
If South Carolina falters, then Georgia could face the Tigers or the Tide at the conference championship game later this year in New Orleans.
12. South Carolina Gamecocks: Lame? Not
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The Lamecocks, excuse me, Gamecocks (6-1, 4-1 SEC) prefer to be referred to as SC while they also try to go sainting towards New Orleans. Please don't call them non-saintly USC. If you do, then the Cocks are subject to go Steve Spurrier on you.
Going Spurrier so far this year has meant only one loss on the gridiron; SC's sole defeat came against Auburn this year.
If you're wondering why Spurrier seems to be smiling a lot more this season, it's because he doesn't face LSU or Alabama unless it's in the SEC Championship Game.
It's wild how the Cocks and Dogs share that distinction. And both are also looking up to the next Wildcats on my list.
11. Kansas State Wildcats: Tied for 1st Place in the Well Above Average Big 12
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The Wildcats are also looking, except it's to their saint-like head coach in Manhattan, KS., Bill Snyder. The Cats are tied with the Oklahomans for first place in the better than expected Big 12.
Miami (FL), Baylor, Missouri and Texas Tech have fallen victim to Kansas State (6-0, 3-0 Big 12). They have Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, Texas and Iowa State remaining.
I'll be checking to see if the Wildcats can continue to buck conventional wisdom and climb the BCS charts.
10. Boise State Broncos: Bucking Big Boys
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To the same extent, Boise State has been charting on the BCS boards, but were considered the BCS stepchildren in past seasons. They've always enjoyed full adoption status on my lists.
They beat Georgia by 14 on the road to start the season, but Bulldogs should take heart in the fact their team had the heart to face the Broncos (6-0, 1-0) unlike many of the so-called big boys.
9. Stanford Cardinal: Jim Who?
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Stanford's fighting other coaches in the NFL former football head coach, Jim Harbaugh, moved to the big boy's league, yet SU is still undefeated.
They haven't played a ranked team this season, but they have Oregon coming up on November 12. Stanford is ranked among the top five FBS programs both for points scored on offense and given up by the defense per game.
To illuminate, they are one of the most balanced teams in college football.
8. Arkansas Razorbacks: Scary Schedule
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The Razorbacks (5-1, 1-1) have also been able to stay on balance against talented squads such as Texas A&M and Auburn—both on their list of victims.
Arkansas lost to Alabama by 24, but they shouldn't feel bad. The Tide have rolled a couple of big names already and counting.
I'd be interested to see the Backs and Aggies play a rematch next week. Playing in the SEC helps Arkansas' cause more than it does Texas A&M's right now.
7. Oregon Ducks: Losing to LSU Hurt the Bouncing Back from Auburn Loss Image
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On the contrary, SEC teams aren't helping the Ducks' cause. They've been the bone stuck in Oregon's throats since the national championship game last year.
After losing to LSU in the first game of the season for both teams, the Ducks have gotten their swim back through the ranks together by smashing teams not on their level.
They almost drowned then No. 18 Arizona State last night on ESPN and moved to (5-1, 3-0 Pac-12). Oregon's fresh uniform reputation and appearance every game proves their list of threads is longer than their cheerleader dude's shorts.
6. Clemson Tigers: Pervasive Fist Pumps
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Speaking of shorts, don't short skirt or sleep on the Clemson Tigers. This season is still mini, but the Tigers (7-0, 4-0 ACC) aren't brief on big wins and fist pumps as a result of those victories.
With triumphs over Auburn, Florida State, Virginia Tech, Boston College and Maryland, the Tigers have proven they are for real. If Tigers could roar, then they'd be kings of the jungle. Big ifs, I know.
5. Oklahoma State Cowboys: Thriving in a Quarterbacks Conference (Big 12)
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If it wasn't for the likewise big if of the Sooners, well, you get the idea about Oklahoma State in the Big 12—a quarterbacks conference.
One of the most potent quarterback-wide receiver combinations in the nation is on display every week for Oklahoma State football fans. They get to see potential first round NFL draft picks at quarterback and wide receiver.
As usual, the Cowboys (6-0, 3-0) have one of the top offenses in the nation; they average 51 points per game—No. 1 in the FBS to be exact.
Their defense hurts them, but they're not as bad as they look on paper (the defense). In other words, they aren't paper Boys.
4. LSU Tigers: AP Favorites
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LSU's football team can't be called paper Tigers. AP voter's pets to some observers, they lack a significant running game and have a quarterback carousel, especially compared to Alabama, Wisconsin and Oklahoma—the teams I rank ahead of the Tigers.
Don't badger me on dropping LSU to where they should be. Give me, and others like myself, a badge of courage for speaking the unadulterated truth. The real always reigns supreme and lake-cruises over propaganda.
3. Wisconsin Badgers: The Bold and Beautiful Balance of the Big Ten's Leader
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The Badgers have lake-cruised all of their opponents this season. They sport the best running backs combination in the nation and the ACC's leading passer from last season.
They made the powerful Nebraska Cornhuskers look like a junior varsity team in Madison. I'd be interested to see them play right now at a neutral site. The Huskers have gotten better, but Badgers' fans know that Wisconsin has gotten more wonderful on their way to trying to get recognition for being the deserved No. 1 or No. 2 team in the nation.
Speaking of deserving to be No. 1 in the nation. Next slide, please...
2. Alabama Crimson Tide: No. 1?
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The No. 1 FBS defense in the nation has faced Penn State, Arkansas and Florida while they were all ranked no lower than No. 23 and as high as No. 12. The Tide (7-0, 4-0) handled them all without much of a problem.
Being in the same conference with LSU, Alabama poses this year's biggest dilemma and quirk to the BCS. What happens if they are still No. 2 after the Tigers win the SEC Championship game? As usual, I'll be there to provide analysis on the quirky BCS situation.
The Tide usually has a better running game than LSU and the No. 1 ranked defense in the land this season. Alabama gives up seven points per game.
1. Oklahoma University Sooners: Several 7s Reign No. 1 in Boomer Schooner Heaven
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Seven is the number of God's completion, and the Sooners have completed seven Big 12 Championship Game victories with only one loss and seven AP national championships. That has nothing to do with my No. 1 ranking for them this year.
If anyone can explain in a coherent manner why OU deserved to drop from No. 1 in favor of LSU and Alabama, then please send me a signal like a championship quarterback.
Their QB is one of the nation's best in college and getting better. Their receiving corps is deeper than Ryan Broyles and Kenny Still, as they showed against Texas in the Red River Rivalry. Their defense is underrated as they showed against Texas.
OU is the collegiate base of their former tight end, Keith Jackson—a former Longhorns killer, and the most complete tight end in NCAA history. He was voted Offensive Player of the Century at OU—a school that almost always has standout tight ends playing in the footsteps of Jackson and Jermaine Gresham.
You'll likewise want to follow my footsteps and keyboard strokes next week here on Bleacher Report courtesy of Lake's Roaring 25 BCS Report.
Contact Lake Cruise: Lakecruise@att.net