BCS Rankings 2011: How BCS Bowls Would Look If the Season Ended Today
The first seven weeks of the season are always full of surprises. Some teams do not meet preseason expectations, while others make an unexpected splash onto the national scene. Despite all of the excitement of the first half of the season, it pales in comparison to the weekly drama and tension that follows the release of the season’s first BCS bowl rankings.
Some fan bases feel slighted, while others are dreaming of purchasing tickets to the national championship game. The world anxiously awaited the release of the first set of rankings Oct. 16, and while opinions varied on who would be ranked No. 1 and who would be ranked No. 2, LSU and Alabama sat atop the rankings as expected.
With 10 undefeated teams currently ranked in the BCS Top 25 rankings, the drama is just starting. This season has the potential to have the most controversial BCS final rankings of all time. However, we are going to look at what the BCS bowls might look like if the season ended today.
NOTE: "If the season ended today" is a bit of a misnomer, as remaining schedules will still be taken into account for the sake of keeping things realistic. Alabama and LSU play each other on Nov. 5, so one of them will likely drop behind Oklahoma in the rankings if the Sooners stay undefeated.
Tostitos Fiesta Bowl: No. 10 Oregon vs. No. 4 Oklahoma State
If you like offense, you will love this matchup. Oklahoma State currently ranks second in the nation in scoring at 49.2 points per game. Oregon, in similar fashion, is currently third in the nation in scoring at 48.7 points per game. The two teams combine for more than 1,090 yards per game. However, both teams reach these impressive numbers in different ways.
The Cowboys, averaging more than 400 passing yards per game, are led by star quarterback Brandon Weeden and the nation's premier wide receiver Justin Blackmon. The Ducks, on the other hand, like to get the bulk of their yards on the ground, led by currently injured LaMichael James.
Despite missing the Ducks' last game, James has still rushed for 852 yards and scored nine touchdowns. He is also averaging more than nine yards per carry.
It should be an offensive slug-fest, to say the least. However, I would have to give the advantage to the Cowboys right now because the Ducks offensive numbers take dramatic declines in games where their opponent has one month or more to prepare (1-3).
Discover Orange Bowl: No. 7 Clemson vs. No. 15 West Virginia
Once again, we have a bowl matchup that has shootout written all over it. West Virginia is currently averaging 40.8 points per game, which is 11th best in the nation. Mountaineers quarterback Geno Smith has been nothing short of spectacular, passing for more than 2,150 yards and 16 touchdowns to only three interceptions. Two of those interceptions came against LSU, though Smith still threw for 463 yards.
Clemson quarterback,Tajh Boyd has been phenomenal as well. Boyd has also thrown for more than 2,000 yards and completed 19 touchdowns to only three touchdowns. Boyd's signature game this season was when the Tigers halted Auburn's impressive win streak. Boyd passed for 386 yards and four touchdowns.
Both quarterbacks rank in the top 25 nationally in quarterback efficiency. Both teams are stingy with the football and turnovers in this game should be minimal.
Allstate Sugar Bowl: LSU/Alabama vs. No. 5 Boise State
Unfortunately for Boise State, if will once again be left out of the national championship game. However, a decisive victory in this game could lead to a split national championship, similar to the 2003 season. No team in the nation is better at one-game playoff than the Broncos. Fans who think their team could blow out Boise State in a bowl game are simply not think realistically.
Either Alabama or LSU will have their hands full with Kellen Moore and company.
Who the opponent will be is yet unknown. LSU and Alabama are ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in the BCS rankings respectively. While either team would be favored, both coaching staffs would have to be nervous. Both teams, however, will present Moore with the most difficult challenge of his career.
A Broncos loss could lead to the end of the non-AQ discussion. A win, however, could lead to the greatest debate in recent memory.
Rose Bowl: No. 6 Wisconsin vs. No. 8 Stanford
Few potential matchups could garner the interest that this game would. Not just because it would be two highly ranked and efficient programs squaring off, but it could also be a showdown between the potential Heisman winner and runner-up.
Andrew Luck is a lock to be the No. 1 pick in the 2012 NFL draft. However, he has not been the most productive quarterback in the nation this season—that has been Wisconsin quarterback Russell Wilson. Wilson has been the nation's most efficient quarterback while his team leads the NCAA in scoring at 50.2 points per game.
Both teams also play great defense. The Cardinal are only allowing 11.5 point per game, whereas the Badgers are even more stingy at 9.7 points per game.
In big games, great players shine. There might not be two more players in the nation that could shine brighter.
Allstate BCS National Championship Game: No. 1 LSU/Alabama vs. No. 3 Oklahoma
On paper, the Oklahoma Sooners should be the best team in the nation when you combine talent and experience. However, the Sooners have only looked dominant in one game all season. If the rankings were based solely on how the teams have preformed on the field this season, Oklahoma would be outside of the top five.
Both Alabama and LSU have looked nothing short of dominant in the majority of their games. Both teams have defeated two teams that would be undefeated if not for their matchup. The Tide and Tigers are similar in many ways, featuring dominating defenses and strong running games. At the same time, they have had quarterbacks who have played well but are still question marks.
The Sooners might have the talent to beat the Tide or Tigers, but they will need to improve greatly before the championship game. Highly touted Sooner quarterback Landry Jones will need to cut down on the turnovers if he wants to avoid the Sooners dropping their fourth straight BCS game.