Let the debate begin.
The first BCS rankings for 2011 just came out, and while some fans will be happy with where their team sits, others will be peeved, and rightfully so.
There are several teams out there who were not respected by the rankings—many at the expense of teams who garnered more prominent spots they didn’t deserve.
Here are seven teams that were screwed in the first BCS rankings.
When are you punished for winning? When you’re the Oklahoma Sooners.
They began this college football season ranked No. 1 in the preseason polls, and despite remaining undefeated, the Sooners have slipped to third in the opening BCS rankings. But why?
I’m assuming it’s because of the tired notion that the SEC is the superior conference in the nation, which is why LSU and Alabama have shot to the top of the standings.
But it’s tough to proclaim the SEC as the top conference so far this season.
While the Tigers and Crimson Tide look the parts of elite teams, everybody else in the SEC has fallen flat on their faces in 2011 with at least one loss. Outside of those two SEC West teams (and maybe South Carolina), every other school has proven they’re average and very beatable.
Meanwhile, all the Sooners have done is gone 6-0 and slipped from first to third, mostly because the overrated SEC still tugs at many of the pollsters’ heartstrings.
Despite being quite the vocal Boise State apologist, I cannot defend the Broncos this week. Quite frankly, they don’t deserve to be ranked ahead of Wisconsin.
Both Boise and Wisconsin stand undefeated, but the argument can be made that the Badgers should leapfrog the Broncos mainly because their strength of schedule has been slightly stronger. Boise deserves props for its season-opening win against Georgia, but has since feasted on bad mid-major teams like Nevada and Colorado State.
Wisconsin’s schedule hasn’t been much stronger, but they’ve won all their games in dominating fashion, including whooping up on Nebraska, who despite the loss is still a strong Big Ten team.
If that’s not enough, then consider that Wisconsin should be ranked ahead of Boise simply because they’re better equipped to pass the eye test.
Kellen Moore gives Boise a brownie point at the quarterback position, but his counterpart in Russell Wilson has been every bit as effective. And when you compare the rest of the rosters, Wisconsin just looks like the superior team.
Fans in Madison have a legitimate gripe about their team’s BCS ranking, as do fans in Palo Alto.
I’m baffled that the Cardinal are ranked behind the Clemson Tigers. While Andrew Luck and his team have breezed through their games in 2011, the Tigers have been a bit schizophrenic at times.
On one hand, they have looked very impressive, knocking off three-straight ranked opponents in Auburn, Florida State and Virginia Tech. On the other hand, they’ve struggled to defeat average teams, only knocking off FCS-opponent Wofford by eight points. They also had to mount a furious comeback to hold off unimpressive Maryland.
Stanford is already an easy 3-0 in Pac-12 play and traveled across the country to hammer Duke by 30. The Blue Devils are actually decent this year, as opposed to normally dreadful.
Plus, how are you going to not respect Andrew Luck like that? The man can do it all. He can go first overall in any given NFL draft; he can lay out defenders; he can make sick one-handed catches; heck, he can probably leap tall buildings in a single bound if he had to.
It looks like another deserving team has been passed over in favor of a school from the overhyped SEC. This time, the Ducks sit one spot behind the Arkansas Razorbacks, when they shouldn’t.
Woo Pig Sooie has struggled mightily with its defense—surrendering 38 points in back-to-back games against Alabama and Texas A&M—as well as allowing Troy to hang 28 on the scoreboard.
Meanwhile, the Quack Attack has looked very impressive in lighting it up to the tune of a 53-point average in their last five outings.
Yes, the Ducks struggled in their season-opening loss to LSU, but you can’t convince me that the Razorbacks won’t suffer the same outcome when they face the Bayou Bengals on November 25.
If Oregon keeps winning in blowout fashion despite not having stars LaMichael James and Darron Thomas at full strength, their BCS stock will only rise, and rightfully so.
I hate having to keep pumping up one team at the expense of someone else… actually no, I don’t.
Why is Kansas State ranked ahead of Virginia Tech? Obviously, the quick answer is because the Wildcats sit undefeated, while the Hokies have one loss.
Despite the one-game difference in the standings, does anyone honestly believe Kansas State is the better team? Sorry, Wildcats fans—I’m still not buying your football squad. Yes, they’re 6-0, but they haven’t exactly gone through a gauntlet of opponents.
Kansas State began the year by beating Eastern Kentucky (no, not Kentucky or Western Kentucky—Eastern Kentucky) by three. Since then, K-State has followed that thrashing of Eastern Kentucky with a four-point win over three-loss Miami, a one-point win against overrated Baylor, and a seven-point victory over a defenseless Texas Tech squad.
Meanwhile, Virginia Tech has rebounded nicely from its bad loss to Clemson. They had a close win of their own against Miami and easily handled a solid Wake Forest team.
If Kansas State can remain unbeaten after facing Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, and Texas consecutively, then I’ll give them some props. But that’s simply not happening.
I’ll take a break from bashing the SEC to actually laud one of its teams. The Gamecocks are a talented unit—albeit one that’s faced a circus-like whirlwind of adversity so far this season.
Star quarterback Stephen Garcia was finally dismissed from the team, and in the same week, stud running back Marcus Lattimore was lost for the season with a devastating knee injury.
Even with the losses, the Gamecocks are still more than capable of winning the SEC East. And with Lattimore gone, it’s the perfect opportunity for Steve Spurrier to return to his moniker as the ‘ole ball coach and open up the playbook, instead of relying so heavily on a conservative running game.
Connor Shaw and Alshon Jeffery have the potential to be as good as any quarterback-receiver duo in the nation, and the defense will continue to keep them in more games than not.
Since the BCS rankings gave fellow SEC teams LSU and ‘Bama such favorable rankings, why weren’t the one-loss Gamecocks shown more love?
Overrated Auburn is sitting pretty in the rankings despite having already lost two games. One spot behind them at 6-1 is Penn State.
And the Nittany Lions have a pretty good excuse for their defeat, since they fell to Alabama, who's pretty good in its own right. The Tide will certainly have no problem rolling over Auburn in this year’s Iron Bowl, and have a very strong chance of finishing the season undefeated.
The reason I’m guessing Joe Paterno’s team is ranked so low is because they’ve been in several tight, low-scoring contests this year.
But don’t close games build character in a team? Look at Cam Newton and last year’s version of the Auburn Tigers.
I’m definitely not saying that Penn State is a national championship team in the making. I am saying they have one stingy defense, arguably Paterno’s best in the past several years.
That defense just may propel them to the Big Ten title game—and beyond—before this season’s said and done.