The first batch of BCS rankings debuted this past weekend, and there were plenty of teams who got favorable rankings—maybe a little too favorable.
There are five teams in particular who are in pretty good shape now, but won't be as the weeks progress.
Here are the five BCS darlings who will surely disappoint.
Usually, Broncos fans are complaining that their team isn’t getting a fair shake in the BCS rankings. They can’t cry foul this year, however, as Boise State debuts in 2011—a respectable fifth place in the standings.
It’s easy to see why Kellen Moore and company are sitting pretty at the moment. They began ranked in the Associated Press’ preseason Top Five; a ranking that has stood up because the Broncos (6-0) have held serve in their games.
Plus, they had an impressive season-opening victory over Georgia—a win that’s becoming more credible as the Bulldogs continue their climb out of a 0-2 start to their own season.
While the Broncos can applaud their favorable BCS ranking right now, those cheers will turn to jeers when it’s all said and done. That’s because once again, Boise will be denied its dream of playing for a national championship.
There are simply too many other national championship contenders out there who will have a better resume by season’s end. All of those teams play in superior conferences to the Mountain West and face off against better teams on a weekly basis.
Boise simply can’t say the same. The Mountain West isn’t confusing anyone with the SEC or Big 12, and the Broncos’ toughest remaining opponent is a TCU team, at home, already with two more losses than it suffered all of last year.
Sorry, Broncos fans; looks like you’ll have to settle for another subpar bowl yet again.
The Clemson Tigers sit seventh in the current BCS rankings, and recently came off of a stretch that saw them defeat three-straight ranked opponents in Auburn, Florida State and Virginia Tech.
I don’t think anyone else in America has done that yet this season, and that’s why they’re ranked this high. The Tigers have a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate on their hands in star quarterback Tajh Boyd, and Coach Dabo Swinney is finally getting the most out of his talented team.
It’s not unrealistic to see Clemson run the table the rest of the regular season heading into the ACC Championship game.
While it’s not unrealistic to witness a Clemson undefeated regular season, it’s still hard to picture them surging into the BCS title game. I was on the Tigers’ bandwagon after their impressive three-game winning streak over ranked teams.
Then, Clemson had quite the wacky road game in College Park. The Tigers fell behind by 18 to a very average Maryland team in the third quarter before staging a furious comeback to down the Terps, 56-45.
If Clemson really wants the chance to play for a national championship, they’re going to need a much better effort from their defense than what they showed last weekend. Unfortunately for them, they may not get the chance to show what they can do against any more elite competition, as their two toughest remaining games are against an overrated Wake Forest team and a South Carolina team without its starting quarterback and running back.
Is Clemson’s body of work going to be enough to wow the human voters? I say no.
The Razorbacks are in primed position to make a run at a BCS bowl game, as they debut in ninth place in the BCS rankings. Arkansas (5-1) has lit up the scoreboard for most of the season, and gained a favorable ranking because of the fact that they play in the SEC, which is still regarded as the nation’s best conference.
It also helps that Bobby Petrino’s team looked very impressive in its recent 38-14 dismantling of SEC West foe Auburn. And with favorable matchups in store the next few weeks, Arkansas’s ranking could jump even higher before a much-anticipated showdown with LSU.
For years, the SEC has been regarded as the nation’s superior conference. But can that case still be made in 2011?
Outside of LSU and Alabama, every other SEC team already has at least one loss, and all look very beatable. And don’t give me that exhausted argument that it’s because these teams are beating up on each other. That can’t be said in the first half of the season, when teams are feasting on non-conference pansies.
The one elite team Arkansas faced so far this season was Alabama, and how did that one play out? Arkansas’ favorable BCS ranking will continue to climb as they fatten up on mediocre opponents like Ole Miss, Tennessee, Mississippi State and Vanderbilt. But that lovely ranking will come crashing down after the Razorbacks are overwhelmed by the SEC’s only other elite team in LSU.
The Kansas State Wildcats have to be college football’s surprise team so far in 2011. Coach Bill Snyder has seen his squad sneak up on the competition—and the BCS rankings—as the undefeated Wildcats sit 11th.
They’ve garnered such a favorable early ranking for two reasons: they play in a major conference, and they’re undefeated. Where several teams in the BCS rankings already have one (and even two) loss, the Wildcats are still unblemished and they’re being rightfully rewarded for that at the moment.
On the surface, the undefeated Wildcats look deserving of their 11th-place ranking in the BCS standings.But considering who they played en route to a 6-0 record, it’s easy to see that their ranking and schedule have been pretty inflated.
The Wildcats only defeated FCS opponent Eastern Kentucky by three points—at home. Nonetheless, on opening day. They followed that up by beating an average Miami squad by four and squeaking by the overrated Baylor Bears by one.
The second half of the schedule won’t be as kind to the Wildcats. They still have to play Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, and Texas consecutively. After Kansas State is throttled by that gauntlet, they’ll be begging for another helping of Eastern Kentucky.
The Tigers play in the SEC and faced Clemson in a non-conference clash, two reasons why—despite having two losses—they’re ranked 20th in the first BCS standings. With two teams ranked at the top in LSU and Alabama, the SEC is still considered college football’s premier conference.
And while many SEC teams have weak non-conference schedules, the Tigers deserve credit for playing a talented Clemson team, one that’s ranked pretty high themselves. This combination only helps Auburn, as it will have one of the more seasoned strength-of-schedule standings in the country by year’s end.
While the Tigers are ranked in the BCS top 25 at the moment, it’s tough to say they’ll remain there after this weekend. Auburn has the unenviable task of travelling to Baton Rouge to take on the top-ranked LSU Tigers, and I just don’t see War Eagle flying out of that matchup victorious.
Much like last season, Auburn has already squeaked out many close wins in 2011, but it’s pretty frightening when those wins came against the likes of Utah State and Mississippi State—two subpar teams.
Their fans won’t be sitting on the edge of their seats against the likes of LSU and Alabama. Those games are more likely to be blowouts than nail biters, blowouts that won’t be favoring Auburn.