College Football Rankings: Are the Week 11 BCS Standings Right?
Now that the Week 11 BCS Standings have had a few days to make an impression on the college football world, it’s time to decide whether the voters and computers got them right.
The biggest change in this week’s edition of the rankings comes courtesy of the LSU/Alabama game last Saturday. An LSU victory ensured that they would remain atop the college football world, but a more pressing question concerned Alabama: how far would they fall?
According to the BCS Standings, one spot. (That sound you heard on Sunday night was the entire Stanford student body collectively calling “BS.”)
For the most part, the remaining BCS slots were filled as expected. As teams march toward the end of the regular season, the players realize the pressure will only intensify.
With so much at stake in terms of bowl berths and sponsorship money, BCS rankings at this point in the year become the sole talking point for college football fans. And in all the talk, there are bound to be voices that disagree with the rankings (as well as with each other).
Here’s my take on the newest top 10 teams in the BCS Standings, because we need a starting point for the debate that’s sure to follow…
(Teams are ordered by current BCS ranking, previous ranking in parentheses.)
No. 10 Virginia Tech (12)
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The Virginia Tech Hokies have finally cracked the BCS top 10 in the season’s 11th week; not exactly how the players and coaches saw their season going when they first started out.
Tech is a perennial football power with high expectations, but it seems that the traditional mystique surrounding this year’s squad isn’t there.
Even more, they’ve looked beatable at home in Blacksburg—a loss to Clemson and a nail-biter of a win over Miami (FL) aren’t the types of games that inspire confidence from the home crowd.
It’s not too late for Virginia Tech to improve its BCS standing though. A road win against a surprising Georgia Tech team this weekend would almost certainly earn them credibility from the voters (and the computers, for that matter).
No. 9 Clemson (11)
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Clemson at the ninth slot in the BCS this week definitely makes sense. With their win over Virginia Tech, the Tigers have earned the right to be ranked ahead of their conference rivals.
Due to the relative weakness of the ACC as a whole, there’s not much of a reason to rank Clemson any higher.
Back when the Tigers were undefeated, they were generating whispers of a possible BCS National Championship Game berth. Now that they have a loss on their record, it seems that the hype surrounding the team has dwindled.
The powerful Clemson offense was held to a season-low 17 points in last weekend’s loss to Georgia Tech; they’ll have to rebound quickly in order to have a shot at regaining respect in the BCS.
No. 8 Arkansas (7)
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After pulling away from South Carolina late on Saturday, the Arkansas Razorbacks somehow find themselves dropping in the BCS Standings this week.
Despite the final score of their most recent game, the Razorbacks have fallen from seventh to eighth in the BCS. On the surface, this might not make sense; it seems that the BCS accounts for style points to some degree though.
I don’t agree with this ranking—Arkansas may have struggled at home last Saturday, but they ultimately came away with a win against a quality SEC opponent. Apparently that’s not good enough in the eyes of the BCS.
I’m not saying that Arkansas should’ve moved up in the standings, but a convincing win should have at least assured the Razorbacks that they wouldn’t drop down a peg.
No. 7 Oregon (8)
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Since I disagreed with how Arkansas lost ground in this week’s BCS Rankings, it only makes sense that I’m not in favor of Oregon moving up.
The Ducks went on the road and beat a mediocre conference rival in Washington, and that expected victory earned them a higher BCS rank. Oregon is still a very good team, but their move past Arkansas has me questioning the overall rankings.
The quality of the Pac-12 as a conference is nowhere near the quality of the SEC; games won against Pac-12 opponents shouldn’t carry the same weight as games won against SEC teams.
Fortunately for Oregon though, the BCS didn’t distinguish between its win against Washington and Arkansas’s win against South Carolina. I wonder if cool uniforms and shiny helmets are part of the equation; that might explain why the Ducks moved to No. 7.
No. 6 Oklahoma (6)
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Standing pat at No. 6 in the BCS are the Oklahoma Sooners. Since their stunning home loss to Texas Tech three weeks ago, the Sooners have done nothing to further jeopardize their hopes at possibly making the national championship game.
Of course they’d need to win out—which would include beating now No. 2 Oklahoma State in Stillwater—and get some help from Stanford and Alabama, but the chance is still there no matter how slight.
No argument from me here; Oklahoma is ranked exactly where they should be.
This team needs to take care of business if it hopes to finish the season with a low BCS number next to its name.
No. 5 Boise State (5)
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Mountain West Conference darling Boise State continues to hang around. We all know how the Broncos love to make things interesting for the BCS at the end of the season and it seems they're fulfilling their duty again this year.
Despite their undefeated record, Boise State can’t seem to crack the top three or four spots, due to the lack of quality opponents they've faced.
In the meantime, Broncos quarterback Kellen Moore continues his assault on the record books. With the win against UNLV last Saturday, Moore became the all-time NCAA career wins leader with 46.
It’s too bad that Moore’s career success likely won’t translate into a shot at the national title this year. Barring a major collapse at the top of the poll, the Broncos will end the regular season where they’re ranked right now.
No. 4 Stanford (4)
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Stanford fans will likely be the ones complaining the loudest over the Cardinal’s No. 4 ranking in the BCS this week. Even with the loss by Alabama last weekend, Stanford remains ranked outside of the top three.
Quarterback Andrew Luck has done seemingly everything in his power to will Stanford into national title contention, but it hasn’t been enough.
Stanford’s ranking is correct, despite the protests from Cardinal backers. Strength of schedule is again Stanford’s enemy, preventing the team from overtaking SEC powerhouse Alabama.
A win this weekend against Oregon is a must if Stanford wants to remain on the edge of BCS National Championship consideration.
No. 3 Alabama (2)
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The Alabama Crimson Tide were seemingly on the cusp of attaining the No.1 BCS ranking last Saturday night, but weren’t able to beat the visiting LSU Tigers. In a hard-fought overtime battle—deemed “the game of the year” by the media—the Tide lost 9-6.
It was the best losing scenario that Alabama could have hoped for.
The Tide proved that they could face off with the nation’s top team in LSU and hold their own. By not getting blown out, Alabama has made its case for a rematch with the Tigers in the national championship.
If Stanford loses to Oregon and Oklahoma State loses to Oklahoma, it’s likely that we’ll see “Alabama vs. LSU: The Sequel” in January.
Setting aside the possible title matchups, Alabama is ranked right where they should be—ahead of an undefeated Stanford squad. One loss in the SEC (especially to the best team in the country) still affords Alabama more BCS credit than having no losses in the Pac-12, as Stanford does.
No. 2 Oklahoma State (3)
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Perhaps the nation’s most opportunistic team when it comes to the BCS Standings, Oklahoma State has put itself into national title contention and controls its own destiny.
Up one spot from No. 3, the Cowboys have been climbing the BCS ladder all season.
There were some rumblings that Alabama might still deserve to be ranked second overall due to their narrow defeat at the hands of LSU, but I agree with the BCS on this one. Oklahoma State has been the class of the Big-12 and has earned the No. 2 ranking.
Unless the Cowboys take their eyes off the prize, a berth in the national championship game is theirs for the taking. The only potential stumbling block remaining on their schedule is the Bedlam Battle against in-state rival Oklahoma.
Luckily for Oklahoma State, the game is at home.
No. 1 Louisiana State (1)
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For all the debate that rages around the BCS Standings from week to week, the Louisiana State Tigers have been unassailable to the critics.
LSU has exemplified what it means to be the nation’s top-ranked team on a weekly basis. Playing with a target on their backs since (seemingly) the beginning of the season, the Tigers have quieted their critics one game at a time.
It’s not possible to argue that the Bayou Bengals don’t deserve the No. 1 ranking in the BCS at this point; even Alabama fans have to admit—albeit grudgingly—that LSU is the top team in the country.
Would anyone care to say otherwise?
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So do the BCS Standings reflect the top ten teams in the right order? Here’s a quick summary:
No. 10 Virginia Tech: CORRECT. A one-loss ACC team is better than an undefeated C-USA team (sorry, Houston).
No. 9 Clemson: CORRECT. They beat Virginia Tech in Blacksburg.
No. 8 Arkansas: WRONG. The Razorbacks should be No. 7 by virtue of playing in a tougher conference than Oregon.
No. 7 Oregon: WRONG. Substitute “Ducks” for “Razorbacks,” “No. 8” for No. 7,” “weaker” for “tougher” and “Arkansas” for “Oregon” in the above statement.
No. 6 Oklahoma: CORRECT. No change necessary.
No. 5 Boise State: CORRECT. The Broncos are destined to sit at the kids’ table until they join a BCS conference.
No. 4 Stanford: CORRECT. Even Andrew Luck knows the Pac-12 is a joke compared to the SEC.
No. 3 Alabama: CORRECT. Deep breath, Bama fans. You still have a shot.
No. 2 Oklahoma State: CORRECT. Looks like there’s a new big kid on the block in the state of Oklahoma.
No. 1 LSU: CORRECT. This is a fact, and it is undisputed.