BCS Rankings: In Numbers Game, Oklahoma State Will Play for BCS Championship

Ben GibsonSenior Analyst IDecember 4, 2011

AMES, IA - NOVEMBER 18:  Justin Blackmon #81 of the Oklahoma State Cowboys stiff arms C. J. Morgan # 27 of the Iowa State Cyclones at Jack Trice Stadium November 18, 2011 in Ames, Iowa.  (Photo by Reese Strickland/Getty Images)
Reese Strickland/Getty Images

The latest Associated Press rankings give Oklahoma State fans hope. They may still pull off the biggest upset of the season and defeat Alabama to play for the BCS Championship.

What may have seemed inconceivable just 24 hours ago now seems like a very real possibility.

Why? The margin in the AP Top 25.

Last week, Alabama led 1,440 to 1,286 in the AP poll. However, after the Pokes knocked off archrival Oklahoma 44-10 to win the Big 12 Championship, that margin is only 1,418 to 1,400.

In the USA Today Coaches Poll, the 166-point lead for Alabama has slipped to just 32.

That is a huge indication that the Cowboys are going to surge ahead because they have been head-to-head in the computer rankings. In fact, Oklahoma State was ahead of the Crimson Tide in two of the five computer polls before their big win over a Top 10 team.

Let's face it, Alabama's biggest edge has been in the "eyeball" department. They look like a championship team, and we all know that they were a field-goal kicker away from being SEC champions themselves.

The computers do not see "would have, could have, should have" in their formulas. They see a program that lost to a team at home—a team that plays in the SEC, but faced fewer winning teams and ranked opponents than the Cowboys.

People may not want to believe it, but the numbers give Oklahoma State a bigger edge in the "strength of schedule" category.

Clearly there is enough sentiment within the voters to give us a very interesting BCS unveiling tonight.

Whether you want to avoid another 9-6 game between two teams in the same conference, or you want to see the best offensive weapons in the country go against an all-time defense, there are plenty of reasons to justify an LSU vs. Oklahoma State championship.

Some are willing to forgive a double-overtime loss on the road to a 6-6 team—just days after a tragedy befell their school—more than losing to a great team at home with multiple missed kicks.

Some are going to give credit to winning a conference championship—rather than not even winning a division in another conference.

Is that fair? Is that crazy? Maybe.

However, these polls make it seem like it is inevitable.