BCS Standings Week 11: Who Is Underrated, Overrated or Just Right?

Ian Berg@@ShugJordanPkwyCorrespondent INovember 7, 2011

BCS Standings Week 11: Who Is Underrated, Overrated or Just Right?

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    The No. 1 LSU Tigers marched to a victory over No. 3 Alabama Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa Saturday night, knocking one more undefeated off of the elite totem pole that has become the top tier of undefeated BCS talent.

    The Tigers have become the clear No. 1 in the country with their victory, but did the Tide deserve to stay high in the rankings at No. 3? Why is No. 2 Oklahoma State able to move into the No. 2 slot after a near loss to conference opponent No. 14 Kansas State?

    There are numerous teams that have bounced around the BCS, as this weekend brought more surprising losses. No one expected No. 19 Nebraska to fall to an unranked Northwestern team. No. 24 Michigan has taken quite a plunge after losing two in a row, most recently to Iowa.

    Looking at the BCS rankings, it is apparent that there are teams higher and lower than they should be. Some teams have earned more respect, but for no other reason than conference affiliation.

    If there is truly a movement for the undefeated teams to be ranked towards the top, where is the argument for No. 11 Houston? Not only does Houston tout a record setting quarterback, but they have consistently owned their competition this season.

    Here is a breakdown of which teams should be higher and which ones should be lower in the most recent BCS rankings.

25. Baylor Bears: Just Right

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    Last Game: 11/5/11, Baylor 42-Missouri 39

    Baylor has been led this season by Robert Griffin III. Griffin has been a dynamic playmaker that has shown his effectiveness through the air and on the ground for the Bears this season. Griffin has become one of the elite passers in the country this season.

    Griffin is completing an amazing 74 percent of his passes, and has 26 touchdown tosses with only four interceptions on the season. Baylor faces a rough road to finish the season, as they still host Oklahoma and Texas.

    Baylor working their way back into the Top 25 may be short lived following this coming weekend's game against Kansas. The Bears started the season strong, but lost to Kansas State in Week 4 and have been an unpredictable performer ever since. 

24. Michigan Wolverines: Just Right

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    Last Game: 11/5/11, Iowa 24-Michigan 16

    The Wolverines were on a path with destiny this season, as they marched to six straight wins. They traveled to Michigan State and were soundly beaten, knocking them from the unbeaten brotherhood of 2011.

    The Wolverines returned with a win over Purdue, but this past week, lost a game that looked sloppy against Iowa on the road. Michigan faces another road test this week against Illinois, a team that was overachieving until the wheels came off, and the Illini have lost three straight.

    Michigan is hanging on to significance in the national rankings, but one more slip and they will disappear from the radar.

23. Cincinnati Bearcats: Just Right

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    Last Game: 11/5/11, Cincinnati 26-Pittsburgh 23

    The Bearcats have battled through a schedule that included one opponent from the SEC and one from the ACC. While the Bearcats split those games 1-1, the only loss for Cincinnati this season came against Tennessee.

    The Bearcats have played in some close contests, but find themselves in the driver’s seat in the Big East, as they are 3-0 in conference. This coming week, they face a good West Virginia team looking for redemption for their loss against conference rival Louisville.

    The Bearcats have a realistic chance at winning out and finishing the season undefeated in conference and in a BCS bowl by winning the Big East. Like it or not, the Big East is an auto qualifier. Fans better get used to the name Zach Collaros, as he will be leading the Bearcats to the biggest stage for the second time in four seasons.

22. Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles: Just Right

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    Last Game: 11/5/11 Southern Miss 48, East Carolina 28

    Southern Miss is an 8-1 team that could finish the season with only one loss. The Golden Eagles have followed the leadership of senior quarterback Austin Davis to a very good season. The Golden Eagles are in the fringe of the BCS rankings, but they have earned their keep so far.

    The Golden Eagles are one loss away from being in the undefeated team discussion, but an early loss to Marshall ended that dream early. Since the early season loss, it appears that Southern Miss has been playing inspired football winning by large margins since.

    Southern Miss will likely finish somewhere in the bottom fifth of the BCS, and honestly, that is a great position for them. The Golden Eagles are having a rare and special season in Hattiesburg. 

21. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets: Underrated

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    Last Game: 10/29/11, Georgia Tech 31-Clemson 17

    The Yellow Jackets absolutely dismantled the Clemson Tigers two weeks ago at home. Clemson was undefeated to that point and was one of the closet favorites to make it into the BCS conversation. What the Yellow Jackets did with that win was not only crush the hopes of Clemson, but also solidify itself among the elite in the ACC.

    The Yellow Jackets have a tough contest this coming Thursday against No. 10 Virginia Tech. A win against the Hokies would push the Yellow Jackets into the BCS conversation, as they would be able to contend for the ACC championship.

    Georgia Tech plays well and has earned this ranking, but with a loss on Thursday to the Hokies, they can count themselves out of the hunt. 

20. Auburn Tigers: Just Right

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    Last Game: 10/29/11, Auburn 41-Ole Miss 23

    Auburn has battled quarterback woes for much of the season, which has hampered the usually explosive Gus Malzahn led offense. The Tigers have looked unstoppable in the previous two seasons, but there has been a big drop-off with this year’s team.

    The Tigers have faced some tough competition and have a wealth of young talent that is on the field, but at the end of the day, they are the only ranked three-loss squad. Granted, every loss came from a Top-10 team.

    The Tigers have found a new quarterback in Clint Moseley, who nearly worked to perfection against Ole Miss, tossing for 80 percent completions and four touchdowns. The Tigers have a huge test this coming week against No. 15 Georgia. How the Tigers leave Athens will determine if they move up or fall out of the BCS in Week 12. 

19. Nebraska Cornhuskers: Just Right

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    Last Game: 11/5/11, Northwestern 28-Nebraska 25

    The Cornhuskers were stunned at home this past Saturday by the visiting Wildcats from Northwestern. Nebraska was edging its way back towards the Top 10 before this loss, as the only previous defeat was to Wisconsin in Week 5.

    Nebraska has two tough road tests coming in the next few weeks, as they face off against Penn State and Michigan. The Cornhuskers had a chance at creating a special season, but the toughness of their first year in the Big Ten has gotten to them.

    There is no guarantee that Nebraska stays near the Top 25 by season's end. There is a good chance they finish with at least two more losses.

18. Wisconsin Badgers: Underrated

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    Last Game: 11/5/11, Wisconsin 62-Purdue 17

    Wisconsin has fallen victim to not one, but two Hail Mary plays to finish a game. Both Michigan State and Ohio State were able to finish with wins in consecutive weeks against the Badgers with deep balls.

    Wisconsin is a two loss team and has to be ranked according to record, but if you look deeper, you see one of the most talented teams in the country. With Russell Wilson at the helm, the Badgers will be in any game they finish the season with.

    Wisconsin ranks in the Top 10 in both points for and points against, which shows that the Badgers are a very well rounded football team. At the end of the day, they are likely to finish with only two losses, but on the outside looking in for the conference title. 

17. Michigan State Spartans: Just Right

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    Last Game: 11/5/11, Michigan State 31-Minnesota 24

    Michigan State was a team that was riding high hopes for the 2011 season. An early season loss at the hands of Notre Dame didn’t make the Spartans stumble, but it did make them look vulnerable. There second loss to Nebraska was an embarrassing one.

    The good news for the Spartans is that the remainder of the schedule is in the favor. With only games at Iowa, home against Indiana and then back on the road to Northwestern, every game looks to be winnable for the Tigers.

    The Spartans have built some steam since there last loss, but they better execute in these future contests, as a game at Iowa could get the best of them much like it did to Michigan. The Spartans are sporadic this season, but consistency will be the key moving forward.

16. Texas Longhorns: Overrated

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    Last Game: 11/5/11, Texas 52-Texas Tech 20

    The Longhorns started the season with a burst and looked like they were headed to a very special season. The Longhorns made it to 4-0, but they faced Oklahoma and got throttled. The following week, they faced Oklahoma State and the same result occurred.

    While Texas may not be the best team in the Big 12 currently, they are one of the better teams in the country and are turning in the right direction as the season draws to a close. With the three of the last four games on the road, winning out won’t be easy, but only one contest is against a ranked opponent.

    If the Longhorns finish the season with nine wins, they will have achieved above most expectations for 2011. As it stands today, they are right where they need to be in the BCS.

15. Georgia Bulldogs: Overrated

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    Last Game: 11/5/11, Georgia 63-New Mexico State 16

    The Georgia Bulldogs started the season with two losses, but have worked their way to victories the rest of the way. The Bulldogs throttled New Mexico State this past week and look forward to hosting the Auburn Tigers this coming weekend.

    The Bulldogs have three ranked opponents on their schedule, and to this point, Georgia is 0-2. Georgia pulled quite a favorable schedule this season. Despite playing in the SEC East, the Bulldogs have a very easy road to the Eastern title.

    Facing Auburn this coming week will be a huge game for the Bulldogs program, as Auburn will be marching to Athens looking for a win. This will be one of the better contests of the SEC this season, but this isn’t the last test for the Bulldogs.

    Georgia also travels to Atlanta to face Georgia Tech to finish this season. There is a lot of competition this season between not only the players, but the fans of these rivalries. Don’t be surprised if Georgia loses two of the last three.

14. Kansas State Wildcats: Overrated

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    Last Game: 11/5/11, Oklahoma State 52-Kansas State 45

    The Wildcats have been playing well above expectations so far this season. The Wildcats were able to make it seven straight games without a loss, but eventually fell to Oklahoma at home. The Wildcats have played well for much of the season, and even played themselves into a chance to win this past Saturday against the No.2 team in the country.

    Kansas State finds itself embedded in third place in one of the stronger conferences in the country. All that can be said is that the Wildcats have overachieved and will likely finish the season well. They have a test on Nov. 19 when they travel to Austin to face Texas, but with a win, they will solidify themselves at the top of the Big 12.

    One thing is for sure, Collin Klein is an amazing X-factor for the Wildcats. He has enough big play ability in him to help the Wildcats win out and hold their place in the BCS.

13. South Carolina Gamecocks: Just Right

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    Last Game: 11/5/11, Arkansas 44-South Carolina 28

    Arkansas throttled South Carolina this past week as the Gamecocks visited the Razorbacks in Fayetteville. South Carolina now has two losses in the conference, placing Georgia in the driver’s seat towards the Eastern division title.

    South Carolina still faces Florida, and they cap off the season against Clemson. The biggest splash that the Gamecocks could make is to win out the remainder of the schedule and put Clemson down while watching themselves rise in the rankings.

    The likelihood is that Clemson beats Carolina to finish the season, but the Gamecocks finish with nine wins on the season.

12. Penn State Nittany Lions: Overrated

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    Last Game: 10/29/11, Penn State 10-Illinois 7

    The Nittany Lions have won numerous games this season totally devoid of any offensive explosion. At times, it seemed that the Nittany Lions had no chance to begin to look effective on offense. The Nittany Lions face Nebraska this coming week at home and will look to win that game big and secure themselves as the top dog in the Leaders division.

    Penn State has some off the field issues that could affect the way that they remainder of the season plays out. State doesn’t need any issues, as their future schedule is enough.

    The Nittany Lions will play host to Nebraska this week, but then travel to Ohio State and Wisconsin to finish the season. Penn State holds its destiny, but may play its way out of the first Big 10 championship game.

11. Houston Cougars: Underrated

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    Last Game: 11/5/11, Houston 56-UAB 13

    Houston traveled to UAB this past Saturday and blasted the Blazers in their home stadium. The Cougars have been led by their record setting quarterback, Case Keenum, and so far, have maintained themselves in the undefeated column.

    Houston is one of the few teams left that is unbeaten, but find themselves far outside of the top five because of their conference affiliation. The argument for the Cougars would be that if Boise State receives the favor they do, why shouldn’t Houston?

    The obvious answer is that Boise is consistently good, but the current rankings should reflect only what a team has accomplished this season. Houston deserves a better shot than what they are receiving currently. Say what you will about the Cougars, but if you are a Boise advocate, you have to have the Cougar flag on your bandwagon as well. 

10. Virginia Tech Hokies: Overrated

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    Last Game: 10/29/11, Virginia Tech 14-Duke 10

    The Hokies lost to Clemson to start the month of October, but have remained unbeaten since. The Hokies have been shaky at best in their wins, barely making it past a very bad Duke team two weeks ago.

    The Hokies have a big game this coming Thursday night, as they face Georgia Tech in Atlanta. The Yellow Jackets have been playing really good football lately and just recently knocked off the same Clemson team that throttled the Hokies in early October.

    The Hokies have been one of the clear overrated teams for some time this season. They have been the benefactors of a weaker ACC and light out of conference schedule. The Hokies may have reached their pinnacle this week for the 2011 season.

9. Clemson Tigers: Just Right

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    Last Game: 10/29/11, Georgia Tech 31-Clemson 17

    Clemson played well outside of themselves for much of the start of the season. The Tigers returned a wealth of experience on both sides of the ball in 2011, but expectations were not to put themselves in position for a national title early. They were able to win eight straight before their loss came two weeks ago to Georgia Tech.

    The Clemson Tigers find themselves at No. 9 despite their loss to the Yellow Jackets and don’t face a tough contest until the end of the season battle against South Carolina.

    Clemson is in the driver’s seat to winning the Atlantic Division of the ACC and pushing forward to a BCS bowl with a conference title. Clemson holds their destiny in their hands, with games against Wake Forest and North Carolina State remaining on the ACC schedule.

8. Arkansas Razorbacks: Just Right

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    Last Game: 11/5/11, Arkansas 44-South Carolina 28

    The Razorbacks were entrenched in the national title talk until they lost to No. 3 Alabama in week four. Since then, the Razorbacks have not lost a game, but they have struggled on the road.

    Arkansas still has three SEC games left on the schedule, with LSU being the final contest on the docket. Arkansas may be a great offense, but they will likely not be a match for the LSU defense. The Razorbacks are most likely to finish this season 10-2.

    The Razorbacks find themselves in the Top 10 mainly because of the wealth of talent that surrounds them in conference. With their only loss coming to the current No. 3 team in the country, there has to be a wealth of national respect given to Arkansas.

    Tyler Wilson is the best quarterback in the SEC, and he has the best receivers in the country to toss to. It is the Razorback defense that holds this Arkansas team back from being special.

7. Oregon Ducks: Just Right

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    Last Game: 11/5/11, Oregon 34-Washington 17

    The Oregon Ducks have been a part of the BCS discussion this season on numerous occasions despite losing their season opener to LSU. The Ducks bounced back from the huge loss to the Tigers by blasting past every opponent that has been before them.

    The Ducks will face off against Stanford this coming week in a game that will determine the winner of the Pac-12 North division, and if the Stanford Cardinal are able to find their way to the national title this season.

    Oregon is a longshot for a repeat at the national title game, but they are definitely in a great position to spoil the dreams of Stanford and work their way into a BCS bowl with a conference championship win. The season has a lot of games left, but this coming week’s showdown will have a lot to say with how the 2011 season finishes.

6. Oklahoma Sooners: Just Right

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    Last Game: 11/5/11, Oklahoma 41-Texas A&M 25

    The Sooners are playing some of the best football in the country right now. The Sooners had a wake-up call four weeks ago when the Texas Tech Raiders came to town and knocked off the undefeated Oklahoma team.

    Since that game, the Sooners have scored 99 points in two games. There was a huge loss to the team that occurred this past week, however, as Ryan Broyles went down with a season-ending knee injury. He was a major impact player for the Sooners, but they have a wealth of playmakers to help fill the gap.

    Oklahoma faces Baylor in Waco this coming week, then come home to face Iowa State before traveling to Oklahoma State to close out the season. The Cowboys are ranked No. 2 in the current poll, making for a major showdown to close the season.

    While the Sooners aren’t likely to finish the season in the title game, they are able to change the course of who plays in the game. A win for the Sooners, and there is a possibility of a rematch between LSU and Alabama.

5. Boise State Broncos: Underrated

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    Last Game: 11/5/11, Boise State 48-UNLV 21

    The Broncos do what they are asked and win every single week. The Broncos are rewarded with a No. 5 ranking in the latest BCS standings. The Broncos felt as if they had an argument a year ago until they lost the season finale to Nevada.

    This season, the Broncos have played extremely well, with their closest winning margin coming against Air Force in a 37-26 victory. The Broncos have looked unbeatable in every one of their games so far this season.

    Going undefeated so far throughout the regular season in any other year would have garnered the Broncos in the top of the BCS discussion. For some reason, they are being shunned this year. For what it's worth, the Broncos have only played one ranked team.

    The Broncos will do their part and likely win out, but it is a longshot for the Broncos to find their way into the championship game.

4. Stanford Cardinal: Underrated

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    Last Game: 11/5/11, Stanford 38-Oregon State 13

    The Stanford Cardinal have pushed through every opponent this season with the exception of USC. USC hosted the Cardinal three weeks ago and pushed the game into overtime. No other game has come even close to defeat for the Andrew Luck led Cardinal.

    Stanford finds itself rated fourth in the country behind the Alabama Crimson Tide. Despite the Tide’s recent loss to the No. 1 LSU Tigers, they remained just above the undefeated Cardinal in the BCS rankings.

    Stanford faces a huge test this week at home, as they host Oregon. Defeating the Ducks would solidify the need for Stanford to receive their shot at the national title. Stanford still faces California and Notre Dame at home after the Oregon game.

    The Cardinal find themselves in control of their own destiny; they just simply have to win out and hope for a fall from Oklahoma State.

3. Alabama Crimson Tide: Overrated

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    Last Game: 11/5/11, LSU 9-Alabama 6

    Alabama hosted LSU in what was dubbed the game of the century this past Saturday. The Crimson Tide made their way to the losers bracket, as they lost the game in overtime. The Tide and Tigers were both as good as advertised, playing one of the best defensive games in history.

    At the end of the day, the Crimson Tide lost in what should be considered a single elimination game. There are ways that Alabama might be able to play back into the title game, however, despite already facing LSU at home in the regular season.

    The Tide have to be happy with their placement at the No. 3 spot, but a Stanford win at home over Oregon in the coming week will likely vault the Cardinal above Alabama in the rankings. Alabama is one of the best teams in the country, but a repeat for the championship would defeat the purpose of the creation of the BCS over a decade ago.

2. Oklahoma State Cowboys: Just Right

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    Last Game: 11/5/11, Oklahoma State 52-Kansas State 45

    The Cowboys have been living on the edge this season, relying on their explosive offense to overcome their defensive woes. The Oklahoma State team plays two away games against Texas Tech and Iowa State before returning home against Oklahoma to finish the season.

    The Cowboys will be looking to stay in the title hunt, and right now, control their own destiny. The Cowboys simply have to win out, and they will make their way to the national title game. The Cowboys are benefiting this season from the lack of a conference championship inside the Big 12 as well.

    Oklahoma State may not have been the early season favorite from the state of Oklahoma to be in the title game, but the way that their offense is executing, it would be a treat to watch the Cowboys square off against the defense of LSU.

1. LSU Tigers: Just Right

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    Last Game: 11/5/11, LSU 9-Alabama 6

    LSU won a huge contest this past Saturday, as they won the game of the century over Alabama. LSU solidified their place at the top of the BCS mountain after winning an amazing defensive showdown. The Tigers will look to remain No. 1 for the remainder of the season.

    With games against Western Kentucky, Ole Miss and Arkansas left on the schedule, the Tigers look to be able to finish undefeated. The game against Arkansas will be the biggest test, but the power of the LSU defense is likely to overwhelm the Razorback offense.

    With no game looking as if it will finish with a loss, these Tigers appear to be well on their way towards a national title berth. LSU will likely continue to win ballgames big and get the experience of playing a title game in front of a home crowd in New Orleans.

    After Saturday, there is no doubt who belongs at the top of the college football world.