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Florida QB Jeff Driskel leads the No. 2 team in the BCS standings
The first BCS standings for 2012 began where they ended in 2011 -- with an all-SEC title game scenario.
A near-unanimous No. 1 in the coaches’ and Harris polls, Alabama began in the BCS standings in the top spot. But the surprise was at No. 2.
Propelled by a No. 1 average in the computer polls, Florida opened the BCS standings at No. 2 ahead of Oregon. The Ducks were No. 2 in both human polls, but ranked sixth in the computer component.
Florida’s spot at No. 2 was a surprise, but yet another sign of the SEC’s dominance of the BCS rankings. Six SEC teams were in the top six -- Alabama, Florida, No. 6 LSU, No. 7 South Carolina, No. 11 Georgia, No. 12 Mississippi State).
The Gators’ rank was only part of the story in the disparity between the two human polls, which each count as one-third of the BCS formula, and the average of the six computer rankings. With a limited sample size, the computers are expected to digress from the human polls at this stage of the season.
Here are a few observations from the first release of the BCS standings:
BCS Standings: Oct. 14
|Coaches Poll||Harris Poll||
|4. Kansas State||3||4||4|
|5. Notre Dame||5||5||2|
|7. South Carolina||8||7||7|
|8. Oregon State||11||10||5|
|12. Mississippi St||16||14||T-12|
|13. West Virginia||15||15||T-12|
|14. Florida State||10||8||28|
The computers love Florida. With road wins over Texas A&M, Tennessee and Vanderbilt, plus the win over LSU, the Gators were the No. 1 team in the computer average. Only the Richard Billingsley computer had Florida outside of the top two at No. 5. Florida ranked third in the Harris poll and fourth in the coaches poll. Florida will face three more BCS top-15 teams (South Carolina, Georgia and Florida State) during the regular season.
The computers also love Notre Dame. All six BCS computers had Notre Dame in the top four, resulting in the Irish’s computer rank averaging to No. 2. Notre Dame ranked fifth in both human polls. This sets up a huge game with BCS implications with No. 9 Oklahoma on Oct. 27. A win over Oklahoma may all but clinch a BCS berth for Notre Dame. A win over Notre Dame may be the Sooners back into the title picture.
Seeing a trend? Road wins against big teams matter. Oregon State barely cracked the top 10 in the human polls, but the Beavers are fifth in the computers thanks to road wins over UCLA, Arizona and BYU.
Oregon needs to make up ground... and it can. And the Ducks will have ample opportunity to do so. Despite being No. 2 in both human polls, the Ducks were ranked sixth or lower in five of the six computers. Four home games and none against BCS top 25 teams hammered Oregon in the schedule strength department, but the Ducks face three BCS top-25 teams in November (USC, Stanford, Oregon State).
Alabama has a commanding presence at No. 1. The Crimson Tide have a BCS average of 0.9761 compared to 0.9092 for Florida. The difference between Alabama and Florida is more than the difference between the No. 2 Gators and No. 5 Notre Dame. All 59 voters in the coaches’ poll and 110 of 115 voters in the Harris poll voted Alabama No. 1 on their ballots.
The non-AQ teams picked a bad year to have a down season. The Big Ten is absent from the first BCS standings. Normally, this news would be a boon to BCS busters. A champion of a non-automatic qualifying conference finishing in the top 16 would receive an automatic BCS bid. (Otherwise, a non-AQ champ has to finish in the top 12). Right now, that rule would not be in effect. Ohio is the only remaining undefeated team in the non-AQ conferences, but the Bobcats are absent from the BCS top 25. Instead, this may be better news for one-loss Boise State, ranked 22nd in the BCS. The Broncos would need to move up six slots to capture an automatic bid as long as the Broncos are ranked ahead of the Big Ten (or ACC, or Big East) champion. Ranked seventh the Associated Press poll, Ohio State is ineligible for the BCS standings.
Notes on BCS selection:
• Automatic BCS bids go to the top two for the title game, the champions of the ACC (Orange Bowl), Big 12 (Fiesta), Big Ten (Rose), Pac-12 (Rose) and SEC (Sugar). The Big East’s automatic bid is not tied to a particular bowl.
• Notre Dame receives an automatic bid if it finishes in the top eight.
• A champion from a non-automatic qualifying league (Conference USA, MAC, Mountain West, Sun Belt, WAC and non-Notre Dame independents) receive an automatic bid if it finishes in the top 12 of the standings or if it finishes in the top 16 and ahead of a champion from a non-AQ conference.
• To be eligible for an at-large BCS bid, a team must have nine or more wins and finish in the top 14 of the BCS standings.
• Once automatic tie-ins are placed, the selection order for BCS bids goes as follows: 1. The bowl losing the BCS No. 1 team to the championship game, 2. The bowl losing the BCS No. 2 team, 3. The Fiesta Bowl, 4. The Sugar, 5. The Orange.
By David Fox
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