Post-Week 8 BCS Rankings and Analysis

Alabama starts where it finished last year at No. 1

Before everyone freaks out, this seems to be a good time to remind people that the top two teams in the first BCS standings have met in the championship just twice since 1998.

That doesn’t mean the odds are in the favor of Oregon and Ohio State, two teams that would like to stake a claim on the final BCS championship game. It just means an Alabama-Florida State matchup, historically speaking, is not likely.

Only in 2011 (Alabama-LSU) and 2005 (Texas-USC) did the Nos. 1 and 2 teams in the first BCS rankings play for a title, and only the Longhorns and Trojans went wire to wire.

The Seminoles’ appearance in the top two was a bit of a surprise, especially given Oregon’s steadfast spot at No. 2 in the coaches’ and Harris polls. Florida State drilled Clemson 51-14 on the road, but ironically the computer rankings — which aren’t permitted to put weight on margin of victory — gave the Noles the boost they needed.

BCS StandingsCoachesHarrisComp.
1. Alabama112
2. Florida State331
3. Oregon224
4. Ohio State445
5. Missouri763
6. Stanford886
7. Miami6710
8. Baylor5512
9. Clemson10109
10. Texas Tech9911
11. Auburn17157
12. UCLA111114
13. LSU131215
14. Virginia Tech19198
15. Oklahoma201416
16. Texas A&M151318

Moving Up

Florida State. The Seminoles were the big winners in the first BCS standings. Florida State’s 51-14 win over Clemson was not enough to put the Seminoles into the top two in the coaches’ and Harris’ polls, but they were ranked No. 1 in the computer average. Four of the six BCS computers had Florida State No. 1.

The Seminoles’ lead isn’t particularly strong, though. Florida State is .0028 points ahead of Oregon (.9348 to .9320). Contrast that to the gulf between No. 1 Alabama and No. 2 Florida State of 0.493.

Missouri. The Tigers opened strong at No. 5 in the BCS standings, thanks largely to a boost in the computer rankings. The Tigers were ranked seventh in the coaches’ poll and sixth in the Harris poll, but averaged a No. 3 ranking in the computer average.

Falling Down

Oregon. The No. 2 team in the human polls was fourth in the computers, leaving the Ducks out of the championship game scenario for the time being. The Ducks, however, will face No. 6 Stanford, No. 12 UCLA and No. 25 Oregon State during the regular season. The only BCS top 25 team remaining on the regular season schedule for Florida State is No. 7 Miami.

Ohio State. The Buckeyes are securely out of the top three, falling 0.0767 points behind No. 3 Oregon. While the Ducks will have plenty of opportunities to make up ground on FSU, Ohio State can’t say the same. No. 22 Michigan is the only top-25 remaining on Ohio State’s regular season schedule. The Buckeyes would need two of the top three teams to lose to get into a national championship scenario.

Key Games This Week

No. 10 Texas Tech at No. 15 Oklahoma. The Red Raiders’ computer ranking is lagging behind (11th) their ranking the human polls (ninth) thanks to strength of schedule. The game at Oklahoma will be Tech’s first game against a ranked foe this year. The Red Raiders might not catch up to Baylor with a win, but they’d be in the conversation with other undefeated teams from the five major conferences.

No. 12 UCLA at No. 3 Oregon. Could the Ducks leapfrog Ohio State as quickly as next week? It would seem that way as Ohio State hosts unranked Penn State.

No. 17 Fresno State at San Diego State. The Bulldogs opened the BCS rankings one spot ahead of Northern Illinois, but that gulf could widen if both remain undefeated. San Diego State has won three in a row, including two in the Mountain West. Northern Illinois is amidst a stretch against the worst of the worst in FBS (Akron, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, UMass). The Huskies will have midweek games against Ball State and Toledo to impress voters, but Fresno State is the clear frontrunner among the non-AQs.

Other Notes

• No teams from outside the six automatic-qualifying conferences are in position for an automatic bid in the first BCS standings, but Fresno State and Northern Illinois have reason to be optimistic even if neither meet automatic-qualifying criteria just yet. They’d need to be in the top 12 or in the top 16 provided they finish ahead of a major conference champion. That includes the American this season.

Both No. 17 Fresno State and No. 18 Northern Illinois are ranked ahead of American frontrunner No. 23 UCF.

• One of the biggest disparities between the human polls and the computer average was Baylor, not surprisingly. Baylor ranked fifth in both human polls and 12th in the computer average. Between the Bears’ light schedule and the computers eliminating the importance of lopsided final scores, Baylor’s resume right now is BCS poison.

• The other disparity is just the opposite: Auburn is at No. 11 in the BCS standings thanks to placing seventh in the computer polls. In a cruel repeat of history for Tigers fans, Auburn started the season unranked after going 3-9, contributing to a No. 17 rank in the coaches’ poll and No. 15 in the Harris. The Tigers’ only loss is to BCS No. 13 LSU on the road.

• The conference tally for the top 25 is as follows: SEC (6), ACC, Big 12 and Pac-12 (4 each), Big Ten (3), American (2), Mountain West and MAC (2 each).

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 American’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 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 Orange Bowl, 4. The Sugar, 5. The Fiesta.

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