Monday, October 18, 2010

BlogPoll Monday: TCU, Boise and BCS

As I said this morning: The most intriguing subplot of the first iteration of the BCS rankings goes to... the computers.

Despite the fact that there is plenty of season left (and plenty of evidence to suggest that every team in the BCS Top 10 could still lose), expect plenty of howling today about how Oklahoma placed behind Oregon and Boise in the "human" polls, but sat at No. 1 in the BCS because all of the data-driven computer polls love the Sooners.

I'm OK with that -- certainly for now. Just as I am OK with the computers' extra emphasis on strength of schedule.

Here is the reality: If all unbeaten teams run the table between now and the final BCS ranking (presuming the higher-ranked team wins head-to-head match-ups with other unbeatens, like Auburn-LSU or TCU-Utah), Auburn and Oklahoma will play for the national title.

But any presumption of "running the table" -- aside from Boise, given its flimsy schedule and titanic talent -- is crazy. To wit:

*LSU and Auburn still have to play each other (let along having to play motivated Alabama).

*Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Missouri all have to play each other.

*Oregon still has to beat Oregon State in Corvallis -- Oregon State will be more motivated than the Ducks, even if Oregon has a national-title-game spot on the line.

*Michigan State can't possibly keep this up -- I could see them losing as soon as this coming weekend at Northwestern, the classic kind of game NU traditionally wins.

*Hell, even TCU and Utah have to play each other, with the winner presumably (and unfairly) getting the backseat to Boise.

The point: Things will sort themselves out -- at least to the point of distilling things down to Boise, the TCU-Utah winner and, in my opinion, Alabama, which will take advantage of losses by Oklahoma, Oregon, Michigan State to deliver a convincing BCS resume via running the table, including pending wins over LSU, Auburn and a gimpy SEC East champ.

The computers will love THAT.

Here is where I stand: I can gripe about Boise's schedule strength, but I also think that they are one of the Top 2 teams in the country, along with TCU or Utah -- depending on who wins their head-to-head match-up.

1. TCU
2. Boise State
3. Utah
4. Oklahoma
5. Oregon
6. Auburn
7. Alabama
8. LSU
9. Michigan State
10. Missouri
11. Wisconsin
12. Stanford
13. Ohio State
14. South Carolina
15. Nebraska
16. Arizona
17. Iowa
18. Oklahoma State
19. Florida State
20. Arkansas
21. Air Force
22. Texas
23. Virginia Tech
24. Mississippi State
25. Kansas State

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