Wisconsin needs help in BCS standings

October, 16, 2011
10/16/11
9:20
PM ET
BCS standings reaction: ACC | Big 12 | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-12 | SEC

Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema has more pressing concerns than worrying about the initial Bowl Championship Series standings, which were released on Sunday night.

"I'm sure it will come across my desk," Bielema said Sunday afternoon. "I haven't been waiting for it."

Bielema couldn't be happy with what he saw.

Bielema, whose Badgers are off to a 6-0 start and lead the country in scoring with more than 50 points per game, were No. 6 in the initial BCS standings. The Badgers are ranked No. 4 in both the Harris Poll and USA Today coaches' poll, which make up two-thirds of the BCS formula.

The top two teams in the final BCS standings released on Dec. 4 will play in the Jan. 9 Allstate BCS National Championship Game in New Orleans.

But the Badgers' average rating in six computer polls was 11th. The Badgers were ranked as low as No. 17 in Kenneth Massey's ratings and No. 6 by Jeff Sagarin.

"I think we're a team that's gotten better week by week," Bielema said.

The Badgers' are undoubtedly hurt by their soft non-conference schedule. Wisconsin's three nonconference FBS opponents -- UNLV, Oregon State and Northern Illinois -- have a combined record of 6-13. Only the Huskies have a winning record. The Badgers also played FCS foe South Dakota.

"Our nonconference schedule is what it is," Bielema said. "Those things are set so far in advance you just try to get a quality opponent."

The good news for Wisconsin? The Badgers will probably play at least two more games against ranked opponents, starting with Saturday's road trip to No. 15 Michigan State. Wisconsin also plays at No. 23 Illinois on Nov. 19 and its last regular-season opponent, Penn State, is off to a 5-1 start.

The Badgers would also probably face a ranked team in the inaugural Big Ten championship game in Indianapolis on Dec. 3.

Wisconsin quarterback Russell Wilson said it's not about where the Badgers start in the BCS standings, but about where they finish in early December.

"I think it has significance, obviously," Wilson said. "You want to be at the top. Our goal is to be No. 1 at the end. But we're just working to do our best every day and that's the main thing."

Some other thoughts from the first BCS standings:
  • The BCS computers love Oklahoma State, which debuts at No. 4 in the BCS standings. The Pokes are No. 6 in the Harris Poll and coaches' poll, but they're ranked No. 1 in four of the six computer polls. OSU has victories over two ranked opponents, then-No. 8 Texas A&M and then-No. 22 Texas. You have to wonder how much OSU's 61-34 rout of Louisiana-Lafayette is actually helping its chances. The Ragin' Cajuns are off to a surprising 6-1 start.
  • SEC fans can't decide which SEC West team should be No. 1 in the country, LSU or Alabama. But only one computer rating put LSU at No. 1 (Richard Billingsley) and only one put Alabama at No. 1 (Sagarin).
  • Oklahoma started the season No. 1 in the coaches' poll and that's where the Sooners are still ranked. But the Sooners are No. 4 or worse in four of the six computer polls.
  • The BCS computers don't seem to like Stanford at this point. The Cardinal, which is ranked No. 5 in the coaches' poll and No. 7 in the Harris Poll, is No. 20 in Massey's ratings and No. 15 in Sagarin's. Stanford hasn't yet played a ranked opponent, but will play No. 25 Washington at home on Oct. 22 and No. 10 Oregon on Nov. 12. Stanford also plays Notre Dame in Palo Alto, Calif., on Nov. 26.

Mark Schlabach | email

College Football and Basketball

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