NCF Nation: bcs-reaction-103011

BCS standings reaction: ACC | Big 12 | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-12 | SEC | Non-AQ

Stanford is the biggest beneficiary of Clemson's first loss.

The Cardinal, who needed three overtimes to beat USC 56-48 at the Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday night, jumped two spots to No. 4 in the BCS standings released on Sunday night.

The Cardinal moved past Clemson, which fell at Georgia Tech 31-17 on Saturday night, its first defeat of the season. Stanford also moved ahead of No. 5 Boise State, which was idle this weekend.

Stanford's next big test comes on Nov. 12, when the Cardinal play host to No. 8 Oregon in a game that might decide which team wins the Pac-12 North Division. First, the Cardinal play at struggling Oregon State on Nov. 5.

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

Right now, SEC West rivals LSU and Alabama and surprising Oklahoma State are in the driver's seat in the BCS championship race. The No. 1 Tigers play the No. 2 Crimson Tide at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on Saturday.

Both SEC West teams were idle this past weekend, but LSU saw its lead over Alabama in the BCS standings increase from .0075 points last week to .0143 points this week.

While Saturday's game between LSU and Alabama is being billed as another "Game of the Century," it's becoming increasingly clear that Oklahoma's Dec. 3 trip to rival Oklahoma State for the Bedlam game will also be very important in the BCS championship race, as long as those teams keep winning.

Oklahoma, which saw its BCS title hopes take a serious hit with last week's 41-38 loss to Texas Tech, didn't need long to rebound. The Sooners blasted then-No. 8 Kansas State 58-17 on the road on Saturday.

As a result, the Sooners are in the best position among one-loss teams, jumping to No. 6 in the BCS standings.

The No. 3 Pokes still play Kansas State (home), Texas Tech (road) and Iowa State (road) before playing the Sooners. Oklahoma State is ranked No. 1 in five of the six computer rankings used in the BCS formula (the computers make up one-third of the formula; the Harris Poll is one-third; and USA Today coaches' poll is one-third), so an upset of the Pokes would do wonders for Oklahoma's BCS ranking.

A few other observations from the latest BCS standings:
  • I'm not sure if an 8-1 team has ever gotten less respect than Penn State. I know the Nittany Lions are offensively challenged, but their only loss came against No. 2 Alabama. I thought they'd be higher than No. 16 after defeating Illinois 10-7 on Saturday. There's something to be said for playing defense, which the Nittany Lions can do.
  • Clemson's loss to Georgia Tech dropped the Tigers six spots from No. 5 to No. 11 in the BCS standings. Kansas State (No. 8 to No. 14) and Michigan State (No. 11 to No. 17) also fell a half-dozen spots after losing games on Saturday.
  • Arkansas moved up three spots to No. 7, after beating Vanderbilt 31-28 on the road on Saturday. The Hogs fell behind 28-17 and won only after Commodores kicker Casey Spear missed a 27-yard field goal with eight seconds to play. The Hogs also looked bad in a 29-24 win at Ole Miss the week before.
BCS standings reaction: ACC | Big 12 | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-12 | SEC | Non-AQ

Boise State was idle this weekend but still dropped one spot in the latest BCS standings released Sunday night, falling to No. 5.

Though the Broncos got help when Clemson and Kansas State lost, they really needed Stanford to lose to USC to help clear even more teams from their path to the BCS National Championship Game. The Cardinal rallied to beat the Trojans in triple overtime, and poll voters didn't punish them for their close victory. Stanford leapfrogged Boise State, moving from No. 6 to No. 4.

Boise State still needs every undefeated team ahead of it to lose to have any shot at becoming the first non-AQ to make it to the BCS title game. No. 1 LSU and No. 2 Alabama play Saturday, so one of those teams will have one loss. But of course the question always becomes whether any one-loss team would finish ahead of the Broncos in the final BCS standings.

Addressing that question on the "BCS Countdown" show Sunday night, ESPN BCS guru Brad Edwards said, "I think that's the thing with Boise State is what are their chances of finishing ahead of a one-loss team? Right now there's a pretty big gap between them and that group of teams that have been beat, but if Boise State were to find its way in the top 2 of the polls, you start to see the contenders behind them take shape. You have a definitive team move into that No. 3 spot, whether it's that Alabama/LSU loser or Oklahoma -- they're likely to be ranked ahead of Boise State in the computers, which is going to make it tough for the Broncos to fight that team off."

Boise State has a better computer average than Stanford, but is ranked lower in the coaches' and Harris poll.

There were two other non-AQs featured in the new BCS standings: Undefeated Houston moved up four spots to No. 13 for its highest-ever BCS ranking. Fellow Conference USA school Southern Miss made its first appearance in the BCS standings since 2004, entering at No. 25.

Houston appears to be in a tough spot. Its best shot to make it to a BCS game is to get into the top 12 of the final BCS standings and for Boise State to lose.
BCS standings reaction: ACC | Big 12 | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-12 | SEC | Non-AQ

Oh, what a difference a week makes. Just imagine, if a few balls had bounced differently in Los Angeles Coliseum.

Oklahoma State has retained its spot in the driver's seat of the Big 12 and road to the BCS Championship Game, but don't sleep on Oklahoma.

The No. 6 Sooners are the highest-ranked one-loss team, and blew out an undefeated, top-10 team on the road on Saturday while Clemson fell. Stanford looked very beatable, but escaped in triple overtime.

There's a big gap between the Sooners and the two undefeated teams ahead of them, but all of a sudden, the road is clear.

Oklahoma still needs Stanford and Boise to lose. Put on your TCU hats with some Oregon and Notre Dame shirts, Sooners fans.

Oklahoma's biggest minus is who beat it. Texas Tech's loss on Saturday may kill the Sooners' chances at season's end.

Possible scenario: Oklahoma stands alone in December after beating Oklahoma State in Stillwater, and only the winner from the Alabama-LSU game is left undefeated.

Two SEC teams in the title game, or the Big 12 champion Sooners? Let the debate rage on.

Oklahoma hopped over Oregon, in part thanks to the Big 12's strength in computer rankings, and that won't change for the rest of the season. Oklahoma faces Texas A&M this week for a shot at another quality win, but with Clemson's loss and Stanford's air of invincibility thinning, the idea of the Sooners crashing the BCS party is a whole lot less crazy just a week after their title hopes looked dashed.
BCS standings reaction: ACC | Big 12 | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-12 | SEC | Non-AQ

With no teams in the national title hunt, the Big Ten doesn't have to get too nervous or excited about the BCS standings anymore. But they still could come into play before the season is over.

A week after no Big Ten teams cracked the top 10, Nebraska rectified that by checking in at No. 10. But then you have to go all the way down to No. 15 before the league shows up again, with a run of teams from 15-17: Michigan, Penn State and Michigan State, in that order.

Nebraska is all over the map with the computers, ranking as high as No. 8 and as low as No. 18. Four of the six computer rankings have the Huskers at No. 13 or lower. That's still better than Wisconsin, which is unranked in five of the six computer rankings, and only No. 20 in the other.

What does it mean for the conference? Probably not too much. But BCS standings are the No. 5 division tiebreaker, should it come to that. As tightly bunched as both division races are right now, that could happen.

And the other potential impact is on the Big Ten's quest for another at-large bid to the BCS. Remember that a team has to finish in the top 14 of the BCS standings to be eligible for an at-large spot. Right now, only Nebraska would qualify. But if a team is going to get in position for an at-large spot by going, say, 10-2, that means it will win a few more big games and would likely climb into the top 14. So it shouldn't be too much of a problem if a Big Ten team is deserving of that consideration.

To recap:

Big Ten in the BCS standings

No. 10: Nebraska
No. 15: Michigan
No. 16: Penn State
No. 17: Michigan State
No. 20: Wisconsin

SEC BCS standings reaction

October, 30, 2011
10/30/11
9:00
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BCS standings reaction: ACC | Big 12 | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-12 | SEC | Non-AQ

With the big day getting closer and closer, we will now officially have the top two teams in the BCS standings squaring off in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on Saturday.

LSU remains at the top, with Alabama sitting at No. 2.

No shockers, really, and now the winner of Saturday's game between these two will officially be in the driver's seat for the national championship game. A tremendously exciting battle for the No. 2 spot should follow in the remaining weeks. That is, of course, if the winner runs the table afterward.

With Clemson losing to Georgia Tech, the Tigers' chances of getting back into the national championship race are slim. Wisconsin has no doubt officially been eliminated after suffering back-to-back losses. Oklahoma is still in the chase, ranking sixth, while Oklahoma State sits third, meaning all eyes will be on the Cowboys from here on out.

And don't forget about Stanford and Boise State. Both are in the top five and are very much in the national championship picture.

Clemson's loss also means that the chances of an Alabama-LSU rematch are increasing. While it still feels like the chances of it actually happening are low, slowly the right pieces are falling into place. The more losses, the better. Obviously, the loser of Saturday's still has to win out afterward, but losses by Oklahoma State, Stanford and Boise State would make it hard for voters not to really consider a rematch.

Tough games remain for Oklahoma State and Stanford, and you have to wonder if voters will give Boise the nod over a one-loss SEC team given the Broncos' much lighter schedule.

The new rankings also brought South Carolina into the top 10. The Gamecocks are ninth heading into a crucial game at Arkansas, which moved up to seventh from 10th. Both are still technically in the race for a BCS berth, but this weekend could eliminate one.

Big East in BCS standings

October, 30, 2011
10/30/11
9:00
PM ET
BCS standings reaction: ACC | Big 12 | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-12 | SEC | Non-AQ

West Virginia moved up one spot to No. 24 in the latest BCS standings released Sunday night, and remained the only Big East team featured in the top 25.

Though Cincinnati (6-1) is ranked No. 22 in the coaches' poll and No. 23 in the Harris poll, the Bearcats have yet to crack the standings. Their computer ranking must be holding them back from a spot in the top 25. The BCS standings use the coaches' and Harris poll rankings, and an average of six computer rankings.

Three non-AQ teams are ranked in the BCS, including two from Conference USA (Houston at No. 13, Southern Miss at No. 25). West Virginia is the only team in the top 25 that is unranked in all six of the computer rankings.

LSU remained No. 1 in the standings, and Alabama is No. 2, setting up a huge showdown between the two set for Saturday in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
BCS standings reaction: ACC | Big 12 | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-12 | SEC | Non-AQ

In a span of four quarters, Clemson went from a national title contender to an afterthought in the BCS standings. With the Tigers’ drop from No. 5 to No. 11 this week, no longer does the ACC have a top 10 team. No longer does the ACC have a realistic chance of getting two teams in BCS bowl games. And no longer is the anticipation of a weekly race with the other undefeated teams in the country one of the most interesting subplots to the ACC race.

On a lighter note, ACC fans can take solace in the fact that there are more teams ranked from Conference USA than the Big East. And you won’t find any Big Ten teams in the top five, either. The ACC isn’t alone. It’s not easy to produce a top five team and keep it there.

At No. 11 in this week’s BCS standings, Clemson is the ACC’s highest representative, followed by No. 12 Virginia Tech and No. 23 Georgia Tech. The good news is that the ACC has three ranked teams, compared to two last week, but the addition of the Yellow Jackets doesn’t compensate for the loss of a national title contender.

It’s important to remember, though, that Clemson did not "pull a Clemson” in Atlanta. Clemson was prepared. It was focused, but Georgia Tech was better, and the Jackets deserve their spot in the BCS standings this week.

Then again, so does Clemson.

Pac-12 BCS standings reaction

October, 30, 2011
10/30/11
9:00
PM ET
BCS standings reaction: ACC | Big 12 | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-12 | SEC | Non-AQ

Stanford perked up in the BCS standings again Sunday.

The Cardinal are rated fourth in the standings, behind LSU, Alabama and Oklahoma State. The Cardinal have gone from eighth to sixth to fourth over the first three weeks of the standings publication.

Oregon is ranked eighth, falling one spot. The Ducks also are now the No. 3 one-loss team behind Oklahoma and Arkansas. Last week, they were the first.

Arizona State is 19th. USC isn't eligible for the BCS standings due to NCAA sanctions.

Still, Stanford's moving up shows that the computer rankings recognize a quality win over USC. Last week, the Cardinal were ninth with the computers with a high of 6 and low of 21 (the high and low scores are dropped). This week, it is sixth with the computers with a high of four and low of eight.

Still, Stanford needs Oklahoma State, rated third, to slip. The computers love the Cowboys, ranking them No. 1, and if Stanford and the Cowboys are undefeated, it's likely the Cowboys will get the nod opposite the SEC champion.

Assuming all goes according to plan, of course, which it often doesn't.

The big game this weekend is LSU-Alabama. Then, if Stanford and Oregon prevail this weekend, it will be the Ducks' visit to the Farm.

The Cowboys' biggest challenge? Dec. 3, at home versus rival Oklahoma.

That's the day after the Pac-12 championship game.

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