NCF Nation: bcs reaction 111812

Irish No. 1 for first time in BCS era

November, 18, 2012
BCS standings reaction: ACC | Big 12 | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-12 | SEC | Notre Dame

The echoes have received their wake-up call. For the first time in the BCS era, Notre Dame sits atop the college football world.

After a wonderful weekend for Brian Kelly’s Fighting Irish in South Bend and elsewhere, Notre Dame ranks No. 1 in the latest BCS standings -- a first for the program. The Irish no longer have to win a beauty contest against fellow unbeatens Kansas State and Oregon, both of which stumbled Saturday night. The nation’s only other perfect team, Ohio State, is ineligible for the postseason because of NCAA sanctions. Notre Dame is No. 1 in both human polls and No. 1 in all six computer ratings systems.

After stumbling badly in its three BCS bowl appearances and making quick exits from the national title talk since the system launched in 1998, Notre Dame is finally where it wants to be. The program is no longer living off of its past. It’s all about the here and now.

All that separates the Irish from the BCS title game Jan. 7 in Miami is a win this coming Saturday against archrival USC in Los Angeles, who will be without star quarterback Matt Barkley.

You couldn’t have scripted it better for Notre Dame and its Heisman Trophy candidate, linebacker Manti Te'o, who surprised many by choosing the Irish ahead of USC coming out of high school in Hawaii.

Te’o and his fellow seniors went out on top in their final home game at Notre Dame Stadium, thrashing Wake Forest 38-0. But the day only got better as Baylor pummeled Kansas State, knocking the Wildcats out of the title chase and possibly quarterback Collin Klein off the Heisman radar. Another surprise arrived Saturday night at Autzen Stadium as Stanford, a team Notre Dame beat Oct. 13 in overtime, stunned Oregon in an extra session.

It’s all right there for Notre Dame. Many expected the Notre Dame-USC game to shape the national title race before the season. Few expected Notre Dame to be the team in the mix, and USC to be the team in chaos. The talent-stocked Trojans have managed to lose four games. There will be no crystal football in Heritage Hall this season, or even a Rose Bowl championship trophy. Notre Dame can deliver the final blow and send itself to the title game in the process.

Who else loved Week 12 besides the Domers? Everyone in SEC country. We wisely didn’t sign the SEC’s death warrant after Week 11, and now the league is alive and well in the title chase after a Saturday of crushing tomato cans.

While Notre Dame has to win at USC to get to Miami, it’s a virtual certainty an SEC team will be there as the league occupies the Nos. 2, 3, 4 and 7 spots in the BCS standings. As long as Alabama and Georgia don’t stumble this week against rivals Auburn and Georgia Tech, respectively, their SEC championship matchup will serve as a national semifinal. Florida likely needs losses by both the Tide and the Bulldogs to have a chance, but the Gators can help themselves by beating No. 10 Florida State in Tallahassee.

No. 5 Oregon and No. 6 Kansas State shouldn’t be dismissed from the title talk, either, but both teams have become huge fans of USC. The Ducks and Wildcats must hope that a Notre Dame loss and the growing sentiment against another all-SEC title game would propel them back into the discussion. Oregon didn’t take a huge hit in the human polls but remains No. 7 in computer average. The Ducks’ computer numbers should be helped this week in the Civil War against No. 15 Oregon State, but they also need a Stanford loss to UCLA to get into the Pac-12 championship game. Kansas State is still strong in the computers (No. 4 in average) but must wait two long weeks before it can improve its stock on the field when it hosts No. 16 Texas. Oregon and Kansas State would also benefit from Florida losing to FSU.

The latest standings show the SEC is a lock to have multiple BCS bowl entries, and the Pac-12 took a big step toward sending two teams to the big bowls. The ACC and Big 12 are in decent shape, and the much-maligned Big Ten now has two top-20 teams (No. 14 Nebraska and No. 19 Michigan).

But right now, it’s Notre Dame’s world. The Irish have the spotlight they crave, the opponent they crave and the opportunity they crave.

This Saturday night, it’ll be onward to victory and a spot in the title game, or another season waiting for the complete return to glory.
BCS standings reaction: ACC | Big 12 | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-12 | SEC | Notre Dame

It only took a week for the college football world to take a step out of the SEC's shadow. For seven long days, the country soaked up the feeling of finally being able to look down on the SEC.

That week better have been a real blast because it took just one night for the SEC to crawl right back into the national title picture.

With Kansas State and Oregon both going down on Saturday, Alabama is right back in the running for the BCS title game, as the Crimson Tide shot up to No. 2 in the BCS standings after drubbing Western Carolina 49-0. If Alabama wins out, it is headed to Miami for the Discover BCS National Championship Game.

Alabama now has to beat an overmatched Auburn team at home this coming weekend and then get past Georgia in the SEC championship game. Georgia is now No. 3 in the BCS standings and is playing its best ball of the season.

If Alabama and Georgia both win this upcoming weekend, the SEC championship becomes a semifinal for the national championship.

But it doesn't just stop there for the SEC.

With No. 1 and No. 2 losing, there's a chance that the SEC could party like it's 2011 and send two teams back to the national championship. It's a long shot, but it's possible with some help.

First, Florida, which is No. 4 in the BCS standings, has to beat No. 10 Florida State to end the season 11-1. Then, No. 1 Notre Dame has to lose to USC. If that happens, the Gators could make it to Miami if No. 5 Oregon doesn't jump them with a Pac-12 championship. But the Ducks have to get to the league championship first.

If Notre Dame and Florida both win, the Gators will be heading to the Allstate Sugar Bowl if the SEC champion makes it to Miami.

LSU, Texas A&M and South Carolina are still in the BCS mix. If the SEC champ makes it to Miami, Florida loses to FSU and No. 7 LSU and No. 9 Texas A&M win out, both will be up for the Sugar Bowl. The Aggies have been one of the hottest teams in the country and are equipped with the new Heisman front-runner, Johnny Manziel, but it might be tough for the Sugar Bowl to turn down a 10-2 LSU team from right up the road.

South Carolina dropped from ninth to 12th in the BCS standings and pretty much needs all of the SEC teams in front of it to lose if it's going to have any chance at a BCS bowl.
BCS standings reaction: ACC | Big 12 | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-12 | SEC | Notre Dame

Rutgers jumped four spots to No. 18 in the latest BCS standings released Sunday night, moving ahead of Louisville as the top-ranked team from the Big East.

The Cardinals dropped two spots to No. 20 without playing a down last week. Their drop can be explained by looking at the computer averages. Though Louisville (9-1) is ranked higher than Rutgers (9-1) in both the Harris and coaches' polls, its computer average is 26. Louisville is not receiving a ranking in four of the six computer polls that are used in the calculations.

Rutgers surely received a bump in the computers this week after beating Cincinnati (7-3). Last week, the Scarlet Knights were not ranked in three computer polls used in the compilations; this week, they were not ranked in just one, and their computer average was 21. It also helps that their only loss came to a Kent State team that is now ranked No. 23 in the newest BCS standings.

Of course, all of this will end up being moot by Nov. 29, when Louisville and Rutgers are scheduled to end the regular season in New Jersey. Rutgers can clinch at least a share of the Big East title with a win over Pitt this Saturday; Louisville has to beat UConn to keep its BCS hopes alive. If the Cardinals do that, it doesn't matter if Rutgers wins or loses this week -- the regular-season finale will be for all the BCS marbles.
BCS standings reaction: ACC | Big 12 | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-12 | SEC | Notre Dame

The coast was clear, and the SEC was nowhere to be found. The Big 12 had been shut out of the BCS National Championship Game in each of the past two seasons after making the cut in five of the seven seasons before that. Kansas State looked likely to buck the trend.

Then a desperate Baylor team that believed in its matchups happened.

The smoke has cleared. The new BCS rankings have been released, and the Big 12 must face a harsh reality for a third consecutive season: Its BCS title hopes are dead.

Sure, an unlikely string of losses might help Kansas State back into the title game, but it's wasted breath at this point as K-State prepares to face Texas at home in two weeks with a Big 12 title on the line

For the second consecutive season, the Big 12's No. 9 team knocked off its No. 1 team on the road on a chilly November night in Week 12. Kansas State, like Oklahoma State last year, was a double-digit favorite. Both left with crushed dreams that must be mended over a bye week .

The Big 12's blue bloods -- Texas and Oklahoma -- once again checked out of the BCS title race early this season. A resilient contender emerged again, but once again fell short.

Kansas State is No. 6 in the BCS, though it sits at No. 4 in the computers and three of the six computer rankings still consider the Wildcats a top 3 team. Oklahoma is all the way back at No. 13.

This loss wasn't quite as painful as the 1998 loss in the Big 12 title game to Texas A&M, but it was much more shocking. Could Kansas State handle the pressure of being No. 1? Did Collin Klein's concussion knock him off track? Were the Wildcats simply not fast enough, deep enough or talented enough?

The answers to those questions don't matter much anymore. If the Big 12 wants a national title, there's only four words left to make that happen.

Better luck next year.
BCS standings reaction: ACC | Big 12 | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-12 | SEC | Notre Dame

There was little mystery that Notre Dame would top the BCS standings during Sunday night's unveiling.

But now it is known that the Irish's potential title-game opponent -- pending a win Saturday at USC -- would most likely come from America's least favorite conference.

You can probably hear those S-E-C chants already.

Three SEC teams are right behind Notre Dame, led by No. 2 Alabama and No. 3 Georgia. Barring losses by either the Tide or Bulldogs this coming week, their SEC title matchup Dec. 1 would likely serve as a play-in contest for a BCS title game spot.

For the Irish, it simply comes down to handling that No. 1 label this weekend.

"I think our situation's a little bit different in that we're not carrying it very long," coach Brian Kelly said on "BCS Countdown." "Because it's a rivalry game, it's USC, our guys look forward to this game every year. It's the one that they circle on their calendar, so that's much more of our attention than being No. 1. And again, one game left for us. So all attention is on this one football game."
BCS standings reaction: ACC | Big 12 | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-12 | SEC | Notre Dame

With two weeks left before the final BCS standings are announced, the Big Ten still needs an awful lot to go right to get in position for a possible BCS at-large bid.

Nebraska failed to make up any ground after its 38-14 win over Minnesota, staying at No. 14. Michigan moved up four spots but is still at only No. 19. One of the two would have to finish in the Top 14 to be eligible for an at-large spot, and for Nebraska that means the Huskers would have to lose yet still maintain their current position.

Nebraska, whose only two losses are to an 11-0 Ohio State team and No. 17 UCLA, is No. 12 in the computer rankings average. But the Harris and USA Today coaches' polls have the Huskers at No. 14. Beating Iowa this week probably won't do much to impress any voters, and a Big Ten title loss to a potential 7-5 Wisconsin would do damage. Nebraska still is in great shape for a Rose Bowl bid and needs to focus on that.

Michigan needs a Nebraska loss just to get into the Big Ten title game. The Wolverines also have to beat Ohio State on the road this week. Do that, and the Maize and Blue could get a big bump in the polls, where they are No. 20 in both rankings. They're No. 19 in the computer rankings, but their three losses -- to No. 1 Notre Dame, No. 2 Alabama and Nebraska -- are as good as any teams' in the country, if you're into the concept of a "good" loss. Climbing five spots between now and Dec. 2 -- especially if the Wolverines are home for the final weekend -- will require that several teams ahead of Michigan to lose.

Stanford's upset of Oregon did the Big Ten no favors, as that likely means the Pac-12 will now snag an at-large bid. Louisiana Tech losing did rule out the possibility of a non-AQ team grabbing an automatic bid. But with the SEC, Big 12, Pac-12 and ACC all in better position for at-large bids right now, the Big Ten still looks like it will be sending only one team, its champion, to the BCS.

BCS standings reaction: Week 13

November, 18, 2012
BCS standings reaction: ACC | Big 12 | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-12 | SEC | Notre Dame

Somebody schedule a group therapy session for Florida State fans. They’re going to need it after looking at the latest BCS standings:

No. 3 Georgia

No. 4 Florida

No. 10 Florida State

No. 11 Clemson


Who programmed “overrated” into the computers this year? There’s no way Georgia and Florida are THAT much better than the ACC’s top two teams -- if they even are better at all. Florida State has a chance to prove that this weekend, when the Noles host the rival Gators in the final game of the regular season. On second thought, Florida’s unwarranted ascension in the BCS standings might be the best thing to happen to FSU because if they win on Saturday, it will carry even more significance.

A shakeup in the standings was expected this weekend after Oregon and Kansas State both lost, but the rapid promotion of the SEC East comes as a surprise while the ACC maintained its status quo. Florida beat Jacksonville State. FSU won on the road to clinch the ACC’s Atlantic Division. Georgia overcame a slow start to beat Georgia Southern, not to be confused with Georgia Tech.

The SEC is rewarded for beating up on the little guys while the ACC is penalized for it.

It’s a head-scratching system for sure, and one the ACC can team up against this weekend by beating its SEC rivals in convincing fashion.