NCF Nation: BCS-reaction-112011

SEC closer to title-game rematch

November, 20, 2011

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

College football fans who live north of the Mason-Dixon Line and west of the Mississippi River were already sick of hearing about the SEC’s dominance.

What are they going to do now?

After its teams won each of the sport's past five BCS national championships, the SEC now has the top three teams in the latest BCS standings, which were released Sunday night. With only two weeks to go in the regular season, an all-SEC rematch in the Jan. 9 Allstate BCS National Championship Game in New Orleans now seems like a strong possibility.

LSU remained No. 1 with a perfect BCS average of 1.000, followed by No. 2 Alabama (.9491) and No. 3 Arkansas (.8985).

Oklahoma State, which kicked off a chaotic weekend of football by losing to unranked Iowa State 37-31 in overtime on Friday night, fell from No. 2 to No. 4 with an .8408 average. Virginia Tech is No. 5 (.7842) and Stanford is No. 6 (.7711).

“It’s quite a lineup for us,” SEC commissioner Michael Slive said Sunday night. “It’s not over yet, though.”

LSU hosts Arkansas in Baton Rouge, La., on Friday, and if it wins would then play No. 13 Georgia in the Dec. 3 SEC championship game in Atlanta’s Georgia Dome. But if the Razorbacks upset the Tigers -- and if Alabama beats No. 24 Auburn on the road in Saturday’s Iron Bowl game -- the SEC West would be decided by a three-way tiebreaker.

In that case, the SEC West champion would be determined by the final BCS standings. The highest-rated team in the Nov. 27 BCS standings would be declared champion, unless the second-place team were within five spots and won the head-to-head matchup.

Alabama seems to be in better shape than Arkansas -- even if the Razorbacks upset LSU -- because of the Tide’s 38-14 victory over the Hogs in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on Sept. 24. Because of that victory, it’s hard to imagine the Tide falling below the Razorbacks, as long as the Tide beat Auburn.

LSU has the tiebreaker over Alabama because of the Tigers’ 9-6 overtime win in Tuscaloosa on Nov. 5.

Here’s a couple of other BCS notes:
  • Houston is No. 8 in the BCS standings, one spot behind No. 7 Boise State. But as long as the Cougars defeat Tulsa on the road on Friday and win the Dec. 3 Conference USA championship game, they’ll receive a BCS at-large bid. That’s because the Cougars would be rated in the top 16 of the BCS standings and would be higher than the Big East champion. The Big East doesn’t have a single team included in the top 25 of the BCS standings.

  • Under that scenario, the Broncos would probably be eliminated from BCS at-large consideration, since BCS rules state that only one team from a non-AQ conference must be selected each season.
  • Michigan is No. 15 in the BCS standings, but must finish in the top 14 to be considered for a BCS at-large spot. If the Wolverines defeat Ohio State on Saturday, there’s a good chance they’d be in line to receive an at-large bid. If the Wolverines are defeated, Kansas State might be next in line. The Wildcats are No. 11 in the BCS standings.

Pac-12 BCS standings reaction

November, 20, 2011
BCS standings reaction: ACC | Big 12 | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-12 | SEC | Non-AQ

The Pac-12 went from being a player to a spectator in the BCS standings.

Stanford is sixth and Oregon 10th in the BCS standings released Sunday. The SEC has the top three spots: LSU at No. 1, Alabama at No. 2, and Arkansas at No. 3.

Stanford is fourth in the Harris poll, fifth in the coaches poll and ninth with the computers. The Cardinal has a high rank of four and a low of 14 with the computers.

Oregon is nine in both human polls. It's 11th with the computers, with a high of sixth and low of 15th.

One thing to watch: If Stanford can get to No. 4 in the final BCS standings, it can earn a guaranteed berth as an at-large team. The Cardinal are a good bet to get an at-large berth in any event, but a guarantee -- according to BCS selection procedure -- is never a bad thing to have.

Michigan should make BCS numbers work

November, 20, 2011
BCS standings reaction: ACC | Big 12 | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-12 | SEC | Non-AQ

The latest BCS standings are out, and while there's nearly mass chaos in the national title race, the numbers really only mean one thing to one team in the Big Ten.

Michigan State is the league's highest-ranked team at No. 14, but the Spartans are either going to the Rose Bowl by winning the Big Ten championship game Dec. 3 or they won't be going to the BCS. Same goes for either No. 16 Wisconsin or No. 19 Penn State, who will fill out the other spot in Indianapolis depending on who wins this weekend in Madison. The Big Ten championship game loser will have three losses on the season and won't have a chance at an at-large bid because they will almost certainly not finish in the Top 14.

So the BCS numbers right now really matter to Michigan. At 9-2 with no worries of a loss in the Big Ten title game, the Wolverines have a good chance at securing an at-large BCS bid if they can beat Ohio State this week. The only problem is, Brady Hoke's team has to get into the Top 14 to qualify, and they're not there, yet. But they should be soon.

Michigan is No. 16 in both the USA Today coaches' and Harris polls, but it ranks 15th in the computer rankings. That equals a No. 15 ranking in the BCS standings, just one spot short of qualification. And with a win this week and some other teams invariably losing, the Wolverines should easily make the cut.

Then it will come down to whether the bowls want Michigan or some other at-large teams that are higher in the BCS standings, like Stanford or one of the Big 12 teams. But the Maize and Blue would have the benefit of a strong finish -- with three straight wins, including one over rival Ohio State -- and a fan base that is hungry to return to the big stage and would likely fill any BCS city's hotel rooms and restaurants. Michigan is also a brand name that will bring attention to any bowl.

Nebraska would have been in a similar position, but the Huskers lost 45-17 to Michigan in Ann Arbor on Saturday and have dropped to No. 21. So it still looks like Michigan or bust for the Big Ten's chances at an at-large bid.

First, though, the Wolverines have to beat Ohio State.

SEC BCS standings reaction

November, 20, 2011
BCS standings reaction: ACC | Big 12 | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-12 | SEC | Non-AQ

Once again, the SEC is looking down at the rest of the country.

The new batch of BCS standings are out, and as expected, LSU, Alabama and Arkansas are ranked one through three.

If everything works out, the SEC will have a representative in the Allstate BCS National Championship Game for the sixth straight season.

Losses by Oklahoma State, Oklahoma and Oregon have the SEC sitting pretty with a week left in the regular season.

You can just feel the rest of the country’s blood boiling at the thought of another title game featuring an SEC team.

Friday and Saturday will be extremely interesting for all three of these teams.

Things get started with LSU and Arkansas. The Tigers have been No. 1 in the BCS standings since their debut and will stay that way if they beat the Hogs. That win won’t necessarily clinch a birth in the national championship game, but with the computer love the Tigers have gotten and the season they’ve had, a loss to Georgia in the SEC championship might not drop the Tigers any lower than second in the standings.

Of course, winning is the best solution to everything.

For Alabama, a win against Auburn on Saturday and an LSU win Friday could clinch a berth in the national championship game for the Crimson Tide. A sloppy performance against Auburn might hurt the Tide with voters, but chances are that if Alabama beats Auburn, the Tide will be headed to New Orleans for the big game.

The interesting thing is that Alabama will actually benefit from not playing in the SEC title game, so Alabama needs to root for LSU and win convincingly against Auburn.

But don’t forget about Arkansas. The Hogs could shake everything up with a win against LSU. A win for the Hogs could ensure them a trip to the national championship game, and it would likely send Alabama to the SEC title game. Like Alabama, the Hogs would benefit from not having to play an extra game in Atlanta.

The chances are slim, but if Oklahoma State has a very convincing win against Oklahoma, the Cowboys could slip past Arkansas because of the computer love they have received, but you have to think the chances of that are very improbable at this point.

So, the chances for an all-SEC national championship are very high. If LSU and Alabama win out, “The Rematch” is almost guaranteed.

And even if Georgia upsets LSU in Atlanta, you might not see the Tigers fall below second in the standings. With LSU’s body of work, the Tigers could still get a lot of computer love with Alabama moving up to No. 1.

That scenario would then erase the two-team limit and give the SEC three teams in the BCS bowls, because Georgia would be the SEC representative in the Allstate Sugar Bowl if Alabama and LSU play for the national championship.

The rest of the country could have prevented this, but teams fell left and right. What started out as a fun joke has morphed into a strong possibility.

Just imagine the SEC hatred.

No Big East in BCS for second week

November, 20, 2011
BCS standings reaction: ACC | Big 12 | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-12 | SEC | Non-AQ

For a second straight week, there are no Big East teams in the Top 25 of the latest BCS standings.

West Virginia is ranked in the coaches and Harris polls, while Rutgers is receiving votes in the coaches poll and Cincinnati in the Harris poll.

That is important because one of the tiebreaker scenarios to determine the BCS representative from the Big East involves the BCS standings. Right now, there are five teams in a first-place tie atop the standings. If three or more teams finish tied for first, then their head-to-head record against each other is considered first. If they are still tied, the highest ranked team in the final BCS standings makes it to the BCS game.

Though only the Top 25 is released, the BCS does have about 45 teams ranked. Any team that receives votes in either the coaches poll, the Harris poll or the computers is ranked. So for this week, we know that at least West Virginia, Rutgers and Cincinnati all have a ranking beyond the Top 25.
BCS standings reaction: ACC | Big 12 | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-12 | SEC | Non-AQ

Virginia Tech fans have a lot to be thankful for this week.

Thanks, Oklahoma State.

Thanks, Oregon.

Thanks, Oklahoma.

And not-so-Happy Thanksgiving, Clemson.

Four of the top seven teams in the country lost this past weekend, including Atlantic Division champion Clemson, bumping the Hokies up to No. 5 in the latest BCS standings. Last I checked, that qualifies as a national title contender. There are only five problems with that theory, though: No. 1 LSU, No. 2 Alabama, No. 3. Arkansas, No. 4 Oklahoma State, and No. 5 Virginia Tech's strength of schedule. The Hokies' weak nonconference schedule will weigh it down, and Clemson's loss to NC State certainly won't help matters if the two of them meet again in the ACC title game. The Hokies still have a long way to climb, but one thing is for sure -- it's not as far as Clemson fell following its loss to the Wolfpack.

The Tigers were No. 7 in the country at this time last week, but after a 37-13 loss to NC State, Clemson dropped like a rock to No. 17. Florida State dropped out after its loss to Virginia, and Georgia Tech snuck in at No. 23 following its win against Duke. So yes, the ACC still has three teams ranked in the BCS standings, but it lost its two representatives in the top 10. Even more frustrating to the league is the fact that Clemson lost on a weekend when three teams ranked above it also lost.

So here we are again, in a very familiar place -- with Virginia Tech as the league's best hope for a national title, so close, and yet so much farther away than the standings truly indicate.

Boise State, Houston move up in BCS

November, 20, 2011
BCS standings reaction: ACC | Big 12 | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-12 | SEC | Non-AQ

Boise State and Houston moved up in the latest BCS standings, but it is the Cougars with the inside track for a BCS game.

The Broncos (9-1) were No. 7 this week and Houston No. 8 after both teams won this past weekend. Though Boise State is ranked higher, any non-AQ team hoping for an automatic berth into a BCS game has to be a conference champion. If Houston beats Tulsa this week, then wins the Conference USA title game, that automatic berth goes to the Cougars for the first time in school history.

Houston (11-0) and No. 1 LSU are the only two undefeated teams left in the nation.

Getting an at-large berth remains a possibility for Boise State, but it all depends on the strength of the other teams that will be available. To get an at-large berth, you must be ranked in the top 14 of the final standings. A max of two teams per conference are allowed to get into BCS games.

What really helps Boise State in its quest for an at-large berth is having three teams from the Big 12 and five from the SEC ranked in the top 14. That eliminates a lot of potential candidates. But what could hurt is if Michigan beats Ohio State next week. That would probably get the No. 15 Wolverines into the top 14 -- and an attractive choice for an at-large berth.

TCU was ranked No. 20 this week, while Southern Miss dropped out of the standings after losing to UAB.

Don't count Oklahoma State out just yet

November, 20, 2011
BCS standings reaction: ACC | Big 12 | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-12 | SEC | Non-AQ

Oklahoma State's spirits were at an all-time low Friday night while the Cowboys watched Iowa State storm the field after ruining their perfect season and — or so we thought — ending all hopes at a national title.

Additionally, the Cowboys fell to sixth in the coaches poll, which makes up one-third of the BCS standings; the Harris poll and the computer rankings each make up another third.

But don't turn the lights out just yet. Oklahoma State — by way of upset losses suffered by Oregon, Clemson and Oklahoma — fell just two spots to No. 4 in the latest BCS, released Sunday night, behind three teams from the SEC West. LSU, Alabama and Arkansas occupied the top three spots.

Computers love the Big 12. As I've referenced several times, its 27-3 record in nonconference play is paying off. Oklahoma State is still No. 2 in the computers and has a matchup in two weeks with No. 9 Oklahoma, which might also get a bump if teams lose next weekend. OSU ranks No. 2 in four of the computer polls and third in the other two.

For now, Oklahoma State must hope for SEC shenanigans or voter sentiment against an SEC rematch in the national title game. The top three teams in the SEC West have lost only to each other, and LSU hosts Arkansas on Friday. Alabama must also beat Auburn on Saturday.

The Cowboys' best chance would play out like this: Arkansas beats LSU and Alabama loses to Auburn. Then Georgia beats Arkansas in the SEC championship game on Dec. 3.

Not impossible, and you'd see LSU and Oklahoma State in the national title game after all.

Oklahoma State will sit and wait this weekend and hope for chaos that would buoy it back into the BCS driver's seat, but 48 hours after the most crushing loss in school history, there's reason to believe The Big Game is still within reach.

Other notes on the latest BCS standings:
  • Oklahoma is No. 9 and No. 6 in the computers.
  • Kansas State hopped to No. 11.
  • Baylor is No. 18.
  • Texas is still hanging on at No. 25.