Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Who deserves to be No. 2 in the BCS?
By Edward Aschoff
Now that two sets of BCS standings are out, we're trying to figure out who should be No. 2. Is it Florida, Oregon, Kansas State, Notre Dame or someone else? Today at ESPN.com, a group of us took stabs at trying to figure out who's No. 2. Here's what I had to say about things:
The BCS got it right. Florida is No. 2.
With all due respect to Kansas State, Oregon and Notre Dame, you just aren't as physical or as relentless as the Gators.
All that moaning and groaning that first erupted on the Left Coast two weeks ago can just stop. You're just not what we are looking for at No. 2.
Oregon, you have that PlayStation speed and your defense is respectable in the Pac-12, but look at your schedule. No team you've beaten is currently ranked in the AP Top 25 or the BCS standings. The combined record of your past opponents is 25-25.
Kansas State, Bill Snyder has been excellent and Collin Klein is a true Heisman candidate. However, your best win is against Oklahoma.
The Sooners could be legit, but that's about it.
And Notre Dame, we're glad you're slowly coming back, but your quarterback situation makes us nervous and Big Ten teams dominate your wins.
But you guys keep doing what you're doing.
Florida isn't sexy, but it deserves to be No. 2. The Gators have clowned on adversity, registering back-to-back SEC comeback wins on the road. They outmuscled brawny LSU. And they trounced South Carolina by 30 points, with only 183 yards of offense.
And Florida absolutely owns the second half, outscoring teams 121-28.
Florida has also battered opponents without much of a passing game.
That in itself is extremely impressive. Flash just isn't Florida's modus operandi. It wins with old-school values and has gone through the country's toughest conference unscathed, while punishing its opponents and forcing them to make mistakes.
Oh, and three of those opponents are currently in the BCS standings.
Two of them were ranked in the top 10 when they played Florida and both fell to the Gators in consecutive weeks.
The Gators are averaging 213 rushing yards a game with their stable of runners, highlighted by quarterback Jeff Driskel and running back Mike Gillislee. The defense has suffocated offenses, ranking seventh nationally in total defense (282 yards per game), and is allowing just 4.17 yards per play and 12 points a game.
Say it with me: Defense wins championships.
Fun offenses are great, but if you can't stop anyone, you can't win games. The Gators don't just stop opponents; they hammer them.
This team reeks of the 2006 Florida team that was also a controversial No. 2. By my recollection, things worked out pretty well for those Gators.
Fellow SEC blogger Chris Low also weighed in on three other teams that also could have a chance at getting to No. 2 this year:
Georgia: The No. 10 Bulldogs (6-1, 4-1 SEC) have a lot of making up to do for a bad 35-7 loss at South Carolina. But things could change in a hurry if they take care of No. 2 Florida this weekend. Georgia would then have a pretty clear pathway to the SEC championship game and would need Alabama to be No. 1 and unbeaten. A win over the Tide in Atlanta and a seven-game winning streak would make for a pretty compelling argument for the Bulldogs.
LSU: Despite a shaky passing game, the No. 6 Tigers (7-1, 3-1 SEC) are in prime position to make a run. The key is taking down No. 1 Alabama in two weeks and then going to the SEC championship game and avenging their only loss against an unbeaten Florida team, which would likely be No. 1 in that scenario. With a pair of wins over No. 1 teams that late in the season, the Tigers would be all over that No. 2 spot and deservedly so.
Mississippi State: The No. 11 Bulldogs (7-0, 3-0 SEC) have the toughest part of their schedule in front of them, and it starts this week at No. 1 Alabama. But if they can upset the Crimson Tide, you can bet that everybody around the country will sit up and take notice. They still have LSU and Texas A&M left on their schedule, too. So the opportunity is out there to keep climbing in the BCS standings. Going unbeaten in the SEC speaks for itself.