Breaking Down the BCS
The first edition of the BCS Poll dropped yesterday, and I figured taking a look at the figures would be worthwhile. I will reference this poll often and continue to check back in on it from time-to-time, but this will probably be my most exhaustive “BCS Breakdown” so to speak. Without further ado here are some thoughts:
- Alabama: I’m not sure how you can make a case against the Crimson Tide as the number one team in the land if you’ve seen the Tide play and you’ve seen the other candidates play. While I’ll spend some time looking at said other candidates, just know that Alabama has looked the best this season – even if their competition has been lacking. I mention that I can’t see a case against Alabama as number one, but I also can’t see a case for Alabama being better than they were last season. Last year Bama and LSU were clear-cut favorites at this juncture, and Alabama is certainly deserving of an edge this year, but the Tide hasn’t dominated the way they did last season.
- Florida: I don’t buy the Gators as the nation’s 2nd best team for a number of reasons. Frankly, the most obvious is that they are winning ugly far too often. It doesn’t seem like the nation’s 2nd best team would need a fourth quarter comeback to beat A&M, trail Tennessee at half-time, would go scoreless for a half against LSU and would be in a close game with Vanderbilt. But, Florida’s overall résumé may be as good as anyone’s on a pure wins/loss basis. And, if Florida can survive October without a loss I’d be willing to vault them above Alabama. But thus far they just haven’t passed my “eye” test which I realize is a statement Joe Biden would file under “malarkey.” I’ll address a lot of teams’ “flaws” as we proceed and Florida’s offensive struggles stand out to me. To be blunt: I don’t believe in Jeff Driskel. In the words of Jay-Z: He’s not real to me, therefore he doesn’t exist.
- Oregon: The Ducks come into the game ranked 3rd and if I’m a Duck not only am I tired of Aflac commercials, but I’m also ticked to be ranked 3rd. But, I’m not a Duck, so I’ll say simply this: if Oregon manages to run the table they will be in the National Championship game. Thus far they’ve played nobody of merit, racked up tons of stats and racked up no tangible respect. If they take down USC, Stanford and Oregon State, however, that will change. But, that won’t happen. Oregon will lose at least one game as their defense is untested and their offense has too many moving parts. A physical defense can throw them off.
- Kansas State: This team should enjoy this spot, because the Wildcats are not a top-10 team in the real world. I could see K-State losing to everyone left on their schedule except for maybe Baylor.
- Notre Dame: I’d be really impressed during the preseason to know that the Irish started the season 6-0 with wins over Michigan State, Michigan and Stanford. But, alas, I’m not that impressed because although those three teams opened the season ranked 13th, 8th and 21st in the AP Poll, only Stanford was featured in the first BCS Poll at spot number 20. If you really think Notre Dame can keep this up you are either a. Catholic, b. an exec at NBC or c. dumb.
- LSU: The Tigers rebounded in a big way by winning a game at home that everybody (oddsmakers, Dude, etc.) thought they’d win. As a result they are right back in the chase. LSU – much like Florida – has struggles at time on offense, but I think the key for them is to run the ball. Mettenberger should get no more than 15 attempts/game and their stable of runningbacks should hog the rock throughout the remaining portion of the season. The sixth spot is perfect for the Tigers based on where they’ve been and also keeps them ready to pounce on any losses by any of the teams above – and I think there will be several.
- South Carolina: The Cocks are appropriately tabbed at 7th. They were the best team in the country this time last week but at other times have looked like an unranked team (against Vandy) and more often than not seemed like a 10-15 ranked team. A loss to Florida this weekend could send them to that range quickly.
- Oregon State: The Beavers’ have a top-10 résumé at this point after stringing together four upsets in five weeks. Unfortunately the Beavers’ have a tough schedule remaining (at Washington, AZ State, at Stanford, Oregon) and not a lot of talent. They’re the “feel good” story of the year in my opinion but it ain’t gonna feel good for long.
- Oklahoma: Oklahoma boomered sooner in a big way on Saturday (sounds like a Cialis commercial) against the Longhorns but have a daunting schedule remaining. I struggle to think a team that lost to Kansas State (and is thus susceptible to struggles) can run the slate against four ranked opponents (#5 Notre Dame, #24 Iowa State, #13 West Virginia, #23 TCU) especially with three of those games coming on the road.
- USC: Southern California is a top-5 school in talents with a perfect schedule balancing weakness with “eye-grabbing” games (like Notre Dame), but I don’t think they have enough left and I know they haven’t done enough so far to be real players for an actual National Championship. I struggle to see them breaking into the top-3.
- Georgia: Despite what many fans were saying this time last week Georgia is in perfectly respectable position and I’m going to write at length about this tomorrow. So for now: 11 is accurate and leaves the door plenty open.
- Mississippi State: I do not, not, not, not, not believe this team is the 12th best in the nation. Top-15: I don’t think so. Top-20: maybe. Top-25: Probable. Will they finish in the top-25: I’d say 50/50. Mississippi State’s opponents are 1-17 against BCS Conference foes. And before you blast other schools for being weak consider Georgia’s wins against bad teams (Buffalo, Missouri, Florida Atlantic, Vanderbilt and Tennessee) and know that those teams have won four times as many games (and that’s still nothing). Mississippi State has two games remaining that will definitely be losses (Alabama, LSU) one that I would pick to be a loss right now (Texas A&M) and two more (Arkansas and Ole Miss) against teams that are certainly at least capable of beating Mississippi State. State will not be top-15 after October and may drop out of the top-25 with a loss to LSU on November 10.
- West Virginia: WVU is the new Oregon. In a bad way.
- Florida State: Where are all the Seminole bandwagon jumpers? Remember how many people picked this team to be in a BCS Championship game for absolutely 0 logical reasons? Where have those people gone. FSU very well may be the nation’s 14th best team. But they’ll never make it back into the top two.
- Rutgers: Whatever.
- Louisville: True story: I don’t think rankings should go 25 deep in a year like this. Find one team ranked below 15 that you think could beat one team ranked in the top-10 and I’ll call you a liar.
- Texas Tech: If you’re TTU and coming off of a 35 point win against a team with the same record and looking up four sports to see where they’re ranked you’re probably upset. Don’t worry you’ll lose this week or next and not have to worry about it.
- Texas A&M: By default if you’re 5-1 in the SEC at this point you’re ranked. But I still fully expect A&M to lose to LSU and Alabama. They’ll probably end the season about where they are now.
- Clemson: Clemson University is named for the institution’s founder whose name was “Clem” and the three pillars upon which the school was founded Shivalry, Onor and Noledge.
- Stanford: I wish that TD would have counted because I hate ND. The end.
- Cincinnati: The Bearcats have some impressive wins against Pittsburgh (0-3 in the Big East), Delaware State, Virginia Tech (4-3 overall), Miami (OH) and Fordham.
- Boise State: Who?
- TCU: Boooorrrring
- Iowa State: LOL
- Texas: Two straight losses.
The last 12 of those commentaries were each painfully difficult to write. That’s why I don’t do this every week.
As always let me know what you think. Who’s too high? Who’s too low? Who’s just right?
That’s all I got/