Posted 10/21/2009 at 05:41 PM
The initial BCS rankings offered no real surprises and there will be a pretty clear cut scenario for most teams. Florida and Alabama are the top two teams but as we all know one of those teams would have to lose in a SEC championship rematch from last year. There could be some interesting wrinkles however as if both are undefeated, the loser could conceivably still end up as the #2 team in the BCS rankings assuming the other teams in the mix from major conferences would have losses. Should one of the teams get upset in the regular season but then go on to win the SEC championship game against the other that is still undefeated then the rematch title game would still also be a possibility. It will all depend how far the voters penalize the losing team and if there are worthy teams to move up.
This talk of two SEC teams in the championship would lead one to believe that the SEC is the top conference in the nation, but according to most objective rating systems that distinction would belong to the Pac-10. No undefeated team remains in the Pac-10 and the west coast conference does face some bias in the polls as USC and Oregon are having trouble climbing back to elite rankings after early season losses. A one loss Pac-10 champion should have the best chance of any one loss team to make the title game by the computer numbers but again the polls might leave one of the SEC teams ahead and it will be interesting to see where a potential one loss Alabama or Florida squad would fall relative to potential remaining undefeated teams from lesser conferences or an undefeated Texas team.
Speaking of the Big XII, guess which conference ranks as the weakest of the six BCS leagues by the Sagarin ratings? That’s right the Big XII, where Texas presumably would have a clear title game path should they go undefeated. The polls have Texas in that coveted #3 spot but the computers peg Texas as #6, behind Iowa, Cincinnati, and Boise State. Given the weak ratings for the Big XII, Texas almost certainly has to go undefeated to have a chance at the title game as other one-loss teams would surely pass the Longhorns and even an undefeated Texas team is no lock.
Believe it or not but Cincinnati and Iowa could be real problems for the system as both will play strong enough schedules down the stretch with quality road games that should they go undefeated it would be hard to exclude them behind a one-loss squad. Iowa actually tops one of the computer figures and despite being 8th in the USA Today poll, and all of the computer figures have Iowa in the top five.
Boise State and TCU sadly will likely face the same fate as past undefeated teams from the WAC and MWC. Boise’s trump card would be if Oregon becomes the top one-loss team, as it would be hard for the voters to put a Boise State team that hammered Oregon behind the Ducks should the Broncos keep winning. The remaining schedule will not help the computer numbers however. TCU would likely be a case of starting to far back as BYU was supposed to be the ‘it’ team in the Mountain West and it could be tough for the Frogs to leap over the teams currently ahead of them unless there are lots of losses all around. Miami from the ACC might be in the same situation as well as the Hurricanes were on the fast track for an elite ranking but lost so badly against Virginia Tech that they were bumped down too far to get back in the mix. Georgia Tech is another team that is rising with one loss but Miami already has defeated the Yellow Jackets. Tech plays three SEC teams this season so it would make an interesting case if they win out.