The first BCS Rankings came out on Sunday and as always there’s plenty of controversy and outcry to be had. The Oregon Ducks are ranked #2 in all of the polls, but not the BCS. Instead the computers are putting the undefeated Florida Gators at #2 and the Alabama Crimson Tide at #1. Cue the westerners to cry foul and for the southerners to gloat and praise their mighty SEC dynasty. Let the debate begin.
But this happens every year, right? This is the reason that the NCAA is going to a playoff. To avoid this mess and endless war of words on who should play for the national title. Sure, there’s plenty of favoritism towards the SEC, but why wouldn’t there be? Haven’t they earned it?
Not only did the BCS rank SEC squads in the top two positions, but gave seven teams spots in the top 25, which is not surprisingly the most of any conference. Four of those seven (Bama, Florida, LSU, S. Carolina) are in the top 10 with the latter two having one loss on their records.
Presumably, the Ducks was left out in the cold at #3 because of their perceived weak schedule, which will continue to hamper them throughout the season, even though they finish with several games against ranked teams, including Stanford, USC and Oregon State. A one-loss LSU or Alabama will always get the nod over a one-loss Oregon team, even if that loss is to say, Kentucky or Vanderbilt. This is just the nature of the BSC and everybody’s used to it.
One team that shouldn’t have trouble with the strength-of-schedule debate if it wins out is current BCS #5 Notre Dame. The Irish are off to their best start in years and have already defeated the likes of Michigan, Michigan State and Stanford. Their remaining schedule includes two teams that are currently in the top ten, Oklahoma and USC, so if they run the table, there’s really no way they don’t reach the national title game. However, it would be interesting to see if a one-loss Notre Dame would get the edge over a one-loss LSU or Alabama. I’m not sure that it would.
Kansas State is another team that is in contention and has a tough enough schedule to justify a trip to the title game. Currently #4 in the BCS, the Wildcats have already taken out Oklahoma, but still have a lot of work to do with four ranked teams left to play, including Texas, TCU, and West Virginia. If the Cats win all of their games, they should be in, but one loss, depending on who it’s to, may keep them out.
The team nobody thought would even be in the conversation is #8 Oregon State. The Beavers are 5-0 for the first time in a long time and could make a case for themselves if they win out. They have basically the same schedule as the Ducks and still have USC to face, but had a little tougher go in the early non-conference games than Oregon, as they knocked off Wisconsin to start the year. However, Oregon State is definitely more of a long shot at this point and one loss will certainly end their BCS title hopes. They need to be perfect, but it’s possible we could be talking about Oregon State come January.
The bottom line is that SEC teams are still in complete control of their own destinies and the only way they will be dethroned this year is if they beat up on each enough. The wretched BCS will be gone soon enough, but with it still in place this year, it will be hard to end the SEC dynasty in 2012. I certainly would like to see some fresh blood in the BCS title game and I know plenty of other college football fans would too.