Stevens: First BCS poll creating early buzz
By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on October 22, 2010 1:46 PM
There are seven weeks left in college football's regular season and with 10 undefeated teams remaining, it's not time for the Bowl Championship Subdivision selection committee to panic.
Not yet, anyway.
The initial BCS standings were released Sunday and several things stood out. Boise State took a hit with Nevada and Oregon State each losing on Saturday night. The Broncos were expected to be No. 1 in the first BCS standings, but came out third behind Oklahoma and Oregon.
Boise State is as high as second and as low as seventh in the computer rankings. That's a sign that the Broncos' strength of schedule is going to be their own demise as the season progresses.
Coach Chris Petersen's team finished undefeated in 2006 and 2009, and was left out of the national championship game. It's difficult to imagine the Broncos' fortunes changing this time around if more than one undefeated team from a BCS conference is left standing at the end of the season.
No. 1 Oklahoma is ranked third in both the USA Today/ESPN and AP Top 25 polls, but first in the BCS. The Sooners looked vulnerable in wins over Utah State, Air Force and Cincinnati. Oklahoma plays just two more games against ranked opponents -- Saturday at Missouri and Nov. 27 at Oklahoma State.
Auburn fans fearing a repeat of 2004 when an unbeaten Tigers team was left out of the national championship game need not worry.
Wins in Saturday's colossal showdown at home with LSU, a Nov. 26 trip to No. 8 Alabama and a potential spot in the SEC championship would be enough to get Auburn a trip to the BCS title game.
Oregon is No. 1 in the USA Today/ESPN, AP and Harris Polls, but ranked No. 7 or worse in five of the six computer rankings. The Ducks are averaging 54.3 points per game and have scored 42 points or more in every contest.
Defensively, Oregon has surrendered a combined 85 points in its last three outings. The Ducks' home win over Stanford in early October is losing luster and No. 18 Arizona is the only ranked team remaining on the schedule.
Unbeaten TCU and Utah earned rankings of fifth and ninth, respectively, in the first BCS standings. The Horned Frogs already own a win over Oregon State, and they face No. 23 Air Force and Utah before the season ends.
Unfortunately, having its strength of schedule weakened by playing in the Mountain West Conference should be enough to keep TCU out of the national championship game.
Michigan State remains the Big Ten's lone unbeaten team and the Spartans checked in at No. 7 in the first BCS standings. A trip to No. 15 Iowa is the only chance Michigan State has left to improve its stock. Even an undefeated season likely won't be enough to vault the Spartans into national title contention.
With seven weeks left, 10 unbeaten teams and only two spots in the national championship game, something's got to give.