Who's the No. 1 team in the nation?
OUTRAGE! Oregon defeated a team by 47 points and did not move up in the BCS! The system must immediately be completely changed! This is -- Oh, I'm sorry. Oregon is an AQ program. So it's totally cool that they don't gain anything in the polls after annihilating a much better team than Boise annihilated a few weeks ago only to fall in the rankings to the consternation of the punditry. Not that there's a double standard or anything among people who just want to find a way to advance Boise's cause in an effort to undermine the BCS and/or get the Broncos into the title game. Not at all.
In any case, here are the Top 10 in this week's standings, while the full rankings can be found here.
3. Boise State
5. Michigan State
Obviously, Auburn can have no complaints about the rankings at this point. Not only are the Tigers No. 1 by a pretty clear margin, but Alabama at No. 7 is currently the strongest boost to strength of schedule that any of the undefeated teams will face for the rest of the season. TCU has a close second with Utah at No. 8, but the rest of the schedule will weigh down the Horned Frogs, so your more likely competitor could be Missouri's potential rematch with Oklahoma at No. 9.
The midmajors are doing fairly well right now -- three of them in the Top 10 -- but you have to wonder how much longer that will last. If Michigan State and Missouri go undefeated, that could move the Spartans and the Tigers past the Cinderellas in the human surveys. TCU has already passed Boise in all of the computer polls, and Michigan State and Missouri have already passed the Frogs in almost all of the computer polls.
Almost all -- except Richard Billingsley. We have already discussed the unique form of insanity that seems to be the specialty of Billingsley's computer. His ballot does not disappoint this week, ranking TCU at No. 1 (three spots higher than any other computer poll) and Missouri at No. 10 -- the Tigers' lowest spot in any computer poll by seven and two places below the less Mizzou-friendly humans. Billingsley has Sparty at eighth -- three places lower than the humans and five lower than the next most-skeptical computer -- and Alabama at No. 3. (The Tide are sixth in both human polls and no higher than eighth in any other chips-based measurement.)
In fact, the rule that causes the high and low scores for each team to be thrown out might as well be called the Billingsley Rule -- counting ties, Billingsley ranks 17 of the 25 teams higher or lower than any other computer in the BCS, including being the only one to rank Virginia Tech at all. High scores: Oregon (tie), Boise State, TCU, Alabama, Utah, LSU, Nebraska, Oklahoma State (tie), Miami (tie) and Virginia Tech. Low: Michigan State, Missouri, Oklahoma, Stanford, Arizona and Baylor (tie at unranked). So it's not like he's overranking the major teams and underranking the midmajors or taking any other logical pattern. But a component of your national championship race is essentially ranking by Etch-a-Sketch.
As for the rest of the SEC teams in the standings, they are: No. 12 LSU, No. 19 Arkansas, No. 20 South Carolina and No. 21 Mississippi State. For whatever it might mean to you, LSU and Mississippi State look better to the computers than to the humans. Given that each of those teams play at least one of the others before the season ends, you're likely to see at least some of them move up in the standings but could also see some of them drop out of the rankings entirely.
Then again, as long as Richard Billingsley is involved, there's no telling. Arkansas might be a national championship contender, after all.