Another week, another release of BCS Standings sure to cause controversy. Luckily, the overall ratings managed to save the humans from their own ignorance when it comes to the non-AQ teams, but we'll get to that in a moment.
4 Boise State
9 Ohio State
10 Oklahoma State
The only real change is the narrowing of the margin between TCU and Boise State because the human polls both moved the Broncos past the Horned Frogs, which causes you to wonder not if these voters watch football but whether they even know what it is. The voters were apparently convinced of Boise's superiority by its victory over Idaho, a team whose three wins against FBS teams are vs. UNLV, at Western Michigan, and vs. New Mexico State, a team that is trying very hard this year to prove that it should never play football again.
The flip side of that coin is TCU, whose five-point win against San Diego State was apparently not impressive enough for the humans. Never mind that San Diego State is, unlike Idaho, a team that has actually won several football games against competent foes this year. The Aztecs are 7-3, with its other two losses coming by three points against BYU and Missouri, a team ranked No. 16 in both human polls. I guess you could make a case that TCU should get dinged because of the dropping values of its wins against Oregon State, Baylor and Utah -- but Boise also played Oregon State. And if we want to talk about overall strength of schedule, TCU has a 3-0 record against teams in Jeff Sagarin's Top 30; Boise is 1-0. TCU's SOS in Sagarin is 62, and Boise's is 72 -- which puts them three spots ahead of the scheduled played by C-USA lightweight Memphis. So will someone please tell me why Boise moved ahead of TCU in the human polls?
Before I get into the likely BCS match-ups if the games were played today, let me reiterate: This is what I think the bowls would do if the games were played today, not what I think they should do, and that's an important distinction any time you're talking about anything related to the BCS.
BCS National Championship Game: Auburn vs. Oregon
Rose Bowl: Wisconsin vs. TCU
Sugar Bowl: Ohio State vs. LSU
Fiesta Bowl: Nebraska vs. Pittsburgh
Orange Bowl: Virginia Tech vs. Oklahoma
Okay, so the non-AQ fans are going to hate me again, but I stand by the original argument: There is nothing anywhere in the BCS contract that requires Boise State to be selected, and no real reason for any of the bowls to select them if it can be avoided. With Oklahoma back in the Top 14 now, the Orange Bowl can get rid of a Virginia Tech-Boise set-up that would either leave it with a rematch or the ratings black hole that would be Virginia Tech vs. Pittsburgh if the BCS chose to shuffle things around.
But let's also keep in mind that the next five teams behind Oklahoma right now are Missouri, Virginia Tech, South Carolina, Nevada and Texas A&M. If the Sooners fall out of the Top 14 (still a pretty strong possibility) and the replacements are among those teams, I'm not seeing a compelling candidate to allow the Orange to avoid Boise. Again, this is a very fluid situation right now.
I want to re-emphasize that this is not entirely a merit selection, and the question is not whether Boise would be an attractive team to a BCS team, but whether it would be more attractive than the other at-large possibilities on the board. With Oklahoma back in the picture, I think Boise will have a harder time making its case to the Orange.
Also, I actually think TCU is better positioned to get an at-large berth if Boise is locked out, because it's close enough to the Sugar Bowl and would deliver some Texas markets.
Of course, in Richard Billingsley's world, the Horned Frogs are playing for the national championship, one of 17 teams he ranks either higher or lower than all other voters, except for one case in which he ties with one voter. That includes his computer's decision to not rank Texas A&M at all, despite other computers' consensus that the Aggies are at least the 18th-best team in the nation. Billingsley also ranks Utah at 13th, nine spots higher than the next-highest chips-based poll. The overall list of too-high teams in Billingsley: TCU, Boise State, Wisconsin, Ohio State, Alabama, Virginia Tech, Iowa (tie) and Utah. Too low: Auburn, LSU, Stanford, Oklahoma State, Arkansas, Missouri, South Carolina, Nevada and Texas A&M.
Finally, a chaos scenario that you might want to entertain: If Oregon, Auburn and Boise all lose, the Top 2 in the poll could be TCU and an LSU team that didn't even win its own division, unless the pollsters try to artificially "stop" one of the other teams' slides to block the Bengals. Or, you could move another team ahead of LSU, but who? Stanford isn't winning the Pac-10 unless Oregon loses both of its remaining games. Wisconsin? Nebraska?
So all of this is subject to change. Except, of course, Billingsley's lunacy. That's one thing about the BCS that never seems to waiver.