The BCS rankings were finally released this evening! It's like your birthday, only if you knew that you were going to hate your presens ahead of time! But they're still presents, right?
In any case, when you excise the Skip Bayless vs. Craig James debate -- yes, that actually happened -- the upshot of ESPN's showcase is that we finally got the Top 10. And it had LSU and Alabama on top, to the surprise of those who thought that Oklahoma might slip into one of the key positions.
4 Oklahoma State
5 Boise State
Very few people are going to agree with my as I climb up on to my soapbox here, but -- look! A playoff called the regular season, with No. 1 having a scheduled game against No. 2 and No. 3 set to play No. 4. I know, the playoff purists will tell you it doesn't line up exactly like a playoff. But it also shows that the idea of the regular season as a playoff isn't completely ridiculous. /soapbox
Arkansas is the first one-loss team on the board in the Top 10, and Oregon is the only other unundefeated team to breathe that rarified air. If there's a team that's most likely to take it on the chin thanks to the BCS' two-team rule, it's Arkansas. (Mike Slive is working on that for you.)
Other SEC teams: South Carolina's magical unicorn and pixie dust express checks in at No. 14, with Auburn at 20. And that's it -- five total teams in the entire BCS Top 25. That's not bad, but it's actually one behind the B1G in terms of total teams.
As far as the internal dynamics of the rankings: LSU is .0003 ahead of Alabama, which is 70 times as large as the gap between Alabama (.9519) vs. Oklahoma (.9301). It's still decimal points that can shift pretty dramatically between weeks, but it's an interesting read on just how far ahead of Oklahoma the SEC heavyweights landed.
There's also this interesting note about the polls: The Harris Poll, which doesn't have a preseason poll, has the SEC teams first and Oklahoma third. The USA Today poll, which does have a preseason poll, has Oklahoma at No. 1. So if you want proof that preseason polls affect in-season polls, there you have it.
The computers really hate Wisconsin, probably because of the strength of schedule, with only two of them putting the Badgers in the Top 10. And one of those is our good friend Richard Billingsley, so that should give you an idea of how the chips view Russell Wilson and Co. The machines are much fonder of Kansas State, which is at or above No. 10 in all the computer polls.
Billingsley is really only a little bit crazy this week, probably because it's early and hard to be quite as much of an outlier as usual. But there are still some tasty morsels for the Billingsley afficianado. Houston goes unranked, despite being in the Top 20 of every other computer's ballot. Instead, he has Washington at No. 16, despite no other computer or human ranking having the Huskies in the Top 20.