LSU's shoulder holsters helped them solidify their hold on No. 1 in this week's BCS standings.
The second week of the BCS rankings was actually something to anticipate, after the chaos that the upsets of Oklahoma and Wisconsin promised to cause after the Top 2 spots. And we got some of it, with a few teams moving up and the Sooners and Badgers moving down -- way down, in the case of the Badgers, who fell all the way out of the Top 10.
But we knew what was going to happen at 1-2: Alabama and LSU were going to solidify their hold on the leading spots for the BCS Championship Game. Whichever one of them wins a little game Nov. 5 that you might have heard about will be on a glide-course for the national title game if they can keep it together. The odds of a rematch between the two are still long, but not impossible if the other major undefeated and quasi-major undefeated teams all lose.
3 Oklahoma State
4 Boise State
8 Kansas State
Other SEC or soon-to-be-SEC teams: No. 13 South Carolina, No. 16 Texas A&M, No. 22 Georgia and No. 23 Auburn.
Interestingly enough -- and to prove that those who say the computers muck things up are somewhat underinformed -- the chips go completely opposite on the Top 3, with Oklahoma State beating out Alabama and LSU, respectively. Oregon is being propped up by the humans, with the computers giving the Ducks a No. 12 ranking overall. Kansas State is the flip; the machines have them ranked fifth before the humans weigh down the Wildcats. And don't let anybody throw the computers under the bus for Arkansas; they actually have the Hogs ranked eighth, as do the coaches; it's the Harris Poll ranking them at No. 9 and some of the other oddities of the formula that drop the Razorbacks at No. 10.
LSU actually increased its lead against Alabama this week, and the gap between Alabama and the No. 3 team went from slim to huge this week, with an even bigger drop-off between Oklahoma State and Boise State.
For the purposes of our bowl-seeding exercise, we're going to go with the higher-ranked teams winning any head-to-head matchups. That's not necessarily a prediction, so Alabama and Oregon fans can hold their hate emails; it's just the easiest way to do things right now. And this is based on the rankings as they stand right now; the most I'm going to do in projecting teams moving up or down is move up the No. 3 team to account for the LSU-Alabama loser dropping out of the top two and account for the tumble one team will take when it loses to two of the teams ranked ahead of them. The highest-ranked teams in the current standings are the ones that get the conference champion spots for now.
BCS National Championship Game: LSU vs. Oklahoma State
Rose Bowl: Stanford vs. Michigan State
Fiesta Bowl: Kansas State vs. Oregon
Sugar Bowl: Alabama vs. Boise State
Orange Bowl: Clemson vs. West Virginia
FEEL THE EXCITEMENT. Our formula knocks Oklahoma clear out of the Top 14 after they lose to Oklahoma State and Kansas State, and I'm figuring that the Fiesta takes Kansas State to keep a Big 12 team. The Sugar Bowl has an easy choice, and can use the first replacement pick to snag Alabama. Then it goes Fiesta, Sugar, Orange -- the Fiesta selectors take Oregon; the Sugar would rather have Boise State than what could be an unranked Big East Champion; and the Orange Bowl once again gets stuck with an ACC vs. Big East matchup.
Yes, I've got Alabama playing a Mountain West team in New Orleans. What could possibly go wrong?
Actually, the only blowouts I see there are Kansas State vs. Oregon -- I think the Ducks are back into point-a-minute territory there -- and Clemson vs. West Virginia -- a game I will only watch until the Mountaineers are down by enough so that I can avoid watching the vomit-inducing sight of Clemson running up the score. I think Alabama vs. Boise State would actually be a pretty decent game, though I think the Tide will win out in the end.
Billingsley watch: Again, he's not giving us as much fodder to work with this year. He does have Oregon at No. 7, when all but one of the other computers have the Ducks at No. 12 and that other machine puts them down at No. 14. Kansas State is at nine on Billingsley's ballot, which is the lowest overall. Michigan State is 10th -- no other computer has the Spartans ranked higher than 16th, which is where Billingsley puts a Virginia Tech team that is no lower than No. 11 according to any other machine.
Billingsley computer is apparently following ESPN's lead of already accounting for the Marcus Lattimore injury, ranking them 17th. Nebraska is 13th, well above where any other computer has the Huskers but in line with the humans. Wisconsin is 12th, despite losing to Michigan State and all that stuff. Perhaps Billingsley's worst oversight is leaving Houston off his ballot entirely, something that only one other computer and neither of the human polls join Billingsley's motherboard in doing.
Billingsley also underranks Penn State relative to the other computers (which I actually think is pretty defensible; his computer has them at 23rd) and leaves off Georgia, which is odd, and Texas, which is not.
Again, there's very little here that is outrageous, with the possible exception of the Houston snub. But Billingsley has a few more weeks, so let's wait to see what surprises are in store for us as the season goes on.