South Carolina and Texas A&M's big jumps. When last we left the BCS Standings, South Carolina was near the back of the pack of potential at-larges (which ends at No. 14 barring strange circumstances) and Texas A&M was completely out of the running at No. 15. One week later, all of that has changed, and both the Aggies and the Gamecocks are in tolerably good condition at Nos. 10 and 11. What happened?
Well, the biggest factors were big drops by Oklahoma, which went from No. 10 to No. 18 after getting waxed by Baylor, and Miami (FL), which dropped 12 spots to No. 23 after the Hurricanes were clobbered by Virginia Tech.
In the case of Texas A&M, they also gained a net of 12 spots in the computer balloting this week against Oklahoma State, going from No. 21 last week to No. 13 this week while the Cowboys dropped from No. 18 to No. 22. Otherwise, Oklahoma State would probably be at No. 11 and Texas A&M would be at No. 12, which is still good for at-large consideration. Who knew that a win against Mississippi State could be so valuable?
Computers vs. humans. Speaking of, Oklahoma State is one of the biggest gaps between the computers and the humans this week. The Cowboys are No. 22 according to chips, as we mentioned, and the humans have them ranked either 10th or 11th. That's not to say that either one is entirely right or entirely wrong -- I think there are cases that can be made on both sides -- but the discrepancy is interesting.
But the biggest difference comes in the infamous UCF-Louisville split. There's only a gap of three between the chips (16) and the humans (19) on the Knights, but there's a yawning gap of 14 or 15 places (depending on the survey) when it comes to Louisville. Only one computer even ranks the Cardinals, and that's Billingsley, so it really doesn't count. Literally the only groups of individuals or machines that observe college football that would rank Louisville ahead of UCF comprise two-thirds of the BCS. Hooray democracy!
A team the humans are woefully underranking, at least according to the computers, would be Arizona State. They sit at No. 22 in both polls and are No. 12 according to the computers. Joining them in that "distinction" would be Northern Illinois, which is tied with Fresno State for 14th in the computers but ranked 18th in the Harris Poll and 21st in the coaches poll. That puts the Huskies one spot behind the Bulldogs, something that could end up being a really big deal if both teams win out and a BCS trip is on the line.
The chips also aren't impressed with Sparty. Michigan State is only 21st in the computer average, but is five or six spots higher in the human surveys.
This Week in Billingsley. There are only a few really egregious examples this week. Billingsley doesn't just put Stanford ahead of Baylor; he ranks Oregon before the Bears as well. He's hardly alone in this, though; two other computers do the same thing, and their gaps are actually broader than Billingsley. That appears to be more a hiccup in the computers than our man's special brand of silicon crazy.
Anyone watching this site knows that I'm in the pro-UCF camp, but Billingsley appears to take things a bit too far, ranking the Knights 11th in the country, three above the next-highest computer and five clear of the average among the chips. Borderline Top 10 is pushing things for UCF. Really pushing things. But that's okay, because as we mentioned a few moments ago, Billingsley is also the only computer to rank Louisville at all. Ahead of LSU.
You see Texas as at best an above-average or fringe Top 25 team? Billingsley's machine sees them as the 14th best team in the country. That's ten spots ahead of Georgia, because the Dawgs have yet to be curb-stomped by BYU and Ole Miss. (One other computer puts Texas ahead of Georgia, but the difference in that computer is just one.)
Oh, and that whole part about the computers liking Arizona State even though the humans don't? Except for Billingsley, who puts ASU at 23rd, five spots lower than the next most skeptical computer, 11 below the average among the chips -- and one spot below where the humans have them.