There were, as you've probably heard, very few upsets among the Top 5 of the BCS standings this weekend. But the TCU win over Utah knocked one team clear out of the Top 10, and the next five was the scene of more carnage, with No. 6 Alabama and No. 8 Oklahoma also losing. But it's still Oregon and Auburn in the two places that matter most.
Your Top 10, with the full rankings here:
4. Boise State
9. Ohio State
10. Oklahoma State
Surprising no one, the Top 4 remain the same as last week. LSU moves up to No. 5 from No. 10 after the big win against Alabama; Stanford zooms up the poll seven spots after clocking Arizona; Oklahoma State is back in the Top 10 after waxing Baylor. (For all the good it will do them, as we will soon see.) Everything else here is tweaking. Well, except Alabama and Utah dropping out of the Top 10, though that was expected.
For the first time, I can't see anyone on the list I would really complain about. I agree that TCU should be ahead of Boise. I'm not sure Stanford isn't a bit high, but I'll refrain from griping too much because I haven't filled out my BlogPoll ballot yet.
And now, the bowl projections. I know that all of you are looking forward to this.
BCS National Championship Game: Auburn vs. Oregon
Rose Bowl: Wisconsin vs. TCU
Sugar Bowl: Ohio State vs. LSU
Fiesta Bowl: Pittsburgh vs. Nebraska
Orange Bowl: Virginia Tech vs. Boise State
Maybe the non-AQ will give me less flak this week, but I went through the same procedure I did last week. When Oklahoma dropped out of the Top 14, that changed the Sugar Bowl's best choice to Ohio State, which leaves the Orange Bowl with another berth to fill. I reserve the right to change things around again next week based on the rankings. I still think there's a possibility that the Broncos get left out of the BCS, because we must remember what the contract actually says about non-AQ teams:
No more than one such team from Conference USA, the Mid-American Conference, the Mountain West Conference, the Sun Belt Conference, and the Western Athletic Conference shall earn an automatic berth in any year. [Emphasis added]
For now, though, the Orange looks out after the Sugar's at-large selection and sees Boise State, Stanford, Oklahoma State, Utah and Pittsburgh on the board. (Michigan State, Alabama and Iowa are all out based on no conference getting more than two teams.) I don't know what any of the other programs would bring to the Orange Bowl; none of them have particularly large fan bases and none of them are known as good traveling teams. Boise would at least generate some buzz for the worst-rated bowl in the country. So the Broncos get what I have always thought they deserved -- for now.
If the BCS wants to avoid a rematch, they might move the Broncos to the Fiesta; we'll see.
Meanwhile, Auburn lost its sweep of the computers because of -- guess who? Yes, Richard Billingsley. His computer looks out and sees only one team that can be the best in the land: TCU. The rest of the BCS computers eschew Billingsley's unconventional thinking and put the Tigers at No. 1. Instead, they peg TCU as No. 2 or, in a couple of cases, No. 3 behind Oregon.
Oregon ranks no lower than No. 5 in any of the computers -- Blllingsley puts the Ducks there -- but TCU has moved past the Ducks with most of the chips. That probably isn't going to be enough to put the Horned Frogs in the championship game if Oregon and Auburn keep winning -- in fact, you could make the argument that if many of the computers aren't enough to get TCU past Oregon and Auburn, the human voters aren't going to give the Frogs the boost they need. But if one of the front-runners were to lose ...
As for the rest of the rankings from our friend Billingsley -- he's the high or low voter (or tied for the "honor") on 18 teams of the Top 25. He's bearish on Oregon, Auburn, Stanford (No. 13 while the next lowest computer voter is No. 9), Nebraska, Oklahoma State, Michigan State, Arkansas, Missouri, Nevada, Kansas State (the only computer to not rank the Wildcats) and Texas A&M (the only computer to not rank the Aggies). Billingsley's PC apparently brushes of Kansas State and Texas A&M to make sure that South Carolina can appear at No. 22, making Billingsley and Anderson & Hester the only computers putting the Gamecocks in the Top 25. In addition to South Carolina, Billingsley is bearish on TCU, Boise, Alabama (No. 6 with the next most optimistic computer pegging them at No. 10), Iowa, Utah (No. 7 with the next voter placing them 11th) and Florida.
Overall, the SEC remains the conference with the most ranked teams: Seven, including Auburn, LSU and No. 12 Alabama, No. 15 Arkansas, No. 19 Mississippi State, No. 22 Florid and No. 23 South Carolina. Next is, perhaps also predictably, the Big XII. Though if Nebraska were counted as a Big Ten team instead of one from the Big XII, they would be tied with five. As it is, the Big Ten has four teams in the survey. The Pac-10 has three, the Mountain West and WAC have two each and the ACC has one. And the Big East, which is still an automatic qualifying conference for reasons passing understanding, has none.
Of course, the Pac-10 and SEC also have the most meaning rankings of all. And, barring some truly bizarre events in the last few weeks of the season, that seems unlikely to change.