November 13, 2011

Upset could cause chaos in the BCS

MORE: Full BCS standings

One thing is for sure with this season's BCS standings: Unbeatens LSU and Oklahoma State will play for the national title if they win out.

But if one were to lose in the next three weeks? Well, chaos might be a good word to describe the potential goings-on.

LSU, Oklahoma State and one-loss Alabama remained first, second and third, respectively, in this week's standings, which were released Sunday night.

But one-loss Oregon moved from seventh to fourth after its win over previously unbeaten Stanford, which had been fourth in last week's standings. One-loss Oklahoma moved up a spot, to fifth, despite being idle this week. And a trio of other one-loss teams " Arkansas, Clemson and Virginia Tech " moved up two spots each, to sixth, seventh and eighth, respectively.

Stanford fell from fourth to ninth, and Boise State dropped from fifth to 10th after suffering its first loss.

THE BCS: A CLOSER LOOK
Here is the fifth BCS top 14 of the season, with the school, its spot in the Harris poll, its spot in the coaches' poll and its BCS computer average. We've also included the NCAA's schedule strength, which is not part of the BCS formula. (Last week's rank in parentheses.)
Team HarrisCoachesComp.SOS
1. LSU (1)1st1stT-1st4th
2. Okla. St. (2)2nd2ndT-1st18th
3. Alabama (3)3rd3rd3rd22nd
4. Oregon (7)4th4thT-4th15th
5. Oklahoma (6) 5th5thT-4th7th
6. Arkansas (8) 6th 6th6thT-61st
7. Clemson (9)8th8th8thT-44th
8. Va. Tech (10)9th7th9thT-33rd
9. Stanford (4)7th9th11th88th
10. Boise State (5)11th11th12th23rd
11. Houston (11)10th10th13thT-104th
12. S. Carolina (13)15th14th10th 41st
13. Kansas St. (14)17th17th7th16th
14. Georgia (15)14th15th14th42nd
LSU is No. 1 in both polls and is tied for first in the computer rankings with Oklahoma State, which is second in both polls.

Alabama actually crept closer to Oklahoma State; the Tide trailed the Cowboys by .0611 points last week, and the margin is .0543 this week. The Tide plays FCS member Georgia Southern this week, then finishes up against an Auburn team that should be 7-4 when they meet. Auburn is 24th in this week's BCS standings.

As with Alabama, Oregon's only loss is to LSU; the Ducks lost on a neutral field and the Tide lost at home. Oregon is .0344 points behind the Tide. The Ducks should get a nice computer bump if they beat USC this weekend. The Trojans are 8-2, and while they are ineligible for the postseason and to be ranked in the BCS, their record suggests they probably would be in the mid-teens in the BCS standings. Thus, beating them will provide a bump for the Ducks. But Oregon's final game is against a two-win Oregon State team.

Everyone has been talking about the possibility of an Alabama-LSU rematch in the title game, but Oregon now is in a position to potentially get a rematch, as well.

Oklahoma trailed Alabama by .0858 points last week, but is .0699 points behind this week. In addition, the Sooners have the "best" remaining schedule of the once-beaten teams. They face Baylor, which is 22nd in the BCS standings, this week. They play a mediocre Iowa State team on Nov. 26 before closing out the regular season at Oklahoma State on Dec. 3.

Arkansas also has a faint national title pulse; the Hogs play at LSU on Nov. 25, and a win in that one " and some losses elsewhere " would make things interesting.

As for Boise State, the Broncos remain the highest-ranked non-Big Six conference team this week. Unbeaten Houston is No. 11.

A non-Big Six team that is a conference champion is guaranteed a BCS spot in two ways. One is if it finishes in the top 12; the other is if it is ranked in the top 16 and its ranking is higher than that of a conference champion with an automatic berth. This week, the Broncos are higher than any team from the Big East; indeed, there is no Big East team in the standings this week.

One problem for Boise: Unless TCU falls apart and loses to Colorado State and UNLV " who have a combined five wins between them " the Horned Frogs are going to win the Mountain West title. TCU is 19th in the BCS standings this week.

Houston (10-0) has its two toughest league games upcoming: SMU this week and Tulsa to close out the regular season. If the Cougars win the West Division of Conference USA, they would meet the East Division winner " likely Southern Miss, which is 20th in the BCS this week " for the league title.

Under BCS rules, only one non-Big Six team is guaranteed a spot if it meets the criteria. Any others would be at-large candidates. At-large candidates must have at least nine victories and finish in the top 14 in the final BCS standings.

The final BCS standings will be released Dec. 4. Teams first and second in the final standings meet in the BCS national championship game Jan. 9 in New Orleans. LSU has been in the past two title games played in New Orleans.

The three components of the BCS standings are the coaches' poll; the Harris poll, voted on by media members and by former players, coaches and administrators; and six computers. Each of the components counts one-third. The best and worst computer rankings are thrown out, and the sum total of the remaining four is divided by 100 (the maximum possible points) to come up with the BCS' computer rankings percentage.

While strength of schedule isn't a separate BCS standings component, as it was from 1998-2003, all six computers have a strength-of-schedule factor in their rankings.

[Rivals.com experts: College football's Week 11 Winners and losers]

Some other items of interest from the fifth set of standings:

LSU and Oklahoma State each are first in three computers and second in the other three. Alabama's computer rankings are third and fourth. Oregon's range from third to seventh, and Oklahoma's range from third to sixth.

The highest-ranked Big Ten team is two-loss Michigan State, at 15th. The Spartans are 12th in both polls, but their average computer ranking is 18th.

Houston is 10th in both polls, but the Cougars' computer rankings range from 12th to 19th.

While the pollsters don't like two-loss Kansas State " the Wildcats are 17th in both polls " the computers find a lot to like. K-State's average computer ranking is seventh, one spot behind Arkansas' and ahead of Clemson's and Virginia Tech's.

The computers also like three-loss Baylor. The Bears are 25th in the Harris Poll and 27th in the coaches' poll, but their average computer ranking is 15th. That's higher than any Big Ten team.

Wisconsin is 17th in this week's BCS standings. The Badgers are 13th in both polls, but their average computer ranking is just 28th; they are outside the top 25 in four of the six computers used in compiling the BCS standings.

The SEC leads the way with six teams in the top 25. The Big Ten and Big 12 have five each, followed by the ACC with three and the Pac-12, Conference USA and Mountain West with two each.

This the seventh week all-time that LSU has been at the top of the BCS standings.

Texas is No. 23 this week, which is the Longhorns' 91st time in the standings. That's the most of any school. Florida, which is unranked this week, is second with 85. Virginia Tech, which is eighth this week, is third with 83.

No. 19 TCU and No. 25 Florida State moved into the top 25 this week; No. 21 Georgia Tech and No. 23 Cincinnati dropped out.

BCS Standings

Mike Huguenin is the college sports editor for Rivals.com. He can be reached at mhuguenin@rivals.com.

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