October 26, 2008

On the BCS: Penn State moves closer to Tide

MORE: Full BCS standings | BCS components: Where the numbers come from

The top three teams in the BCS remained the same in the second set of standings, which were released Sunday evening.

Texas remained No. 1. But No. 3 Penn State narrowed the gap on No. 2 Alabama, pulling .024 points behind the Tide. The Nittany Lions were .082 points behind in the first set of standings.

THE BCS: A CLOSER LOOK
Here is the BCS top 12, with the school, its spot in the coaches' poll, its spot in the Harris poll and its BCS computer average. A bonus: We've included NCAA strength of schedule (SOS), which is not part of the BCS formula..
Team (Last week) HarrisCoachesComp.SOS
1. Texas (1) 1st 1st 1st 8th
2. Alabama (2) 2nd 2nd 2nd 76th
3. Penn State (3) 3rd 3rd 3rd 79th
4. Oklahoma (4) 4th 4th T-4th T-16th
5. USC (5) 7th 6th 6th T-32nd
6. Georgia (7) 8th 8th T-4th 7th
7. Texas Tech (8) 5th 5th T-10th T-73rd
8. Florida(10) 6th 7th T-10th T-51st
9. Okla. State.(6) 9th 10th T-7th 30th
10. Utah (11) 10th 9th T-7th T-90th
11. Boise State (12) 11th 11th T-7th T-47th
12. Ohio State (9) 12th 13th T-10th 3rd
The top four in both polls the USA Today coaches' poll and the Harris Interactive Poll were the same in the BCS, with Oklahoma fourth.

Penn State was helped by a jump in its average computer ranking. The Nittany Lions beat Ohio State and moved from seventh to third in the computer ranking. Penn State is no lower than third in any computer this week. Last week, they were no higher than fifth and as low as 11th.

USC, which beat Arizona, saw its computer ranking jump as well, to a tie for fourth from 10th. Last week, the Trojans were the only Pac-10 team in the BCS standings. This week, they're joined by No. 24 Oregon a team the Trojans beat by 34 on Oct. 4.

Texas Tech, which is fifth in both polls, is seventh in the BCS because its average computer ranking is a tie for 10th. Georgia, conversely, is eighth in the polls but sixth in the BCS because its average computer ranking is a tie for fourth.

There are two huge games this weekend, matching four of the BCS' top eight. Texas plays at Texas Tech, and Georgia meets Florida which is eighth in the BCS in Jacksonville.

Utah, at 10th, is the highest-ranked team from a non-"Big Six" league. A non-"Big Six" team 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 that has an automatic berth. The highest-ranked ACC team is Florida State, at 15th. The highest-ranked Big East team is South Florida at 23rd.

Other non-"Big Sixers" in the BCS top 25 are No. 11 Boise State, No. 13 TCU, No. 16 Ball State, No. 18 Tulsa (which played Sunday night) and No. 20 BYU.

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.

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 BCS component, all six computers have a strength-of-schedule factor in their rankings.

The final BCS standings will be released Dec. 7. Teams first and second in the final standings meet in the BCS National Championship Game on Jan. 8 in Miami.

Some other items of interest:

Texas is No. 1 in each computer's ranking. Alabama is second in five and third in the other, with Penn State getting the other second-place nod.

The top 12 teams from the first week remain the same, just in a different order.

Four Big 12 teams are in the top nine.

Three SEC teams are in the top eight.

Utah's highest computer ranking is fourth; its lowest is 12th. Boise State is fifth in two computers, and its lowest ranking is 10th.

Ohio State is the highest two-loss team in the standings, at 12th. Two-loss Missouri is two spots behind the Buckeyes. Ohio State's losses have come to the No. 3 and 5 teams in the standings, Missouri's to the No. 1 and No. 9 (Oklahoma State) teams.

USF is 23rd in the standings despite not being ranked in the top 25 of any of the six BCS computers. The Bulls' No. 23 spot in both polls is why they're in the standings.

Of the teams in the top 10, Florida again has the most variation in the computer rankings. The Gators are ranked seventh in one but 17th in another.

No. 21 Michigan State, No. 22 North Carolina, Oregon and No. 25 Connecticut moved in, with Pittsburgh (17th), Georgia Tech (18th), Northwestern (22nd) and Kansas (23rd) falling out.

BCS Standings

MORE: BCS components: Where the numbers come from

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



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