Each week, I am continuing to take a look at the BCS rankings (Top Ten anyway), attempting to decipher them, and concluding how they occurred. Clearly, I will be referencing the pure wisdom that exists throughout the polling process and the infallibility of all of the computer rankings. In other words, this is not to be taken too seriously. On to the logic!
1. Team: LSU Tigers (8-0)
Last Week's Ranking: 1
Reason for being ranked this high: LSU retained their number one ranking after surviving a bye week without a loss. They are now awaiting their "date with destiny" this coming Saturday, when they play Alabama in "The Game of the Century." This will be LSU's second "Game of the Century" so far this season, the first one having been against Oregon in their season opener (an obvious attempt to steal TV ratings from Boise State vs. Georgia). This week's game, of course, trumps the Oregon game because both teams are from the SEC.
2. Team: Alabama Crimson Tide (8-0)
Last Week's Ranking: 2
Reason for being ranked this high: Like LSU, Alabama retained its lofty ranking after surviving a perilous bye week unscathed. Interestingly, the schedule makers gave both Alabama and LSU the same bye week, suggesting that they knew the ramifications of this game quite some time ago...who says preseason predictions aren't totally valid? I assume that the bye week was placed when it was in order to give both teams a chance to recover from the number and severity of injuries that are only made possible by playing an SEC schedule (non-AQ leagues don't tackle, right?).
Reason they aren't ranked higher: Isn't there a rule that says all teams that don't play on a given week get to keep their previous ranking, without rising or falling? I'm pretty sure there is.
3. Team: Oklahoma State Cowboys (8-0)
Last Week's Ranking: 3
Reason for being ranked this high: The Cowboys demolished uber-talented Robert Griffin III and his Baylor Bears this week. They are the last remaining undefeated team in the Big 12 and are the highest rated team according to the BCS computers.
Reason they aren't ranked higher: The computer formulas apparently do not include any algorithms that address the concept of "SEC Speed." Human voters, on the other hand, understand this concept and therefore made sure that OSU was ranked behind LSU and 'Bama, where they belong.
4. Team: Stanford Cardinal (8-0)
Last Week's Ranking: 6
Reason for being ranked this high: Andrew Luck and the Cardinal finally have the quality win they needed for their resume. Their performance was truly "gritty", as they outlasted USC, a team banned from postseason play, whose sole motivation was to stick it to a bunch of nerds. Score one for the nerds, baby!
Reason they aren't ranked higher:
5. Team: Boise State Broncos (7-0)
Last Week's Ranking: 4
Reason for being ranked this high: The Broncos remain undefeated after a bye week. All of the teams ranked behind them have losses (except for Houston, but they're another non-AQ and were not ranked in the preseason, so they probably don't count). Those Broncos should be thankful to be ranked at all!
Reason they aren't ranked higher: Remember the rule about teams' rankings during bye weeks that was mentioned above? Yeah, apparently it isn't true.
6. Team: Oklahoma Sooners (7-1)
Last Week's Ranking: 9
Reason for being ranked this high: Did anyone really think that Oklahoma was going to stay ranked as low as they were last week for very long? The Sooners followed up last week's embarrassment against Texas Tech (which is that much more embarrassing after the Red Raiders were dismantled by Iowa State) with a thorough obliteration of undefeated Kansas State. Next up, jumping undefeated Boise State!
Reason they aren't ranked higher: Sure, the Sooners could have gotten ranked 5th this week, but BCS voters would rather lure Boise State fans into a false sense of confidence before the inevitable jump occurs.
7. Team: Arkansas Razorbacks (7-1)
Last Week's Ranking: 10
Reason for being ranked this high: The Razorbacks moved up a whopping three spots after beating Vanderbilt by a field goal. If this seems like too big of a jump for barely defeating a team with a 4-4 (1-4 in conference) record, remember that any SEC victory is worth roughly triple that of other wins.
Reason they aren't ranked higher: Arkansas, while supremely talented, needs to be treated as a two loss team at this point, since they're going to lose to LSU in a few weeks. This is a foregone conclusion...there's not really any reason to play the game, is there?
8. Team: Oregon Ducks (7-1)
Last Week's Ranking: 7
Reason for being ranked this high: The Ducks actually dropped a spot this week after beating perennial Pac-whatever doormat Washington State 43-28. Still, they belong in the top 10 based on having only one loss to top ranked LSU.
Reason they aren't ranked higher: Seeing as Oregon was jumped by Arkansas, I have to think that a 15 point victory over a weak opponent like WSU just doesn't look as good as a 3 point victory over a powerhouse like Vandy. Alternate explanation: The BCS is taking a stand against drunk driving.
9. Team: South Carolina Gamecocks (7-1)
Last Week's Ranking: 13
Reason for being ranked this high: The Gamecocks are the fourth top ten team from the SEC, albeit the lowly SEC "NFC West" East. Their lone loss was to 22nd ranked Auburn, which apparently makes them better than Nebraska (lost to # 20 Wisconsin), Virginia Tech (lost to #11 Clemson), Houston (undefeated), Kansas State (lost to #6 Oklahoma), MIchigan (lost to #17 Micigan State), & Penn State (lost to #2 Alabama).
Reason they aren't ranked higher: It's a conspiracy! If they were ranked higher, then voters would have to put Georgia (who SC beat by three points) in a higher slot, which would therefore make Boise State's victory over the Bulldogs look better. You'll see it if you follow the paper trail my friends...just follow the paper trail...(laughs nervously to self).
10. Team: Nebraska Cornhuskers (7-1)
Last Week's Ranking: 14
Reason for being ranked this high: The Huskers find themselves as the team to beat in the Big Ten and have earned themselves their first BCS top ten ranking of the season. They pounded a Michigan State team that was getting just a little too full of themselves after beating Wisconsin. That's the same Wisconsin who pounded Nebraska into the ground on October 1, but that's so four weeks ago.
Reason they aren't ranked higher: It's a preemptive move...Nebraska usually manages to lose a game they have no business losing...they're like the Clemson of the Big 10.
Just missed the top 10: Clemson Tigers (8-1)
Reason they aren't ranked higher: They're pretty much the Nebraska of the ACC.