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 (11-0)
Last Week's Ranking: 1
Reason for being ranked this high: The Tigers have won it all! They are the last team [from a "real" conference] to be undefeated! Since the regular season of college football is a playoff, this clearly means the season is now over. All remaining games are cancelled this year. Congrats LSU!...what's that? The regular season isn't really a playoff? Figure of speech? Oh. My bad. SEC Speed!
2. Team: Alabama Crimson Tide (10-1)
Last Week's Ranking: 3
Reason for being ranked this high: If you're feeling a bit confused right now, don't be. These are not the rankings from three weeks ago. Ability to score touchdowns not withstanding, Alabama is back in the 2-hole and ready to replay the "Game of the Century" if all goes according to plan. Clearly they stated their case this week to get back in position for the NCG, by beating mighty Georgia Southern of the Southern Conference. Props to the Tide for their dangerous late season, non-conference scheduling.
Reason they aren't ranked higher: The obvious answer is that they lost to #1 LSU, but let's be honest. Being ranked #2 is just as good as being ranked #1 when the regular season ends...so that loss to LSU apparently didn't matter anyway.
3. Team: Arkansas Razorbacks (10-1)
Last Week's Ranking: 6
Reason for being ranked this high: All is right in the college football universe, as three SEC West teams have captured the top three spots. This is not just SEC Speed we're talking about here...this is SEC West Speed! In case you wanted a frame of reference, SEC West speed is faster than a cheetah, but slower than a speeding bullet. The Razorbacks blasted Mississippi State this week and are preparing for next week's big showdown with LSU. For anyone worried about the ensuing BCS chaos should the Razorbacks win that game? It'll be okay. BCS officials have already formalized their plan for a three-way championship game.
(Not only do all three teams play simultaneously, but they're going to allow each to have sixteen players on the field.)
Reason they aren't ranked higher: Transitive property of college football states: Arkansas lost to Alabama, who lost to LSU, scoring only two field goals. Therefore, Arkansas would only score one field goal against LSU (flawless theory...flawless, I tell you). Get ready for a thriller next week!
4. Team: Oklahoma State Cowboys (10-1)
Last Week's Ranking: 2
Reason for being ranked this high: Ah, late November...the time of year when computers and humans are at odds with each other. Despite losing to an Iowa State team that entered the game at 2-4 in conference play, the Cowboys only dropped to fourth place due to a lofty #2 ranking by our friends, the machines.
Reason they aren't ranked higher: Human voters, with ability to reason and express emotions (e.g. Notre Dame is a "storied" program and the movie "Rudy" took place there...rank 'em #1!) counter-attacked and ranked OSU at #6 in both the Coaches' and Harris polls, leaving them at #4 overall. Expect the computers and humans to continue retaliating against one another in an ever-escalating series of attacks culminating in Judgement Day on August 29, 1997.
"Hi. My name is Jeff Sagarin."
5. Team: Virginia Tech Hokies (10-1)
Last Week's Ranking: 8
Reason for being ranked this high: You've got to hand it to the Hokies, they know consistency! Here's how the typical Virginia Tech season plays out: Preseason ranking somewhere between 5 and 15; an early to midseason loss or two derails hopes of a championship; the Hokies quietly win out until, BAM!, they're in the Top 10 and playing a BCS game. So yeah, a #5 ranking seems to fit. Who else would get this spot? Boise State? Puh-leeze.
Reason they aren't ranked higher: They have to play Virginia in a "winner takes the ACC Coastal" showdown... They're running neck-and-neck with Virginia? Ugh.
6. Team: Stanford Cardinal (10-1)
Last Week's Ranking: 10
Reason for being ranked this high: Last week Stanford fell off the map after losing to Oregon. This week Oregon fell off the map, which somehow translated to a jump in the human polls for the Cardinal. Free recs to anyone who can write out a proof (you know, like you learned in Geometry) of why this makes sense.
Reason they aren't ranked higher: Clearly the bright minds of Stanford were not involved in writing the computer ranking programs (which ranked them 9th). However, if you went to Stanford and you enjoy doing proofs...there's a rec in it for you.
7. Team: Boise State Broncos (9-1)
Last Week's Ranking: 10
Reason for being ranked this high: Boise State scored 42 first half points against SDSU, while capitalizing on everyone else's losses to sorta, kinda, climb back into the BCS picture. More mathematic puzzlement: the Broncos are ranked 8th by the Coaches' Poll, the Harris Poll, and the computers. Therefore they are ranked #7 overall. Discuss amongst yourselves.
Reason they aren't ranked higher: The human voters wanted to rank BSU higher, but didn't, on suspicion that Kellen Moore is a representative of their machine adversaries.
8. Team: Houston Cougars (11-0)
Last Week's Ranking: 11
Reason for being ranked this high: The "Coogs" (and yes, apparently it's "Coog", not "Coug"...don't ask me why) remained undefeated after beating a tough SMU team by a score of 37-7, which catapulted them into the Top 10 for the first time this year. If they win out, Houston will be in a BCS Bowl this year.
Reason they aren't ranked higher: Don't worry SEC fans! Houston will not be in that bowl game if they win out. Now here's a team the computers (#12 ranking) hate! I guess Case Keenum, unlike Kellen Moore is human.
9. Team: Oklahoma Sooners (8-2)
Last Week's Ranking: 5
Reason for being ranked this high: Oddly enough, it's because the computers love them...just as the computers love Okie State. Thank goodness the voters understand SEC superiority!
Reason they aren't ranked higher: Basically it's because Bob Stoops is Robert Griffin III's b----. Ouch.
10. Team: Oregon Ducks (9-2)
Last Week's Ranking: 4
Reason for being ranked this high: Despite losing the "Criminals vs. Cheaters Bowl" to USC this weekend, the Ducks remained in the Top 10 this week. They're one of thirteen teams with a 9-2 record, but they get the #10 spot, probably due to some sort of illegal activity. Time for outrage, Arkansas State fans!
Reason they aren't ranked higher: Keeping Oklahoma ahead of them ensures that the Bedlam Game will still have big overnight ratings.
Just missed the top 10: Kansas State Wildcats (9-2)
Reason they aren't ranked higher: The computers actually have the Wildcats at #5...let the battle between man and machine begin!