We're entering the home stretch! 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 (12-0)
Last Week's Ranking: 1
Reason for being ranked this high: LSU completed a perfect "regular season" by blowing Arkansas to bits. As a reward for being the last "real team from a real conference" remaining, they have earned a trip to the SEC Championship Game, where they will have the "unique opportunity" to blow their chance to win the National Championship by playing a hot Georgia team. Who could ask for a better reward for perfection than that?
2. Team: Alabama Crimson Tide (11-1)
Last Week's Ranking: 2
Reason for being ranked this high: Alabama managed to avoid blowing an "insurmountable" lead in this year's iteration of the Iron Bowl, effectively cementing their spot in the National Championship Game.
Reason they aren't ranked higher: Who would want to be? Isn't it better to not have to play another game if you already have a spot in New Orleans? It's almost as if they scored zero touchdowns against LSU on purpose...
3. Team: Oklahoma State Cowboys (10-1)
Last Week's Ranking: 4
Reason for being ranked this high: The Cowboys are the latest team to bounce back somewhat in the rankings by virtue of not playing last weekend. Should they put on a virtual football clinic against Okie Sr., there's still an outside chance they sneak into the NCG. Of course they would be helped a lot if LSU had their behinds handed to them by Georgia...just don't expect Alabama to lose their spot. Did I mention what a wonderful reward the SEC Championship is for LSU?
Reason they aren't ranked higher: As outstanding as their offense is, they lack the requisite speed that I'm told is required to be deemed SEC worthy. Besides, who wants to see OSU's offense match up against LSU's defense when we could have another festival of shaky field goal kicking instead?
4. Team: Stanford Cardinal (11-1)
Last Week's Ranking: 6
Reason for being ranked this high: Stanford beat temporarily ranked Notre Dame by two scores this week. The win, coupled with the Arkansas's loss and Virginia Tech's dominating shutout of Virginia, somehow led to a jump from sixth to fourth (more on why this makes sense in a minute).
Reason they aren't ranked higher: For one thing, Stanford didn't even bother to win their own division of the Pac-12 this year, despite being ranked higher than Oregon, champions of the North. So while Stanford remains a top five team, they may have lost their conference to mighty UCLA.
5. Team: Virginia Tech Hokies (11-1)
Last Week's Ranking: 5
Reason for being ranked this high: Virginia Tech comes into the ACC Championship Game fresh off a major shellacking of Virginia and looking to avenge their only loss of the season against Clemson. I know I wouldn't want to be in their way right now...
(My name...is Frank Beamer...you killed my Hokies...prepare to die.)
Reason they aren't ranked higher: Despite the total domination of the ranked Cavaliers, the Hokies were jumped by Stanford, due in large part to being ranked 10th by the computers. Looks like Andrew Luck has been getting his hack on!
("Sagarin won't know what hit his SoS ratings! Bwahaha!)
6. Team: Houston Cougars (12-0)
Last Week's Ranking: 8
Reason for being ranked this high: Read the article.
Reason they aren't ranked higher: Read the comments. Thanks Nuggies!
7. Team: Boise State Broncos (10-1)
Last Week's Ranking: 7
Reason for being ranked this high: After appearing to be sleepwalking for much of the first half against Wyoming, the Broncos utilized a miracle TD catch by Matt Miller as a springboard to a dominant second half and a solid victory over the surprisingly good Cowboys. Boise State actually has the second highest SOS of all Top Ten teams, right behind LSU.
Reason they aren't ranked higher: Oh, you know...that good SOS doesn't mean much because we don't play "real teams" from "real conferences." Now if we had Tennessee on our schedule...
8. Team: Arkansas Razorbacks (10-2)
Last Week's Ranking: 3
Reason for being ranked this high: Welcome to Two-Loss Paradise! The Razorbacks top out this list even though their two losses were by the combined score of 79-31 because, well, they come from the westernmost division of that conference in the southeast.
Reason they aren't ranked higher: Arkansas was ranked 10th in the Coaches' Poll...I guess Bobby Petrino is not well liked by his peers.
9. Team: Oregon Ducks (10-2)
Last Week's Ranking: 10
Reason for being ranked this high: Oregon sewed up the Pac-12 North with an easy win over Oregon State in this year's Civil War. Next up, a date with "worthy opponent" UCLA in the inaugural Pac-12 Championship Game. I don't know about you, but this Thanksgiving I gave thanks that such a game, providing us with such intriguing matchups, finally exists.
Reason they aren't ranked higher: They share the 10th place computer ranking with Virginia Tech...commence Andrew Luck hacking theories.
10. Team: Oklahoma Sooners (9-2)
Last Week's Ranking: 9
Reason for being ranked this high: The computers love the Sooners...and I mean they really love them. Despite having two losses to Texas Tech and Baylor, the machines rank Oklahoma 5th: higher than undefeated Houston and higher than one-loss Virginia Tech and Boise State. Could it be the that the computers are actually looking out for their brothers, the televisions, ranking the Sooners high enough to ensure that this year's Bedlam Game is between Top Ten teams, therefore earning big ratings? That sounds like a crazy conspiracy now that I read it, so I will have to give it an unequivocal "yes".
Reason they aren't ranked higher: Conspiracy theories aren't supposed to be that obvious.
Just missed the top 10: Kansas State Wildcats (9-2)
Reason they aren't ranked higher: Idle week = "Winning!"
("Imagine that I'm a historically mediocre Big 12 Team")