19 October 2008

The Battle for No. 4

(From BCS Guru)

It was a remarkably uneventful night in the world of BCS. After BYU was beaten by TCU on Thursday, there was not a single upset this weekend among team ranked in the top 10 of the unofficial BCS standings. The most exciting game Saturday was, well, the Red Sox's 4-2 victory over Tampa Bay in Game 6 of the ALCS.

Besides Alabama's 24-20 squeaker over Ole Miss, every top 10 team won by at least two scores. Some won by absurd margins, such as USC's 69-0 demolition of Washington State.

And what a costly blowout for the Trojans.

Despite the complete-game victory that was played mostly by scrubs (such as it is) in the second half, the Guru projects that USC will drop to No. 6 in the first official BCS standings. The top three spots will be occupied by three unbeaten teams - Texas, Alabama and Penn State, in that order - followed by Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.

The Guru expects the Trojans to drop to No. 6 because simply playing the woeful Cougars hurt USC's computer rankings. In addition, some voters will drop USC in the polls because either they consider other teams played tougher opponents (particularly Oklahoma, against a ranked Kansas team) or they perceive that the Trojans ran up the score, despite all evidence to the contrary.

The setback may prove temporary, however. The top of the polls are still very fluid with a host of one-loss teams jockeying for position, in addition to the five BCS conference unbeatens. USC does need to be concerned, though, as they might not face another ranked team the rest of the season.

The Guru's projections for the first official BCS standings, with clusters indicated:

1. Texas, 2. Alabama, 3. Penn State, 4. Oklahoma, (5. Oklahoma State, 6. USC, 7. Texas Tech), (8. Utah, 9. Georgia, 10. Florida), 11. Ohio State, 12. Boise State, 13. LSU, 14. South Florida, 15. Texas Christian.

The first BCS official standings will be unveiled Sunday during the NFL postgame show on FOX.

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