BCS Breakdown - The New Pecking Order

Week 11 BCS Analysis - Six SEC teams are in the top ten, but there's a new No. 1.

2012 BCS Analysis

Week 5 ... Nov. 11  

- 2012 CFN Rankings
- 2012 Harris Poll
- 2012 Coaches' Poll
2012 AP Rankings  

BCS Top 25
- Expanded BCS Rankings

1. Kansas State
2. Oregon
3. Notre Dame
4. Alabama
5. Georgia
6. Florida
7. LSU
8. Texas A&M
9. South Carolina
10. Florida State
11. Clemson
12. Oklahoma
13. Stanford
14. Nebraska
15. Texas
16. Oregon State
17. UCLA
18. USC
19. Louisville
20. Louisiana Tech
21. Michigan
22. Rutgers
23. Texas Tech
24. Oklahoma St
25. Washington
The Basic Rules

- The top two teams play in the BCS Champ. The natural tie-ins, though, are SEC champ to the Sugar, Big Ten and Pac-12 champs to the Rose, Big 12 to the Fiesta, and ACC champ to the Orange.

- The BCS games that lose their natural tie-ins to the BCS Championship get the first selection of at-large teams. For example, the SEC champion goes to the Sugar Bowl, but if that team finishes No. 1 in the final BCS rankings, then the Sugar Bowl gets its first choice of at-large teams. After those slots are filled, the pecking order goes Fiesta, Sugar, Orange in the selection process.

- Notre Dame is in the BCS if it finishes in the top eight.

- In the computer formulas, the best and the worst rankings for each team are dropped.

- Some bowls ignore the final standings as far as the seedings and pairings.

- The champion of Conference USA, the MAC, the Mountain West, the Sun Belt, or the WAC will earn an automatic berth in a BCS bowl game if one of the teams finishes in the top 12 of the final BCS standings or if one is in the top 16 and ranked ahead of a champion of a conference that has an annual automatic berth in one of the BCS bowls. However, no more than one team gets an automatic bid.

- To be eligible for an at-large bid, a team has to have won at least nine regular season games and it has to finish in the top 14.

- Since TCU went to the Rose Bowl last year, the Bowl doesn't have to take a non-AQ at-large team.

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Everyone was waiting for the first really big crack in the dam, and Texas A&M provided it.

It's crystal clear from this point going forward - If Oregon and Kansas State win their remaining games, they'll play each other in the BCS championship. If one of them loses, and Notre Dame wins its final two games against Wake Forest and USC, then it'll be the Irish who play for it all. If two of the top three teams lose, and there's a one-loss SEC champion, then the SEC will get a team in.

But what if Oregon, Kansas State and Notre Dame all lose? If that happens, then welcome back to 2011.

Because the BCS championship race is so cut-and-dry up top, and because it's so easy to figure out what happens if there aren't any surprises, watch out for the ultimate curveball.

Kansas State could certainly lose to Texas. It wouldn't be a shocker if Notre Dame lost to USC. Oregon was shoved around a bit by Cal for 40 minutes and could certainly have problems with hard-nosed Stanford and Oregon State teams. Even if everything goes according to plan for the Ducks, facing USC or UCLA in the Pac-12 championship won't be a walk in the park. So let's say the unthinkable happens and all three teams lose.

Can Florida State rise up and get into the mix? The computers could keep that from happening, but with a win over Florida and an ACC championship with a 12-1 record, it might be close. More likely, a one-loss SEC champion would be a sure-thing to get in to play ...


If the No. 6 Gators win out with a decent win over No. 10 Florida State on the road to finish 11-1, they'll be in a terrific position to possibly play Alabama, or get a rematch against Georgia, for the BCS championship, which would throw the anti-SEC side of the college football world that hated seeing LSU play Alabama for it all last year into a tizzy.

But that's getting several steps ahead of the game. For now, the BCS is starting to get easier to figure out. What's harder, especially for Notre Dame and SEC fans, is the explanation for why the four-team playoff can't be put in place this year to solve the problem on the field.


- The computers hate - HATE - Florida State. The Seminoles might be ranked sixth by both human polls, but two computer formulas don't even have them ranked in the top 25 and only one has them in the top 15. It's going to take a win over Florida to get on the radar.

- How much do the computers really matter? Notre Dame remains No. 1 according to the wires and yet there's no chance of getting into the top two without Kansas State or Oregon losing..

- Louisiana Tech might not be out of the running for an at-large BCS spot. At 20th, there's a chance to move up with No. 17 UCLA and No. 18 USC playing each other and No. 16 Oregon State facing Oregon. No. 19 Louisville could lose, too. That means the Bulldogs can keep moving on up, and if they're in the top 16 and ranked ahead of a champion of a BCS league, they're in.
- How bad are things in the Big East? Four computers don't have No. 19 Louisville ranked, and three don't have No. 22 Rutgers ranked.

1. Kansas State 10-0 BCS Score: 0.967

Collin Klein's injury problems didn't appear to be a big deal - at least they weren't against TCU - and now there's no concern about whether or not Oregon would come up from behind once the computer formulas kicked in. Kansas State is two wins away from playing for the BCS championship, and now it doesn't matter what anyone else does.

Predicted Wins:  at Baylor, Texas
Predicted Losses: None
Predicted Final Record: 12-0
Predicted Bowl: BCS championship
Loss Alert: Texas

2. Oregon 10-0 BCS Score: 0.950

All the speculation and all the worrying is now over. Could Oregon get into the top two when the computers came around? Would it be possible to leapfrog over Kansas State? None of it matters now for the Ducks, needing to beat Stanford and Oregon State, and needing to win the Pac-12 title, to play in Miami. No, the computers have no interest in the Ducks, ranking them fourth, but it doesn't matter. As long as Oregon is No. 1 in both human polls, everything will be fine.

Predicted Wins: Stanford, at Oregon State, Pac-12 championship
Predicted Losses: None
Predicted Final Record: 13-0
Predicted Bowl: BCS championship
Loss Alert: Stanford, at Oregon State

3. Notre Dame 10-0 BCS Score: 0.940

The Irish came into last week needing lots and lots of help, and now a key piece is out of the equation. Needing three teams to lose to get a shot at the BCS championship, now Notre Dame just needs Oregon or Kansas State to fall to play for it all. Of course, there can't be any hiccups against Wake Forest or USC. Style points don't matter.

Predicted Wins: Wake Forest, at USC
Predicted Losses: None
Predicted Final Record: 12-0
Predicted Bowl: Rose
Loss Alert: at USC

4. Alabama 9-1 BCS Score: 0.853

The Tide are still alive, but it's going to take a 12-1 record and an SEC championship to get close, and it's going to take a loss by two of the top three teams to get over the top. At the very least, even after the loss to Texas A&M there's going to be a huge cry from a sizeable portion of the college football world that wants to see the SEC champion, considering the strength of the conference, get its shot at the national title.

Predicted Wins: Western Carolina, Auburn, SEC championship
Predicted Losses: None
Predicted Final Record: 12-1
Predicted Bowl: Sugar
Loss Alert: SEC championship

5. Georgia 9-1 BCS Score: 0.833

Alabama losing doesn't really help the cause. It would've been nice for the Dawgs to have been the one to beat the unquestioned No. 1 team in the SEC championship, but the same deal still applies needing help up top. If Georgia wins out and two of the top three teams lose, it'll play for the BCS championship.

Predicted Wins: Georgia Southern, Georgia Tech
Predicted Losses: SEC championship
Predicted Final Record: 11-2
Predicted Bowl: Capital One
Loss Alert: Georgia Tech

6. Florida 9-1 BCS Score: 0.796

The Gators weren't punished by the humans after the way-too-close call against Louisiana-Lafayette, and margin of victory doesn't matter to the computers, so for the Gators a win is a win is a win. If they win out, meaning a victory at Florida State, they'll be all but guaranteed a BCS bowl appearance, and if Notre Dame, Kansas State and Oregon lose, then there's a great chance to slide up to No. 2 and play for it all.

Predicted Wins: Jacksonville State, at Florida State
Predicted Losses: None
Predicted Final Record: 11-1
Predicted Bowl: Fiesta
Loss Alert:  at Florida State 

7. LSU 8-2 BCS Score: 0.733

What would've happened if LSU had hung on against Alabama? It would be preparing for Ole Miss and Arkansas with a chance to play for the SEC championship, while hoping for a few breaks to play for the national title. But, of course, that didn't happen, and now the Tigers have to win out and hope and pray for Florida and Georgia to lose their games against ACC teams to hope for the SEC's second BCS bowl slot.

Predicted Wins: Ole Miss, at Arkansas
Predicted Losses: None
Predicted Final Record: 10-2
Predicted Bowl: Cotton
Loss Alert: at Arkansas

8. Texas A&M 8-2 BCS Score: 0.662

The Aggies became the highest riser with their huge win over Alabama going from 15th up to eighth. The problem is traffic. There are already four SEC teams ranked higher, so short of a slew of upset losses, it's going to be next to impossible to get an at-large BCS bid.

Predicted Wins: Sam Houston State, Missouri
Predicted Losses: None
Predicted Final Record: 10-2
Predicted Bowl: Chick-fil-A
Loss Alert: Missouri

9. South Carolina 8-2 BCS Score: 0.635

Is there some crazy way for the Gamecocks to slide into a very, very big game if everyone loses? It's possible, but it would probably take losses by Florida to Florida State, Georgia to Georgia Tech and Alabama to Auburn to make it a reality. The losses to LSU and Florida in back-to-back weeks are too much to overcome in the hunt for a BCS appearance.

Predicted Wins: Wofford
Predicted Losses: at Clemson
Predicted Final Record: 9-3
Predicted Bowl: Outback
Loss Alert: at Clemson

10. Florida State 9-1 BCS Score: 0.607

Oh what might have been. Had they finished unbeaten, the Seminoles might not have been able to get into the top two with such a lousy ACC schedule, but they would've had a chance to come really, really close. The loss to NC State is the killer the team can't overcome, but as long as there's a win over Florida and an 11-1 regular season, a BCS game should be a given no matter what happens in the ACC championship.

Predicted Wins: at Maryland, ACC championship
Predicted Losses: Florida
Predicted Final Record: 11-2
Predicted Bowl: Orange
Loss Alert: Florida, ACC championship

11. Clemson (9-1 .592.
12. Oklahoma (7-2) .580
13. Stanford (8-2) .571
14. Nebraska (8-2) .468
15. Texas (8-2) .426
16. Oregon State (7-2) .416
17. UCLA (8-2) .293
18. USC (7-3) .277
19. Louisville (9-1) .216
20. Louisiana Tech (9-1) .191
21. Michigan (7-3) .167
22. Rutgers (8-1) .153
23. Texas Tech (7-3) .142
24. Oklahoma State (6-3) .109
25. Washington (6-4) .085

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