No. 7 Tennessee (14.95), despite what can charitably be described as a poor performance in a 38-35 win over 2-8 Kentucky, closed the gap on No. 6 Texas (14.39). The Horns lead over the Vols fell from 1.3 points last week to just .56 points this week.
Want a quick and easy way to clean up the current BCS formula? Eliminate every computer poll that ranked the Vols higher this week, after that pitiful showing, than last week. FYI, that would be six of the eight. The Massey rankings moved Tennessee from No. 9 to No. 8, the Rothman, Wolfe and Billingsly rankings bumped the Vols from No. 8 to No. 7 and the Anderson and Hester ranking had Tennessee up from No. 6 to No. 5. OK, Washington State, which enjoyed extremely high (and unjustified, I believe) rankings in several of those polls, lost, making the move of the Vols up a notch a natural one. But to reveal the travesty of these rankings, look no further than the sixth and final computer ranking system that elevated Tennessee today. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution/Colley rankings moved the Vols up to No. 2! How in the world can this poll be taken seriously when Miami crushes a good Syracuse team 59-zip and Tennessee has to rely on a late turnover to beat the 80th-rated team in the BCS, yet the Hurricanes are at No. 3 and the Vols move up to No. 2? That ratings system should be eliminated from the formula at the end of the season. Check that. It should be eliminated from the formula today. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution/Colley ranking has the Horns rated No. 10, behind Illinois and two-loss teams Stanford and Michigan.
Regardless, directly trailing Texas and Tennessee in the overall BCS rankings are No. 8 Illinois (19.76), No. 9 Stanford (22.81) and No. 10 Michigan (23.07) while Washington (25.65), Maryland (25.99), BYU (26.49), Washington State (29.74) and Colorado (30.87) occupy the Nos. 11-15 spots.
A win over A&M on the day after Thanksgiving would virtually assure the Horns of a top six ranking in the final BCS poll due out on Dec. 9 (although that doesn't guarantee the team a berth in a BCS game), and it could, under a very unlikely but possible scenario, put Texas in the Rose Bowl. That, however, would require upset losses by at least four of the five teams ahead of UT in the current standings.
Mack Brown said Monday that, as he does each week, he will talk to the team about the latest rankings and what they mean to this Texas team's possibilities. "I start each week's (Monday meeting) with where things are nationally with the BCS and with the polls and then I say that I don't want to hear talk about it again," Brown said. "I'll tell them today that if they win (this Friday), they'll have a chance to be in the BCS."
"The guys understand that even if we don't go to the championship game, we can still go to the BCS," the coach added, "and that's what these guys want to do."
"(Even) if there was nothing out there for them to play for as far as division championships or BCS bowls, they'd want to beat A&M."