The first BCS standings have been released and it comes as no surprise there is already a little bit of controversy brewing. Two years from now the playoff system goes into affect at the FBS level and the BCS rankings will no longer maintain a stranglehold on the college football world. However, if the system is going out, it isn't going to do so quietly. Belopw I have the top 5 in the BCS rankings, followed by the top 10 Odds to win the BCS Title. (Odds Courtesy of Sportsbook.ag)
Defending national champion Alabama sits in the catbird seat and they have shown no signs of letting up after posting a dominant shutout in last year's title game. The Tide followed that win up with an equally impressive rout of then nationally ranked Michigan in this year's season opener. The problem is, the win over the Wolverines is by far the team's most impressive as the competition has been less than stellar since. The Tide will make up for it starting this week with a four-game stretch that includes road treks to Tennessee and LSU and home games against Mississippi State and Texas A&M.
Florida has the 2nd spot in the rankings, overtaking the Ducks mainly due to their strength of schedule. Will Muschamp's team has road victories at Texas A&M and Tennessee, and opened October action with a 14-6 win over LSU in Gainesville. The Gators close out their SEC schedule early this year (Nov. 3) and if they can knock off South Carolina, Georgia and Missouri in consecutive weeks, they will earn a spot in the SEC Championship Game, regardless of the outcome of the regular-season finale at Florida State. Wins over the likes of the Gamecocks, Bulldogs and Seminoles would assure the team remains in the BCS picture, although a likely showdown with Alabama in the SEC Championship Game could derail an otherwise superb season for the Gators.
No.3 is the Oregon Ducks. The Ducks have steamrolled their opponents, scoring at least 42 points in every game en route to a 6-0 start. You could certainly make a case for them to be No. 1, at least as much as you can for Alabama. The Ducks have beaten two ranked teams, while the Tide have defeated only one. They have posted lopsided wins over a couple of good teams (Arizona and Washington), but wins over Arkansas State, Fresno State, Tennessee Tech and Washington State have cost the team the second spot in the initial BCS rankings. Chip Kelly's squad will have time to make up the narrow difference between itself and a guaranteed spot in the National Championship Game, though, starting with a matchup at Arizona State this week and then other tough games at USC, versus Stanford and at Oregon State during an ambitious November schedule.
Checking in at number 4 is the surprising Kansas State Wildcats. For the second time in his illustrious career Bill Snyder has revived a stagnant Kansas State program and brought it to the precipice of greatness. The fourth-ranked Wildcats are sitting atop the Big 12 standings and have the ultimate trump card in the race for the conference crown, having already beaten league favorite Oklahoma (24-19) in Norman no less. KSU also has some tough games ahead, starting with this week's trip to Morgantown to take on Heisman favorite Geno Smith and the rest of the West Virginia Mountaineers. Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, TCU, Baylor and Texas won't just lay down and concede the Big 12 title, but unlike the other three teams in front of it, Kansas State won't have to play an extra game with the Big 12 Championship Game now a thing of the past.
Rounding out the top 5 in Notre Dame. Notre Dame was supposed to be better in year three of Brian Kelly's reign, but not many could have envisioned the Irish would get through the first half of their schedule unscathed. ND's meteoric rise has come from a defense that hasn't allowed an offensive touchdown since Sept. 8. The Irish basically have their own TV network in NBC, which means plenty of college football fans have seen the re-emergence of this program. They're coming off an epic, yet controversial, win over No. 17 Stanford in overtime. That marked the third top-20 team Notre Dame has beaten this year. The schedule doesn't get any easier, either. They can't look past BYU this week, as that matchup has trap game written all over it. Assuming the Irish take care of business against the Cougars, their national title hopes will be on the line in Norman the following week. A Notre Dame win versus No. 9 Oklahoma would certainly catapult them into the Top 3. Few teams, if any, could match what would be ND's fourth win against a ranked opponent.
Current Odds to win the BCS Title. Alabama (+120); Oregon (+350); Florida (+800); USC (+1000); Kansas State (+1200); LSU (+1200); Oklahoma (+1200); South Carolina (+1200); Notre Dame (+1500); Florida State.
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