The first Bowl Championship Series standings of the 2012 college football season were released on Sunday night, and the SEC once again figures prominently in the initial rankings.
Undefeated Alabama and Florida sit atop the standings as we enter Week 8, meaning the Crimson Tide and Gators would meet for the BCS national championship if the season ended today. Of course, there is plenty of football yet to be played. What is interesting to note, however, is that in 12 of the 14 years the BCS has been used either the No. 1 or No. 2 team in the initial standings has made the national title game. That obviously bodes well for the SEC.
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Of course, this current system is being replaced by a four-team playoff in 2014. How exactly that new format will look remains to be seen.
Meanwhile, Oregon checks in at No. 3 in the first rankings, slightly behind the Gators. The Ducks sit at No. 2 in both the Coaches' Poll and the Harris Poll but have a No. 6 computer rating. Coincidentally, Oregon was No. 2 in the final polls in 2001 but was weighted down by the computers and finished No. 4 in the final BCS standings. Of course, the Ducks still could rise in these standings because of games against USC and Oregon State, plus a potential rematch with USC in a Pac-12 title game. But would that be enough for the computers?
The Gators are No. 1 in the six computers that the BCS uses, and they still have marquee games against Georgia and Florida State. And, of course, it will have an SEC title game if it wins the East division. The good news for the Ducks is that they essentially control their own destiny because even a matchup of undefeated Alabama and undefeated Florida would knock one of those two teams from the top two of the rankings. The SEC is strong, but an undefeated Pac-12 team will absolutely be ahead of a one-loss SEC squad.
Here is the BCS formula — how these rankings came about: Harris Interactive Poll (1/3) + USA Today Coaches’ Poll (1/3) + Computer rankings (1/3). The BCS national championship game in Miami will pit the top two teams in the final BCS standings, which will be released the Sunday after the regular season ends
The BCS standings — Top 16
1. Alabama .9761
2. Florida .9092
3. Oregon .8993
4. Kansas State .8963
5. Notre Dame .8774
6. LSU .7522
7. South Carolina .6930
8. Oregon State .6808
9. Oklahoma .6664
10. USC .5959
11. Georgia .4980
12 Mississippi State .4846
13. West Virginia .4793
14. Florida State .4277
15. Rutgers .4083
16. Louisville .4061
A few thoughts:
• The SEC has five teams in the Top 11. Of course, the conference has won the last six BCS titles.
• The Big Ten has no teams ranked in the BCS Top 25. While that is tough for Jim Delany to swallow, it does help out teams in non-AQ leagues. According to BCS rules, the highest-ranked non-AQ league champion in the Top 12 of the BCS rankings will get into a BCS bowl. But the best non-AQ is probably Boise State, which already has a loss. The Broncos are sitting at No. 22. Chris Petersen's squad could also net a bid if it finishes in the Top 16 ahead of an AQ league champ.
• For fans of teams ranked lower than you would have wanted or expected, keep in mind that LSU won the BCS title in 2003 after being No. 12 in the initial rankings. On the flip side, only four of 28 teams to reach the title game were not ranked in the Top 5 of the initial standings.
• Notre Dame is back in the national mix. The last time the Fighting Irish were this high was in 2002 when they were No. 3 for the first two weeks of the standings. That was the year they started 8-0.
• Kansas State has not been this high since finishing No. 5 in 1999.
Certainly there is a ton of football left, but it's at least fun to discuss possible national championship participants as we enter Week 8.
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