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Weekly BCS Briefing: Week Four

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The Boise State Broncos charged up into the #2 spot in the latest simulated BCS Rankings.

I apologize for an error that I made. I read a website that said the Harris Poll would be released September 26th, but it turns out it won't be released until October 10th, the week before the first BCS rankings. We may get another computer ranking next week (I'm not positive), so that could help improve the simulation.

The rankings are available, after the jump...

Instant Reactions

  • After having a poor performance against Cincinnati, the computers penalized Oklahoma a bit. The computer rankings were what buoyed OU to the #3 ranking in our simulated standings last week.
  • The Massey Ratings have it bad for Kansas State. Last week it had the Wildcats ranked #7, this week #1! Can you believe it? Me either.
  • Who are the other teams the computers love? Simply look for teams that are outperforming their Coaches' Poll ranking: Florida (+4), Oklahoma (+2), LSU (+2), Auburn (+2), Stanford (+3), Arizona (+3), Missouri (+2), and Oklahoma State (+2). Notice a trend? They are all from the SEC, Big 12, or Pac 10. Because of that, you have to favor teams from those conferences for the national title game, provided they run the table.
  • Texas took a big hit, falling 13 spots. They aren't even ranked in the top 25 in one of the computer polls.
  • North Carolina State and Nevada jump into the Top 25 at the expense of West Virginia and Michigan State.
  • Some teams fell in the rankings despite winning. This tended to be because they struggled against a weak opponent, or even just played an FCS team.

The Elite

Teams in this category are either ranked #1 or #2 or they are within a cluster of teams that does not trail 2nd place by more than 0.05 points.

Well Within Striking Distance

I kept Boise State out of this grouping last week, because I was convinced that their strength of schedule might keep them out of the top of the pack once they started playing their WAC schedule. They still have to start their conference schedule, but we should get a good gauge on how their weak schedule will play into this once they play the horribly awful New Mexico State Aggies this coming Saturday. Until then, they are ranked #2 and are in a pretty obvious cluster near the top of the rankings. Clearly Alabama is being favored by polls as the class of college football right now, but the verdict is out on the rest of these teams. 

All six of these teams are clustered in a point range of less than one tenth of one point, so they all are positioned about equally well to get to the top of the rankings at this point. Oregon, Oklahoma, and Florida will all face tough tests this week, far tougher than Boise State, Ohio State (vs. Illinois), or TCU (vs. Colorado State). If the Ducks or Sooners win, they should get boosted to the #2 spot and the computers will give Boise State a hit. If Florida beats Alabama, well, then we have chaos.

Need Some Help

LSU is sort of in a weird limbo right now between two clusters of teams. The human poll voters are dragging them down while computers think they're an elite team. They won't have a huge test against Tennessee this weekend, but they'll have to travel to Florida after that. I think after that game, we'll finally see which direction the Tigers are moving. Meanwhile, the rest of these teams have fairly good resumes so far, but neither the computers nor the human voters are convinced they deserve to be an elite team right now. Stanford has an opportunity to state their case this weekend at Oregon. 

With that, I'm going to bow out, and let you all dissect the rest, if you so choose.