We’ve sort of been dancing around this all season, but writing out these rankings has been mostly a drag, if only because the top seed has been self-identified since November 5th, and even before then it was one of two teams (LSU or Alabama) that were eventually going to play. For the majority of the season, after the top two teams everything has been arbitrary and every team that had an opportunity to keep the title game selections interesting has failed along the way (I speak primarily of Oklahoma State, Oregon, Stanford, Boise State, Wisconsin & Oklahoma).
As a result, we are getting the two actual best teams in the country, but it’s a rematch between two teams separated by no further than five hours along I-59. So while the ratings were high for their 1-2 showdown earlier this month, no one bears much interest in seeing an encore. And yet, as a cherry on top of the ho-hum sundae, there isn’t a better alternative.
After what Oregon did to Stanford and LSU did to Oregon, there isn’t any reason to think Stanford could hang with the Tigers in New Orleans. The only team with a legitimate gripe is Oklahoma State (sorry all one-loss or better mid-majors), and even then no objective observer would suggest Oklahoma State has a better collection of wins or a better loss than Alabama.
So let’s sit back, enjoy “Championship Week” then the subsequent onslaught of interchangeable bowl games and lament the lack of a playoff. It will be just like every other bowl season, but with a relatively disappointing conclusion.
I mean, no explanation needed, right? Here’s hoping they lose to Georgia and still reach the national title game. The best we can hope for in regards to BCS pandemonium at this point would be only one SEC team making it to New Orleans.
The biggest problem with this college football season was it felt like with the exception of LSU-Alabama and at least one loss from everyone else, every other game was completely irrelevant to the national picture. Alabama’s and LSU’s win on Saturday just personified that.
Because there isn’t any real justification for whoever you put in this position, but I feel like if they were to play a best of three on a neutral field against any other team in the country, Oregon would walk away triumphant. Mind you, this team is woefully under-developed on defense. And it’s the third best team. In the country.
4) Boise State
I’m looking forward to this team being forced to replace Kellen Moore, then we can all go back to not including them in national title conversations. I’d feel differently if at least once in these last two years they hadn’t disappointed everyone who roots for the BCS looking ridiculous. While it might be cliché, I do consider myself to be amongst the legions.
Yet another team that you never want to be too hopeful for, but no one is all that impressive so they’re still in the top five, just so we can justify our earlier rankings.
Being Notre Dame at home is impressive and whatnot, but they all played one team all season with any sort of athletic depth (though I may not be doing USC justice), and they were stomped pretty handily. I guess I’m just missing the evidence that if they played any team in front of them that they would actually win.
7) Oklahoma State
I’m actually looking forward to their game next weekend. It will be the first time in awhile anyone outside of Texas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Colorado, Kansas or Iowa could say that.
I guess this means I’m picking them to win, and while I’m looking forward to the game it’s partly because neither team is all that confidence inspiring. And yet they’re ranked 7th & 8th here, and higher most everywhere else.
Look, no one, including yours truly, actually thought they were one of the three best teams in the country, but with only one loss with a pretty respectable resume, there wasn’t any reason to rank them lower than third with only the one loss to Alabama. And in the offset chance they actually beat LSU, it would be great for generating controversy. It didn’t happen, but still, everyone wanted it too.
Good luck on Sunday, Bulldogs. No one will be watching outside of the SEC region, of course, because this game has somehow been rendered meaningless, which seems almost impossible given how much has been on the line three years. But you may get some fourth quarter viewers if you can keep it within ten points. There’s a feather in your cap.
That whole probation thing is a shame, even more so when you consider that everyone even tangentially responsible for it has left the program. Either way, it will be a great last week of the season when they play Oregon in the Pac-12 championship every year from 2012 on-out. Assuming neither of them are placed on probation (again).
12) Virginia Tech
I didn’t watch enough of Clemson-Virginia Tech to determine if the Hokies will be able to exact any revenge on their loss to the Tigers back in October, or if the Tigers were simply that much better. Either way, this has actually been a quality season in the ACC, about the only conference experiencing an upswing in entertainment value from 2010. Admittedly the bar was set ridiculously low, but it was for the Big East as well, and, uh, Louisville is going to be representing them in the BCS, and they lost to Florida International.
13) South Carolina
And the SEC prevails yet again in one of their out of conference rivalries. At least Florida lost.
14) Michigan State
I fully expect them to lose to Wisconsin in Indianapolis on Saturday (note to Big Ten officials: I know it’s cold by Lake Michigan in early December and Soldier field lacks a dome, but just put the game in Chicago), but I would prefer it if they didn’t. The loser here probably plays Arkansas in the Capital One Bowl, while the winner goes on to play Oregon in the Rose. Both will lose to Oregon, only MSU loses to Arkansas. As a Big Ten supporter by Buckeye association, I’d rather go 1-1 than 2-0. Here’s hoping Michigan doesn’t make the BCS and if they do, they draw Houston. *Now worries the Big Ten losing a BCS game to Houston*
Wolverines fans have to be somewhat upset after beating Ohio State for the first time since 2003. For starters, OSU hired Urban Meyer two days later, giving us a higher profile coach and hope to not only seal off their recruiting pipeline to Ohio they’ve enjoyed for the past seven months, but also tipped the scale in our favors for at least the next three years. Additionally, OSU basketball is arguably the best in the country (probably third behind Kentucky & Syracuse), and just throttled Duke on Tuesday night. In short, as a Columbus resident, it’s like Saturday’s loss never happened. Kind of like OSU’s win in 2010.
Wow, this is new for Clemson. I mean, they sort of choked away the season like always, but they still have a shot at the BCS and conference title on Saturday. I, for one, am rooting for them. The stranglehold Virginia Tech has had on the ACC is tiresome. It’s the same reason I root for anyone in the AFC that isn’t the Steelers, Colts, Ravens or Patriots.
17) Kansas State
Their win over Texas displayed a fairly competent defense, but it was two weeks ago and unlike most teams in the country, the Jayhawks managed to get Thanksgiving weekend off. I don’t know if this is an annual practice, but if they take a sabbatical every Thanksgiving, no wonder everyone hates them despite their relative anonymity.
To give you an idea of how non-applicable the transitive property is this year in the Big Ten, Nebraska beat Iowa last week 20-7, and the week before Michigan beat Nebraska 45-17, yet back in the first weekend in November, Iowa beat Michigan 24-16. It sounds intriguing but when everyone is so unreliable it’s mostly disappointing.
It might sound condescending, but a bowl bid, a Heisman finalist & essentially an entire season in the top 25 is an amazing year for a school like Baylor, who’s a perennial bottom feeder in their conference. If they beat Texas on Saturday, like it seems everyone else in their conference has, Baylor might start seeking bids from the SEC. It’s better than anything Texas A&M has done this decade.
Still not buying, this is Georgia trouncing Hawaii in the 2008 (2007 season) Sugar Bowl all over again. They probably won’t play a team nearly as good as Georgia was that year though (see the #15 team on this page).
21) West Virginia
They’re not getting to the BCS, but I’m not putting Louisville or Cincinnati on this list. Unless we’re talking about Justified or George Clooney, that region is just as superfluous as it usually is in college football.
If it wasn’t for those meddling Cougars, TCU would be second in line behind a team they already beat to play in one of the nation’s marquee bowl games. The BCS, ladies and gentlemen.
23) Florida State
We’d like to acknowledge their win over Florida, but it really isn’t that big of a deal. We’ve come a long way from the late 90′s, just ask Oklahoma, USC, LSU, Alabama and damn near every team that we regard as a “top-flight program” now. In fact, just ask the entire SEC this side of Tennessee and Florida.
24) Notre Dame
Did anyone expect them to beat Stanford. I hate penalizing teams from week-to-week for doing exactly what we anticipated. Have fun at whatever bowl you land that you have no business playing in, based on your resume.
25) Northern Illinois
Because between Temple, Ohio, Toledo and the Huskies, the MAC hasn’t been bad this year, and we might as well commemorate all the Tuesday night entertainment with putting the presumed winner of the conference in our top-25.