The Latest BCS Rankings & Why Alabama Is In

As we discussed over the weekend, Alabama is currently #2 and while it is difficult to predict the changes in the poll should Oklahoma State register an impressive win over Oklahoma (the Harris and Coaches’ polls are both human polls), it appears at least for now that Alabama is in the BCS Championship Game creating an All-SEC BCS Championship.

The latest BCS rankings

The following rankings show the BCS rankings of the top 14 schools including the Harris poll, the coaches’ poll and the BCS computer average. The SOS is not factored in the BCS ranking, but is shown in the below table:

1. LSU (1)1st1stT-1st3rd
2. Alabama (2)2nd2nd2ndT-29th
3. Okla. State (4)5th5th3rdT-22nd
4. Stanford (6)3rd4th4th59th
5. Virginia Tech (5)4th3rdT-10th27th
6. Houston (8)6th6th8th87th
7. Boise State (7)8th8th9th11th
8. Arkansas (3)9th10thT-6th39th
9. Oregon (10)7th7thT-10th17th
10. Oklahoma (9)10th11th5thT-12th
11. Kansas St. (11)15th15thT-6th15th
12. S. Carolina (12)14th13th12thT-29th
13. Mich. State (14)11th9th16th65th
14. Georgia (13)12th14th14th50th

Breaking It Down…

Alabama will play for the national championship. It won’t be official for another week, and while there’s a theoretical possibility things could change, this week’s BCS standings make it clear that the Crimson Tide have clinched their spot in the title game.

No. 2 Alabama’s advantage over No. 3 Oklahoma State is too sizable for the Cowboys to overcome even if — and this is a big if — they defeat Oklahoma this Saturday. The two human polls already have Oklahoma State at No. 5. All six computers ranked either Alabama (four) or Oklahoma State (two) at No. 2. While there’s a decent chance Oklahoma State may take the lead with the computers with a victory over Oklahoma — the computers’ No. 5 overall — that won’t be enough to overcome the human polls.

Furthermore, it’s unrealistic to expect Oklahoma State to jump ahead of not just Alabama, but also Stanford and Virginia Tech in the human polls. Like Alabama, Stanford is done for the year after failing to qualify for its conference championship game. It would still serve as a buffer between Alabama and Oklahoma State even if Virginia Tech loses Saturday’s ACC Championship Game to Clemson.

Nor will it matter if Oklahoma State somehow blows out Oklahoma. The computers don’t consider margin of victory, and as I just noted, the computers can’t move Oklahoma State over Alabama. The poll voters might consider the margin of victory, but again, Oklahoma State is starting the week in fifth place in both polls. It would seriously defy logic for enough voters to move Oklahoma State ahead of two idle teams they’ve already ranked higher.

Ultimately, Alabama gets in because they lost earlier in the year than Oklahoma State and that loss came against the consensus No. 1 team. While the computers may recognize Oklahoma State’s body of work as stronger when the final standings come out, the human polls still count for two-thirds of the final score, and they’ve already judged Alabama the second-best team in the land.

Who is ready for an All-SEC BCS Championship Game?


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