Computer ranking pushes FSU over Oregon to No. 2 in first BCS poll; Alabama No. 1
BY STEVE GREENBERG Staff Reporter October 20, 2013 9:36PM
CLEMSON, SC - OCTOBER 19: Jameis Winston #5 of the Florida State Seminoles celebrates after running for a touchdown with teammate Christian Green #89 during their game at Memorial Stadium on October 19, 2013 in Clemson, South Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Updated: October 21, 2013 11:33AM
Deep breaths, college football fans. In … out. There you go.
Who are we kidding? Five top 10 teams lost in Week 8. Nine top 25 teams lost in all. The BCS picture, in the final year under the postseason format, has never been more ridiculous.
No one’s catching their breath in this final year before the playoff kicks in.
First BCS poll comes out: The top three are no surprise, though the order of those teams threw many folks for a loop.
Alabama (7-0, 4-0 SEC), winner of the last two national titles, yielder of a total of 16 points over its last five games, is the obvious No. 1. Most experts expected Oregon (7-0, 4-0 Pac-12) to come in at 2 and Florida State (6-0, 4-0 ACC) at 3, but turns out it’s the other way around.
No doubt the Seminoles earned enormous respect with their 51-14 thrashing of Clemson on Saturday, but Oregon has been in the eye-popping-scores business for several years.
Also, of the three equal components that factor into teams’ BCS ratings, two are polls: the USA Today coaches poll and the Harris poll. Both of them have Oregon at 2 and FSU at 3. That means the computer rankings are what rewarded the Seminoles and penalized the Ducks, who must wonder if beating Stanford and winning out in the Pac-12 would be enough to get them to the national-title game.
Either way, BCS No. 4 Ohio State (7-0, 4-0 Big Ten) is on the outside looking in. And this is as it should be. Even the most-ardent Buckeyes/Big Ten believers have to accept that at least the three teams above are playing at a higher level.
It’s clear as a bell that two of the top three BCS teams are going to have to lose for the Big Ten’s only title hopeful to have a crack at Pasadena — on Jan. 6, not on Jan. 1. Wild to think the Buckeyes could rip through two consecutive regular seasons without a loss and have one Rose Bowl to show for it, but that’s likely the best-case scenario.
Winston vs. Mariota
The Heisman Trophy debate is officially raging, and it appears to be a two-player race between FSU redshirt freshman quarterback Jameis Winston and Oregon sophomore quarterback Marcus Mariota. That can change in a hurry with a loss for either guy, of course, but right now there isn’t anyone else who’s even remotely close to the top two.
Winston, coming off a head-top-head showdown with Clemson QB Tajh Boyd, probably would win the award if the voting were today. But Mariota could pull away during his highest-profile two-game stretch of the season: Saturday at home against UCLA (6 p.m., ESPN) followed by a Thursday-nighter (after a bye week) at Stanford.
One and done?
Missouri (7-0, 3-0 SEC), ranked fifth in the BCS standings and the AP poll, will all but wrap up a division title if it beats South Carolina on Saturday (6 p.m., ESPN2). If Mizzou protects its turf, maybe fans and media throughout the South will start referring to the Gamecocks’ hometown as the “other” Columbia.