In one of the wildest late-season weekends in the BCS since 2007, three top 5 programs lost, opening up the race for the #2 slot to a host of one-loss teams. For the first time EVER, one conference has three members atop the standings. Ordinarily, that might seem like a temporary problem, with #1 LSU slated to play #3 Arkansas this Friday, and with the SEC CG in two weeks. But the BCS poll has done something consistently odd this year--they're not dropping certain teams very far after their first loss so late in the season, and who will end up ranked where in the end is seemingly a jump ball at this point.
In the 8th poll week, the first of the BCS polls, the top 10 was dominated by eight undefeated teams and one loss Oregon and Arkansas. In week 9, Oklahoma was the first of the big eight to lose and plummeted from 3rd to 9th--a reasonable drop. By week 11, Alabama lost to LSU but only dropped one place to third. In the 12th week poll, Boise had lost and dropped from 5th to 10th, a customary fall, and Stanford fell from 4th to 9th. In Sunday's poll, the 13th, Oklahoma State fell from 2nd to 4th, again a short drop. Two loss Oklahoma and Oregon still aren't out of the top 10 yet either. Houston is a non-factor as they will not garner enough votes even if everyone above them lost.
It seems that the BCS, which still relies heavily on two human polls, is keeping it's favorites in the mix and elevating fewer teams that might be deserving of a shot. Please bear in mind that I don't think this is some vast conspiracy instituted by the media, voters or self-aware computers, but rather an anomaly of the current voting criteria and requirements. Maybe the problem seems magnified from the sheer depth of one-loss teams that are competing for that second slot in New Orleans or perhaps we're just conditioned to expect a two-horse race.
I'm aghast at the idea that two SEC teams may play for the national title, resulting in the BCS era's first rematch. Yea, I'm a little partisan but I believe I'd still make the same argument even if Auburn were one of the three or Alabama wasn't. Although LSU fans probably aren't exactly thrilled about a BCS CG rematch, I wonder their thoughts on the matter considering they're currently in the driver's seat. This just doesn't feel right. The national title game shouldn't be about one conference. I tell you, the quickest way for CFB to get a playoff is to land two SEC teams in the title game this year. They'll iron it out by April.
My problems with these current BCS rankings probably result from me being a CFB purist along with a playoff proponent. Number one, I believe that late losses should usually doom a team. It's basically CFB's equivalent of losing a NFL playoff game. Drop your Rivalry Saturday game? Too bad. In the old days, you were toast. You can't play for a national title if you just lost to your biggest rival and the polls used to be heavily weighted against losing late. These days, the BCS has proven that you don't even have to win your conference title game to still make the big show--Oklahoma in 2003 and maybe even a SEC team this year.
Which brings me to number two: teams that don't win their conference shouldn't play for the national title. Seems fair, right? If you're for a playoff, it's logically sound. The first rounds of a future playoff will be conference championship games. Yea, we'll always have a little mythical in our national title, but think of a playoff as a vehicle which does give the best teams a chance to play their way to the title rather than be annoited with it.
But I'm wrong. My problems with the current situation are misfounded. I'm going on the ideals which I believe CFB should be governed by, not the ones actually in place. I made one of the classic blunders. No, not getting involved in a land war in Asia, but thinking that the BCS is supposed to seed teams equitably and logically. The BCS is the law of the land. Like it or not, it has but a single purpose: to pair the two best teams in the country to play for the crown. Everyone else is also-rans.
So I change my mind. Let the chips fall where they may. If no other major conference is good enough to preempt the SEC from stealing the spotlight then bite us. If you can't beat 'em, arrange to have them beaten or change the rules--kinda like Notre Dame did in wrangling out automatic BCS slots. Remember the rule limiting two BCS bowl teams per conference? It's about to become prophetic in a way no one ever envisioned.
Naturally, Auburn could do it's part to sort out the confusion by taking care of business on Saturday. For the record, I think that if Arkansas beats LSU Friday, they jump Alabama even if the Tide wins Saturday. The only question will be whether LSU would drop above Alabama, resulting in the Hogs going to Atlanta. What a wild finish we may have. If I was one for conspiracy theories, I'd say the only reason for undeserving Auburn magically hanging around in the BCS rankings would be for Alabama to have enough SOS to remain ahead of Arkansas even if the Hogs beat LSU. Crazy, right?
WDE. Beat Bama.