Harris Interactive Poll Week 14: Alabama gains support, but Notre Dame finishes the year on top

More to come, certainly.

Harris Interactive College Football Poll – December 2

Rank Team Votes Share of Vote
1 Notre Dame Fighting Irish 2866 .997
2 Alabama Crimson Tide 2765 .962
3 Oregon Ducks 2548 .886
4 Florida Gators 2480 .863
5 Georgia Bulldogs 2388 .831
6 Kansas State Wildcats 2332 .811
7 Stanford Cardinal 2142 .745
8 LSU Tigers 2128 .740
9 Texas A&M Aggies 1991 .693
10 South Carolina Gamecocks 1838 .639
11 Oklahoma Sooners 1745 .607
12 Florida State Seminoles 1655 .576
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Final BCS Rankings of 2012: Notre Dame and Alabama Finish On Top But Northern Illinois Steals The Show

The drama had seemingly been sucked out of the final weekend of the college football season until we figured out that a borderline non-AQ BCS buster was still possible. Still many were wary.

Official BCS Rankings
Rank Team
1 Notre Dame Fighting Irish
2 Alabama Crimson Tide
3 Florida Gators
4 Oregon Ducks
5 Kansas State Wildcats
Scroll down for more

But then things started falling Northern Illinois’s way. After the Huskies grabbed the MAC championship from Kent State’s clutches in overtime, they sat at home and watched UCLA and Texas lose. Then they saw the thing that proved most key — Nebraska get crushed by Wisconsin.

Those things, combined with the requisite boost the Huskies got for beating previously No. 17 Kent State put the Huskies at No. 15 this week. And as we learned these last few days, that was the threshold. Finishing ahead of the Big East’s BCS representative, No. 21 Louisville, Northern Illinois is Orange Bowl bound, where the Huskies will take on Florida State.

Elsewhere the tension was somewhat minimal. As expected, undefeated Notre Dame is on its way to the BCS title game, where the Fighting Irish will find SEC champion Alabama waiting.

Conference champions Wisconsin, Stanford and Kansas State found themselves in their anchor bowls, joined by at-large Florida — the beneficiary an automatic rule including the top-ranked AQ non-champion — and at-large Oregon.

All part of the BCS’s now teenage plan to combine bowl affiliations and numbers to rank and distribute games during bowl season’s final week. Worked out pretty interestingly this year. We’ve got one more of these ahead of us. It’s been fun, now let’s enjoy bowl season.

Here are the final BCS rankings of 2012:

Final BCS Standings — December 2nd

Rank Team BCS Score
1 Notre Dame Fighting Irish .9978
2 Alabama Crimson Tide .9441
3 Florida Gators .8984
4 Oregon Ducks .8621
5 Kansas State Wildcats .8226
6 Stanford Cardinal .7683
7 Georgia Bulldogs .7583
8 LSU Tigers .7511
9 Texas A&M Aggies .6756
10 South Carolina Gamecocks .6604
11 Oklahoma Sooners .6502
12 Florida State Seminoles .5047
13 Oregon State Beavers .4716
14 Clemson Tigers .4693
15 Northern Illinois Huskies .3276
16 Nebraska Cornhuskers .3264

Some thoughts:

  • BCS Know How’s Projected BCS vs. Actual BCS Rankings
    • The glaring oversight is of course at No. 16, where NIU lands a key one spot above where they needed to be.
    • Many shared that omission, but shout out to Yesh Ginsberg, who stood out and correctly predicted that NIU would have a simple time qualifying for the BCS, which they did.

USA Today Coaches’ Poll Week 14: Notre Dame finishes on top, Northern Illinois at No. 16

The tension is building.

Northern Illinois lands at No. 16 in the final regular season Coaches’ Poll, while key members of the BCS pack, UCLA (No. 19), Nebraska (No. 21) and Boise State (No. 15) pile around them.

Will it be enough? Stay tuned.

USA Today Coaches’ Poll – December 2

Rank Team Votes Share of Vote
1 Notre Dame Fighting Irish 1470 .997
2 Alabama Crimson Tide 1417 .961
3 Oregon Ducks 1313 .890
4 Florida Gators 1287 .872
5 Georgia Bulldogs 1216 .824
6 Kansas State Wildcats 1190 .807
7 LSU Tigers 1111 .753
8 Stanford Cardinal 1047 .710
9 Texas A&M Aggies 1039 .704
10 South Carolina Gamecocks 947 .642
11 Oklahoma Sooners 890 .603
12 Florida State Seminoles 853 .578

Projected BCS Standings: Quiet Across The Land As Notre Dame and Alabama Lead The Final BCS Rankings of 2012

The opportunity for chaos always stirs college football fans. And it looked like we were in store for some this year.

Projected Final BCS Rankings
Rank Team
1 Notre Dame Fighting Irish
2 Alabama Crimson Tide
3 Florida Gators
4 Georgia Bulldogs
5 Oregon Ducks
Scroll down for more

Six top-flight SEC teams emerged early. Oregon, Kansas State, Notre Dame, Louisville and Florida State looked every bit the flag bearer for their conferences. Chaos was certainly coming.

Then it arrived in November in the form of unbeaten Alabama, Oregon and Kansas State suffering surprising first losses. But then all was quiet.

And when all was said and done in the 2012 college football season, it was pretty clear. Notre Dame, on the strength on an undefeated season, and Alabama, winners of the battle-testing SEC, will finish 1-2 in the final BCS standings and meet for the BCS title at the end of the expansive bowl season.

Championship weekend served as a clarifying moment for many of the thing college football fans thought we knew, but couldn’t guarantee. Alabama, Florida State, Stanford, Louisville, Wisconsin and Kansas State secured BCS bids in traditional fashion.

Florida, tomorrow’s No. 3 team will claim a bid as the top-ranked member of a AQ conference to not actually win that conference. Oregon, set to land at No. 5 with one overtime loss to Rose Bowl-bound Stanford, will almost certainly be snatched up by a BCS bowl right away. That’s nine.

Then that 10th and final bid.

Coming into the weekend it was all about the non-AQ and the chance at a BCS buster. But the hope will stop here. Not enough happened for the MAC champion Northern Illinois or MWC champion Boise State to make a BCS bowl bid. And so, for a second straight year, we will forgo the non-AQ storyline taker and have a set of BCS bowls with 10 AQ conference members.

The best shot the non-AQs had at a BCS bowl was Northern Illinois. And the Huskies will just miss out at No. 17. That’s the long and short of it.

We’ll be here to take you through the entire process tomorrow — human polls, computer rankings, bowl pairings and BCS rankings  Follow along @BCSKnowHow and right here to stay up to the second with projections, mathematical breakdowns of the computers, human polls and everything in between. We’ll put up a chat room for questions and general discussion, too.

Got all that? Hope so.

Here’s what the final BCS standings will likely look like when they are released tomorrow at 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN:

Projected BCS Standings – BCS Week Eight (December 2nd)

Rank Team
1 Notre Dame Fighting Irish
2 Alabama Crimson Tide
3 Florida Gators
4 Georgia Bulldogs
5 Oregon Ducks
6 Kansas State Wildcats
7 Stanford Cardinal
8 LSU Tigers
9 Texas A&M Aggies
10 Oklahoma Sooners
11 South Carolina Gamecocks
12 Florida State Seminoles

BCS implications and strength of schedule worksheet for Week 14

So, what has your team accomplished in 2012?

With the season coming to a close on Saturday, now’s the time to take stock of what 2012 will be remembered for. Some teams have been short-changed, others have perhaps been given more than their fair. Most notably, at least one of the top six BCS teams this week will not make a BCS bowl, and perhaps more than one.

As the season draws down, we do have a bit of drama in the lower ranks of the BCS, with a non-AQ chase for a BCS buster bid. All that is explained further in our in-depth look at the battle, but for reference, we’ve included Kent State, Boise State and Northern Illinois in this week’s edition of the implications worksheet.

As we have all season, we compiled our implications and schedule strength worksheet suing the BCS rankings and Jeff Sagarin’s computer ranking to look at what the nation’s best teams have accomplished, where they’re headed and the potential pitfalls and dangers associated with their upcoming schedule.

What will you find here? The top eight BCS teams (or smaller, if the “striking distance” shrinks), along with their record and strength of schedule, according to Sagarin.

Each team is also listed with key games already played, and key games to come. Key games are any against the BCS top 25 or the Sagarin top 60. If teams are unlisted in the BCS, they are listed with their Sagarin rank, and SOS is Sagarin-based.

Games for the upcoming weekend are bolded.

Note: All teams are included in the Sagarin data, including bowl-ineligible teams.

BCS No. 1 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (12-0) SOS: 30

Important games already played:

  • BCS No. 8 Stanford Cardinal (10-2) SOS: 5 — Won 20-13
  • BCS No. 11 Oklahoma Sooners (9-2) SOS: 11 — Won 30-13
  • BCS No. 19 Michigan Wolverines (8-4) SOS: 32 — Won 13-6
  • Sagarin No. 19 USC Trojans (7-5) SOS: 6 — Won 22-13
  • Sagarin No. 36 Michigan State Spartans (6-6) SOS: 29 — Won 20-3
  • Sagarin No. 44 BYU Cougars (7-5) SOS: 57 — Won 17-14
  • Sagarin No. 51 Miami Hurricanes (7-5) SOS: 45 — Won 41-3
  • Sagarin No. 58 Purdue Boilermakers (6-6) SOS: 49 — Won 20-17

Important games remaining:

  • None

BCS No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide (11-1) SOS: 39

Important games already played:

  • BCS No. 7 LSU Tigers (10-2) SOS: 27 — Won 21-17
  • BCS No. 9 Texas A&M Aggies (10-2) SOS: 25 — Lost 29-24
  • BCS No. 19 Michigan Wolverines (8-4) SOS: 32 — Won 41-14
  • Sagarin No. 33 Ole Miss Rebels (6-6) SOS: 22 — Won 33-14
  • Sagarin No. 34 Mississippi State Bulldogs (8-4) SOS: 50 — Won 38-7
  • Sagarin No. 42 Missouri Tigers (5-7) SOS: 2 — Won 42-10
  • Sagarin No. 52 Tennessee Volunteers (5-7) SOS: 28 — Won 44-13

Important games remaining:

  • BCS No. 3 Georgia Bulldogs (11-1) SOS: 42 — Dec. 1

BCS No. 3 Georgia Bulldogs (11-1) SOS: 42

Important games already played:

  • BCS No. 4 Florida Gators (11-1) SOS: 13 — Won 17-9
  • BCS No. 10 South Carolina Gamecocks (10-2) SOS: 34 — Lost 35-7
  • Sagarin No. 23 Vanderbilt Commodores (8-4) SOS: 40 — Won 48-3
  • Sagarin No. 33 Ole Miss Rebels (6-6) SOS: 22 — Won 37-10
  • Sagarin No. 42 Missouri Tigers (5-7) SOS: 2 — Won 41-20
  • Sagarin No. 52 Tennessee Volunteers (5-7) SOS: 28 — Won 51-44

Important games remaining:

  • BCS No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide (11-1) SOS: 39 — Dec. 1

BCS No. 4 Florida Gators (11-1) SOS: 13

Important games already played:

  • BCS No. 3 Georgia Bulldogs (11-1) SOS: 42 — Lost 17-9
  • BCS No. 7 LSU Tigers (10-2) SOS: 27 — Won 14-6
  • BCS No. 9 Texas A&M Aggies (10-2) SOS: 25 — Won 20-17
  • BCS No. 10 South Carolina Gamecocks (10-2) SOS: 34 — Won 44-11
  • BCS No. 13 Florida State Seminoles (10-2) SOS: 72 — Won 37-26
  • Sagarin No. 23 Vanderbilt Commodores (8-4) SOS: 40 — Won 31-17
  • Sagarin No. 42 Missouri Tigers (5-7) SOS: 2 — Won 14-7
  • Sagarin No. 52 Tennessee Volunteers (5-7) SOS: 28 — Won 37-20

Important games remaining:

  • None

BCS No. 5 Oregon Ducks (11-1) SOS: 31

Important games already played:

  • BCS No. 8 Stanford Cardinal (10-2) SOS: 5 — Lost 17-14
  • BCS No. 15 Oregon State Beavers (8-3) SOS: 3 — Won 48-24
  • Sagarin No. 19 USC Trojans (7-5) SOS: 6 — Won 62-51
  • Sagarin No. 20 Arizona Wildcats (7-5) SOS: 8 — Won 49-0
  • BCS No. 25 Washington Huskies (7-5) SOS: 16 — Won 52-21
  • Sagarin No. 32 Arizona State Sun Devils (7-5) SOS: 35 — Won 43-21
  • Sagarin No. 45 Frenso State Bulldogs (9-3) SOS: 103 — Won 42-25

Important games remaining:

  • None

BCS No. 6 Kansas State Wildcats (10-1) SOS: 24

Important games already played:

  • BCS No. 11 Oklahoma Sooners (9-2) SOS: 11 — Won 24-19
  • Sagarin No. 21 West Virginia Mountaineers (6-5) SOS: 12 — Won 55-14
  • BCS No. 23 Oklahoma State Cowboys (7-4) SOS: 14 — Won 44-30
  • Sagarin No. 27 TCU Horned Frogs (7-4) SOS: 19 — Won 23-10
  • Sagarin No. 30 Texas Tech Red Raiders (7-5) SOS: 23 — Won 55-24
  • Sagarin No. 31 Baylor Bears (6-5) SOS: 7 — Lost 52-24
  • Sagarin No. 35 Iowa State Cyclones (6-6) SOS: 9 — Won 27-21

Important games remaining:

  • BCS No. 18 Texas Longhorns (8-3) SOS: 20 — Dec. 1

And for a bonus:

BCS No. 17 Kent State Golden Flashes (11-1) SOS: 122

Important games already played:

  • Sagarin No. 41 Rutgers Scarlet Knights (9-2) SOS: 92 — Won 35-23
  • Sagarin No. 43 Ball State Cardinals (9-3) SOS: 78 — Won 45-43

Important games remaining:

  • BCS No. 21 Northern Illinois Huskies (11-1) SOS: 129 — Nov. 30

BCS No. 20 Boise State Broncos (9-2) SOS: 113

Important games already played:

  • Sagarin No. 36 Michigan State Spartans (6-6) SOS: 29 — Lost 17-13
  • Sagarin No. 44 BYU Cougars (7-5) SOS: 57 — Won 7-6
  • Sagarin No. 45 Frenso State Bulldogs (9-3) SOS: 103 — Won 20-10
  • Sagarin No. 53 San Diego State Aztecs (9-3) SOS: 101 — Lost 21-19

Important games remaining:

  • None

BCS No. 21 Northern Illinois Huskies (11-1) SOS: 129

Important games already played:

  • Sagarin No. 43 Ball State Cardinals (9-3) SOS: 78 — Won 35-23
  • Sagarin No. 49 Toledo Rockets (9-3) SOS: 104 — Won 31-24

Important games remaining:

  • BCS No. 17 Kent State Golden Flashes (11-1) SOS: 122 — Nov. 30

Seventh BCS Rankings of 2012: BCS Busters Make The Story While Notre Dame Holds No. 1 Into Season’s Final Weekend

With the drama seemingly run dry in the previous two weeks, the next to last BCS rankings of the season holds few surprises — but there’s plenty to be found if you look close enough.

Official BCS Rankings
Rank Team
1 Notre Dame Fighting Irish
2 Alabama Crimson Tide
3 Georgia Bulldogs
4 Florida Gators
5 Oregon Ducks
Scroll down for more

That simple equation we’ve been talking about — Notre Dame and the SEC champion for the BCS title game — is all but written in stone. With Notre Dame’s season-ending victory over USC, the Fighting Irish land at No. 1 in this week’s BCS rankings, and will land there again next weekend.

No. 2 Alabama and No. 3 Georgia will play in a de facto national semifinal game in the SEC Championship. Florida lands in the No. 4 spot just behind Georgia. But fret not Bulldog and Crimson Tide faithful, win the SEC and you’re in — much like it’s been these last few years.

Further down, No. 5 Oregon and No. 6 Kansas State lead a group of small changes in the BCS’s top 10 this weekend, as what was expected after a rivalry weekend full of ranked matchups whittled the field down.

So pretty bland at the top. But little further down the intrigue for yet another non-AQ BCS buster bid is in store.

Three teams — No. 17 Kent State, No. 20 Boise State and No. 21 Northern Illinois — are all within striking distance of the top 16. A spot inside the BCS’s top 16 will mean an automatic bid to a BCS this year, as the Big East’s champion will land outside the top 16, activating a clause in the BCS to include a deserving non-AQ team in the BCS process.

Although none of the three are in the mix this weekend, Northern Illinois and Kent State are set to battle for the MAC title next weekend, the winner hoping to get associated BCS bump with a win over another ranked team. A Kent State win might give the Golden Flashes just enough to claim that elusive BCS bid. Northern Illinois will need some help if they are victorious.

Boise State is doomed by its poor computer showing, and will likely not be able to crack the top 16.

Next weekend could also solidify most, if not all, of the BCS spots. Here is what’s in store:

  • The ACC Championship Game will feature Florida State and Georgia Tech. The winner is headed for the Orange Bowl.
  • The Big East will be decided Thursday when Louisville and Rutgers face off. The winner is guaranteed a BCS bowl bid.
  • The Big Ten Championship Game will feature Nebraska and Wisconsin. The winner is headed for the Rose Bowl.
  • The Big 12 will come down to Kansas State and Oklahoma. A Kansas State win over Texas gives the Wildcats the conference championship and a Fiesta Bowl bid. It also likely another Oklahoma win gives the Sooners at least an at-large spot. An Oklahoma win combined with a Kansas State loss gives Oklahoma a Fiesta Bowl bid with the conference title.
  • The Pac-12 Championship Game will feature Stanford and UCLA. The winner is headed for the Rose Bowl.
  • The SEC Championship Game will feature Georgia and Alabama. The winner is likely headed for the BCS title game. If Alabama wins, Florida is all but guaranteed a Sugar Bowl bid. If Georgia wins, either Alabama or Florida is likely Sugar Bowl bound.
  • The MAC Championship game will feature Northern Illinois and Kent State. The winner could vie for a BCS bid, needing to finish in the top 16 to make a BCS bowl.
  • As it stands, explore our projected BCS bowls. 
It all comes down to this final weekend. Though we can be pretty sure about a lot, there’s almost nothing guaranteed other than Notre Dame’s bid in the title game. Be sure to stay tuned to BCS Know How and @BCSKnowHow throughout this final week for all the latest analysis and news.

Here’s the seventh BCS rankings of 2012:

BCS Standings Week Seven — November 25th

Rank Team BCS Score
1 Notre Dame Fighting Irish .9979
2 Alabama Crimson Tide .9236
3 Georgia Bulldogs .8911
4 Florida Gators .8882
5 Oregon Ducks .8626
6 Kansas State Wildcats .7735
7 LSU Tigers .7357
8 Stanford Cardinal .7299
9 Texas A&M Aggies .6861
10 Florida State Seminoles .6689
11 Oklahoma Sooners .6129
12 Nebraska Cornhuskers .5393
13 Florida State Seminoles .4645
14 Clemson Tigers .4570
15 Oregon State Beavers .3790
16 UCLA Bruins .3304

Some thoughts:

Harris Interactive Poll Week 13: Florida gains while Notre Dame continues to lead

More to come.

Harris Interactive College Football Poll – November 25

Rank Team Votes Share of Vote
1 Notre Dame Fighting Irish 2869 .998
2 Alabama Crimson Tide 2740 .953
3 Georgia Bulldogs 2599 .904
4 Oregon Ducks 2507 .872
5 Florida Gators 2435 .847
6 Kansas State Wildcats 2229 .775
7 LSU Tigers 2142 .745
8 Stanford Cardinal 2059 .716
9 Texas A&M Aggies 2038 .709
10 South Carolina Gamecocks 1862 .648
11 Oklahoma Sooners 1706 .593
12 Florida State Seminoles 1614 .561