Second BCS Rankings of 2011: Oklahoma State, Boise State Make Big Jumps Into Top Four

Upsets and shakeups gave us our first intrigue of the season when the BCS standings were released Sunday night, but much of the conversation remains the same at the top — the SEC’s dominance.

LSU and Alabama continue to lead the way in the BCS standings, making their forthcoming Nov. 5 showdown one of the most important regular season matchups in recent memory. A victory in the now primetime meeting will certainly be on the fast track to a title game bid.

But who would face that team? Could the loser make their way back to the top two spots before all is said and done in the 2011 season? Or will another conference champion make it to New Orleans.

That conversation starts with Oklahoma State, who moves into the No. 3 spot this week after Oklahoma found trouble against Texas Tech and Wisconsin couldn’t handle Michigan State on the road. The Cowboys are a comfortable third team, waiting to scoot by the loser of the SEC battle. Of course, the question remains whether they would stay ahead of that team.

Boise State, Clemson and Stanford round out the rest of the teams in the immediate conversation to make a title game run, as the three finish in spots four through six. Stanford took full advantage of the spots vacated by the Badgers and Sooners to pick up a huge boost in the BCS this week, especially in the human element polls.

The top one-loss teams takes the next spot, as Oregon hopes to make its way back into the title conversation. Arkansas, at No. 10 also looks to reenter the picture.

But enough talk, here’s the second version of the BCS rankings.

BCS Standings Week Two — October 23rd

Rank Team BCS Score
1 LSU Tigers .9702
2 Alabama Crimson Tide .9627
3 Oklahoma State Cowboys .9240
4 Boise State Broncos .8302
5 Clemson Tigers .8240
6 Stanford Cardinal .8124
7 Oregon Ducks .6877
8 Kansas State Wildcats .6681
9 Oklahoma Sooners .6642
10 Arkansas Razorbacks .6581
11 Michigan State Spartans .5380
12 Virginia Tech Hokies .5338
13 South Carolina Gamecocks .5014
14 Nebraska Cornhuskers .4385
15 Wisconsin Badgers .4333
16 Texas A&M Aggies .4281

Some thoughts:

  • BCS Know How’s Projected BCSvs. Actual BCS Rankings
    • Not pretty today. Did get 1-3, but jumbled 4 and 6. Plenty of misses down the rankings as well. Not the best showing ever.

Harris Interactive Poll Week Eight: Oklahoma State Jumps to No. 3

Oklahoma and Wisconsin’s loses bring a shake up to the Harris Poll, although LSU and Alabama continue to shine at the top of the rankings.

Stanford and Oklahoma St. boost their profiles in the Harris, as expected, coming in at No. 3 and No. 4.

Harris Interactive College Football Poll – October 23rd

Rank Team Votes Share of Vote
1 LSU Tigers 2854 .993
2 Alabama Crimson Tide 2777 .966
2 Oklahoma State Cowboys 2559 .890
4 Stanford Cardinal 2523 .878
5 Boise State Broncos 2410 .838
6 Clemson Tigers 2346 .816
7 Oregon Ducks 2136 .743
8 Oklahoma Sooners 1866 .649
9 Arkansas Razorbacks 1851 .644
10 Kansas State Wildcats 1764 .614
11 Michigan State Spartan 1760 .612
12 Wisconsin Badgers 1731 .602

USA Today Coaches’ Poll Week Eight: LSU Takes Top Spot, Followed Closely by Alabama, Stanford

Oklahoma and Wisconsin go down, and the shake up begins with the Coaches’ Poll, as LSU is the new top team among the coaches.

Capturing 41 of the 69 first-place votes, the Tigers are well clear of Alabama and Stanford, who come in at No. 2 and No. 3.

Wisconsin drops all the way to No. 11, while the Sooners fall into place at No. 9.

One-loss Oregon is the top ranked team with a loss to their name at No. 7, just ahead of No. 8 Arkansas.

USA Today Coaches’ Poll – October 23rd

Rank Team Votes Share of Vote
1 LSU Tigers 1457 .988
2 Alabama Crimson Tide 1434 .972
2 Stanford Cardinal 1327 .930
4 Oklahoma State Cowboys 1301 .882
5 Boise State Broncos 1213 .822
6 Clemson Tigers 1174 .796
7 Oregon Ducks 1121 .760
8 Arkansas Razorbacks 974 .660
9 Oklahoma Sooners 964 .654
10 Michigan State Spartans 932 .632
11 Wisconsin Badgers 867 .588
12 Kansas State Wildcats 827 .561

Heisman Watch Week Eight: Luck, Moore, Richardson Lead Important Victory Marches

Trent Richardson

Scoreless in the first half and leading an Alabama squad that could not break away from Tennessee — tied 6-6 at half — Trent Richardson’s day was looking like a hit against his Heisman hopes and possibly a hit against Alabama’s legitimacy as a BCS contender.

But a strong second half, keyed by two Richardson touchdowns and plenty of scoring led the Tide easily by the Volunteers, and gave Richardson just enough on the day to keep right in the thick of things in the Heisman race.

Richardson finished the day with 77 yards and two scores, helping to lead Alabama over Tennessee, 37-6 — a serviceable day by all accounts. He and the Tide have next weekend off before the looming showdown with BCS No. 1 LSU at home. A strong performance there could do wonders for a Heisman profile, and Richardson will surely be looking to take advantage.

Landry Jones

Taken out of context, Landry Jones’s performance late Saturday night was probably the best quarterback showing of the day. But in context, it all seems a little different.

Unable to capitalize on the opportunity to make a comeback against an unranked opponent at home, Jones’s 412 yards and five touchdowns will be viewed as too little, despite the gaudiness of the numbers. The Sooners fell, and they fell hard, and so will Jones’s Heisman stock.

That’s not to say Jones is out of the race completely, but his climb to New York City will a tough road, one which would require some impressive numbers down the stretch. As it is in the BCS, losing is often more important than how you lose.

Russell Wilson

Everything seemed set up perfectly for Russell Wilson late Saturday night. Trailing on the road, the senior quarterback brought Wisconsin all the way back from a deep deficit in the fourth quarter to tie the game. Then with four seconds left and a seemingly impossible Hail Mary play before overtime, Wilson looked like he would complete his comeback, and get his first real Heisman moment.

But a Kirk Cousins bomb was tipped in the endzone and somehow ended up in the hands of Michigan State’s Keith Nichol, handing Wisconsin its first loss and ending Wilson’s hope at completing the comeback. Without the glory of that moment, Wilson had a somewhat off day, throwing two picks to go with his two touchdowns and 233 yards passing. He also broke out a key 22-yard touchdown run late in the game that seemed to be the start of the comeback he and the Badgers needed, but it prove all for naught.

Wilson is in no way out of the race, but his sub-par performance against the Spartans on Saturday certainly has his stock falling. If Wisconsin survives the rest of its schedule unblemished and makes its way to the Big Ten Championship Game (possibly facing the Spartans once again) Wilson will be sure to be in the midst of the race, but he will need some bounce back performances in the coming weeks to ensure he remains in the conversation.

Andrew Luck

A rather ho-hum day from Andrew Luck in Stanford’s absolute pounding of Washington on Saturday night, as Luck passed for 169 yards and two scores. Luck’s presence was certainly not needed on the night, as Stanford bested the Huskies in most aspects, especially during the Cardinal’s 28-point second quarter.

Luck did nothing at all on the night to hurt his candidacy, but certainly didn’t do anything spectacular to help it, either. While his place as the frontrunner in this race is secure for now, he will certainly have to submit more impressive stat lines down the road to stay on top.

Kellen Moore

Yet another historic day for Moore and Boise State, as the seni0r tied the all-time record for career victories by a FBS quarterback, equaling the 45 that former Heisman contender and Texas quarterback Colt McCoy recorded as his time as a Longhorn.

Moore was proficient on the day as well against the Air Force defense, passing for 281 yards and three touchdowns while leading the Broncos to a 37-26 victory on the night.

Efficient as ever, Moore completed 23 of 29 passes, although he was picked once during the game.

Moore and Boise also have next weekend off, but will travel to UNLV on Nov. 5, where Moore will look to break the all-time wins record and contribute yet another strong stat line to his already impressive season resume.

Projected BCS Standings: Oklahoma State to Secure No. 3 Spot in Second BCS Rankings of 2011

Around the country, Saturday afternoon was an uneventful few hours. Fast forward to Saturday night, and all hell broke loose.

Suddenly, Michigan State was threatening Wisconsin and Oklahoma was down early to Texas Tech delay after Alabama, LSU, Oklahoma State and Clemson had skated to victory.

Furious comebacks fell short, both the Badgers and Sooners suffered their first losses of the season and we have our first BCS shakeup of the season awaiting us when the rankings are released tomorrow.

So who lands where?

At the top little will change. LSU’s victory over Auburn will likely be valued more by both the computers and the human element than Alabama’s shaky victory over Tennessee, keeping the Tigers atop the BCS standings tomorrow.

Of course, where Oklahoma vacates its spot at No. 3 is where it gets interesting.

You’d be smart to think Oklahoma State will likely take that spot for the time being, especially since Wisconsin — who had a chance to make a big jump with a victory over Michigan State — failed to capitalize.

Boise State, Clemson and Stanford are likely to fall into place further down the line, shifting up spots to fill the space vacated by the Sooners and Badgers. Keep an eye on Stanford’s human element scores, as they are likely to get some serious support from voters who are looking to replace the Sooners and Badgers on their ballots. The Cardinal could see a rush of support. The three could be very closely packed when the rankings are released tomorrow.

The Spartans are sure to get a nice bump from the voters and computers, capitalizing on all of the support lost by the Sooners and Badgers.

The key, of course, will be how exactly the voters reward the Spartans and punish the Sooners and Badgers. The Badgers are sure to be given a little more leeway, as they lost on the road to a ranked opponent, as compared to the Sooners, who lost at home to an unranked Texas Tech.

Now, the questions begin. Does the Oklahoma-Oklahoma State game lose its significance as a de facto national semifinal? Will Oklahoma be able to make up any ground without a Big 12 Championship Game available any more? Who is now in position to grab the spots in the title game? Could we have a SEC rematch in the BCS National Championship Game?

It’ll be a confusing few weeks, and we’ll be here to take you through all of it, starting with tomorrow’s releases of the human polls, computer rankings and BCS. Follow along all day tomorrow @BCSKnowHow and right here to stay up to the second with projections, mathematical breakdowns of all of the computers, human polls and everything in between.

Got all that? Hope so.

Here’s what the BCS standing will likely look like when they are released tomorrow at 8:15 p.m. ET on ESPN:

Projected BCS Standings – BCS Week Two (October 23rd)

Rank Team
1 LSU Tigers
2 Alabama Crimson Tide
3 Oklahoma State Cowboys
4 Stanford Cardinal
5 Clemson Tigers
6 Boise State Broncos
7 Arkansas Razorbacks
8 Oregon Ducks
9 Oklahoma Sooners
10 Kansas State Wildcats
11 Michigan State Spartans
12 Wisconsin Badgers

BCS Implications Worksheet Post-Week Eight

Down the stretch of the BCS season, a team’s opponents become an important component of a team’s overall resume to watch.

Not only does it help to define the relative strength of said team, but also has a large effect on that team’s BCS computer performance.

With that in mind, we’ve compiled a look at the BCS’s top teams and their important games — both already played and upcoming — to get a better perspective on which teams’ performances will have implications on the BCS.

Each week we’ll give the rundown for the number of teams that seem to be within striking distance of the top two spots. This week the striking distance looks to go all the way down to the No. 8 Utah Utes, who have that all-important tussle with TCU in less than two weeks.

Once again, each team is listed with their current BCS rank, record and strength of schedule (according to Jeff Sagarin’s ratings).

Below each BCS contender are their most important opponents, both which they have already played (with those results) and those upcoming.

Their opponents will also be listed with a record and their current Sagarin or BCS ranking depending on which is available. Teams will be listed in order of importance to that team’s BCS performance. Each opponent is also listed with an SOS to give you a better sense of how they might perform in the coming weeks.

BCS No. 1 Auburn Tigers (8-0) SOS: 24

Important Games Already Played

  • BCS No. 12 LSU Tigers (7-1) SOS: 26 — Win 24-17
  • BCS No. 19 Arkansas Razorbacks (5-2) SOS: 31 — Win 65-43
  • BCS No. 20 South Carolina Gamecocks (5-2) SOS: 32 — Win 35-27
  • BCS No. 21 Mississippi State Bulldogs (6-2) SOS: 50 — Win 17-14

Important Games Remaining

  • BCS No. 7 Alabama Crimson Tide (7-1) SOS: 46 — November 26th
  • SEC Championship Game (Possible) — December 4th

BCS No. 2 Oregon Ducks (7-0) SOS: 59

Important Games Already Played

  • BCS No. 13 Stanford Cardinal (6-1) SOS: 29 — Win 52-31
  • Sagarin No. 34 UCLA Bruins (3-4) SOS: 34 — Win 60-13
  • Sagarin No. 36 Arizona State Sun Devils (3-4) SOS: 5 — Win 42-31

Important Games Remaining

  • BCS No. 18 Arizona Wildcats (5-1) SOS: 27 — November 26th
  • Sagarin No. 18 Oregon State Beavers (3-3) SOS: 1 — December 4th
  • Sagarin No. 25 USC (5-2) SOS: 19 — October 30th

BCS No. 3 Boise State Broncos (6-0) SOS: 69

Important Games Already Played

  • BCS No. 25 Virginia Tech (6-2) SOS: 80 — Win 33-30
  • Sagarin No. 18 Oregon State Beavers (3-3) SOS: 1 — Win 37-24

Important Games Remaining

  • Sagarin No. 22 Nevada Wolfpack (7-1) SOS: 77 — November 26th
  • Sagarin No. 37 Hawaii Warriors (6-2) SOS: 49 — November 6th

BCS No. 4 TCU Horned Frogs (8-0) SOS: 62

Important Games Already Played

  • Sagarin No. 18 Oregon State Beavers (3-3) SOS: 1 — Win 30-21
  • BCS No. 25 Baylor Bears (6-2) SOS: 70 — Win 45-10
  • Sagarin No. 30 Air Force Falcons (5-3) SOS: 35 — Win 38-7
  • Sagarin No. 45 BYU Cougars (2-5) SOS: 11 — Win 31-3

Important Games Remaining

  • BCS No. 8 Utah Utes (7-0) SOS: 113 — November 6th
  • Sagarin No. 39 San Diego State Aztecs (5-2) SOS: 112 — November 13th

BCS No. 5 Michigan State Spartans (8-0) SOS: 65

Important Games Already Played

  • BCS No. 10 Wisconsin Badgers (7-1) SOS: 54 — Win 34-24
  • Sagarin No. 23 Illinois Fighting Illini (4-3) SOS: 14 — Win 26-6
  • Sagarin No. 33 Michigan Wolverines (5-2) SOS: 64 — Win 34-17

Important Games Remaining

  • BCS No. 18 Iowa Hawkeyes (5-2) SOS: 43 — October 30th
  • Sagarin No. 56 Penn State Nittany Lions (4-3) SOS: 56 — November 27th

BCS No. 6 Missouri Tigers (7-0) SOS: 30

Important Games Already Played

  • BCS No. 9 Oklahoma Sooners (6-1) SOS: 12 — Win 36-27
  • Sagarin No. 23 Illinois Fighting Illini (4-3) SOS: 14 — Win 23-13
  • Sagarin No. 30 Texas A&M Aggies (4-3) SOS: 32 — Win 30-9

Important Games Remaining

  • BCS No. 14 Nebraska Cornhuskers (6-1) SOS: 41 — October 30th
  • Sagarin No. 24 Kansas State Wildcats (5-2) SOS: 40 — November 13th
  • Sagarin No. 38 Texas Tech Red Raiders (4-3) SOS: 23 — November 6th
  • Big 12 Championship Game (Possible) — December 4th

BCS No. 7 Alabama Crimson Tide (7-1) SOS: 46

Important Games Already Played

  • BCS No. 19 Arkansas Razorbacks (5-2) SOS: 31 — Win 24-20
  • BCS No. 20 South Carolina Gamecocks (5-2) SOS: 32 — Loss 35-21
  • Sagarin No. 43 Florida Gators (4-3) SOS: 25 — Win 31-6
  • Sagarin No. 56 Penn State Nittany Lions (4-3) SOS: 56 — Win 24-3

Important Games Remaining

  • BCS No. 1 Auburn Tigers (8-0) SOS: 24 — November 26th
  • BCS No. 12 LSU Tigers (7-1) SOS: 26 — November 6th
  • BCS No. 21 Mississippi State Bulldogs (6-2) SOS: 50 — November 13th
  • SEC Championship Game (Possible) — December 4th

BCS No. 8 Utah Utes (7-0) SOS: 113

Important Games Already Played

  • Sagarin No. 28 Iowa State Cyclones (4-4) SOS: 6 — Win 68-27
  • Sagarin No. 48 Pittsburgh Panthers (4-3) SOS: 28 — Win 27-24

Important Games Remaining

  • BCS No. 4 TCU Horned Frogs (8-0) SOS: 62 — November 6th
  • Sagarin No. 30 Air Force Falcons (5-3) SOS: 35 — October 30th
  • Sagarin No. 39 San Diego State Aztecs (5-2) SOS: 112 — November 20th
  • Sagarin No. 45 BYU Cougars (2-5) SOS: 11 — November 27th

Big Ten, Big 12 and Big East Rundown Week Eight

Big Ten

Conference Leader: Michigan State (8-0, 4-0)

Lurking: Wisconsin (7-1, 3-1)

Game of Last Week: Wisconsin 31 vs. Iowa 30. In what might end up being a Big Ten championship knockout game, the Badgers didn’t fall victim to the letdown after upsetting Ohio State last weekend and held off Iowa’s last-minute comeback.

Game of Next Week: Michigan State vs. Iowa. If the Spartans can survive their trip into Iowa City, they have an easy path to an undefeated season and a Big Ten conference championship awaiting them

Bowl Eligible Teams: Michigan State Spartans, Ohio State Buckeyes, Wisconsin Badgers.

Big 12

Conference Leaders: Missouri (7-0, 3-0; North Division) and Baylor (6-2, 3-1; South Division)

Lurking: Nebraska (6-1, 2-1; North Division) and Oklahoma State (6-1, 2-1; South Division)

Game of Last Week: Missouri 36 vs. Oklahoma 27. Yet another upset as Missouri knocks off the then-No. 1 Oklahoma Sooners at home and sends the Big 12 title chase and BCS standings into complete chaos.

Game of Next Week: Missouri vs. Nebraska. The Tigers will hope to avoid the expected letdown after beating Oklahoma when they travel into Lincoln to take on the Cornhuskers — who despite falling to Texas two weekends ago, continue to look strong.

Bowl Eligible Teams: Missouri Tigers, Oklahoma Sooners, Oklahoma State Cowboys, Nebraska Cornhuskers, Baylor Bears.

Big East

Conference Leader: Pittsburgh (4-3, 2-0)

Lurking: Syracuse (5-2, 2-1)

Game of Last Week: Syracuse 19 vs. West Virginia 14. An upset in the completely unpredictable Big East reveals the Orange to be legitimate conference title contenders.

Game of Next Week: Louisville vs. Pittsburgh. With literally every team still alive in the Big East title chase, the current leader Panthers will look to avoid the upset to a good Cardinals team.

Bowl Eligible Teams: None yet.