Simulated BCS Rankings Week One: Clemson Up To No. 3, Alabama Already Pulling Away


Funny what one big win can do for your BCS hopes and dreams. No team can recognize that as much as Clemson can after the first week of the last BCS season, after a huge home win over Georgia gave the Tigers a boost to No. 3 in this week’s simulated BCS rankings.

Simulated BCS Rankings
Rank Team
1 Alabama Crimson Tide
2 Oregon Ducks
3 Clemson Tigers
4 Stanford Cardinal
5 South Carolina Gamecocks
Scroll down for more

You’re familiar already with the top two teams, No. 1 Alabama and No. 2 Oregon, who have become staples at the top of all kinds of BCS standings. But Clemson, though resurgent, has staked an early claim to the team to watch as the season wears on.

How did we get there? We’ve made the following changes to the BCS formula, to account for the pieces we have and the pieces we’re missing:

  • We’ve replaced the Harris Poll, which wont be available until mid-October, with the AP Poll
  • We’re ONLY using the available and up-to-date BCS computers, which at this point is just Massey’s non-BCS, Sagarin’s and Billingsley’s rankings. As the various computers are released before the start of the season, we’ll add them here and update the standings.
  • In total, we’ll say with 44.4% accuracy that this is a good estimation of the BCS rankings

So it’s Clemson that makes the big leap, taking the No. 3 spot away from the same Bulldogs they beat on Saturday night. Behind them land the Pac-12’s other hope for BCS glory, Stanford, and the SEC’s second-best hope so far, South Carolina.

Ohio State, although landing comfortably in the top-three of both human element polls, suffers dearly from the three available computers, pulling in an average ranking of 13.6 despite their support across the board in the human element. Louisville also suffers terrible from the computers, not landing in the top-25 in two of the three available rankings.

Also of note is the strength of Alabama’s lead this early in the year. With one game gone, the Crimson Tide have a shockingly large lead of more than .1000, a big gulf for any team to cross.

But enough talk, explore our BCS Know How simulated preseason standings for yourself!

Here are the simulated preseason BCS rankings at the end of the first week:

2013 Simulated BCS Standings — September 3

Rank Team BCS Score
1 Alabama Crimson Tide .9983
2 Oregon Ducks .8865
3 Clemson Tigers .8262
4 Stanford Cardinal .8178
5 South Carolina Gamecocks .7870
6 Ohio State Buckeyes .7705
7 Texas A&M Aggies .7662
8 LSU Tigers .6816
9 Florida Gators .6172
10 Florida State Seminoles .6152
11 Georgia Bulldogs .6091
12 Notre Dame Fighting Irish .5733
13 Oklahoma State Cowboys .5627
14 Louisville Cardinals .5267
15 Oklahoma Sooners .4881
16 Texas Longhorns .3806

USA Today Coaches’ Poll Week One: Clemson Makes The Big Leap

Story to come.

USA Today Coaches’ Poll – September 3

Rank Team Votes Share of Vote
1 Alabama Crimson Tide 1545 .997
2 Ohio State Buckeyes 1444 .932
3 Oregon Ducks 1420 .916
4 Stanford Cardinal 1292 .834
5 Clemson Tigers 1275 .823
6 South Carolina Gamecocks 1220 .787
7 Texas A&M Aggies 1181 .762
8 Louisville Cardinals 1051 .678
9 Florida Gators 974 .628
10 Florida State Seminoles 946 .610
11 LSU Tigers 926 .597
12 Georgia Bulldogs 875 .565

Projected 2014 BCS Bowls — September 2

It’s tough to tell if you can learn much from one week of college football. One game played doesn’t always shed much light on the landscape of college football in any season.

BCS Bowl Projections
Bowl Matchup
Title Game Alabama vs. Stanford
Rose Bowl Oregon vs. Ohio State
Sugar Bowl Georgia vs. Michigan
Orange Bowl Clemson vs. Texas
Fiesta Bowl Oklahoma State vs. Louisville
Scroll down for more

But we’ve kicked off the last season of the BCS era, and in a few games played over the long weekend, spectacularly so.

Games between Georgia and Clemson and a litany of FCS teams beating FBS teams gave the otherwise somewhat droll weekend some color. So what have we learned, really?

Here’s a slate of projected BCS bowls to illustrate it:

BCS National Championship Game: Alabama Crimson Tide (BCS No. 1) vs. Stanford Cardinal (BCS No. 2)

Comment: That story that has been told so often these last few years about Alabama reloading every year, despite so many NFL-bound players, held mostly true Saturday. The Crimson Tide, though, did look a little rusty and needed help from special teams to get by Virginia Tech. They’re still favored to land in the title game, where they’d meet a No. 2 Stanford team that has yet to kick off 2013.

Rose Bowl: Oregon Ducks (At-large selection) vs. Ohio State Buckeyes (Big Ten champion)

Comment: Both Oregon and Ohio State looked solid on Saturday, though Oregon certainly had an easier time with things against Nicholls State than Ohio State did against Buffalo. The Ducks looked like they hadn’t lost a step despite a new head coach, behind Marcus Mariota and De’Anthony Thomas. If they miss out on the title game, expect them here in the Rose Bowl with the Buckeyes.

Sugar Bowl: Georgia Bulldogs (At-large selection) vs. Michigan Wolverines (At-large selection)

Comment: Georgia lost a thriller to Clemson, but has the chance next weekend to bounce right back against South Carolina, and with a game between the hedges scheduled, expect the Bulldogs to right the ship and reposition themselves for this at-large selection, replacing a title-game bound Alabama team. Michigan, which looked solid against Central Michigan, can easily run out a 10- or 11-win 2013, and with it, a chance to be BCS bound in the last year of the era.

Orange Bowl: Clemson Tigers (ACC champion) vs. Texas Longhorns (At-large selection)

Comment: Clemson captured what was the win of the weekend by topping Georgia in thrilling fashion, and validated the preseason hype surrounding the Tigers. TCU was not as lucky to beat an SEC foe on Saturday, giving Texas, which cruised past New Mexico State on Saturday, an early leg up on an at-large BCS bid, which they get here as the first at-large selection of the slate.

Fiesta Bowl: Louisville Cardinals (AAC champion) vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys (Big 12 champion)

Comment: Oklahoma State proved its prowess in topping Mississippi State in a strong out-of-conference opener for the Big 12 favorites. If Oklahoma State can hang with the SEC, you have to like their odds in the Big 12. Louisville, which opens its season on Sunday, could easily finish the season undefeated, but without a strong opponent to its credit, may fall short of the BCS title game and instead land here, as the final draft pick of the bowls.

Simulated BCS Rankings Week One: LSU and Alabama are on top again

Update: An earlier version of these simulations contained a mistake in the summing of the computer rankings. Check out the full worksheet. These simulated ranking reflect the following formula:

BCS Score = (AP Poll Score/1500 + Coaches Poll Score/1475 + Computer Poll Aggregate/75)/3

Nearly nine months after the 2011 season ended with Alabama walking off of the field at the BCS National Championship Game holding the crystal football high, the Crimson Tide return with a bang, leading our first set of simulated BCS rankings convincingly and almost unsurprisingly.

Simulated BCS Rankings
Rank Matchup
1 Alabama Crimson Tide
2 LSU Tigers
3 Oregon Ducks
4 USC Trojans
5 Oklahoma Sooners
Scroll down for more

The Tide completely dominated previously top-10 Michigan on college football’s inaugural weekend of 2012, opening up the season in a way that a defending national champion would be expected to.

On the strength of that victory, and strong hype heading into the season, the Tide enjoyed wide-spread praise from the polls available, and sit comfortably atop the simulated BCS rankings after the extended first weekend of the 2012 season.

LSU takes the No. 2  spot in an eerily similar situation that ended the 2011 season, with the two SEC teams leading the way.

USC, which enjoyed a similarly easy victory over Hawaii, is in at No. 4 after losing some support in both the AP and Coaches’ Poll by not playing the caliber of team that the Crimson Tide were able to decimate and lacking in the computer rankings available.

No. 3 Oregon and No. 5 Oklahoma round out a top five of teams already well within striking distance of the top two spots should things get unpredictable come the midseason or later, as they tend to do.

These simulated rankings are not necessarily the most accurate in terms of reflecting the actual components of the BCS, but they do give an interesting look into the future.

Without the Harris Interactive Poll (1/3 of the formula) and three of the six computers (all six of which account for another third), these rankings are about 50 percent “complete.” What we do have, however, is the USA Today Coaches’ Poll, as well as early looks at Kenneth Massey, Richard Billingsley and Jeff Sagarin, for what we’d call a 50 percent confidence that these rankings are a “good” reflection of the BCS.

We took a computer aggregate without eliminating any of the three available to keep extra transparency, but kept the formula for the human elements intact.

The first BCS rankings will be available in October, but for now, this will have to do. Enjoy!

Here are the simulated rankings after week one:

Simulated BCS Standings — September 4

Rank Team BCS Score
1 Alabama Crimson Tide .9895
2 LSU Tigers .9245
3 Oregon Ducks .8767
4 USC Trojans .8704
5 Oklahoma Sooners .7824
6 South Carolina Gamecocks .6620
7 Michigan State Spartans .6528
8 Arkansas Razorbacks .6437
9 Florida State Seminoles .5241
10 Georgia Bulldogs .5230
11 West Virginia Mountaineers .4821
12 Oklahoma State Cowboys .4762
13 Wisconsin Badgers .4745
14 Nebraska Cornhuskers .4325
15 Clemson Tigers .4151
16 Michigan Wolverines .3600


USA Today Coaches’ Poll Week One: Alabama reclaims No. 1 spot, USC up to No. 2

On the strength of their victory over previously top-10 Michigan, Alabama claims the No. 1 spot in the first USA Today Coaches’ Poll of the 2012 regular season.

USC, after toppling Hawaii in resounding fashion, takes the second spot, bumping LSU down to No. 3 from their preseason perch as No. 1.

Oregon and Oklahoma round out the top five. The Ducks received a lone first-place vote, while Alabama (37), USC (14) and LSU (7) collected the rest of the 59 first place ballots from the coaches.

USA Today Coaches’ Poll – September 4

Rank Team Votes Share of Vote
1 Alabama Crimson Tide 1447 .981
2 USC Trojans 1398 .948
3 LSU Tigers 1375 .932
4 Oregon Ducks 1286 .872
5 Oklahoma Sooners 1171 .794
6 Florida State Seminoles 1144 .756
7 Georgia Bulldogs 1092 .740
8 West Virginia Mountaineers 1032 .700
9 South Carolina Gamecocks 943 .639
10 Arkansas Razorbacks 929 .630
11 Michigan State Spartans 868 .588
12 Clemson Tigers 826 .560

Heisman Watch Week One: Bell, Barkley Best Competition On Opening Weekend

Marcus Lattimore

When South Carolina’s quarterback Connor Shaw injured his shoulder, forcing him into the locker room, the Gamecocks were more than allowed to feel a little fear. But any worry that Shaw might have created for the Gamecock faithful disappeared as a result of the performance Marcus Lattimore was putting on against Vanderbilt on college football’s opening night.

Lattimore rushed for 110 yards and two touchdowns against the Commodores defense, providing just the right spark for the Gamecocks to outlast a very game Vandy squad. In the 17-13 South Carolina victory, Lattimore provided the offensive weapon the Gamecocks needed all game, and when Shaw returned in the second half, it was the threat and usefulness of Lattimore that allowed South Carolina to escape an upset bid. All in all, a good start to Lattimore’s 2012 campaign.

Montee Ball

Though Montee Ball wasn’t a show stopper — and his team didn’t put on a show-stopping performance against Northern Iowa — Ball was effective and impressive enough Saturday to give his Heisman candidacy the start it needs in this long-haul of a season. Ball rushed for 120 yards and a score on Saturday against the Panthers, and added 31 yards receiving to put himself just over the 150 mark for the day.

Ball and Wisconsin will need stronger showings against the strong defenses to come, but given their prowess last season against Big Ten defenses — with Ball proving key — it’s safe to expect big things out of the Badgers and Ball in 2012.

Matt Barkley

Matt Barkley’s first pass Saturday went for 75 yards and a touchdown. It was that kind of day for Barkley and USC in the Trojans’ 2012 debut. Barkley finished the game with 351 yards and four touchdowns, picking up just where he left off in 2011 — a year that saw him break a handful of Pac-12 and USC records.

Barkley ended up sitting a significant part of the game after USC had run the score to a good distance, as back up Max Wittek got some snaps. Barkley and USC will head out to the east coast next to meet Syracuse, which will give Barkley another shot at putting up some impressive numbers early in this Heisman race.

Geno Smith

In wasn’t ever close in Morgantown on college football’s opening weekend, and Geno Smith had a lot to do with it. The senior’s 323 yards and four touchdowns passing helped West Virginia crush Marshall in its opening contest, and started Smith’s campaign for the Heisman with a bang.

Smith also grabbed 65 yards on the ground and added a rushing touchdown to showcase just how big of a threat his arm and feet are against defenses. Certainly no one on the field shone as brightly as Smith, who will next get to flex his dual-threat attack against FCS James Madison. If Smith can collect a big game there, he could be well on the way to being in this conversation for the long haul.

Le’Veon Bell

Michigan State’s Le’Veon Bell may have been somewhat under the radar coming into the 2012 season, but his performance during college football’s opening week likely changed that for good. Rushing for 210 yards and two touchdowns in a nationally televised, Friday night showdown with Boise State, Bell squarely placed himself in the early Heisman conversation with one of the weekend’s best performances.

Bell was a dark horse Heisman candidate coming into the season following a 2011 where he collected nearly 1,000 yards on the ground and more than 350 yards receiving for a Michigan State team that was part of the national conversation all season. With a victory over the top-25 ranked Broncos to start their season, it looks like Sparty — and by extension Bell — will be around for the long haul this year.

On The Radar:

Kenjon Barner and De’Anthony Thomas

Oregon’s duo of athletes had themselves a couple of games against Arkansas State. But their dual production somewhat diminishes from the personal achievement. Can either break out as the star?

Denard Robinson

A rough start to Robinson’s much-hyped campaign for a Heisman against Alabama has probably set him back significantly. Can he recover?

Simulated BCS Standings Week One: LSU Claims Top Spot

With no way to fully immerse ourselves in BCS rankings until well into October, what could be better than a slate of simulated BCS rankings after just one week of college football action?

The methodology of the BCS Know How simulated rankings is slightly different than normal BCS procedure — mainly because of a lack of full-scale components.

For starters, there is no Harris Interactive Poll quite yet, and two of the six computer ranking systems, the Anderson and Hester system and the Peter Wolfe rankings, are not operational while Colley’s Matrix has been slow to update. For the time being, we’ve substituted the AP poll for the Harris, and will include the three available computers — Sagarin, Massey and Billingsley — in the simulation. This early in the season, there’s little need to zero out a computer, it would only cloud the picture of this process.

A few early surprises include LSU taking the top spot away from Oklahoma and Alabama on the strength of their computer rankings, as well as the already strong showing from Boise State.

Oregon takes a hard tumble after its loss to the Tigers, while their Pac-12 counterparts Stanford stand strong at No. 5.

A few weeks still separate us from the first Harris Poll and the first BCS rankings, but until then, feel free to stay updated with our simulated BCS rankings every week until the actual BCS rankings are released.

Simulated BCS Rankings — September 6th

Rank Team BCS Score
1 LSU Tigers .9520
2 Oklahoma Sooners .9348
3 Alabama Crimson Tide .9211
4 Boise State Broncos .8727
5 Stanford Cardinal .7720
6 Florida State Seminoles .6787
7 Wisconsin Badgers .6502
8 Oklahoma State Cowboys .6081
9 Virginia Tech Hokies .6053
10 Oregon Ducks .5895
11 Ohio State Buckeyes .5653
12 Texas A&M Aggies .5438
13 Arkansas Raqzorbacks .5358
14 Nebraska Cornhuskers .4961
15 South Carolina Gamecocks .4853
16 Auburn Tigers .3212

Some thoughts:

  • LSU, Oklahoma and Alabama already place themselves way ahead of the rest of the field, already a good sign for these preseason favorites.
  • Boise State is all alone in the .8000 range, positioned well for a chase at the title moving forward this season. Stanford also seems entrenched in the No. 5 spot for now.
  • After the Cardinal, however, there are plenty of teams all bunched together. Don’t be surprised if next week’s rankings look quite different.
  • If Colley does release this week, I will update these rankings.

USA Today Coaches’ Poll Week One: LSU Rises To No. 3

Story to come.

USA Today Coaches’ Poll – September 6th

Rank Team Votes Share of Vote
1 Oklahoma Sooners 1454 .986
2 Alabama Crimson Tide 1412 .957
3 LSU Tigers 1366 .926
4 Florida State Seminoles 1198 .812
5 Boise State Broncos 1197 .811
6 Stanford Cardinal 1180 .800
7 Oklahoma State Cowboys 1038 .704
8 Texas A&M Aggies 997 .676
9 Wisconsin Badgers 988 .670
10 Nebraska Cornhuskers 910 .617
11 Virginia Tech Hokies 863 .585
12 South Carolina Gamecocks 827 .561

BlogPoll Ballot Week One: LSU, Oklahoma Stay Steady

Not a whole bunch to change after the opening week, but some things are definitely different.

LSU and Oklahoma looked every bit the preseason 1-2 that I had them, but teams like Oregon, Georgia and Notre Dame definitely disappointed.

Hoping next week will be a little more illuminating. Once again, comment is always welcome.


What I’m Thinking:

  • Of course, Notre Dame, Oregon and Georgia take a tumble, with Auburn slipping after a less than masterful performance.
  • Feel pretty good about Oklahoma and LSU, gotta say.
  • Houston and South Florida looked very good in victories.
  • Conference Breakdown: SEC (7), Big Ten (5), Big 12 (4), ACC (2), Pac-12 (2), Mountain West (2), Big East (1), C-USA (1), Independent (1).

So what do you think? Missing anyone? Giving anyone too much/too little credit? Let me know!

Heisman Watch Week One: Favorites Shine Across the Nation

This Heisman Watch is from Sept. 4. To see the most recent edition of BCS Know How’s Heisman Watch, scroll down to the end of this post. Thanks!

Trent Richardson

With the time and space to run free, Alabama didn’t need to rely on their star running back Trent Richardson during week one, however, the pride of the Tide was still able to deposit three touchdowns on the day.

Richardson was not the leading rusher for the Crimson Tide against Kent State on Saturday, finishing behind Jalston Fowler and Eddie Lacy, but Alabama still turned to their athlete when it counted the most, as Richardson found the end zone twice in the first quarter and again in the third.

Of course, Richardson will need to show a little more output these next few weeks to truly stay at the forefront of this race, but his three scores Saturday did more than enough to place the running back squarely in this race for the long-haul.

Landry Jones

The first week of the college football season often shows true disparity in the college ranks. Few places was this more true than in the Tulsa-Oklahoma showdown that took a primetime slot Saturday night.

And, without a doubt, Landry Jones, he of the position of leader of the No. 1 team in all of college football, showed just how far ahead he is in a drubbing of Tulsa.

Though the junior quarterback threw for just one score on the night, his 375 yards on 35 completions showed his mastery over the Sooner offense, and his constant connection with wide receiver Ryan Broyles surely gave the Sooners’ upcoming Big 12 opponents something to truly fear moving forward.

The Sooners have a bye week next week, but will be quickly tested come Sept. 17 when they take on Florida State. A solid performance there would give Jones just what he needs in the early stages of this already full Heisman race.

LaMichael James

Nothing about Saturday night’s loss to LSU went the way the Ducks had expected. Miscues, turnovers and missed opportunities characterized the Oregon attack and led directly to the team’s second straight loss to an SEC foe on national television.

As far as James’s Heisman hopes went, however, it could have been much worse. James compiled more than 100 yards of offense by himself, and did reach the end zone once on the ground to leave the speedy Duck in the middle of the Heisman chase this early in the season.

Of course, if James does want to contend for this trophy, he and the Ducks will need to bounce back in a big way in the next few weeks, but James is far from out of the conversation after one week.

Andrew Luck

Exactly right.

That might just be how Andrew Luck would describe his first game of the 2011 season, a season in which the senior quarterback is favored to take home the Heisman Trophy with ease.

In leading Stanford over San Jose State during week one, Luck showed his versatility — running for a score and throwing for two more — as the Cardinal ran away with their season opener, 57-3.

Luck was pulled in the third quarter with the score at 43-3, but his line was already full, and well worthy of the spot Luck holds as the prohibitive favorite for college football’s most famous award.

Kellen Moore

Kellen Moore does a lot right. One of the more impressive things, though, is that he wins. The first week of his senior season was no different.

Once again, Moore led his Boise State Broncos past a ranked opponent on the inaugural weekend of the college football season and proved yet again that the Broncos deserve to be in all the same conversations as the best teams in the nation.

In the Broncos 35-21 victory over Georgia, Moore did what he does best, acted with surgical precision to beat everything the Bulldogs could throw at him and the Boise State offense. Moore completed 28 of 34 attempts for three touchdowns and 261 yards to once again prove his immense football IQ and skill behind center.

The Broncos will be favored in every game from now until the end of the season, and with Moore at the helm, don’t expect him to disappear from the national Heisman conversation any time soon.