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Breaking Down the First BCS Standings of 2012

So the first BCS Standings are out, and like always until the end, they pretty much mean nothing.  Does it matter that Florida and Alabama are ahead of Oregon? No, it will all play out by the end of the season.  Alabama is far and away the #1 based on the BCS Average, Kansas State is closer to Oregon, than Oregon is to Florida.  Lets take a look at the top 10 and check out each team's path to Miami, with predictions at the end.  

1 - ALABAMA -BCS AVG: .976 (6-0) Remaining Schedule: @Tennessee; Miss St, @LSU, Texas A&M, Western Carolina, Auburn, SEC Title Game @ Atlanta

At this point, everyone expects Alabama to be the latest team from the SEC to play for the Natty, and probably win the 7th straight for the conference, and their second straight and third in four years.  There are 2 road blocks on the schedule. @LSU, and the SEC title game which will either be Florida, Georgia, or South Carolina.  Bama was fortunate enough to avoid all 3 on their regular season schedule.  Texas A&M is good, but that game is in Tuscaloosa, and I don't expect the Tide to have trouble.  It's easy to say Alabama will run the table, but it's not that simple.  Their game with LSU on Nov 3 is on the road, which is never easy for anyone.  LSU finally looked like a top level team last night, but it took a loss to Florida for them to get there.  More on the Tigers in a minute.   The bigger thing I look at right now is how easy their overall sked is for an SEC schedule. It's not their fault Michigan isn't very good, and they avoid FL, GA, and SC, but one tough road game all year, LSU, and that's it. 

2 - FLORIDA - BCS Avg: .909 (6-0) Sked: South Carolina, Georgia, Missouri, ULL, Jacksonville State, @ Florida State, SEC Title Game @ Atlanta (Likely vs Alabama)

It's been somewhat of a surprise the Gators are unbeaten at this point.  Not a huge shock they beat LSU, we all expected LSU to go down at some point with the way they had been playing up until then.  The A&M win is looking better and better.  With SC, GA and FSU on the sked before a potential SEC title game, it's hard to imagne the Gators will end up in Atlanta without a loss.  They finally figured out the QB position, but Jeff Driskell is not a great passer, and while they haven't given up a ton of points, the defense is inconsistent.  Theoretically, the Gators could be unblemished facing an unbeaten Bama team for the SEC title, but I don't expect it.  If that is the case, and there is another unbeaten somewhere else, one of the two will miss out. 

3 - OREGON - BCS Avg: .899 (6-0) Sked: @ Arizona State, Colorado, @USC, @CAL, Stanford, @ Oregon State, Pac 12 Title Game

Ok Duck fans, it's simple.  Win all your games, and you play for the natty.  That's easier said than done, with ASU on the road this week, and USC and Cal on the road later this year.  I don't expect much trouble against Stanford.  If they do go unbeaten all year, then they have to beat USC or ASU at home for the P12 title.  These things always work themselves out and I don't think it's very likely that there will be 3 or more unbeatens.  If they do lose a game, it's going to be very difficult to play for the title, even if everyone else has a loss.  

4 - KANSAS STATE - BCS Avg: .896 (6-0) Sked: @ WVU, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, @TCU, @ Baylor, Texas

Not an easy schedule for the cats.  Kansas State all year has struggled in the first half of games, then turns it on in the second half.  Eventually it will catch up to them.  It could be this week on the road at West Virginia who will be looking to make a statement after getting shredded by Texas Tech last week.  Collin Klein is a very good dual threat QB, and they do have some offensive weapons, but their defense is average.  There isn't an easy game left, but if they do go the rest of the way without a loss, we might get that K State - Oregon matchup that the Wildcats backed out of before the season started.  

5 - NOTRE DAME - BCS Avg: .877 (6-0) Sked: BYU, @Oklahoma, Pitt, @ BC, Wake Forest, @USC

The Golden Domers are relevant for the first time in a decade. BYU will be interesting this weekend, after seeing OSU's offense put up impressive numbers, but that should be a deffensive battle.  Road games with OK, and USC are obviously the toughest on the schedule, and both teams will have a lot to play for.  I'm impressed that Brian Kelly has brought the Irish back to prominence, at least on the surface, but I just don't trust them to be able to do it for 12 games without a mistake.  

6 - LSU - BCS Avg: .752  (6-1) - Sked: @ Texas A&M, Alabama, Miss St, Ole Miss, @ Arkansas, SEC Title Game

LSU still controls their own destiny for the conference title, and if they are able to win out, they will play for the title.  If they play like they did against South Carolina, they certainly have a shot.  If they play like they did in the 3-4 previous weeks, they don't.  They scored 23 points against a very very good Gamecock Defense, and held on of the more dynamic offenses in the country to just 21 points.  This week in College Station is no walk in the park, there is a potential loss there, but LSU was expected to content for the national championship at the start of the year, and I still think they can.  

7 - SOUTH CAROLINA - BCS Avg: .693 (6-1) - Sked: @ Florida, Tenn, Arkansas, Wofford, @ Clemson, SEC Title Game

The Gamecocks very nearly came out of death valley Saturday with a win, and had they, they would be #2 right now, and Florida would be #3.  If they win out, they will either get another crack at LSU (which would mean everyone in the SEC has a loss, and SC could end up in Miami should they win) or face Alabama, either way, it's going to be more than a challenge.  

8 - OREGON STATE - BCS Avg: 680 (5-0) - Sked: Utah, @ Washington, Arizona State, @ Stanford, Cal, Oregon, Oregon, Nicholls  State/Pac 12 Title Game

If you expected this, you are either a moron, a liar, or both.  5-0 for the first time since 1939, and winning games in different ways... including putting up an offensive show with their backup QB against a very stout BYU defense.  No SC on the schedule works in their favor, and they control their own destiny.  There are still multiple challenges on the schedule, but there have been crazier things in sports than Oregon State running the table if it happens. 

9 - OKLAHOMA - BCS Avg: 666 (4-1) - Sked: Kansas, Notre Dame, @ Iowa State, Baylor, @ WVU, Oklahoma State, @ TCU

The Sooners always make a mistake, the question is, will Kansas State be the only one. There are still 2 very tough games left with ND, and WV, TCU not as difficult with Pachall missing the rest of the year.  In order to finish in the top 2, they need some help. 

10 - USC - BCS Avg: .595(5-1) - Sked: Colorado, @ Arizona, Oregon, Arizona State, @ UCLA, Notre Dame, Pac 12 Title Game

Because of USC's name and history, they will get some votes where other schools with the same resume might not.  Win out, with some tough games, and get some help and they will have a decent chance at playing for it all.  They have to be better offensively.  Matt Barkley hasn't looked like the Matt Barkley we thought we were going to see, and he may have cost himself the #1 pick with his play through the first 6 games.  Will their lack of depth come into play as the season wears on... that's the biggest issue. 
OTHER UNBEATEN TEAMS IN BCS TOP 25 - 12 Mississippi State (6-0), 15 Rutgers (6-0), 16 Louisville (6-0), 21 Cincinnati (5-0
Mississippi State still has Bama and LSU on the road, and Texas A&M at home.  The 3 big east schools still have to play each other. 

Only 2 SEC schools can play in BCS Bowl games, so there are going to be a few teams with hurt feelings at the end of the year, just like every year.  Whoever loses the LSU Alabama game will be one of those this year.  I really don't see two SEC teams playing for the title again, but it could happen.  I have this sneaking feeling Notre Dame is going to go unbeaten.  I don't think they are one of the top 5 teams in the country, but with their schedule compared to everyone elses, I think they have the best shot at going undefeated.  I do think LSU beats Alabama.  I do think Florida loses, and so does Kansas State.  It's a tough task for Oregon to beat USC or Arizona State twice, but I think they do. Yes, I think we see Oregon and Notre Dame play for the natty.  There's a 100% chance my opinion will change by this time next week.  

For more, tune in to Travis & Wilcox weekdays Noon-3 pacific on ESPN Sports Radio 1080 The FAN, www.1080thefan.com and the 1080 The FAN app. 

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10/14/2012 8:44PM
Breaking Down the First BCS Standings of 2012
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