09 November 2008
The BCS Standings are out, and for the second consecutive week Alabama is the #1 team in the nation. The Tide is also at the top in the AP Poll, the ESPN/USA Today Poll, and the Harris Interactive Poll. The computer rankings used by the BCS have Bama in second place, based on strength of schedule, and Texas Tech's recent run through top ten opponents.
Here's how things break down:
The current top ten in the BCS Standings are as follows:
1. Alabama (10-0) - .981
2. Texas Tech (10-0) - .972
3. Texas (9-1) - .880
4. Florida (8-1) - .864
5. Oklahoma (9-1) - .844
6. USC (8-1) - .790
7. Utah (10-0) - .769
8. Penn State (9-1) - .684
9. Boise State (9-0) - .678
10. Georgia (8-2) - .616
Things have tightened a bit at the top, with Texas Tech closing the gap. Last week the Tide led .9747 to .9372. It looks as though the Penn State loss benefited the Red Raiders much more so than it did Bama.
Texas Tech is off this coming Saturday before heading to Norman, Oklahoma to take on the #5 ranked Sooners on Nov. 22. If Texas Tech can make it through that game undefeated, I fully expect that they will jump Alabama for the #1 spot.
The way things break down individually for the BCS goes like this:
The ESPN/USA Today poll has Alabama at #1 with 44 of the 61 votes for first place; four more than last week. Texas Tech has the 17 remaining first place votes, with Penn State losing all 14 of its votes and Oklahoma losing its one.
In all the Tide has 1,508 of the possible 1,525 voter points, which gives Bama a BCS calculated score of .9889 from this poll.
The Harris Interactive Poll has Alabama at #1 with 75 of the 144 votes for first place; four less than last week. Texas Tech has 38 of the votes at number one, with Florida retaining its lone vote at the top.
Bama totals 2,808 of the 2,850 voter points, which gives them a BCS calculated score of .9853 from this poll.
Then comes the computers... there are six computer rankings that go into the BCS formula - Anderson & Hester, Billingsley Report, Colley Matrix, Massey Ratings, Sagarin Ratings, and Wolfe Rankings.
You drop your highest and lowest rankings from this group, and the other four are combined to reach your BCS calculated score. At the time of this writing only four of the six have published their rankings. Alabama is #1 in the Wolfe Rankings, #1 in the Anderson & Hester, #2 in the Billingsley Report, and #2 in the Sagarin Ratings.
If you look at the Sagarin Ratings you will see the Tide listed at #4 in the overall ratings, but the BCS does not use that part of the poll, which idiotically factors in margin of victory. Instead the BCS uses the portion of the poll that does not include margin of victory, and there Bama moves up two spots - which is a clear demonstration of why the BCS doesn't use that part of the formula.
Alabama's current BCS calculated score from the computers is .9700, which is second to Texas Tech's .9800.
Average those three BCS calculated scores together and you get Bama's #1 total of .981.
Unfortunately neither the ESPN/USA Today or Harris Interactive Polls make their votes public until the final week, so we're left to analyze the ballots of the AP voters - whose votes don't count for anything other than bragging rights and discussion fodder.
Bama received 44 of the 65 first place votes, with Texas Tech taking in the remaining 21. There were five new folks who voted the Tide at #1, and seven guys who moved Texas Tech ahead of Bama - meaning Bama had a net loss of two first place votes.
Here are the 44 voters who have the Tide at #1:
- Dothan (AL) Eagle, Doug Segrest
- Birmingham (AL) News, Anthony Gimino
- Tucson (AZ) Citizen, Tom Murphy
- Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Kevin Pearson
- Riverside (CA) Press-Enterprise, Scott Wolf
- Los Angeles (CA) Daily News, Ray Ratto
- San Francisco (CA) Chronicle, Jake Schaller
- Colorado Springs (CO) Gazette, John Silver
- Journal Inquirer (CT), Robbie Andreu
- Gainesville (FL) Sun, Jim Lamar
- Tallahassee (FL) Democrat, Fred Lewis
- Honolulu (HI) Advertiser, Mike Prater
- Idaho Statesman, Herb Gould
- Chicago (IL) Sun Times, Mark Tupper
- Decatur (IL) Herald, Eric Hanson
- South Bend (IN) Tribune, Kent Taylor
- WAVE-3 (KY), Steve Conroy
- Boston (MA) Herald, Joe Rexrode
- Lansing (MI) State Jourdnal, Marcus Fuller
- St. Paul (MN) Pioneer, Jim Mashek
- Sun Herald (MS), Aditi Kinkhabwala
- Bergen (NJ) Record, Joe Giglio
- Raleigh (NC) News & Observer, Kirk Herbstreit
- WBNS-AM Columbus (OH), Matt McCoy
- WVTN-AM Columbus (OH), Myron Patton
- KOKH-TV Oklahoma City (OK), Mike Strain
- Tulsa (OK) Wolrd, Ray Fittipaldo
- Pittsburgh (PA) Post, Jeff McLane -
Philadelphia (PA) Inquirer, Joe Person
- The State (SC), Maurice Patton
- The Tennesseean, Bob Hammond
- Laramie (WY) Boomerang, Stewart Mandel
- SI.com, Randy Rosetta
- Baton Rouge (LA) Advocate, Barker Davis
- Washington (DC) Times, Mike DeArmond
- Kansas City (MO) Star, Steve Sipple
- Lincoln (NE) Star Journal, Bill Cole
- Winston-Salem (NC) Journal, Jeff White
- Richmond (VA) Times, John Hunt
- The Oregonian, Jon Wilner
- San Jose (CA) Mercury News, Mark Anderson
- Las Vegas (NV) Review-Journal, Tom Mulhern
- Wisconsin State Journal, Mitch Vingle
- Charleston (WV) Gazette
The five new votes are the last five listed (beginning with Hunt).
The other 21 voters all had Bama listed at #2. They are:
Adam Van Brimmer
- Savannah (GA) Morning News, Brett McMurphy
- Tampa (FL) Tribune, Craig James
- ABC, Jason Frankchuck
- Provo (UT) Daily Herald, Eric Page
- Quad City (IA) Times, Tom Keegan
- Lawrence (KS) Journal, Glenn Guilbeau
- Gannet (LA) News Service, Randy Harrison
- Albuquerque (NM) Journal, Jimmy Burch
- Fort Worth (TX) Star, Joseph Duarte
- Houston (TX) Chronicle, Molly Yanity
- Seattle (WA) Post Intelligence, Tom Hart
- CBS Sports Net, Pete DiPrimio
- Ft. Wayne (IN) News, Sal Interdonato
- Middletown (NY) Record, Brett Bloomquist -
El Paso (TX) Times, Chris Fowler
- ESPN, Doug Lesmerises
- Cleveland (OH) Plain Dealer, John Heuser
- The Ann Arbor (MI) News, Kirk Bohls
- Austin (TX) American Statesman, Mike Cedie
- WREG-TV Memphis (TN), Taylor Zarzour
- WPTF-AM - Raleigh (NC)
The seven voters who dropped the Tide from #1 are the last seven listed (beginning with Bloomquist).
All 65 voters had the Tide at #1 or #2, but there are three folks who deserve a little slap on the wrist.
Up first is John Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News. We called John out last week after he had Florida at #1 and Texas at #2. He finally has an undefeated team at #1 (Bama), but he still has Texas Tech at #4, behind both Florida and Texas. Again, Mr. Wilner, Texas Tech beat Texas... it happened just a week ago... on national television... maybe you heard about it. I guess not.
Up next is Randy Rosetta of the Baton Rouge Advocate who has Florida at #2, with Texas Tech at #3. While his SEC pride is certainly appreciated, the Gators loss to Ole Miss speaks for itself.
And last is Maurice Patton of the Tennessean who has Texas Tech at #4, behind both Oklahoma and Florida. He also has USC ahead of Texas, which is a little mind boggling, since Texas's lone loss came to his #4 team, while USC's loss came to an Oregon State team that he doesn't rank. Throw in the fact that he has undefeateds Utah (#7) and Boise State (#9) in the top ten, while fellow undefeated Ball State sits all the way down at #17. This is just a bad ballot.
As long as Bama takes care of business this weekend against Mississippi State, I don't expect this to change too much. If the Tide really struggles to beat Sylvester Croom and the Bulldogs then Bama could lose some votes, but probably not enough to drop below an idle Texas Tech. The roles reverse the following week, with Bama off and Texas Tech at Oklahoma. As I said above, if Texas Tech wins that game, I fully expect that they will be #1 in every poll. Winning in Norman is a tough task, though.
Looking ahead a bit, it looks likely that the national championship game will likely be between the SEC Champion and the Big 12 Champion. The SEC Championship game is set, with Alabama representing the west, and Florida representing the east. The Big 12 is not quite as clear, with neither division having been clinched.
Texas Tech controls its own fate... win out and they will represent the south in the Big 12 Championship Game. Likewise, in the north Missouri controls its own fate. But neither team has a clear path ahead of them.
Missouri has to play Iowa State and Kansas. Kansas is sitting in a tie for second place in the north with Nebraska, with both teams one game back.
Texas Tech still has to play Oklahoma and Baylor. Sitting just one game back are both Oklahoma and Texas.
So there is a real possibility that both divisions could end up in a three way tie. If that happens, according to Big 12 rules, the team with the higher BCS ranking would represent each division.
Alabama has to get past both Mississippi State and Auburn, and Florida still has games against South Carolina, The Citadel, and Florida State. While both teams have locked up a spot in the SEC Championship game, a loss by either prior to the game in Atlanta would likely eliminate them from national championship contention.