Marvin Gentry-US PRESSWIRE

Alabama Football: Crimson Tide Strength of Schedule and BCS Standings

The BCS National Championship picture is beginning to take shape with each passing week in college football. In the SEC, undefeated Florida fell to Georgia and Mississippi State fell back to earth. Oklahoma and Southern Cal squandered any chance to get back in the BCS conversation. And with each passing week, each team’s strength of schedule is in flux with each opponent played.

Here is the strength of schedules the SEC team’s according to teamranking.com:

  • Tennessee: 3rd
  • LSU: 6th
  • Florida: 9th
  • South Carolina: 11th
  • Georgia: 15th
  • Kentucky: 18th
  • Alabama: 21st
  • Texas A&M: 22nd
  • Auburn: 24th
  • Mississippi State: 26th
  • Missouri: 30th
  • Arkansas: 39th
  • Ole Miss: 40th
  • Vanderbilt: 42nd

As the weeks progress, and the Alabama Crimson Tide plays tougher opponents, its’ strength of schedule will continue to improve. After playing LSU this weekend and Texas A&M the week after, the Tide will surely be closer to the top 10.

The other three players in the BCS National Championship conversation, Kansas State, Notre Dame and Oregon, managed to stay undefeated last weekend. They remain ranked in the top five, and are all pleading their case as to who is most deserving of being ranked No. 2. Here are the current BCS standings, including rankings from the Harris and Coaches Polls, as well as the six computer rankings:

Alabama Kansas State Notre Dame Oregon
BCS Rank 1 2 3 4
Harris Poll 1 3 4 2
USA Today 1 3 4 2
Anderson Hester 3 1 2 4
Richard Billingsley 1 3 2 4
Colley Matrix 2 3 1 5
Kenneth Massey 3 2 1 5
Jeff Sagarin 7 1 2 8
Peter Wolfe 3 1 2 5

 

Oregon

BCS Ranking: 4th. Strength of schedule: 29th. Next 4 games: at Southern Cal, at California, Stanford, and at Oregon State.

For the time being, the perception is that Alabama is the best team in the country, and the human polls show this. There seems to be some difference in opinion between human voters and the computers as to whether or not Oregon belongs in the second spot. They have dismantled every opponent with surgical precision and machine-like efficiency on offense. But right now, Oregon’s 29th ranked strength of schedule is holding the Ducks back from being vaulted up the computer polls, even though they pass the “eyeball test” with flying colors.

Notre Dame

BCS Ranking: 3rd. Strength of schedule: 7th. Next 4 games: Pittsburgh, at Boston College, Wake Forest, and at Southern Cal.

Notre Dame silenced the remaining critics, and accrued some new believers after handling 7th ranked Oklahoma 33-11 on the road in Norman. As of right now, the Irish have the best strength of schedule of the four unbeaten team. The computers are rewarding them for it: The Irish are not ranked lower than 2 in any computer poll. The human voters aren’t quite convinced yet, as none have them ranked higher than 3rd.  And, their upcoming games leave much to be desired in terms of schedule strength. Their season defining game will be in Los Angeles against the Trojans of Southern Cal on November 24th.

Kansas State

BCS Ranking: 2nd. Strength of schedule: 17th. Next 4 games: Oklahoma State, at TCU, at Baylor, and Texas.

Kansas State has a lot going for it at this point; they have the leading Heisman candidate in the country in Colin Klein, national media attention being given to legendary head coach Bill Snyder for his resurgence, and an impressive schedule thus far. The Wildcats are the team that most resembles Alabama. They play excellent defense, and have a balanced attack on offense, highlighted by an outstanding running game.  At this point, Kansas State has impressed the human voters and the computers equally, and it has earned them the No. 2 ranking.

The last third of the season will ultimately separate the deserving from the undeserving in the BCS, as it usually does. One thing is certain: It is highly unlikely for a one-loss SEC team to make it to the championship game this year. There is a high probability two of the three undefeated teams behind Alabama will run the table. Alabama must stay on course this weekend in Baton Rouge and take care of business, because there won’t be any second chances this year.

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