Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE

Alabama Football: Crimson Tide Strength of Schedule and BCS Standings


In the past weeks, the biggest argument against Alabama has been, “they haven’t played anyone.” But after the Crimson Tide’s legendary comeback against LSU on Saturday and with Texas A&M looming, that argument no longer holds water, if it ever did. We have the strength of schedule to prove it.

Here is the TeamRankings.com College Football Strength of Schedule Power Ratings for every SEC team:

  • LSU: 1st
  • Florida: 5th
  • South Carolina: 7th
  • Missouri: 8th
  • Alabama 10th
  • Texas A&M: 16th
  • Georgia: 19th
  • Kentucky: 24th
  • Tennessee: 25th
  • Ole Miss: 30th
  • Mississippi State 32nd
  • Vanderbilt: 36th
  • Arkansas: 46th
  • Auburn: 49th

The Crimson Tide has cracked the strength of schedule top ten for the first time all season. After their game with Texas A&M this weekend, it will continue to rise. The Tide’s last two games against Western Carolina and Auburn will only hurt its schedule strength. Nevertheless, I predict that after the SEC championship game versus No. 5 Georgia, Alabama will finish somewhere in the top 12.

Alabama has cemented itself in the top spot of the BCS standings. The human polls remain unchanged as to who deserves the highest ranking; it is the computer rankings who are finally rewarding the Tide.

Here are the current BCS standings, including rankings from the Harris and Coaches Polls, as well as the six computer rankings:

Alabama

Kansas State

Oregon

Notre Dame

BCS Rank

1

2

3

4

Harris Poll

1

3

2

4

USA Today

1

3

2

4

Anderson Hester

3

2

5

1

Richard Billingsley 

1

2

4

3

Colley Matrix

2

3

5

1

Kenneth Massey

1

3

5

2

Jeff Sagarin

1

2

7

3

Peter Wolfe

1

1

4

2

 

Alabama is up from 3rd to 1st in the Kenneth Massey and Peter Wolfe polls. The most significant change in the computers is the Jeff Sagarin poll; Alabama was ranked 7th last week, but the LSU victory was enough to vault the Tide all the way to No. 1.

Notre Dame

BCS Ranking: 4th. Strength of Schedule: 15th. Toughest opponent left: At No. 17 Southern Cal.

Notre Dame’s strength of schedule dropped from 7th to 15th this week after playing lowly Pittsburgh. Seeing as they barely escaped that game, this is the last of the worries for the Irish. The voters are coming closer to establishing a decisive pecking order, and it appears Notre Dame is going to remain fourth in the human polls until someone loses. The computers also dinged the Irish this week; they dropped one spot in three of the six polls, but are ranked no lower than 3rd in any of them.

Oregon

BCS Ranking: 3rd. Strength of Schedule: 13th. Toughest opponent left: At No. 11 Oregon State.

The computers are still not in love with the Oregon Ducks. They are not ranked higher than 4th in any of the six polls. The Harris and the Coaches Poll have them at No. 2, which is helping them to offset the poor computer rankings. The good news for the Ducks: They have two teams left on their schedule in the top 15 (Stanford, Oregon State) plus a championship game against presumably UCLA or USC, both top 20 teams.

Kansas State

BCS Ranking: 3rd. Strength of Schedule: 28th. Toughest opponent left: No. 17 Texas.

Other than Alabama, Kansas State has the best balance of human voter support and a strong computer ranking. The Wildcats are almost even with Notre Dame in the computers, but crush them in the human polls. They are about equal with Oregon in the human polls, but comfortably lead the Ducks in the computers. Oregon has the definite strength of schedule advantage, and they have the best chance to improve it. I am not sure the Wildcats will be able to hold off an Oregon surge in the computers in the next three weeks.

Even though technically there is not supposed to be an advantage for teams who play in a conference championship, I believe the voters will unconsciously reward Oregon for playing in such a game. Regardless, the likelihood remains that at least one of these team is going to lose a game before the season is over. There is still plenty of football to be played.

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