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October 21, 2004


With the much-anticipated BCS standings premiering this past Monday, most of the experts had projected over the weekend that the initial rankings would have Southern Cal at the top followed by the Oklahoma Sooners at number two. Problem is, when the standings were released to the public early Monday, it was USC in the top spot, but the Trojans were followed by Miami at number two...not Oklahoma. Instead, the Sooners were ranked third in the standings, though by less than one one-hundredth of a point.

So what's the big deal? Well, actually nothing. Not only is this just the first rendition of the 2004 BCS standings, but in the history of the Bowl Championship Series, the teams initially ranked one and two have never met each other in the title game. Still, the Sooners were a consensus number two choice in both the AP and ESPN top 25 polls voted on by sports writers and coaches respectively from around the country. And those two polls were supposed to be given greater significance in this year's version of the BCS formula. So if the standings are supposedly wrong now, what could happen at the end of the season?

The good news is the computers (at least at this point) are not as smart as the human voters. Whereas the humans can see the season as a whole (both the games already played and those still to be played), the computers are affected only by the outcomes so far. So when the final rankings come out in December, both the human and computer polls will have a complete grasp on what has transpired in 2004. That should translate into having America's top two college football teams meet each other on the field in this year's BCS title game.

A few other tidbits on the initial BCS rankings...

  • Florida State was the highest ranked of the once-beaten teams, which does make sense since the Seminoles' only loss came to Miami, ranked number two.

  • Two unbeaten teams, Wisconsin and Utah, were ranked behind Florida State at numbers six and seven, respectively.

  • Speaking of the Utes, Coach Urban Meyer's team was the highest ranked non-BCS school at number seven. It takes a top six finish in the final rankings to guarantee the Utes a spot in the BCS.

  • Other non-BCS league teams in the top 25 of the BCS: unbeaten Boise State at number fourteen, once-beaten Louisville at seventeen, and once-beaten UAB at number twenty-four.

  • Of the top ten teams, three were from the SEC, two each from the PAC 10 and ACC, and one each from the Big Ten, Big XII, and Mountain West.

  • A major gap (.07 points) separates number one Southern Cal from second-ranked Miami. Another big difference (.09 points) is found between fourth-ranked Auburn and number five Florida State.

    Here's a look at how the BCS rankings compare with's Fab 15 poll...

    Southern Cal (1 in Fab 15 / 1 in BCS)
    Oklahoma (2 / 3)
    Auburn (3 / 4)
    Miami (4 / 2)
    Utah (5 / 7)
    California (6 / 8)
    Wisconsin (7 / 6)
    Texas (8 / 11)
    Georgia (9 / 10)
    Louisville (10 / 17)
    Purdue (11 / 12)
    West Virginia (12 / 20)
    Michigan (13 / 13)
    Texas A&M (14 / 16)
    LSU (15 / 19)


    Last week, we previewed the annual Coaches vs Cancer Classic and also took a look at some of the other major preseason tournaments that will take place around the country. After previewing the events set for November in last week's article, below is a look at the major get-togethers in the month of December and the notable teams taking part:

  • Gazette Hawkeye Challenge (begins 12/3): Iowa, Southern Miss

  • BB&T Classic (begins 12/4): George Washington, Maryland, Michigan State

  • Northwestern Mutual Classic (begins 12/10): St. Joseph's

  • Dodge Holiday Classic (begins 12/17): Nevada

  • Outrigger Hotels Rainbow Classic (begins 12/20): Hawaii, Southern Cal

  • Bill Minardi Classic (begins 12/21): Austin Peay, IUPUI, Louisville

  • Golden Bear Classic (begins 12/22): California, Pepperdine

  • State Farm Sun Bowl Tournament (begins 12/27): Princeton, Tulane, UTEP

  • ECAC Holiday Festival (begins 12/28): NC State

  • Fiesta Bowl Classic (begins 12/28): Richmond, Butler

  • Holiday Classic (begins 12/28): Arizona State

  • COMCAST Lobo Invitational (begins 12/28): New Mexico, Pepperdine

  • cable Car Classic (begins 12/28): Charlotte

    Q : From MatthewFreda : "Should tOSU bench QB Zwick and put in Smith?"

    A : Back-up QB Troy Smith is one of the more exciting players on the OSU squad and is now the favorite player on the team following the Buckeyes' recent demise. Justin Zwick beat out the sophomore for the starting job in the fall, but anybody trying to replace the reliable Craig Krenzel is going to have a struggle.

    With the season now all but shot thanks to last week's loss at Iowa, now is a good time to at least give Smith a shot. Zwick has thrown a half-dozen interceptions this season and only five touchdowns and is barely completing half of his passes. We won't know if Smith is the answer until he gets a shot, so why not give him that shot now?

    CLICK HERE to send in your question for next week's edition of Around the College Nation.


    (1) Big wins last what? That's a theme heading into Week Eight, and what we mean is this: several teams grabbed big wins last weekend but now have tough games they could easily overlook this week. That win last week won't mean as much if they don't follow it up with another win this week. Who are we talking about? (a) Miami - Last Week: W vs Louisville; This Week: at NC State...(b) Boise State - Last Week: W at Tulsa; This Week: vs Fresno State...(c) Wisconsin - Last Week: W at Purdue; This Week: vs Northwestern...(d) Iowa - Last Week: W vs Ohio State; This Week: at Penn State...(e) Oklahoma - Last Week: W at Kansas State; This Week: vs Kansas...(f) Texas A&M - Last Week: W at Oklahoma State; This Week: vs Colorado...(g) Notre Dame - Last Week: W at Navy; This Week: vs Boston College...(h) Florida State - Last Week: W vs Virginia; This Week: at Wake Forest...(i) Stanford - Last Week: W at Washington State; This Week: vs Oregon

    (2) Who will stay in the Big Ten race? Assuming Wisconsin takes care of Northwestern at home, it will be interesting to see who stays near the top of the Big Ten standings with UW. That will be decided in West Lafayette where Purdue hosts Michigan. The Wolves have yet to lose a conference game but did lost at Notre Dame earlier this year. Purdue's only loss came at home to the Badgers last weekend. Whoever survives this battle will still stand a good shot at the conference crown. The loser's BCS hopes will be all but over.

    (3) Texas travels to Texas Tech, where there is sure to be plenty of points scored this Saturday. The Longhorns rebounded from their loss to Oklahoma with a win at home over Mizzou last weekend but now head away from Austin once again. The Red Raider offense has been dynamite this season, even after the loss of star QBs Kliff Kingsbury two years ago and B.J. Symons last year. It will likely take at least 40 points to win this one. Can they Raiders pull the huge home upset over their big in-state rival?


    (1) We asked who would step up in Week Seven in the Big Ten. That answer is obvious. Wisconsin went into Purdue, took a lead into the half, watched it slip away, and then came from behind to knock off the Boilermakers and move to the front of the conference standings. The Badgers are rolling, and as long as Anthony Davis stays healthy, UW should prosper.

    (2) Louisville had their shot to knock off Miami down on the beach last Thursday night but could not finish the job. The Cardinals dominated the game for the first thirty minutes but allowed the Canes to get back in it early in the second half. A dropped interception late in the fourth quarter was followed by a Miami TD as the Hurricanes eased away with the victory. With Southern Miss also losing Saturday (at Alabama), it appears the BCS busting hopes may be left up to Utah this season.

    (3) Two unbeaten teams went on the road in conference to play annual powers, and both came away with huge losses. Arizona State visited Southern Cal and hoped to catch the Trojans napping after USC's big win over Cal the week before. That wasn't the case, however, as USC jumped out to a big lead early and never looked back. On the opposite coast, Virginia traveled to Florida State and found much of the same. The UVA offense got off to a bad start, never recovered, and couldn't come close to keeping pace with FSU.

     > Talk about it in The College Corner...

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