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Florida, Alabama lead first BCS standings

USC is seventh, despite moving to fourth in AP top 25 poll.

October 19, 2009|CHRIS DUFRESNE

It's too bad they couldn't have rescheduled the release of the first Bowl Championship Series standings for a week when the teams were ready.

BCS: "Knock, knock. Florida Gators, you're No.1! Can you come out and say a few words?"

Gators: "Come back in an hour, we're not dressed!"

One, two, three, four, what does a ranking matter if you can't slam the door?

The take-away story from opening BCS Sunday is how thoroughly unimpressive the contenders have looked.

Is anybody good? (Don't e-mail, Iowa, it's a rhetorical question.)

Let's examine the schools hundreds of steamed and esteemed experts, plus six Hal the computers, have determined to be elite.

1. Florida: The Gators nearly lost at home Saturday to Arkansas. Florida had four turnovers and quarterback Tim Tebow was sacked six times. Three of the Gators' turnovers came before the halftime show.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Wednesday, October 21, 2009 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 4 National Desk 1 inches; 54 words Type of Material: Correction
College football: An article on the season's first Bowl Championship Series standings in Monday's Sports section said that the gap between No. 3 Texas and No. 4 Boise State was .9397 to .7817. Those figures, however, were for the USA Today poll. The BCS average for Texas was .8911 and for Boise State .8083.

"That's probably the worst first half we've ever had . . . ever," Coach Urban Meyer said.

The offense?

"I don't think we're on the same planet as we were last year," Meyer said.

If it's consolation, Florida recovered last year to win the national title after an ugly home loss to Mississippi.

2. Alabama: The Crimson Tide moved to No. 1 in Sunday's Associated Press poll after it defeated South Carolina at home, despite committing four turnovers and not scoring an offensive touchdown until late in the game. The AP voters obviously deemed Alabama's win to be less odorous than Florida's and moved the Crimson Tide to the top.

"We shot ourselves in the foot a bunch today," Nick Saban, leader of the AP's No. 1, said after the victory.

Sometimes a score can fool you.

" . . . You might win the game," Saban said, "but you're not playing winning football."

Terrific . . . see you in Pasadena?

3. Texas: The Longhorns defeated Oklahoma, 16-13, in the Red River when-would-it-ever-end? "It was a tough, ugly win," Texas Coach Mack Brown said.

He should have seen it on TV.

Texas lost two fumbles against Oklahoma, was intercepted once and averaged 3.5 five yards a carry. Oh, yeah, the Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback for the other team, Sam Bradford, got knocked out right after the national anthem.

4. Boise State: The Broncos took a Wednesday night game at Tulsa on ESPN for the exposure it could bring a program that, no matter how many times it beats Oklahoma or Oregon, always has to prove itself.

Unfortunately, while judges were watching, Boise State had trouble disposing of a Tulsa team that Oklahoma beat, 45-0, with its second-string quarterback.

Boise State had a chance to put Tulsa away but let the winning score slip to 28-21.

"We'll go back and rack our brains on that," Coach Chris Petersen was asked about this lack of killer instinct.

The best team in the BCS top 10, based on merit and not which school hosts the best tailgate party, is probably No. 5 Cincinnati. The Bearcats have already won on the road at Rutgers, Oregon State and South Florida, which are a combined 13-5 counting games they lost to Cincinnati.

Cincinnati's problem: Star quarterback Tony Pike has a wrist injury that could put him out for a spell.

The rest of the top 10, like the top four, has issues.

Iowa has climbed to No. 6 after needing two blocked kicks to save an opening win against Northern Iowa. The Hawkeyes also beat Arkansas State, now 1-4, by a field goal.

USC tripped onto the BCS stage at No. 7 despite rising to No. 4 in the polls after a 34-27 win against Notre Dame.

The BCS computers, apparently, factored USC's 16-13 loss at unranked Washington, which fell to 3-4 on Saturday after losing to unranked Arizona State.

The BCS computer spit USC out at No. 11.

Then again, it took all USC could muster not to blow a 34-14 lead in South Bend.

"Stuff happened," USC Coach Pete Carroll said.

Only a week ago, No. 8 Texas Christian manhandled Air Force . . . by three. No. 9 Louisiana State looked lost against Florida, and No. 10 Miami walked out of Blacksburg with a 31-7 loss to Virginia Tech.

Oregon, at No. 11, well, there's a school that deserves better if voters would only forgive and forget that terrible opening loss to Boise . . . one of the top five teams in the country.

And though there are miles to go in this BCS race, the first standings portend the possibility we might be one Texas loss from a Florida-Alabama matchup in the SEC title game and the national title game at the Rose Bowl.

The gap between No. 3 Texas and No. 4 Boise State, .9397 to .7817, is considerable, which sets up the prospect of undefeated Boise State/Cincinnati getting boxed out by the one-loss loser of the SEC title game.

What if Florida loses to Alabama?

In 2006, remember, after No. 1 Ohio State beat No. 2 Michigan, many thought Michigan deserved a rematch.

One coach who didn't -- Urban Meyer -- campaigned for Florida getting the second spot.

Who wanted to see Ohio State-Michigan again?

Florida edged Michigan for the title spot, .9445 to .9344, and then beat Ohio State for the national title.

Who wants to see Alabama-Florida twice?

We're getting way ahead of ourselves here, for sure, but it beats manufacturing platitudes for a Florida team that couldn't even go hog wild on Arkansas.

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chris.dufresne@latimes.com

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BCS top 10

*--* Rk. Team Rec. Avg. 1 Florida 6-0 9886 2 Alabama 7-0 9526 3 Texas 6-0 8911 4 Boise State 6-0 8083 5 Cincinnati 6-0 7870 6 Iowa 7-0 7869 7 USC 5-1 7695 8 Texas Christian 6-0 7139 9 Louisiana State 5-1 7083 10 Miami 5-1 6273 *--*

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