Oklahoma comes sweeping down to snatch No. 1 spot in first BCS standings

Boise State, which had been expected to debut at No. 1, instead checks in at No. 3, behind the Sooners and Oregon. Not that it means a whole lot, with so much football still to be played.

October 17, 2010|Chris Dufresne

We found out Sunday that not all the curveballs are being thrown in the baseball playoffs.

"Uncle Charlie" caught college football looking in the name of Oklahoma, which took advantage of a whirlwind weekend of upsets to somehow seize the top spot in the first Bowl Championship Series standings.

Let the fun — and food fight — begin.

Oklahoma is first with a BCS average of .9215, followed by Oregon at .8921 and Boise State at .8898.

Checking in at No. 4 is Auburn, followed by Texas Christian, Louisiana State, Michigan State, Alabama, Utah and Ohio State.

The "experts" predicted last week that Boise State would debut at No. 1, but that was before several top-25 teams lost, including No. 1 Ohio State and No. 5 Nebraska.

Ohio State's loss kicked Oregon and Boise State to Nos. 1 and 2 in the polls, but Oklahoma used a 52-0 rout of Iowa State to win No. 1 in the computers and the top overall position.

Gee, where have we heard this before?

In 2003, remember, Oklahoma pulled the same move, finishing out of the top two in both polls after a Big 12 title-game loss to Kansas State, but remaining No. 1 in the final BCS standings.

That pushed poll No. 1 USC out of the BCS title game and created the only split title since the BCS' inception in 1998.

Louisiana State defeated Oklahoma for the BCS title, with USC claiming the Associated Press crown after defeating Michigan in the Rose Bowl.

But it's way too early to think that's going to happen again, right?

History does not favor Oklahoma. Only two teams have won the title after debuting at No. 1 in the BCS standings — Florida State in 1999 and USC in 2004.

Sunday's first standings, in fact, only expedited what everyone knew was eventually going to happen. Boise State and TCU, trying to become the first teams from outside the six power conferences to reach a title game, are going to need help to make history.

Both have the advantage of having easier paths to going undefeated.

The other BCS leaders still face several obstacles.

Oklahoma has undefeated Missouri and Oklahoma State left on the schedule, both on the road, plus, possibly, the Big 12 title game.

Oregon faces a gantlet that includes games at USC and Oregon State, plus a home game against Arizona.

Louisiana State plays at Auburn next week, with one-loss Alabama visiting Baton Rouge the next week.

Michigan State, the only unbeaten team left in the Big Ten, has games at Northwestern, Iowa and Penn State.

Bottom line: There is going to be a lot more BCS machine-churning between now and December.

This is the 13th incarnation of the BCS, the system that replaced an old system that was worse but didn't have a sandwich board you could pelt with tomatoes.

The BCS has gurgled and goofed along the way. It has changed faces more than Lon Chaney but, like a monster from an old horror movie, can't seemed to be killed or stopped.

Even if you hate the BCS, remember what Sun Tzu wrote in "The Art of War."

Know your enemy.

We offer a few BCS tidbits, highlights and lowlights:

— The first No. 1 in BCS history was . . . UCLA. The Bruins debuted at No. 1 on Oct. 26, 1998. They haven't been seen since that year.

— Florida State and USC, in 1999 and 2004, are the only schools to lead every week in the BCS standings en route to the championship.

— The No. 2 team in the first standings has won the title three times: Oklahoma in 2000, Texas in 2005 and Alabama last year.

— Being No. 1 a lot doesn't guarantee anything. Oklahoma (20) and Ohio State (15) have spent a combined 35 weeks at No. 1 but have combined for only two titles.

— Texas leads in most BCS appearances with 85, but has only the 2005 trophy to show for it.

— Bang for your buck? No school comes close to Louisiana State. The Tigers have won two BCS titles (2003, 2007) despite spending two total weeks at No. 1.

— It's not where you start that counts. LSU debuted at No. 12 in 2003 and rallied all the way to the championship. Florida won the championship in 2006 and 2008 after starting at No. 6 and No. 10, respectively, in the first standings. The all-time late-season comeback also belongs to LSU, which was No. 7 entering the final weekend in 2007, made up five spots to finish No. 2, then defeated Ohio State for the title.

— Expect anything to happen. Florida State made the first BCS title game by not playing, jumping from No. 4 to No. 2 after UCLA and Kansas State suffered stunning upsets.

— In 2000, Miami defeated Florida State on the field and ended up No. 2 in both polls but got edged out for a BCS spot by . . . Florida State.

— In 2001, Oregon finished No. 4 in the final standings despite finishing second in both polls. The Ducks were punished for many close victories, which prompted BCS officials to order margin-of-victory to be removed from computer formulas. This was also the year two-loss Nebraska, which did not win its division of the Big 12, finished No. 2 and lost to Miami in the title game at the Rose Bowl.

— After the USC controversy in 2003, BCS officials decided to give more weight to the polls by instituting a points system. That decision resulted in an ugly vote-lobbying campaign to decide whether Texas or California would play in the Rose Bowl. Texas narrowly prevailed, and defeated Michigan in Pasadena. The AP pulled out of the BCS and was replaced the next year by the Harris Interactive poll.

Remember, Sunday was just the beginning.

The final BCS standings won't be released until Dec. 5.

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