Boise State Vs. TCU - Who Has the Upper-Hand in BCS Standings?
by Trevor Whenham - 10/26/2010
It was another tough weekend for undefeated teams in college football. Oklahoma fell in their first week atop the BCS rankings, and they were joined in the one-loss club by LSU and Oklahoma State. There are now just seven remaining unbeaten ranked teams. Two of those teams are particularly interesting to me. I’m a hopeless romantic, and I kinda like chaos, so the possibility of a Boise State vs. TCU BCS Championship Game, and the absolute mess that that would create, is something to dream about. That’s not going to happen, but it’s fun to dream. I’d be almost as happy if one of those two teams could find their way into the game. So, can that happen? Let’s take a look:
Their Remaining Schedules
Obviously, neither team stands any hope of a National Championship shot if they lose a game. They need to win, and they need to win handily. Both teams likely have just one remaining hurdle standing between them and the promised land. TCU shouldn’t have much trouble with UNLV, San Diego State (though they could be tricky), and New Mexico. The huge challenge looms on Nov. 6 when they have to travel to play Utah. The Utes have been impressive, but TCU is deeper and better, and can win that game. Unless Utah loses before then - and they should be able to beat Air Force - then TCU would also get a big boost from beating a Top 10 opponent if they won.
Boise State has two more games remaining than TCU, but their road is easier. A home game against Hawaii could be tough but is completely winnable, and a trip to Nevada doesn’t seem as challenging as it once did since Hawaii showed the road map to beating them. Based on how they have played and who they play it would register as a pretty surprising upset if the Broncos didn’t finish the season unbeaten. The problem, of course, is that every lopsided win over an outmatched opponent will only add to people’s doubts about the team and how deserving they are of a berth.
The Tigers are atop the BCS standings, and they aren’t going to go anywhere unless they lose. So, will they? They are all but certain to be 10-0 thanks to games against Ole Miss and Chattanooga. The last two are a much bigger challenge, though - Georgia is playing decent football, and a trip to Alabama to finish the season is a brutal way to finish things off. I respect Auburn and what they have done, but I don’t believe they will remain unbeaten.
I am one of the few in the country who isn’t that impressed with what Oregon has accomplished. Don’t get me wrong - their offense is incredible. I just am not impressed by who they have played. Stanford was a very impressive win, but five of their six hardest games are still to play. Just look at who they have played so far - New Mexico could be the worst team in the country, Tennessee is a mess, Portland State is a joke, Arizona State is a disaster, Washington State is Washington State, and UCLA can’t get their act together with any consistency. They certainly could run the table, but they are playing some tough teams and their defense is questionable, so I certainly wouldn’t be surprised if they lost.
The Spartans travel to Iowa next week. I expect them to lose. If they don’t then they play three lousy opponents to finish the season and won’t impress anyone with it. I don’t think that this team would be particularly well respected if they were to go undefeated, either - It’s hard to respect a Big Ten champ that doesn’t play Ohio State. I’m not convinced that the Spartans would jump Boise State or TCU in the standings even of they run the table.
I give a lot of credit to Missouri for beating Oklahoma. Their next two games - at Nebraska and at Texas Tech - are very tough, though, and I certainly think that they could lose one. In fact, I think it is likely. If the Tigers win both games then they will jump over Boise State and TCU - at least they likely will - and will be three very winnable games away from a very unlikely BCS berth. Of course, if they lose one game they are completely irrelevant.
The Tide are the only one-loss team that would likely be able to knock one of these two teams out of the championship game. They have three more games against ranked teams - at LSU, Mississippi State, and Auburn. If they win all three and no more than one of Oregon, Michigan State, and Missouri remain undefeated, then Alabama would likely get in over TCU or Boise State. The Broncos and Horned Frogs should become the biggest LSU fans ever.
The Bottom Line
This is the best chance we have ever had of having a non-BCS conference team in the big game. Boise State and TCU are both good enough - and perhaps well-respected enough - to get a shot. Even Utah could get a shot if they beat TCU and a whole lot of things fell their way. There are problems, though. First, between Auburn and Alabama the SEC is likely to have a team in the Championship (unless the winner of their game loses the SEC Championship game, of course). That leaves just one spot. Oregon or Missouri would get it over either team if they were unbeaten. Michigan State might as well. In short, it could happen, but I am definitely bracing myself for disappointment.
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