Monday, September 21, 2009

Poofffffff ... Goes the Mountain West

Well, so much for all that talk about the Mountain West getting an automatic bid to the BCS.

One weekend of upsets restored order somewhat in the BCS universe. Each of the six BCS conferences has at least one team among the top 10 in the latest BCS Standings (simulated). The only BCS buster left standing, for now, is Boise State, who now firmly controls its own destiny for a second BCS bowl berth in three years.

The biggest loser over the weekend is the Mountain West (trumps even USC, but more on the Trojans later). BYU was mercilessly dissected at home by a Florida State team that nearly lost to I-AA Jacksonville State a week earlier. Utah's 16-game winning streak came to an end after its rally at Oregon fell short. As of now, TCU, with two nondescript victories, is the only undefeated MWC member that has a shot at a BCS bowl berth.

Mount St. Helens or Mountain West?

Both the ACC and Big East, much maligned throughout 2008 and in the offseason, made their way back into the top 10. Miami had a meteoric rise, checking in at No. 8, thanks mostly to its bitter rival FSU's romp in Provo. Cincinnati, after a road win at Oregon State, is now the top Big East team at No. 10.

Right behind Cincinnati is USC, last week's No. 1 team in the simulated BCS standings. The Trojans' stumble against Washington may not be fatal for their BCS championship hopes, but it's nonetheless a severe blow. The reason that the Trojans aren't quite out of it is because in two weeks, they'll play a Cal team that's now ranked in the top 5. And since the Pac-10 is fairly strong this season, USC will have a chance to improve its computer rankings, unlike last season when it was never able to recover from an early season loss at Oregon State.

At the top of the standings is Alabama, which now has a commanding lead over No. 2 Texas, which was also No. 2 last week. Florida moves up a spot to No. 3, just barely ahead of LSU, who will present the Gators' toughest road test in three weeks.

The Tigers, in effect, would be ahead of Florida if the other two computer rankings (Anderson & Hester and Peter Wolfe) are available. The Gators are still dogged by their soft schedule and as of now are only getting significant support from Billingsley among the computers. This trend continues to underscore the fact that while Florida will be fine as long as it remains unbeaten, one loss most likely will finish off the Gators for 2009.

No comments: