It's that time again for BCS debate

Posted: October 13, 2011

Y ES, IT'S THAT time on the calendar again. Let the controversy commence anew.

The first BCS standings will come out Sunday. Bet you can't wait. But whatever you think, they will be the sport's dominant storyline for the next 7 weeks. Because the only thing that matters, in a playoff-less landscape, is who makes it to New Orleans on Jan. 9. And, just as arguably, who doesn't.

The BCS wasn't designed to settle all the debates. Its purpose is to provide a No. 1 vs. No. 2 game. And in doing so, it often creates debates. The only time it works to most everyone's satisfaction is when two teams pretty much separate themselves the way that Southern Cal and Texas did in 2005. More often than not you're left with some precinct complaining.

While it can get confounding, it does generate a ton of interest. Even when the end results don't necessarily make sense. See Florida State over Miami in 2000, or Nebraska over Oregon in 2001 for reference points.

There are 13 remaining unbeatens. Two, Boise State and Houston, are non-BCS affiliates. Of those from one of the six automatic-qualifier conferences, the only one that isn't scheduled to play another unbeaten during the regular season is Stanford, which won't even have to face one in the first Pac-10 title game should it get there.

So there's going to be room for movement.

Last year, Oklahoma and Oregon were 1-2 in the first BCS standings. Auburn was No. 4. Oklahoma would finish seventh, while Auburn and Oregon ended up 1-2, followed by TCU (which started fifth), Stanford (12th) and Wisconsin (13th). So whatever happens this week, don't overreact too much. December's still a ways off.

The last time the two that started 1-2 remained there was 2005. That's also the only time it occured, since this system/formula supplanted the Bowl Alliance. Or was that the Bowl Coalition? Twice, 1 and 3 have finished 1-2 (1999 and 2004). Six other times, two that began in the top five made it. Two that started six have made it (Ohio State in 2002, Florida in 2006). A 10 got in in 2006 (Florida), and a 12 (LSU) in 2003.

So it's not about opening statements, although that probably won't stop folks from trying to already identify injustices relevant or perceived.

As always, enjoy.

TRIVIAL PURSUIT

Oklahoma's Ryan Broyles needs four receptions to break the NCAA career record. Who holds it? Hint: He played in this century, in a BCS conference. See Answer Man.

HAVE YOU NOTICED?

* Cincinnati (4-1) has already matched its win total from last season. The Bearcats have 18 takeaways, four more than all of 2010.

* Rutgers (4-1) is 2-0 in the Big East for the first time since 2006.

* LSU has scored first in every game. So has Temple.

DILEMMA

Is it me, or is the Big East's biggest problem the fact that four of the six remaining football members (West Virginia, Louisville, Connecticut and Rutgers) really don't want to still be part of what's left either?

GO FIGURE

* Four of the remaining BCS unbeatens - Clemson, Georgia Tech, Michigan and Illinois - received no votes in the preseason poll. Last year, they went a combined 26-26 (two 7-6's, two 6-7's).

* Illinois is 6-0 for the first time in 6 decades for Ron Zook, who is 57-59 in 10 seasons, which included a 23-14 stint at Florida that followed Steve Spurrier and preceded Urban Meyer.

ANSWER MAN

Taylor Stubblefield caught 316 passes for Purdue from 2001-04

SPOTLIGHT ON ... DEPRESSED STATE OF FLORIDA

Florida, Florida State and Miami just lost on the same day for only the second time in 33 years. Now, they're all unranked for the first time since Dec. 6, 1982. So what up with all that?

Florida, under first-year coach Will Muschamp, has lost two straight - to No. 1 and 2 - by a combined 58 points. That hasn't happened since 1971. The Gators are at No. 24 Auburn (4-2) next. Before their current 8-7 run, they'd lost only seven times in 61 games.

FSU, which was No. 5 in the preseason under second-year coach Jimbo Fisher, has lost its last three. The Seminoles haven't played in a BCS bowl since the 2005 season, and haven't won one since their 1999 national title campaign.

Miami, under new coach Al Golden, are also 2-3 heading to 5-1 North Carolina. The Hurricanes haven't won a bowl since 2006, and haven't won an ACC title since switching over from the Big East in 2004. Miami, of course, has dealt with NCAA issues and injuries, while Florida and FSU had their starting quarterbacks go down. Still . . .

South Florida has had three bowl wins since 2007, matching Florida and FSU. Florida Atlantic won its two bowl games, in 2007 and '08. Florida International won one last year in its first try. As did Central Florida, in its fourth.

"There's questions," Fisher duly noted.

You think?

SIDELINES

MAC ME UP:

Buffalo has outscored opponents in the first quarter, 35-31, after being outscored 75-6 last year.

SMALLS STUFF:

* Not only did Widener set a program record by scoring a combined 125 points in its last two games, but the three allowed was also the Pride's lowest back-to-back total since 1986, when they had consecutive shutouts and were still known as the Pioneers.

* Rowan coach Jay Acorsi, on postgame road meals: "One time at Brockton we got cheesesteaks, and they were disgusting. It was their version of them. Then again, we were silly enough to order them in upstate New York. We should have got wings. That's Division III at its finest."

COUCH POTATO:

THURSDAY

7:30 Texas Southern vs Alabama A&M, ESPNU

9 USC at California, ESPN

FRIDAY

9 Hawaii at San Jose State, ESPN

SATURDAY

Noon Louisville at Cincinnati, Channel 6

Noon New Hampshire at William & Mary, CSN

Noon Michigan at Michigan State, ESPN

Noon Indiana at Wisconsin, ESPN2

Noon Utah at Pittsburgh, ESPNU

Noon Baylor at Texas A&M, FX

Noon Purdue at Penn State, Big Ten

3:30 LSU at Tennessee, Channel 3

3:30 Ohio State at Illinois, Channel 6

3:30 Oklahoma State at Texas, ESPN

3:30 Georgia Tech at Virginia, ESPNU

3:30 Massachusetts at Delaware, TCN

3:30 Penn at Columbia, Versus

6 Alabama at Mississippi, ESPN2

7 Florida at Auburn, ESPN

7 Kansas State at Texas Tech, TCN

7 Clemson at Maryland, ESPNU

7 Northwestern at Iowa, Big Ten

7:30 Stanford at Washington State, Versus

9:15 Oklahoma at Kansas, ESPN2

10:15 Arizona State at Oregon, ESPN

|
|
|
|
|