The first BCS standings are out and Boise State is already
chasing a couple of teams from the power conferences.
Oklahoma was first and Oregon was second Sunday, with Boise
State in third place and in need of plenty of help to become the
first team from a conference without an automatic Bowl Championship
Series bid to play for the BCS title.
Jerry Palm, who analyzes the BCS standings at collegebcs.com,
said despite a better early season showing in the polls than ever
before, Boise State is a long shot to play for the national
"They just need too much to happen to get excited about their
chances," Palm said.
With 10 undefeated teams in major college football, there's
serious potential for BCS controversy this season, even beyond
whether Boise State from the Western Athletic Conference or maybe a
Mountain West Conference team such as TCU or Utah gets a chance to
play in the biggest BCS game.
The Sooners from the Big 12 and Ducks from the Pac-10 begin this
race from the front row, but they can't quite say they're in
control of it. Only once in 12 seasons of the BCS have the teams
that were at the top of the first standings played in the
championship game. That was 2005 with Southern California and Texas
With the possibility of undefeated champions coming out of the
Southeastern Conference and Big Ten, just winning might not be
enough for Oklahoma and Oregon to hold on to their spots.
Auburn is fourth in the BCS standings, followed by TCU and LSU.
Michigan State from the Big Ten is seventh. None of those teams
have lost yet. Alabama is eighth and unbeaten Utah is ninth.
LSU and Auburn play Saturday.
"I would be shocked if the winner didn't jump Boise next week
in the polls," Palm said. And if the winner jumps the Broncos in
the polls, it's a lock to jump them in the BCS standings.
In fact, if one of the SEC's Tigers goes 13-0, it wouldn't be
the least bit surprising to see that team in the BCS title game no
matter what Oklahoma and Oregon do.
The Sooners took first place by grading out No. 1 in the
computer ratings. Oklahoma, coming off a 52-0 victory against Iowa
State, is No. 3 in the USA Today coaches' poll and No. 4 in the
Oregon is No. 1 in all the polls, including the AP Top 25 which
is not used in the BCS calculations, but rated eighth in the
Boise State is No. 2 in all the polls and seventh according to
the computers, but the math leaves the Broncos third in the BCS
"The computers do not like this team," Palm said.
The poll voters like Boise State better than they ever have, but
still not enough.
The problem, as always for Boise State, is the strength of
schedule. Early nonconference victories against Virginia Tech and
Oregon State help the Broncos. The WAC schedule mostly drags them
On Saturday, Boise State beat San Jose State 48-0 and Palm said
the victory actually pulled the Broncos' computer rating down.
Because Boise State will almost always rate behind the other
undefeated teams in the computers, the Broncos would need to be an
overwhelming No. 1 in both polls to have a shot at the national
title game when the final BCS standings come out Dec. 5, Palm said.
Even if Boise State finishes the season as the only undefeated
team, Palm is skeptical of its chances to reach the title game.
"I look at it as Boise has to be almost the only choice," Palm
said. "It would take a unique year for Boise to be a unanimous No
1 in the polls."
Oklahoma, which has quality victories against Florida State, Air
Force and Texas, has a chance to bolster its resume with a road
game Saturday against unbeaten Missouri, 11th in the standings.
Down the road the Sooners play at Oklahoma State, 14th in the
Oregon faces UCLA on Thursday night at home, then visits USC,
which is not included in the BCS standings because the Trojans are
on probation. The Ducks finish the season against Arizona (18th)
and Oregon State.
The toughest opponents left on Boise State's schedule are Nevada