Commentary

The battle is between the one-loss teams

Originally Published: October 14, 2008
By Brad Edwards | ESPN.com

There is no surprise atop this week's mock BCS standings. The first three positions are exactly what you see in the major polls.

Mock BCS standings (Week 7)

Team Avg.
1. Texas .990
2. Alabama .959
3. Penn State .885
4. USC .758
5. Texas Tech .726
6. Oklahoma .714
7. Oklahoma State .712
8. Florida .662
9. Utah .638
10. Georgia .612
11. Ohio State .591
12. BYU .573
These numbers are produced by a calculation of point values from the coaches' poll, the Harris Interactive poll, and five computer ratings (Anderson & Hester, Billingsley, Colley, Massey and Sagarin). The best and worst computer ratings for each team are eliminated. A sixth computer rating (Wolfe) is part of the BCS formula but is not yet being published.
1. Texas ... 2. Alabama ... 3. Penn State

The closest thing to real intrigue, as we near Sunday's official debut of the BCS standings, is the order of the once-beaten teams. At the pace top-five squads are being knocked off this season, it seems more likely than unlikely that a one-loss team will once again appear in the BCS National Championship Game.

At least for this week, USC is the leader of that pack. Boosted by a No. 4 ranking in the coaches' poll and computer ratings that are superior to those of Oklahoma and Texas Tech, the Trojans are not nearly as far out of the title chase as they seemed to be after falling to Oregon State just three weeks ago.

Whether USC can retain that spot, and whether it will even matter which is the highest-ranked one-loss team, will be among the many BCS story lines sure to be discussed at great length over the next eight weeks.

Brad Edwards is a college football researcher at ESPN.

• Analyzes college football and the BCS as part of ESPN's Stats & Information Group
• Analyst for both College GameDay on ESPN Radio and the ESPN College Football app