Boise State projected as BCS No. 1
Six weeks into the college football season and one week before the first Bowl Championship Series standings are released, there are 13 unbeaten teams in all three polls.
So who would be the BCS' No. 1 if the standings came out today? Would it be consensus No. 1 Ohio State, the top team in The Associated Press, USA Today and Harris polls? Or maybe fellow unbeaten Oregon, ranked No. 2 and earning first-place votes in all three polls?
According to the projection of ESPN's Brad Edwards, it's consensus No. 3 Boise State.
According to the projections, the No. 1 Buckeyes would place fifth in the BCS standings, percentage points behind Oklahoma.
ESPN's Brad Edwards has projected what the BCS standings would look like if they were released today. According to his projections, consensus No. 3 Boise State would be on top -- and consensus No. 1 Ohio State would be fifth.
|1. Boise State||.913|
|5. Ohio State||.8421|
|9. Michigan State||.642|
Edwards projects the unbeaten Broncos, the highest-ranked team from a non-automatic qualifying conference, as the top team in the standings by a comfortable margin, followed by Oregon. The top two teams in the final regular-season BCS standings play in the BCS National Championship Game.
Fellow BCS buster TCU places third in Edwards' projections, followed by Oklahoma at .8425 and Ohio State at .8421.
Edwards explained that although the Buckeyes are No. 1 in the two polls the BCS uses -- the Harris and the USA Today coaches' poll -- they're deemed 10th-best by the BCS computer rankings, due in part to the Buckeyes' strength of schedule to date compared with the other unbeaten teams. The computers do not take margin of victory into consideration.
Boise State rated higher because the Broncos are third in the Harris and USA Today polls and second in the BCS computer ranking, Edwards said. But he also noted Boise State has already played the toughest part of its schedule, while Ohio State and the other top-10 teams from automatic qualifying conferences face tougher competition in the weeks ahead.
"Though this is exactly what the BCS standings would look like if they came out today, this is not an indication of what they will look like several weeks from now if all these teams keep winning," Edwards said.
The No. 5 projection might annoy Buckeyes fans looking to celebrate Ohio State's first AP No. 1 ranking since the final regular-season poll of 2007. But Ohio State coach Jim Tressel pointed out Sunday that the only constant in the polls is that they're always changing.
"You take a look at the top 10 week to week and the precarious nature of any ranking is obvious -- just review the change in the makeup of the top 10 between the beginning of the season until now," Tressel said.
Of the top 10 teams in the preseason AP rankings, only six remain. Florida, No. 4 to start the year, is now No. 22, while Iowa has fallen from No. 9 to No. 15. Texas and Virginia Tech are unranked.
Oregon was No. 11 in the preseason poll.
The first official BCS standings of the season will be released on Sunday on the "BCS Countdown Show" at 8:15 p.m. ET on ESPN.
The formula that produces the BCS standings is one-third USA Today poll, one-third Harris Interactive poll and one-third computer rankings.
Brad Edwards is a college football researcher at ESPN and writes the "Road to the BCS" column weekly during the season. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.