The SEC, which claimed college football’s past six national championships and accounted for both teams in last season’s title game, picked up right where it left off in the Bowl Championship Series standings.
SEC teams Alabama and Florida, both 6-0, were ranked Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, in this season’s first BCS standings, released Sunday night.
Defending national champion Alabama’s No. 1 perch was no surprise, but Florida’s vaulting of Oregon — also 6-0 and ranked No. 2 in the major human polls — raised some eyebrows. A No. 1 ranking in computer polls allowed the Gators to surpass the Ducks by a thin margin.
Oregon was No. 3 in the BCS standings, followed by two other unbeaten teams: No. 4 Kansas State and No. 5 Notre Dame.
The SEC placed four teams in the top seven and six in the top 12. Joining Alabama and Florida in the top dozen were No. 6 LSU (the highest-rated once-beaten team), No. 7 South Carolina, No. 11 Georgia and No. 12 Mississippi State. A seventh SEC team, Texas A&M, was No. 18.
Other teams in the top 10: No. 8 Oregon State, No. 9 Oklahoma and No. 10 USC.
The BCS standings, a frequently controversial blending of human and computer polls, will be updated each Sunday through the remainder of the regular season and again after the conference championship games. The teams ranked Nos. 1 and 2 in the standings on Dec. 2 will earn berths in the BCS title game on Jan. 7 in Miami.
The standings include three components, each counting one-third: the USA Today poll of current coaches; the Harris Interactive poll of former coaches, administrators and players and current and former media members; and an average of six computer polls.
Although Alabama and Florida have the pole positions, it will be difficult for both to remain in the top two in the standings that count on Dec. 2. If both teams win all of their remaining regular-season games, they will meet in the SEC Championship game in the Georgia Dome on Dec. 1. It is doubtful whether the loser of that game would remain in the BCS top two, particularly if the loser is No. 2 entering the game.
Last season, two SEC West teams reached the BCS title game — division champ LSU, which beat Georgia in the SEC title game, and division runnerup Alabama, which lost to LSU in the regular season but beat the Tigers in the national title game.
Alabama and Florida have strong tests ahead on their regular-season schedules. Alabama plays at LSU’s Death Valley, which LSU coach Les Miles has called “truly a place where opponents’ dreams go to die,” on Nov. 3. Florida’s next two games are against South Carolina on Saturday and Georgia on Oct. 27.
This marks the next-to-last season of the BCS system that college football fans have largely lampooned throughout its 14-year history. Beginning with the 2014 season, the national champion will be decided in a four-team seeded playoff.
– Tim Tucker
1. Alabama (.9761), 2. Florida (.9092), 3. Oregon (.8993), 4. Kansas State (.8963), 5. Notre Dame (.8774), 6. LSU (.7522), 7. South Carolina (.6930), 8. Oregon State (.6808), 9. Oklahoma (.6664), 10. USC (.5959), 11. Georgia (.4980), 12. Mississippi State (.4846), 13. West Virginia (.4793), 14. Florida State (.4277), 15. Rutgers (.4083), 16. Louisville (.4061), 17. Texas Tech (.3572), 18. Texas A&M (.3379), 19. Clemson (.3341), 20. Stanford (.2654), 21. Cincinnati (.2483), 22. Boise State (.1978), 23. TCU (.1377), 24. Iowa State (.1139), 25. Texas (.0640).