Alabama can jump over Boise, but can it jump over Michigan State, Missouri?

Here are some of the BCS questions I’ve gotten since the new standings came out on Sunday. Included are my best answers after talking to a bunch of people smarter than me:

1. If No.1 Auburn and No. 2 Oregon win out, will they play in the BCS title game regardless of what everyone else does?  The answer appears to be yes. Oregon is a solid No. 1 in the human polls and that doesn’t figure to change as long as the Ducks keep winning and winning impressively. Oregon is No. 8 in the computer polls but its numbers should improve with games against USC, Cal, and Oregon State down the stretch. Auburn’s a lock to stay No. 1 in the BCS Standings as long as the Tigers win.  They are already No. 1 in the computers and that won’t change with a date looming against No. 7 Alabama on Nov. 26.

2. We have seven undefeated teams left. What are the odds that we will still have four or more when the season is over? It would say the odds are pretty long. First of all, two of the undefeated teams—TCU and Utah—face each other in Salt Lake on Nov. 6. Every team in the top eight has a meaningful road game or two where they could stumble. Here is the list:

1. AUBURN (8-0): at Ole Miss, Oct. 30; at Alabama, Nov. 26

2. OREGON (7-0): at USC, Oct. 30; at California, Nov. 13; at Oregon State, Dec. 4

3. BOISE STATE (6-0): at Nevada, Nov. 26

4. TCU (8-0):  at Utah, Nov. 6

5. MICHIGAN STATE (8-0): at Iowa, Oct. 30; at Penn State, Nov. 27

6. MISSOURI (7-0): at Nebraska, Oct. 30.; at Texas Tech, Nov. 6; at Iowa State, Nov. 20

7. ALABAMA (6-1): at LSU, Nov. 6.

8. UTAH (7-0): at Air Force, Oct. 30.


3. If we end the season with only two undefeated teams—Boise State and TCU—will they play for the BCS championship? I doubt it. It’s not impossible for two non-AQ’s (automatic qualifiers) to play for the national title but I have to believe that a one-loss team from one of the power conferences could slip in there and jump either TCU or Boise, especially if that team has played 13 games (instead of 12) and won its conference championship. For example: No. 7 Alabama has the perfect schedule to move up the rankings if a bunch of teams in front of them lose. The Crimson Tide plays No. 12 LSU, No. 21 Mississippi State, and No. 1 Auburn in the month of November. Should Alabama win all those games and then win the SEC championship to finish 12-1, I would expect Alabama to jump over an undefeated Boise or an undefeated TCU for a spot in the BCS title game.

4. So you’re saying that it’s possible that if No. 1 Auburn and No. 2 Oregon lose down the stretch, then either No. 3 Boise State or No. 4 TCU could get left out of the  BCS championship game even if they go undefeated? Won’t that make a lot of people mad and create a whole bunch of criticism for the BCS yet again? Won’t that bring about cries for Congressional investigations and speeches from politicians (in Idaho and Texas) about how awful the BCS is?

You betcha.

Won’t that FINALLY blow up the BCS?

Nope. Got three years left on the contract.

5. Okay, so a 12-1 Alabama can jump over an undefeated Boise or TCU. Could a 12-1 Alabama jump over an undefeated Michigan State or an undefeated Missouri into the BCS championship game?

Okay, now you’re getting greedy. The answer is probably not. According to Jerry Palm of, a one-loss team from one of the six original BCS conferences has never jumped over an undefeated team from another BCS conference to play in the championship game. The SEC folks may argue that their one-loss team is more deserving, given the fact that their conference has won four straight national championships. But an undefeated Big Ten champion or an undefeated Big 12 champion is going to get an edge over a one-loss SEC champion when it comes down to the final human polls.

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652 comments Add your comment


October 28th, 2010
10:39 pm

Honestly, I am not understanding how Alabama in some polls is ahead of Missouri. Alabama has played two teams currently in the BCS top 20. Arkansas and South Carolina. They lost to one of them. They lost. Missouri beat the #1 school in those same rankings. Oklahoma is currently #9. Missouri is undefeated. Arkansas barely beat A&M. Mizzou flicked them aside. Florida is three loss team. Tennessee is terrible. Penn State is not good and lost to Illinois, who Missouri also beat. Someone please explain. The only explanation is “We just think Alabama is good because they have historically been good”.


October 28th, 2010
10:42 pm

Why would anybody say Alabama would beat Oregon. They can’t beat South Carolina.