BCS Rankings: There Is No Clear Cut No. 2

By Zach Pugh

Every year there’s a snub in the BCS Rankings and a definitive case against a team that is ranked higher in the standings. This won’t change with the new playoff system; the only hope we hold onto is who the members in the new selection committee will be.

It’s simple: get a group of people who watch the games and can make a clear decision. I bring this up because as we sit just a couple weeks before the bowl season begins, there’s no clear cut No. 2 team to be chosen by the system to face the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the BCS Championship.

Immediately following the Fighting Irish’s victory, the discussion began about who has the more impressive resume between the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Florida Gators. Let me begin by saying no team that isn’t crowned conference champion deserves to be in the national title. If a team isn’t recognized as the best in their conference, then they don’t have any business in the biggest stage to represent the best in the nation.

The Gators have the more impressive resume, but their loss against the Georgia Bulldogs, which will bar them from the SEC Championship, keeps them from being able to hold firmly on the No. 2 ranking. Florida is 4-1 against ranked opponents with a victory over the Texas A&M Aggies and LSU Tigers. The Tide lost to A&M and was outplayed all game until the final drive against LSU, and don’t forget how Les Miles cost the Tigers the victory with his decision-making. The Florida State Seminoles have one of the best defenses in the nation and the fact the Gators outscored the ‘Noles 24-6 in the fourth quarter yesterday was….impressive.

One of the Tide’s victories over the now unranked Mississippi State Bulldogs is a bit diminished since even the Mississippi Rebels have a victory over them and then there’s the opening game victory over the Michigan Wolverines. The talk has been about how abysmal the Big 10 Conference has been this season, so how impressive is that win? If Bama beats Georgia in the conference championship, they will have an identical record against ranked teams to match Florida. The Gators have more impressive wins than Alabama, but if the Tide win on Saturday, they should be in the national title because Florida didn’t win their division. Make sense?

The fact Georgia is ranked so high is only due to the SEC brand. The Bulldogs have one win against a ranked team, the Gators. Do you remember that ugly game that featured nine turnovers? Georgia got obliterated by the South Carolina Gamecocks, which the Gators chomped down on. Somehow the Bulldogs are in position to play in the BCS title, but they shouldn’t even be ranked so high. They will make it in over the Gators, who have a much more impressive resume, because they could be conference champs.

The Oregon Ducks, despite only losing one game this season, shouldn’t be No. 2 either because they won’t play in the Pac-12 Championship after their loss to the Stanford Cardinal. If they had beaten Stanford and then went on to beat the UCLA Bruins in the conference championship, there would be no discussion, they would deserve to be in.

The Kansas State Wildcats suffered their first loss to the Baylor Bears and might not even win the Big 12 Conference depending on how their game goes against the Texas Longhorns. The Wildcats won on the road against the Oklahoma Sooners and have two wins against ranked teams, but unless they are undefeated, they don’t have a true claim to the No. 2 spot either.

There’s a case to be made for Stanford in the national title come regular season’s end, but not the number two ranking this week, as they’re 2-1 against ranked opponents, one of those of course being the Ducks. Let’s assume the Cardinal go on to beat the Bruins again in the Pac-12 Championship, they would then have a 3-1 record against ranked teams, but if Georgia beats the Tide that will be only their second win over a ranked team.

In that scenario the Cardinal would deserve a spot in the national championship over the Bulldogs. Stanford’s resume is better than the Bulldogs, yet the Bulldogs have a higher ranking and can find themselves in the BCS title over Stanford. Florida and Oregon deserve high rankings, but not a spot in the BCS Championship because they can’t win their conference championship. Alabama has a case for No. 2, but their resume isn’t better than Florida’s.

Follow Zach on Twitter https://twitter.com/ZacheryPugh

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