NCAA: Standings and deliver

TODD SAELHOF, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:12 AM ET

CALGARY - Big Blue has spoken.

The computer has chewed up two polls, added its own spicy spin and spit out the first BCS Standings of the NCAA football season.

The only surprise is there were few surprises.

And they were pleasant ones, at that.

Using a combo of coaches rankings, media and school administrator opinions and a mathematical algorithm, the true base for who is contending for the BCS championship is now in place.

So let the chase begin.

OK, so Wisconsin fans are none too pleased over seeing their team being slotted at No. 6 in the standings debut. That’s two spots lower than their lot in life on the AP Poll. But the Badgers have really only played one credible team — Nebraska — in attaining such heights.

Instead, Oklahoma State is in the No. 4 position of the BCS Standings, up two spots from their No. 6 spot on in the AP Top 25. They’ve been putting the boots to teams and have two victories over ranked programs — Texas A&M and Texas — that helps their cause.

But beyond that, the first BCS rankings pretty much looks like the AP Poll of a week ago — at least in the Top 10.

Turns out a 50-point victory was enough to keep Boise State at No. 5. They answered my must-destroy call by smoking Colorado State 63-13.

Otherwise, Clemson, now No. 7, and Stanford, now No. 8, as did new No. 9 Arkansas and new No. 10 Oregon, flip-flopped spots from the AP Poll to the BCS Standings.

It’s in the bottom 15 of the BCS Standings where there’s a ton of movement — see K-State and Virginia Tech.

But really, the Top 10 teams are heads and tails above the rest of the ranked teams, so the computer is just getting warmed up.

Contrary to many pigskin pundits out there, the real fun is just beginning in the BCS race, with Arkansas and Oregon just champing on the bit to climb up the ladder.

Here we are heading into Week 8 with the top eight teams all undefeated so far.

So a loss will undoubtedly sound a death-knell for each team’s chances of earning a shot in the BCS National Championship Bowl and the title that goes with it.

Again, it’s all about timing.

Contending teams such as No. 10 Arkansas (5-1) and No. 9 Oregon (4-1) fell early in the season and have already climbed back into contention, waiting on those giants ahead of them to stumble — and those lower-ranked squads still have with a half-dozen games or so left to make the ascent.

A loss in the coming weeks by an elite team would no doubt set that loser back bigtime — likely to 11th or worse in the standings.

So the pressure — and the fun — have just begun.

FIRST DOWN

How’s this for pressure if you’re Wisconsin? The Badgers play the host Michigan State Spartans, who have allowed more than 14 points just once this season and boast the No. 2-ranked defence in the country. Many are picking Wisconsin, with its top-rated offence having scored 35-plus points per game, to meet its match. Says here it’s way too tough to stop slick running backs Montee Ball and James White — who are both averaging 6.0 yards a contest — and the nation’s top-rated passer in terms of efficiency, QB Russell Wilson … No. 1 LSU might not be dominant facing Auburn with three starters suspended — running back Spencer Ware and cornerbacks Tyrann Mathieu and Tharold Simon — for reportedly testing positive for synthetic marijuana … Oregon’s status of being a 30-point favourite in Colorado seems strange given their injury woes — star running back LaMichael James is suffering from a dislocated elbow, while star QB Darron Thomas is down with a wonky left leg. But upon closer examination, both Ducks are making noise that they’ll play, and Colorado is banged up bigtime. Who knows which way to play that line?

FOURTH & GOAL

It won’t be blue on blue on blue in Boise State, when the Broncos host their first Mountain West Conference game Saturday vs. Air Force. How’s this for a ruling? The Mountain West says the Broncs can’t wear blue jerseys with blue pants on the trademark blue carpet in Boise. No matter, because they’ll wear out Air Force by halftime … My picks: 3-of-4 last week for 19-9 overall.

todd.saelhof@sunmedia.ca

On Twitter: @SUNToddSaelhof


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