When the new BCS polls were released this week, Auburn was the new No. 1 after Oklahoma fell to then No. 18 Missouri.
The number one teams in the country have been falling like dominoes since Alabama lost to South Carolina on Oct. 9. That would mean it’s only a matter of time before TCU takes over that number one spot and we should start booking our tickets to Glendale and the title game, right?
I wouldn’t count on it.
Since the inception of the BCS in 1998, mid-major teams have cracked the system five times. Utah, Hawaii and TCU each went to a BCS bowl game once and Boise State University has gone twice. However, none of these games were the title game. Mid-major teams have never been close to grabbing either of the top two spots in the BCS rankings, the only way to get in the national title. This year, however, BSU and TCU are threatening to mess up the system and break that impenetrable ceiling.
Everyone has been talking about TCU and BSU and the possibility of either team making the title game. Unfortunately for Horned Frog fans, voters still recall that unfortunate visual image of BSU beating TCU in last year’s Fiesta Bowl. Unless BSU falls, which is highly unlikely given their schedule, TCU will have to hope a win over Utah will be enough to vault the Frogs over the Broncos.
Even then, the Frogs may be looking on from the outside. What about the Frogs’ schedule would convince voters to put them ahead of an undefeated Oregon or Auburn or even a one-loss Alabama team?
Just two weeks after losing the No. 1 ranking, Alabama has already climbed back to No. 6 in the AP poll and No. 7 in the BCS. They still have games against No. 1 Auburn, LSU and possibly the SEC championship game left to impress the voters. Those wins could be enough to catapult Alabama over TCU and BSU.
The BCS poll is a combination of human voting and computers. One-third of the poll is based on computer calculation and the remaining two-thirds is based on the Coaches’ Poll and the Harris Interactive Poll. The human element can work in the Frogs’ favor if they continue to be impressive on the field. The computer, on the other hand, probably won’t help the Frogs.
Jerry Palm of CollegeRPI.com, along with other analysts, has concluded that BSU and TCU have extremely long odds of making the title game even if they are the only two undefeated teams in the nation. Computer rankings look beyond the record into things like strength of schedule, which is weak for both teams in comparison to teams like Alabama and Auburn.
The Frogs, as well as the Broncos, need a perfect storm if they’re going to book a trip to Glendale. As things stand right now, TCU is projected to go to either the Rose Bowl in Pasadena or the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans. Both are respected BCS bowls that will bring in generous amounts of money for the school and Mountain West Conference. Unfortunately, the Frogs’ chances to play for a national title this year are slim. They just have to keep fighting and prove they are a top-tier team and they will eventually get their fair shot at the title.
Tori Cummings is a freshman broadcast journalism major from Boise, Idaho.