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Archive for Monday, October 17, 2005

BCS to debut today

Southern Cal, Texas should be on top

October 17, 2005

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Let the complaining begin.

The season's first Bowl Championship Series standings come out today, and it looks like Southern California and Texas will be on top.

And here's the really bad news for fans of Virginia Tech, Georgia and Alabama: Unless the Trojans or Longhorns stumble on their way to the Rose Bowl, everybody else is probably fighting for third.

Maybe Frank Beamer, Mark Richt and Mike Shula should give Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville a call to find out how to handle being the BCS's odd team out.

With seven weeks left in the regular season, there's more than enough time for these things to sort themselves out. Or become impossibly muddled. If a wild Saturday of college football taught us anything, it's to expect the unexpected.

For those who need a reminder, the BCS's formula is the same as last season, but with a new component. Teams are graded on how they fare in the USA Today coaches' poll, the new Harris Interactive poll - which replaces the AP Top 25 - and a compilation of six computer rankings. Each component counts for one-third of a team's grade.

In the latest Harris poll released Sunday night, USC was No. 1 for the fourth straight week, followed by Texas, Virginia Tech, Georgia and Alabama.

To project what the BCS numbers crunchers will churn out today, first we have to sort through a memorable weekend of great games that started with nine perfect teams and ended with seven.

Penn State and Florida State both fell for the first time, with the Nittany Lions losing 27-25 on the last play of the game at Michigan on Chad Henne's touchdown pass.

The Seminoles were upset 26-21 at Virginia, 10 years after the Cavaliers handed Florida State its first Atlantic Coast Conference loss.

That leaves USC, Texas, Virginia Tech, Georgia, Alabama, Texas Tech and UCLA undefeated.

The Trojans' wild 34-31 victory at Notre Dame put USC's guts and moxie on display. Heisman Trophy winner Matt Leinart went for the win and got it by sneaking into the end zone with seconds to spare.

Texas' easy 42-17 victory over Colorado probably had some poll voters rethinking their first-place votes this week, but BCS analyst Jerry Palm expects USC to be in first and Texas to be a solid second in the BCS standings.

"Texas played an opponent that is now 4-2," Palm said. "So that's going to help what has been a pretty weak strength of schedule so far."

Virginia Tech, idle Saturday, is looking at third place at best in the BCS standings, Palm projected.

Georgia should benefit from the losses by Florida State and Penn State and Alabama's 13-10 squeaker at Mississippi.

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