BCS starts roller-coaster ride

Times wires

The first Bowl Championship Series standings came out Sunday,
and it’s not what you think. While several experts last week
predicted Boise State would debut at No. 1, a few key upsets over
the weekend changed everything and pushed Oklahoma to the early top
spot.

The Sooners check in on top with a BCS average of .9215,
followed by Oregon at .8921 and Boise State at .8898.

Oklahoma is No. 1 in the BCS for a record 20th time. The Sooners
won their only BCS title in 2000 after debuting at No. 2.

“We’re going up to play a 6-0 team at Missouri (on Saturday),
and they’re not handing anything out right now,” Oklahoma coach Bob
Stoops said. “It means absolutely nothing.”

The BCS standings did not follow the two major polls used in the
formula: the USA Today coaches and Harris Interactive polls, which
have Oregon at No. 1 followed by Boise State. Oklahoma was No. 3 in
the coaches and No. 4 in Harris, one spot behind TCU. The
Associated Press poll, no longer part of the BCS, also has the
order Oregon, Boise State and Oklahoma.

In 2003, Oklahoma finished No. 3 in both BCS polls but ended up
No. 1 in the final BCS standings, which bumped poll No. 1 USC out
of the title game and into the Rose Bowl. It led to the only split
title in BCS history, with LSU beating Oklahoma for the BCS title
and USC winning the Associated Press crown.

The top two schools in December play for the BCS title on Jan.
10 in Glendale, Ariz.

Jerry Palm, who analyzes the BCS standings at collegebcs.com,
said despite a better early season showing in the polls than ever
before, Boise State is a long shot to play for the national
title.

“They just need too much to happen to get excited about their
chances,” Palm said.

With 10 undefeated teams in major
college
football, there’s serious potential
for BCS controversy this season, even beyond whether Boise State
from the WAC or maybe a Mountain West team such as TCU or Utah gets
a chance to play in the biggest BCS game.

The Sooners from the Big 12 and Ducks from the Pac-10 begin this
race from the front row, but they can’t quite say they’re in
control of it. Only once in 12 seasons of the BCS have the teams
that were at the top of the first standings played in the
championship game. That was 2005 with Southern California and
Texas.

With the possibility of undefeated champions from the SEC and
Big Ten, just winning might not be enough for Oklahoma and
Oregon.

Auburn (fourth) and LSU (sixth) play Saturday.

“I would be shocked if the winner didn’t jump Boise next week in
the polls,” Palm said. And if the winner jumps the Broncos in the
polls, it’s a lock to jump them in the BCS standings.

“The computers do not like this team (Boise),” Palm said.