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


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


“They just need too much to happen to get excited about their

chances,” Palm said.

With 10 undefeated teams in major


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


With the possibility of undefeated champions from the SEC and

Big Ten, just winning might not be enough for Oklahoma and


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.