Unranked in BCS but better than Mizzou?
Oct. 21, 2013
The first BCS standings of the year were released Sunday after a chaotic, top-10-decimating Saturday of college football, and among the interesting developments was little-noticed Missouri debuting at No. 5. After consecutive wins over Georgia and Florida, Mizzou is the second-highest-ranked SEC team (behind only Alabama) and one of only two in the conference in the BCS top 10.
ASU, meanwhile, despite dominating a Washington team that was ranked 20th coming into the week to improve to 5-2, did not appear in the rankings. From the Pac-12, Oregon sits at No. 2, Stanford at No. 6, UCLA at No. 12 and Oregon State at No. 25 (it's believed ASU is just outside the top 25 given rankings of 26th in the AP poll and 29th in the coaches' poll).
What's the connection? CBSSports.com's Bruce Feldman, in a brief analysis Monday of the possibility that the SEC might not be as quite as loaded this year as some like to believe, included this tidbit: According to R.J. Bell, who sets betting lines in Las Vegas for Pregame.com (and consults with other experts to do so), four Pac-12 schools would be favored to beat Missouri on a neutral field. Arizona State is one of those four.
Of course, perception isn't always reality, and that factoid might just be a residual effect of a lack of preseason expectations for Mizzou, but it's still an interesting data point indicating both the strength of the Pac-12 relative to the SEC this year and ASU's status as a seemingly legit Pac-12 contender.
-- Matt Swartz