The first edition of the Bowl Championship Series standings have been released. The BCS standings are used to determine the two teams which play in the national championship game. The top two teams in the final BCS standings in December will play for the national championship.
Were that game to be played based on the first BCS release there would indeed be a surprise participant. That team would be none other than the South Florida Bulls. USF is second in this week's standings. Ohio State is first. So, if the season were over now it would be USF vs. Ohio State for all the marbles.
West Virginia fans are familiar with the USF program because it is that upstart program which has the Mountaineers currently looking up at the Bulls from the ninth position in the BCS standings.
The BCS standings are determined by a number of rating mechanisms. Two human polls are used, the USA Today poll and the Harris poll. Then there are six computer rankings which fit into the mix. There will be plenty of discussion in the weeks to come in this space about all of that. USF was rated number one in five of the six computer rankings.
So, that is that. There are seven more weeks to go and this system is designed to be most accurate after all the games have been played. For example, strength of schedule is part of the computer equation, but after just six or seven games most teams have many games left that could either raise or lower that element of the equation.
Right now USF is riding the coattails of wins over WVU and Auburn. If the Bulls continue to win, they could be hard to catch. One theory circulating has a scenario where USF and West Virginia could meet for the national championship game. Some more losses would need to occur, but the thinking goes that with the right upsets happening a 12-0 USF team and an 11-1 WVU team would be very high in the final BCS rating.
Far fetched? Sure, but then who would have thought both of last week's top two teams, LSU and California, would lose games over the weekend to continue the trend of undefeated teams going down. And just as USF has reached unthought of heights, they have to play this Thursday at Rutgers, a game the Bulls could easily lose even though the Knights have had a few disappointing outings of late.
West Virginia has a great chance to crawl back up the BCS ladder, but they cannot afford even one bad outing. Mississippi State this Saturday will be a good test. Then the Big East season begins in earnest with Rutgers, Louisville and Cincinnati all in a row. Struggling Louisville may have righted its defense in a 28-24 win at previously unbeaten Cincinnati. WVU will have to be as good as their pre season hype to get through this without another loss.