Poll Dancing: Week Twelve

(This is a guest series by MotSaG reader Jason Nafziger. He’ll be taking a weekly look at the college football polls and pointing out the absurd, the laughable and the head scratchers. Please note that Jason is not talking about the BlogPoll. Or my ballot to the BlogPoll.)

As expected, there was very little movement this week. Nebraska fell out of the top ten thanks to a 9-6 loss to Texas A&M that was full of thrills—on the Huskers’ sideline anyway. This weekend could get interesting though, starting with Black Friday, when three of the four remaining undefeated teams will face off against ranked opponents, two of them on the road. Get your cold turkey sandwiches ready…

First, #2 Auburn will travel to #11 Alabama for the Iron Bowl and the day’s best chance for an earth-shattering upset. Should the Tide pull it off, Auburn will still have the SEC championship game to boost its rating prior to bowl season. Even the tamest possible outcome—a one-loss Auburn getting the nod over unbeatens Boise and TCU—would still trigger a minor BCSpocalypse.

Next #1 Oregon hosts #21 Arizona. The Ducks spent the last two weeks thinking about their miserable offensive performance in a win over Cal. Meanwhile, the Wildcats rank 12th nationally in scoring defense. This is probably a long shot and Oregon has a better chance of losing next week on the road against Oregon State, but the ultimate goal for BCS-haters is for both of these teams to lose at least one of their next two games.

Finally, #4 Boise State takes on #19 Nevada. Save for a 6-point loss to Hawai’i, Nevada has been basically crushing the same teams as Boise so far this season. Their win over Cal is not as impressive as the Broncos’ triumphs over Virginia Tech and Oregon State, but they did slaughter the Bears by three touchdowns. A Boise loss isn’t as intriguing as losses for the other two teams, but picking one (or two) from a slew of one-lossers would be a PR nightmare for the BCS. There are currently eleven 0- or 1-loss teams and no pair of 1-loss teams plays each other, meaning that all eleven could end the season with one loss (although TCU is pretty much a given to remain unbeaten).

The Poll Dancing Hypothetical and Totally Awesome Playoff (v. 1.3):

(1) Oregon vs. (16) Florida International
(2) Auburn vs. (15) Pittsburgh
(3) TCU vs. (14) UCF
(4) Boise St. vs. (13) Northern Illinois
(5) Wisconsin vs. (12) Virginia Tech
(6) LSU vs. (11) Michigan State
(7) Stanford vs. (10) Oklahoma St.
(8) Ohio State vs. (9) Alabama

Some shuffling around here, proving that a playoff is already more interesting than the BCS. The Buckeyes’ opening game shifts to last year’s champ Alabama. Wisconsin slides up to take on Virginia Tech, while LSU drops down face Michigan State.

The Breakdown (full Top 25):
24% SEC, 20% Big 12, 16% Big Ten, 16% mid-major, 12% Pac-10, 12% ACC, 0% Big East

One thing that strikes me is that these numbers have remained virtually unchanged for weeks even though the individual teams have been different. It’s almost as if there’s some inherent regional bias built in to the system…


  1. Making Alabama come to the ‘Shoe on a cold December day would be my number one reason for a playoff.

  2. There need to be more cold-weather bowl games, just to screw with the SEC and USC.

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