Buckeyes Back On Top

By Adam Caparell - October 14, 2007

The Buckeyes and the Bulls are sitting pretty after the BCS standings were released Sunday and if you had those two teams pegged as your first week leaders in the controversial ranking system then there's only one place you belong: Vegas.

Ohio State is your No. 1 team, followed by No. 2 USF, but its the Buckeyes who find themselves riding out in front for the second straight year with what looks to be right now an even clearer path to the BCS Championship game this season, compared to last, thanks to a watered down Big Ten.

The Buckeyes, the newly minted No. 1 team in the nation following LSU's triple overtime loss to Kentucky Saturday, have Michigan State, Penn State, Wisconsin, Illinois and Michigan remaining on their schedule and only two of those games come on the road - the games against the Nittany Lions and Wolverines. Based strictly on name recognition that might look like a daunting task - it certainly did before the season began - but with Penn State, Wisconsin and Michigan all proving to be woefully overrated as the season has progressed, Ohio State should win each of those games based on the what we've seen through the first seven weeks of the season.

Then again, you could easily say the Buckeyes are overrated considering the lack of competition the Buckeyes have beaten - Youngstown State, Akron, Washington, Northwestern, Minnesota, Purdue and Kent State.

The Bulls, on the other hand, have tough turnaround Thursday against Rutgers on the road as they finally get into conference play in the Big East. After the Scarlet Knights come matchups with UConn, Cincinnati, Syracuse, Louisville and Pittsburgh. UConn, Syracuse and Pitt are on the road. But with the way the Bulls have been playing, and the rather disappointing performances out of the rest of the Big East so far this season, USF's remaining schedule isn't exactly a gauntlet, either.

In general, the standings were revealing in just how imperfect these teams are. The past few years the No. 1 team in each week's standings - the USCs and Ohio States - have generally tended to hover around the near perfect score of 1.000. But this year's version of the Buckeyes registered only a .942 BCS ranking and No. 2 USF was two hundredths of a point behind, showing how varied voters' opinions and the six computers are in evaluating the top teams in the nation.

The computers love the Bulls, yet despise Oklahoma, who is No. 5 in the BCS standings despite some excellent wins over Texas and Missouri the past few weeks. The voters are too keen on No. 3 Boston College, and neither are the computers who have the Eagles at No. 7. And the biggest surprise of them all - Arizona State, leading the way for the Pac-10 after USC's relative struggles and Cal's unexpected loss Saturday night to Oregon State.

So here's the Top 12 because historically only the Top 12 teams in the first BCS rankings of the season are considered to have legitimate shots at seriously contending for the national title. So that means Florida and USC are done - they're 14th and 15th, respectively. But then again, in The Year of the Upset, don't rule anyone out after the first week. Hey, Kansas is undefeated at sitting at No. 13.

Week 1 BCS Standings
1. Ohio State
2. USF
3. Boston College
4. LSU
5. Oklahoma
6. South Carolina
7. Kentucky
8. Arizona State
9. West Virginia
10. Oregon
11. Virginia Tech
12. Cal

Posted by Adam Caparell at 04:40 PM on October 14, 2007

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