I have to be honest - I hate the BCS. I've never liked the idea of champions being decided on opinions, computers, magic, or consulting of oracles - a championship of sorts must be had, and I don't mean one game.
But enough ranting, I've sure everyone's heard it all before and it's not going to change anything. But still, the BCS does get it right occasionally - remember USC-Texas? But then again, as a friend of mine once said "a broken clock is still right twice a day." So has the BCS got it right this time? Read on and find out as I rate the BCS Top 25:
1. Notre Dame
This is obviously the pick that causes the most controversy because, well, the Irish don't play in the SEC. But the rest of the football-world would rather see Northern Illinois here than a second SEC team, and the Fighting Irish are the cream of the non-SEC crop. I don't believe they're the best the team in the country though, or even second.
I have no problem with 'Bama here, or at no.1. They are probably the best team in the country, even though they're not quite as good as their last two national championship teams. Their offense is strong but the defense has shown some holes. Let see if ND can exploit them.
There are many (mostly in the Sunshine State) who believe the Gators should be in the title game at the expense of either of the others, but I don't agree. They didn't win their division, they struggled against lesser opponents, and their offense is, well, dreadful (not that ND's is great either). I think even no.3 is a stretch for these guy
Oh, Oregon. You had the whole world in your hands and it stopped you from recovering an overtime fumble in that almighty choke against Stanford. No conference title, no national championship. Simple. I still think they're one of the best teams in the country and should be at the no.3 spot.
5. Kansas State
This could almost be a retread of Oregon's segment, except K-State lost to unranked Baylor instead of nasty Stanford. I still think the Wildcats are over-rated, as the team doesn't share the (recruited) talent of their conference mates. What sets them apart is their outstanding fundamentals and preparation. With the exception of the trip to Waco, the Wildcats looked like the better team in every contest. I'd put them in about no.8.
Washington, Washington, Washington. A 17-13 loss to the Huskies back in September cost the Cardinals a much higher ranking. Since the controversial loss to Notre Dame, Stanford have been rolling, especially with redshirt freshman QB Kevin Hogan at the helm. They're going to the Rose Bowl, but no-one wants to play these guys right now. I'd put them at no.4.
The Bulldogs were ranked no.3 before losing by 4 points to no. 2 Alabama in the SEC title game, a game that easily could have gone either way. For this reason, they drop 4 spots in the BCS. Their defensive effort probably cost them in the eyes of the human polls, affecting their BCS standings, but I think they should no.5.
8. Louisiana State
The Tigers haven't impressed this season, with only two decent wins over BCS teams - Washington and Mississippi State. They lost two games,Florida and Alabama, blowing leads in both, and giving up that big drive to Alabama's AJ McCarron after controlling him all game was particularly galling. Their conference wins were decent, but not particularly dominant, and I feel they're a little over-rated. No.10 would be a better spot. Lets see how they handle Clemson.
9. Texas A&M
The Aggies just can't stay out of the headlines since beating Alabama, especially with QB Johnny Manziel a sudden Heisman candidate, but I'm not so sure they're top 10 material. Their explosive offense and aggressive defense has taken the SEC by storm, but they were shut down by Florida and LSU in the second half of both games, and their defense gave up a lot of points at times. They probably should be down a couple of notches, but a good win over Oklahoma could change my mind.
10. South Carolina
The Gamecocks were sitting pretty at 6-0 midseason, including smoking the Bulldogs along the way, but then things started to go downhill. Losing Lattimore, a tough loss to LSU where SC only woke up late in the game, and then a thrashing at the hands of Florida dropped the Gamecocks to third in the division, and they never really recovered. Beating Clemson was nice, but not what was hoped for at the start of the season. I think South Carolina are better than their record, and I'd swap them with LSU in the rankings.
I think the Sooners may be the most under-rated team in the BCS, and they lost out to little Northern Illinois for a BCS bowl too. They have two losses, 24-19 to K-State where they went neck-and-neck, and a 30-13 loss to Notre Dame that was way closer than the score suggests. The offense took its sweet time getting up to speed with new receivers, but the running attack was good and the defense was solid apart from a 3-game stint where they went on hiatus (all wins though). The loss to the Wildcats cost them the conference crown, but I think a ranking of about no.6 or 7 would be more appropriate.
12. Florida State
The Seminoles have been over-rated all season, and it showed with that loss to NC State when they did nothing in the second half. They got back on track and won their division, but finished the regular season with a loss to Florida in a game where they couldn't hang on to the football. They managed to beat Georgia Tech in the title game, but there were shades of NC State as the Yellowjackets came from behind. No.12 is a good spot for them.
13. Oregon State
After going 3-9 last season, the Beavers sure turned it around this year behind a fierce defensive line and a decent offense. Injuries at the QB position hurt them down the stretch and they lost 3 games, including getting blasted by in-state rivals Oregon. Still, Mike Riley has done a good job with this year's incarnation, and while they're probably over-rated by a couple of spots, they're still top-15 quality.
The Tigers are like the anti-Gators - great offense hindered by a suspect defense. Clemson rolled up the points on everyone they faced, apart from a bad day at the office against South Carolina, but the team relied too much on their prolific offense, regardless of the talent on defense. I'd put them in here or at no.15.
15. Northern Illinois
I have to say, I hoped that NIU would get into a BCS bowl, but I'm less than impressed that it was Oklahoma who got stiffed, but I guess somebody had to. The Huskies have been great this season behind explosive QB Jordan Lynch (Johnny Manziel-lite) and a defense that got tougher as the season went on, holding 5 teams to 7 points or less. Their only loss was the first game of the season, a 1-point loss to Iowa. There likely not the 15th best team in the country, but let's see what they can do against Florida State in the Orange Bowl.
The Cornhuskers were having a decent season, losing only to UCLA and Ohio State, with both offense and defense having their moments (though not always in the same game). Then came the Big Ten title game against 7-5 Wisconsin, and things went pear-shaped. The Badgers threw just 10 passes as they ran over Nebraska to the tune of 539 yards and 8 TDs. For that reason, I would be tempted to kick them out the top 25, but the mid-20s would be okay, I guess.
What a difference a year (and a new coach) makes - last year the sad-sack Bruins limped into the PAC 12 title game courtesy of USC's sanctions and Utah dropping the last game when their star RB went down. This year, apart from an inexplicable loss to Cal, the Bruins were really good, with only Oregon State and Stanford taking them down. They pushed Stanford hard in the title game, but just fell short. This is a good team, and could conceivably be ranked a couple of spots higher.
How good are Michigan? They strike me as being some sort of laughing stock since the opening loss to Alabama, but they've quietly had a good season. They lost to Notre Dame and Ohio State by a total of 13 points, and lost to Nebraska when QB Denard Robinson was knocked out early. Most other foes they've beaten well, and I wonder if they deserve to be rated as low as no.18. I don't think so, but we'll see how the bowls work out.
19. Boise State
Another team who flew under the radar after a slow start, the lack of a Bronco offense in the first half of the season ruled them out of BCS-buster talker from week 1. The offense improved greatly later on, and the Broncos could have pushed further up the rankings, but a lesson in special teams from San Diego State kept them in the late teens - and this ranking is probably about right.
Nearly every game the Wildcats played last season was a cliff-hanger, and more often than not, they came out on top. Close losses to Penn State, Nebraska and Michigan in OT saw them finish at 9-3. They should be a fun bowl team, and yes, despite all the close games, they are under-rated.
The Cardinals were actually ranked as high as no.9 this season, but they struggled to put teams away all year, and it finally bit them on the ass as they got pasted by Syracuse and then lost to UConn. Yeah, I know! Haha! They restored some respect by taking down Rutgers to win the Big East title and the accompanying Sugar Bowl spot, but even at 21 I think they're over-rated, and Florida will back me up in January.
22. Utah State
Or the team who almost beat Auburn. That was last year, and the Aggies are even better this year, winning the last ever WAC title and knocking off potential BCS-busters Louisiana Tech along the way. They dominated the WAC, beat Utah and lost by a total of 5 points to Wisconsin and BYU. This is a decent team, and have well earned their Top 25 ranking.
Last year Texas' traditionally strong defense was hurt by an offense that failed to move the ball with any consistency. This year, the roles were reversed, with the defense mysteriously going by the wayside with the offense, for the most part, picking up the slack. Having no defense will cost you in the Big 12, and an 8-4 record is the result, although I think they could go a little higher.
24. San Jose State
The second of three tough teams from the WAC, the Spartans lost by 3 to Stanford to start the season, and went on a roll, only losing to conference winner Utah State along the way. Along the way they shut out Navy for the first time in about 13000 years, and knocked off BYU and Louisiana Tech to close out the season. Another solid early 20s pick.
25. Kent State
The Golden Flashes had a great season, going 10-2 and making the MAC title game for their first post-season action in 40 years. Even losing in OT to NIU can't take the luster off what coach Darrell Hazell has achieved, although losing him to a bigger school might. As it is, they deserve a good ranking, and their bowl matchup with Arkansas State will be worth a watch.
P.S. - I am aware that all re-ratings here are my opinions, and I am currently wallowing in my own irony.