The first Bowl Championship Series rankings of 2011 surprised no one, as LSU barely held onto the No. 1 spot over Alabama while two Oklahoma schools weren’t far behind. There are still several weeks left for the rankings to change and for the BCS to fall into its traditional chaos. Yet the way things look now, there could be a quasi-playoff format to settle who gets to the title game.
Two games on Nov. 5 and Dec. 3 now look more like unofficial national semifinals than ever before. On Nov. 5, No. 1 LSU will visit none other than No. 2 Alabama, and No. 3 Oklahoma will travel to No. 4 Oklahoma State on the final day of the regular season on Dec. 3.
There is a very good chance that LSU and Alabama will stay perfect and set up a 1 vs. 2 showdown just three weeks from now. If they do, then the winner of that mega-hyped battle will be heavily favored to reach the BCS title game and top the rankings at the end of the season. That will set up at least one national championship berth, which leaves one left that could be decided on the field on Dec. 3.
While the Tigers and Crimson Tide don’t need to do much to stay undefeated before Nov. 5, the Sooners and Cowboys have more to go through before their super showdown a month later. But if they both stay undefeated before then, their battle will serve as a second national semifinal and most likely decide the other BCS title slot.
Presuming that there are no upsets before and after the LSU-Alabama and Oklahoma-Oklahoma State games, the season will really only come down to those two battles. That probably won’t make fans of a playoff system happy, since absolute chaos will be needed to further prove why the BCS doesn’t work. Technically, such chaos could still occur this season since Wisconsin, Boise State, Stanford and Clemson could finish undefeated and not come close to making the national championship game.
Yet because the race may be decided by two unofficial national semifinals, the Badgers, Broncos, Cardinal and Tigers are going to need a lot of help to move up. Regular college football fans might not want that yet, since a 1 vs. 2 LSU-Alabama clash certainly sounds more intriguing than it would if one of them lost beforehand. Likewise, a battle on the final day between unbeaten Oklahoma and Oklahoma State for the No. 2 ranking would be almost as super.
Traditionally, the BCS rankings aren’t usually tied up in such a neat little bow thanks to upsets and general chaos. As huge as the LSU-Alabama and Oklahoma-Oklahoma State games look now, there’s still too much time for an upset or two to happen before then – or so Wisconsin, Boise State, Stanford and others hope.
Yahoo Sports – “Bowl Champ. Series: Week 8”