|Alabama is ranked No. 4 in Jerry Palm's rankings because he believes it will lose to LSU. (U.S. Presswire)|
This week's CBSSports.com 1-124 is out, and I am doing them a little differently this year. Since my formula starts everyone at zero, the data doesn't make much sense for the first half of the season because there isn't enough of it.
So, this year, I'm going to use a mix of real and projected data to generate the rankings. One advantage to that is that the 1-124 rankings will more closely reflect the bowl projections, which have also been updated.
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Also, don't get too worked up about how this week compares to last. Last week was preseason rankings. There is a lot of dart-throwing involved in those. Feel free to get worked up about week-to-week movement after this week.
So, even though Alabama was dominant against Michigan on Saturday, and if I had a vote in a poll, I'd likely vote them No. 1, they are fourth in the 1-124 because they are projected to lose to LSU on Nov. 3 and finish behind the Tigers in the SEC West, as they did last year. And the bowl projections reflect that as well, with LSU in the BCS title game and Alabama in the Sugar Bowl.
Michigan, meanwhile, is fifth in the rankings and still projected as the Big Ten champ. That is a more tenuous projection in my mind than a week ago, to be sure. I think Alabama's dominance said more about Alabama than it did Michigan, but we'll find out in short order if that's true. It will be interesting to see how the Wolverines respond to Saturday's beatdown. That was the kind of game that can kill a team's confidence. Michigan needs to show resilience and not let Alabama beat them more than once.
Also still in the BCS projections is Boise State. The Broncos put up a good fight at Michigan State, but came up short. I still think they are they class of the non-AQ teams, despite Ohio's win at Penn St and the possibility that the Bobcats could finish 13-0. Penn St may be the best team Ohio beats this year, and the Nits may not finish .500.
If you remember back a few years ago, Colt Brennan led Hawaii to an undefeated season against the worst-rated schedule that year and one of the worst in the then 10-year history of the BCS. Voters pumped the Warriors up anyway, they made a BCS game, and got drilled by Georgia.
Ohio projects to the 122nd ranked schedule this year out of 124. Even at 13-0, it would seem unlikely that they could nose out 11-1 Boise State for a spot in a BCS game. Even if there is no other serious non-AQ threat for a BCS spot, the Bobcats may still fall short.
At this point, Ohio fans should be rooting hard for Penn State. The perception of their team's accomplishments this year will probably rise and fall with the Nittany Lions.
I think it's also important not to overreact to week one. I tend not to fuss over teams that struggle the first week, as long as they get the win that was expected. For teams like Oklahoma and Wisconsin, if their week one struggles become a trend, then it's time to reevaluate. For teams like Pittsburgh and Houston though - ugh. I'm not sure a lot was expected of those teams, but you have to wonder if even meager expectations were too high. The ax has already fallen on the Cougars offensive coordinator. That doesn't bode well for the future.