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Bracketology/Bowls Expert

Early BCS data: Tide and Ducks at top, Ohio State in sixth

Oregon would be in the national championship game if the season ended today.
Oregon would be in the national title game if the season ended today. (USATSI)

Not all of the data used in the official BCS ratings is available yet, but I'm not going to let that get in the way of releasing some early BCS ratings. Surprisingly, Alabama and Oregon top these ratings, like they do in the polls.

You might think that wouldn't be surprising since the BCS is a poll-driven system, but usually at this time of year, and even two weeks from now when the first official rankings come out, the computer numbers are all over the place and override the will of the voters. This is the 10th year of this poll-heavy version of the BCS formula, and only three times before has the initial BCS release had its top two teams match the polls.

BCS Standings
TeamRating
1. Alabama.9980
2. Oregon.8963
3. Clemson.8805
4. Stanford.8672
5. Florida State.7648
6. Ohio State.7638
Complete BCS Standings

In this case though, voters are very solid on Alabama and Oregon at the top, so even though the Ducks' computer rankings are a little soft, they're still safe at the top.

Ohio State's computer rankings are pretty abysmal early on, and that's not a big surprise if you look at their schedule so far. The Buckeyes have played one FCS team (1-3 Florida A&M), two 1-3 FBS teams, plus 2-2 Buffalo and 3-2 Wisconsin. Only one of those games was on the road, although not all of the BCS computers consider that.

Things should get somewhat better after the Northwestern game this weekend, which is on the road. That's assuming Ohio State wins.

People hoping for some outside chance that Louisville could play for the BCS title will be disappointed to see the Cardinals' computer rankings at 17th overall. Unfortunately for the Cards, there aren't many rankings-boosting games left on the schedule. Simply winning will help them crawl up, but even if they are the only undefeated team at the end of the season, their computer rankings might keep them out of the title game.

In any event, look for some fluctuation of the computer numbers, especially in October because so few games have been played. The computer rankings and polls tend to converge as we get later in the season.

The Anderson-Hester computer rankings debuted last week. The Harris poll will start this week, while Peter Wolfe's computer numbers will not be released until the week of the first official BCS rankings.

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