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Bracketology/Bowls Expert

All SEC at the top again

Linebacker Kiko Alonso and the Oregon Ducks are No. 2 in the polls, but No. 3 in the BCS rankings. (US Presswire)

The first official release of the BCS is out, and it looks very similar to how it ended last year. SEC teams are in the top two spots in the standings. Alabama is a clear No. 1 and Florida just edged out Oregon and Kansas State for second place. Only .0129 separates the Gators and the No. 4 Wildcats, so that's a very tight race.

Ducks fans are probably molting over this, but there's no reason to be concerned...yet. Right now, Oregon is a dominant No. 2 in the polls, and that is really the key. With such a high number of undefeated and strong one-loss teams still around, and only half a season's worth of data, the computer ratings tend to be all over the map.

BCS Standings
SchoolRating
1. Alabama.976
2. Florida.909
3. Oregon.899
4. Kansas State.896
5. Notre Dame.877

As the season wears on and the wheat gets sorted from the chaff, the computer numbers become more and more in agreement with the polls. It's a heck of a lot easier to move from seventh to second in the computers than it is in the polls. As long as the Ducks don't give voters a reason to erode their margin much, they are still in the drivers' seat.

Oh, wait. I said, "yet" up there. Here's the potential problem. I don't think Oregon needs to worry about Kansas State, but Notre Dame could be trouble. Voters don't usually jump one undefeated team over another late in the season like they might earlier, but if the Irish run the table, with wins at Oklahoma and USC (one the Ducks would match), voters might be inclined to give Notre Dame the pot of gold. The Irish would have played a tougher schedule and likely be ahead in the computers. The public debate would be interesting if we get to the point where voters are picking Oregon or Notre Dame for a spot in the title game.

As for Kansas State, the Wildcats seem to be flying under the radar at the moment, and are probably not getting the proper amount of respect. The most asked question of me today was whether a one-loss team from the SEC or Pac-12 could finish ahead of an undefeated KSU. The answer to that is unequivocally no. The Cats have already won at Oklahoma and are at West Virginia this week. If they finish 12-0, they too will have a strong case for consideration for the title, and I cannot imagine any scenario where an undefeated Big 12 champion would finish behind any one-loss team.

The embarrassing season for the Big Ten continues. Not one team is in the BCS top 25, which is a first. Of course, if eligible, Ohio State would appear in the top 10.

Boise State is the highest rated non-automatic qualifying team at 22. I keep hearing that the Broncos "have to be in the top 16 and have an AQ champion outside the top 16" to automatically qualify. That's not quite true. Boise does have to be in the top 16, but merely ahead of one of the AQ conference champions. If the Broncos are 14th and, say, the Big Ten champ is 15th, Boise still qualifies.

I have to wonder if voters will have something of a ceiling for the Broncos this season. Even at 11-1, their best win would be BYU and the team that beat them, Michigan State, looks worse every time they take the field. Still, there is something to be said for name recognition, and the Broncos have that.

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