The BCS standings have supplied little controversy the last few weeks. Right now there's not any debate over who the top two teams are. Auburn and Oregon have separated themselves due to the fact that they are the only unbeaten AQ schools. I'm a supporter of the little guy, but there's no way an undefeated WAC or Mountain West team belongs in front of an undefeated SEC or Pac 10 team.
This doesn't mean the BCS will get it right come selection time. There are plenty of chances for this whole thing to get screwed up, and the first opportunity comes this week when Auburn plays Alabama. I want to take a look at some possible scenarios that would lead to chaos, but first I want to say something about Oregon.
If the Ducks lose, they're out. There's no coming back from a loss to Oregon State or Arizona. Both are mediocre teams and Oregon State has already been pounded by TCU and Boise this season. If the Ducks lose, we'll have a non AQ in the BCS title game. Then the debate would turn to who's schedule was less soft between Boise and TCU.
What would cause real chaos is if Auburn dropped a game, and this is exactly what I want to look at. Let's look at some scenarios. (Note: all assume TCU and Boise State finish undefeated.)
1. Auburn loses to Alabama and goes on to beat South Carolina in the SEC Championship Game
Does a 12-1, SEC Champ Auburn get the nod over an undefeated Boise or TCU? Normally I would say yes. The SEC is again the undisputed top conference, so I believe that a one loss SEC champ is more deserving than an undefeated WAC or Mountain West champ. But there's something about these Cam Newton allegations that makes me believe the voters are just hoping that Auburn loses so they have a reason to leave them out of the title game. No one wants a vacated title and I think everyone is already worried it could happen if Auburn keeps winning.
2. Auburn beats Alabama but loses to South Carolina in the SEC title game.
I don't think this is too likely. If the Tigers beat Alabama they'll probably handle the Gamecocks. But if it does, I think they're even less likely to get in than if they lost to Bama and won the SEC.
3. Oregon and Auburn both lose.
Bill Hancock's worst nightmare. Would the BCS have any other choice but to match Boise State and TCU in the National Championship Game? A lot of this would depend on who Auburn lost to. If the loss came to Alabama and the Tigers went on to win the SEC, I think either Boise or TCU gets screwed. If Auburn didn't win the SEC, then I really have no idea. I just highly doubt two non AQs would get into the title game. If they did, however, it may show the BCS conferences that this whole setup isn't as beneficial to them anymore and may cause some change. That's why I'm rooting for this scenario.
(Then again, a cynic may say "they'll put the two non AQs in the title game just this once to shut everyone up. Then they can say 'look, everyone has a chance'. This could even help preserve the cartel.)
4. Auburn loses to Alabama and South Carolina
There would be no way Auburn gets in under this circumstance. The team to watch under this scenario is LSU. The SEC's best team has been in and won the NCG each of the last four years, regardless of how many losses they've had. If Auburn lost twice, LSU would be the best SEC team, on paper at least. Keep in mind that LSU is already ahead of Boise in the computer rankings.
5. Oregon is the only undefeated team left.
This would be hard to imagine considering TCU goes up against possibly the worst team in FBS this weekend when they play New Mexico State (TCU -43.5). Boise on the other hand has a tough battle in Reno against #19 Nevada. If this unlikely scenario were to happen, edge goes to a one loss Auburn getting into the title game over a slew of other one loss teams. (Wisconsin, Ohio State, Stanford, LSU, TCU, Boise, etc.)
Except for scenario #1, which has about even odds of happening, none of these seem too likely. Auburn will either lose to Alabama and finish with one loss (and campaign like crazy for a title game spot), or win out. Oregon will either win out or lose once and be totally eliminated. The real debate will be who gets in between Boise and TCU should a spot open up for one of them, and I'm not sure there's a correct choice to be made there. Maybe we could have the two of them play a game against each other to decide.
Here's hoping for chaos. We could all use a little more ammo against the Cartel.