Boise State drops another spot in the polls as TCU moves up; Alabama plummets

No real big surprises in today’s USA Today/ESPN coaches poll, as the top two remained the same — Oregon and Auburn — and TCU moved up to No. 3 after a dismantling of Utah.

Boise State, of course, was the victim of TCU’s rise, even after a dominating win over a pretty good Hawaii team. But that shouldn’t surprise you. Last week, Auburn jumped Boise State after a win over a bad Ole Miss team, so the fact that TCU jumped the Broncos after perhaps the most impressive performance of the season shouldn’t come as a shock. In fact, I really don’t have a problem with this jump. TCU has played a better schedule thus far than Boise State, and absolutely dominated it much in the same way Boise has dominated its schedule. This was an exclamation point win for the Horned Frogs, and if voters believed TCU was the better team, there was no better time than now to make that move.

The top two in the BCS standings should remain the same, but I’d expect the gap between Auburn and TCU at 2 and 3 to close. First off, the Horned Frogs moved up in the coaches poll, and I’ll guess they’ll do the same in the Harris Poll. Plus the computers will likely close the gap as Auburn played Chattanooga and TCU played what was the No. 5 team in the BCS standings.

The best news for TCU and Boise State, however, had to be Alabama’s loss. There’s a good chance that the Tide were the only one-loss team capable of jumping over them into the national title game. I don’t know all the tie-breaker rules off-hand, but I believe LSU needs Auburn to lose each of its next two games in order to get into the SEC championship game. So if Alabama beats Auburn in the Iron Bowl, that will open up a spot for either TCU or Boise State.

I doubt a win over a three-loss SEC East champion would be enough for voters to vault Auburn back into the game. And even though it’s happened before, I can’t imagine an 11-1 LSU team that didn’t even play in its conference title game would jump the unbeatens. It wouldn’t be unprecedented — see Nebraska in 2001 — but it would be borderline criminal. Then again, that pretty much fits right in line with the BCS.

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