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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TCU sends a message with rout of Utah

The marquee game of the day turned out to be another TCU beatdown of a Mountain West opponent.

The Horned Frogs put a 47-7 drubbing on Utah, breaking the Utes 21-game home winning streak and asserting themselves as a more than legitimate contender for the national title. TCU is for real, but we kind of knew that already. Now those of us that knew it can point at those who continue to deny it and laugh.

The Horned Frogs came into the game touting a powerful defense, and that held true as Utah’s high-powered offense didn’t cross midfield until late in the second half. But TCU’s offense was equally impressive, having its way with a Utah defense that was statistically stout.

A home date with San Diego State is next for the Horned Frogs, which could be a little tricky, although I expect them to win fairly easily. Then they get New Mexico, which might as well forfeit.

There will be arguments at the end of this season, I have little doubt. But if there is only one major conference team with an unbeaten record at the end of the regular season, there’s no way you can keep TCU out of the title game, not after something like this. Sorry, Boise, but I’ve switched bandwagons, and I don’t think I’m alone.

CBS College Sports offering free preview for TCU/Utah game

FORT WORTH, TX - NOVEMBER 14:  Shaky Smithson #1 of the Utah Utes celebrates with teammates after scoring a touchdown in the first quarter of the game against the TCU Horned Frogs at Amon G. Carter Stadium on November 14, 2009 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Thanks to Ty Duffy over at The Big Lead for the heads up on this. CBS College Sports, realizing it has the marquee game of the weekend, is offering a free preview today so people can watch the TCU/Utah game.

If you take a trip over to the network’s website and enter some information, it will tell you what channel you can view the game on.

This makes me extremely happy, as I really didn’t want to watch a pirated feed on my laptop, mainly because I planned on using the laptop to watch the Boise State/Hawaii game on ESPN3.

The game starts at 3:30 p.m.

Week 10 is all about the little guys … and a couple of big ones

FORT WORTH, TX - OCTOBER 16: Head coach Gary Patterson of the TCU Horned Frogs takes to the field with offensive guard Josh Vernon  and tackle Zach Roth  against the BYU Cougars at Amon G. Carter Stadium on October 16, 2010 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Today is a big day for TCU and Utah, as they get to prove themselves to a national audience in a huge game between top five teams.

Oh. Wait. This game is somehow not on any kind of normal television. I keep hearing CBS College Sports Network, which does nothing for me because I have a digital basic package. I figured Versus was going to bail me out, but nope. Versus is showing us the very important and very sought after Princeton vs. Penn game. I’d rather watch those two schools square off in quiz bowl. OK, that’s a lie. I don’t want to see that either.

Luckily for TCU and Utah, there’s a lot of hype around the game, meaning the winner will get some preferential treatment in the polls just by the final score. Not to mention the fact that TCU is being listed at No. 3 (its BCS ranking) and Boise at No. 4, while the Broncos are actually No. 3 in the coaches poll and TCU is No. 4. A win by the Horned Frogs just may push them past Boise, if for no other reason than the coaches might have just figured they already were. Don’t you love the BCS? Read the rest of this entry »

College Football Program Power Rankings

Welcome to a new feature on The Scores Report. We thought it would be interesting to tally up all the major accomplishments of a college football program and assign a point value to each category in order to rank them against one another. Then our football guru, Anthony Stalter, wrote a little bit about each program and the direction that it’s headed.

Here’s how the points are calculated — 20 points for a national championship, 10 for a BCS title game loss, seven for a BCS bowl win, five for a BCS bowl loss, five for a BCS conference championship, three for a mid-major conference championship, two for a BCS conference runner-up and one for a major bowl appearance (i.e. a bowl that has a recent payout of more than $2 million — Capital One, Outback, Chick-fil-A, Cotton, Gator, Holiday, Champs Sports and Alamo.) You’ll see the total points in parenthesis after the team’s name.

We put some thought into the point values for each accomplishment, paying special attention to how the point values are relative to one another. For example, we figured that one national championship would equate to four BCS conference championships, or three BCS bowl wins. We only looked at the last five years, as college football has increasingly become a fluid and fickle sport, and that’s about how far back a recruit will go when deciding amongst a list of schools.

Lastly, since a program is so dependent on the guy in charge, we added or subtracted points if the program upgraded or downgraded its head coach in the last five years. A max of 10 points would be granted (or docked) based on the level of upgrade or downgrade. Again, we tried to quantify the hire relative to the program’s other accomplishments. For example, hiring Nick Saban is probably worth two BCS bowl appearances, or 10 points. (Sure, he might lead Alabama to more, but he also might bolt for another job in a year or two.)

So, without further ado, here are the rankings. Every year we’ll go through and update the numbers based on what the program did that year (while throwing out the oldest year of data), so don’t fret if your team isn’t quite where you want them right now. Everyone has a chance to move up.

1. Florida Gators (61)

National Championship: ’08-W, ’06-W
BCS Bowl: ’09-W
Conference Championship: ’09-RU, ’08-W, ’06-W
Major Bowl Appearance: ’07, ’05

It’s hard to argue that the Gators don’t deserve the top spot with two national championship victories, three BCS bowl wins, two conference championships and five bowl appearances in the past five years. Considering they play in college football’s toughest conference, what Urban Meyer’s program has been able to accomplish in the past five years has been incredibly impressive. The program dodged a bullet when Meyer rejoined the team.

2. Ohio State Buckeyes (58)

National Championship: ’07-L, ’06-RU
BCS Bowl: ’09-W, ’08-L, ’05-W
Conference Championship: ’09-W, ’08-RU, ’07-W, ’06-W, ’05-RU

The Buckeyes are subjected to criticism every year because they play in a weak conference that doesn’t have a title game, but keep in mind that they have absolutely owned the Big Ten over the past five years. They have finished no worse than second in each of the past five seasons and have also appeared in two title games. While it’s true they lost in both of those appearances, just getting there helped them greatly in these rankings.

3. Texas Longhorns (49)

National Championship: ’09-L, ’05-W
BCS Bowl: ’08-W,
Conference Championship: ’09-W, ’05-W
Major Bowl Appearance: ’07, ’06

The Longhorns have been a model of consistency. They’ve made a bowl appearance in each of the last five years, won a national championship in 2005 and made a title appearance this past last year. It’ll be interesting to see how Mack Brown’s program fares in 2010 now that Colt McCoy has graduated and youngster Garrett Gilbert is set to take over at quarterback.

Read the rest of this entry »

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