This week brought us the first Bowl Championship Series rankings of the 2013 college football season and with it a couple of surprises. Alabama (7-0, 4-0 SEC) remains at the top spot after dismantling Arkansas 52-0 in Tuscaloosa last week. This week Bama plays host to the Tennessee Volunteers. The Crimson Tide is aiming for a third straight BCS title and fourth in five years.
Florida State (6-0, 4-0 ACC) jumped to the No. 2 spot largely in part to their dominating performance last week against then-ranked No. 3 Clemson by a score of 51-14. This Saturday they host N.C. State who defeated the Seminoles last year 17-16 after FSU had reached the third spot in the rankings.
Oregon (7-0, 4-0 Pac 12) dropped to No. 3 in the BCS standings even after defeating the Washington State Cougars 62-38 last week. Oregon will play host to the No. 12 UCLA Bruins this Saturday and hope that Heisman-candidate Marcus Mariota (19 TD, 0 INT, 9 rushing TD) will continue to excel. The Ducks have totaled 109 points against the Bruins in the last two meetings.
No. 4 Ohio State (7-0, 3-0 Big 10) will host Penn State, who were idle last week. The Buckeyes come into this game with three tight conference wins in a row, including a 34-24 victory against Iowa last Saturday. They also have the nation’s longest winning streak at 19 games.
The biggest surprise may be No. 5 Missouri (7-0, 3-0 SEC). Predicted to finish sixth in the SEC East, Missouri is now ranked fifth in the country and holds a two-game lead in the division after beating up then-ranked No. 22 Florida 36-17 at home. The Tigers won’t have time to enjoy that victory as they welcome No. 20 South Carolina to Columbia, MO. with a chance to virtually wrap up the division.
It should be noted that in every single year, the eventual No. 1 team was ranked in the initial top five of the BCS rankings. No late bloomers sneak their way in. Getting to the No. 2 spot was easier: 13 of the 15 teams started off in the top six, and two teams with double-digit rankings made their way into the title game (LSU in 2003 and Tim Tebow’s Florida Gators in 2008). Perhaps this year’s Road to Pasadena will present a few more surprises along the way.