Inside The BCS: James Madison's Monkey Wrench

Can Boise State recover from Virginia Tech's loss to James Madison? Is Virginia Tech out of the ACC race? Are Alabama and Ohio State on a National Title Game collision course? Will we stop asking questions now and start answering them?

Well, if last weeks buzz was from the Boise State win over Virginia Tech, this weeks deafening roar is from Virginia Tech's epic loss to James Madison. Like last week, I will take some time to clarify the BCS numbers.

How will the Virginia Tech loss impact Boise State's National Championship ambitions?

The gut reaction of the internet chatter was that Boise State's hopes were dashed. Upon examining the situation it appears to be merely a major dent.

Boise State still has Oregon State, who lost to a respectable TCU 30-21. Boise State will need to convince voters they are better than TCU in that game to keep the lead for the non-AQ spot, and the inside track if one of these two teams is going to get a shot at the NCG.

Fresno State is flirting with a top 25 berth in the polls and a win over Illinois would solidify their top 25 status. This could prove to be a significant boost to Boise State's end of season hopes, as they would otherwise have no significant games in the last half of their schedule.

Boise State is down, but not out.

Is Virginia Tech out of the ACC title hunt?

In light of the past two weeks, this question appears a bit absurd. But then again, so is the ACC having only one team in the top 25 in week 2, the 1-1 Miami Hurricanes.

Virginia Tech is not likely to run the table by any stretch, not in the Coastal division. The ACC has been close for years. One could anticipate that a 6-2 record might win this division in the tie breakers. With a late November win over Miami, Virginia Tech could find themselves in the ACC championship game as the favorite.

What to expect next depends on which narrative you are looking for. Virginia Tech can implode and stumble into a few wins on the way to a bowl-less season, or they could have been beat up and still in a mental funk from the Boise State loss that they were not ready to play five days later.

With East Carolina this week, they have another team looking to make a statement at their expense. Virginia Tech needs to stop the hemorrhaging this week or they will be lucky to get three wins this season. If they can right this ship now they still have a direct shot at the Orange Bowl.

Inside the BCS Numbers

For a full look inside the BCS numbers see my simulated BCS standings. The first summary everyone want to know is how the NCG race looks. Boise State does slip down my projection a few spots, while Miami falls off with a loss. Iowa slides on to the end of the list. In order of most likely to finish on top if undefeated the NCG contenders are:

Alabama, Ohio State, Florida, Alabama (1 Loss), Oklahoma, LSU, Boise State, TCU, Nebraska and Iowa.

I have already touched on the non-AQ race for the lone guaranteed BCS spot. Utah is joined by Air Force (replacing BYU in convincing fashion) as alternates should Boise State and TCU fall. Both have a clear shot at TCU.

South Carolina's early SEC East lead is about the biggest development in the AQ conference races, with only four conference games among the six AQ conferences.

Using the Hawaii 2007 standards, 19 more teams were eliminated in week 2. This leaves 70 teams in contention for a BCS bowl, and only 12 teams from non-AQ leagues.

None from the Sun Belt.

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