When the first BCS standings of the year were released last week, Florida State was the surprise No. 2, just edging out No. 3 Oregon. Six days later, the Seminoles and Ducks both won -- Florida State dominating NC State to the tune of 49-17 and Oregon scoring 21 fourth-quarter points in a 42-14 win over No. 12 UCLA. When the Week 10 standings are released, the Ducks will likely move ahead of the 'Noles into the coveted No. 2 position, but is it warranted?
Entering Saturday, Florida State led Oregon by .0028 percentage points, the smallest margin separating any two teams in the BCS. The Ducks were solidly No. 2 in the human polls, but the Seminoles were favored by the computers, earning the average No. 1 ranking. After Saturday's results, that computer advantage should narrow. While Oregon struggled for much of the game against the Bruins, UCLA was ranked No. 12 in the standings and No. 14 in the computers. Florida cruised past NC State, taking a 42-0 lead in the first half, but the Wolfpack were unranked.
Oregon's hold on No. 2 in the human polls isn't going anywhere -- even though the Noles were more dominant and likely watched by more voters, there's no fault to be found at all with what the Ducks did. That, plus the shifted computers, should be enough to overcome Florida State's slim advantage in the overall standings.
Seminoles fans will be angry, and they have a good argument. Both teams have played two ranked opponents, and both have won by big margins in every game this year. And in games against ranked competition, the 'Noles have looked even better, beating Maryland and Clemson by a combined 114-14. Oregon's combined score against Washington and UCLA: 87-38. If there were no human polls until the first BCS standings came out in Week 9, it's not unbelievable to think voters would give FSU the advantage over the Ducks.
Florida State has another chance to impress the computers this week against undefeated Miami (while Oregon is off), but the Seminoles need to sway voters. That's a tall task.
Also with BCS grievances are Ohio State -- which finally got its undeniably impressive win, a 63-14 prime-time shutdown of Penn State -- and Baylor -- which put up 59 points for the sixth time this year. But, as the long-term math shows, all that matters is winning.
How far will Mizzou fall?
The team that has seen the biggest poll movement in recent weeks will make another big move, but this time, it will be in the wrong direction.
Everything was going so well for Missouri. The Tigers had a 17-0 fourth-quarter lead at home against South Carolina, and they appeared to be on their way to 8-0 and one step closer to a dream season. Instead, a missed field goal in the second overtime resulted in a 27-24 loss for the No. 5 team in the standings. Gary Pinkel's team is going to drop.
No. 9 Texas Tech and 12th-ranked UCLA will save Missouri a couple of spots in its fall, but this is no longer a top-five team. Last season, South Carolina was 7-1 and ranked No. 7 in the initial BCS standings. The Gamecocks promptly lost on the road at No. 3 Florida, 44-11, and as a result, they fell six spots to No. 13. A similar shift should be expected for the Tigers, but they should hang on to their top-10 prestige. Falling to No. 11 is a possibility, but due to their high standing among the computers -- they averaged out at No. 3 last week -- they could remain ahead of one or two other one-loss teams.
The Gamecocks, ranked 21st entering Saturday's action, will get a bump. Taking down the No. 5 team on the road won't go unnoticed by the humans or computers, but having two losses will make it difficult to move past the one-loss teams already ahead of them.
Next week's BCS impact games
Miami at Florida State
For the first time in years, Florida State-Miami returns to national prominence. Two weeks after their demolition of Clemson, the Seminoles face another undefeated team in what will likely be an ACC title game preview. FSU needs to keep winning to stay in the hunt for a national title, but a Hurricanes victory would vault them into the BCS conversation.
Oklahoma State at Texas Tech
The Red Raiders fell from the ranks of the unbeatens with their loss at Oklahoma, but they aren't out of the Big 12 title. Tech and Oklahoma State are a game behind Baylor with one conference loss, and the loser of this one will essentially be eliminated from the Fiesta Bowl race.
Tennessee at Missouri
Missouri's national championship hopes came crashing down when Andrew Baggett's field goal attempt doinked off the upright in the second overtime against South Carolina. However, the Tigers still control their destiny in the SEC East. Keep winning, and they'll get an SEC title shot and a chance at a BCS bowl. Lose for the second straight week, and the season-ending game against Texas A&M will have a lot riding on it.