If BCS standings came out today...

Projecting the top 10, and what could cause each team to rise or fall

Updated: October 8, 2013, 2:05 PM ET
By Brad Edwards | ESPN Insider

C.J. Mosley, Ed Reynolds and Bradley RobyAP Photo, Icon SMI, Getty ImagesWho will be playing for a BCS title? The picture is slowly coming into focus.

We're still more than a week from the first official BCS standings of the season, but curiosity got the better of me a few days earlier than normal, so I went ahead and crunched the numbers.

Because the first Harris poll doesn't come out until Sunday, one-third of the BCS formula is unavailable. Therefore, I decided to make the coaches' poll carry two-thirds of the weight for this exercise. As much as we like to think it would make a huge difference if polls didn't come out until midway through the season, recent years have shown us that the Harris poll's initial release always looks very similar to the other polls. For that reason, the impact of this necessary tweak to the formula should be negligible.

Also, the Wolfe computer never publishes until the time of the first official BCS standings, so we also have access to just five of the six computers. There are a few ways this could be handled, but I decided to drop the best and worst computer rankings for each team (true to the BCS way) and take the average of the other three (usually, it's the average of the other four). Aside from those differences, the general formula is the same: two-thirds from poll voters, one-third from computers.

Sometimes, the computer rankings can be all over the map in the first few weeks of October, causing early BCS numbers to be very misleading. But that doesn't appear to be the case right now. These mock BCS standings are fairly representative of the true pecking order among these teams, give or take a spot in some cases.

Here's my best projection of how the top 10 of the BCS standings would look if they were released today, and my analysis of what could cause these teams to rise or fall in the coming weeks.


1. Alabama Crimson Tide

It's no surprise that the Crimson Tide are in this position. They have 57 of 62 first-place votes in the coaches' poll and are tied for the second-best computer average. Regardless of the number of other undefeated teams, it's almost inconceivable that Alabama could win out and not reach the BCS title game. The real question is whether Bama could survive a loss and still get there, as it has the past two years. Right now, the odds seem heavily against a one-loss team making it. But it's early, and Bama has done it before.

• Analyzes college football and the BCS as part of ESPN's Stats & Information Group
• Analyst for both College GameDay on ESPN Radio and the ESPN College Football app