The 2011 BCS rankings came out Sunday evening and the Stanford Cardinal have opened at the number eight position. Although Stanford is ranked No. 5 in the USA Today/Coaches Poll and No. 7 in Harris Poll, they slotted down to No. 8 due to less than stellar computer ratings. While the BCS throws out the top and bottom computer ratings, the computers were not kind to Stanford. Oklahoma State was the biggest beneficiary from the computers with the top overall computer rating.
The BCS formula combines human and computer rankings to devise the standings. The USA Today/Coaches Poll and the Harris Poll are voted on by humans each Sunday. The computer ratings include the Sagarin Ratings, Anderson & Hester, Billingsley Report, ColleyMatrix, Massey Ratings, and Wolfe Ratings. Stanford's high computer rating included three separate rankings at eighth. Their lowest ranking was No. 20 in the Massey Ratings. In between they were also ranked No. 9, 10 and 15.
The computer ratings likely reflect the Cardinal's poor strength of schedule thus far. Stanford's wins thus far feature three 3-3 teams and three teams under .500. The quasi-good news is that the schedule strength improves considerably moving forward. This coming week they host the 5-1 Washington Huskies. They follow that up with a trip to 5-1 USC. After traveling to 1-5 Oregon State, the Cardinal host 5-1 Oregon, 3-3 Cal and 4-2 Notre Dame. If they win out, you can add in a Pac-12 title game opponent (likely Arizona State).
While this does not quite qualify as a murderer's row schedule, it should be enough to bump their computer ratings if they keep winning. If Stanford wins out they are not guaranteed a spot in the national title game, but they would put them in a strong position to move up as other teams lose.