The Stanford Cardinal continued their slow march up the BCS rankings this week as they rode a thrilling 56-48 victory over the USC Trojans to the number four spot in the week ten BCS rankings. The big news for Stanford was that a sizable increase in their strength of schedule helped them leapfrog an idle Boise State team that faces a fairly weak schedule the rest of the season. USC is not eligible for postseason play, but the computers love the Trojans and Stanford benefitted big time from the victory.
Stanford was already going to move up thanks to Clemson losing to Georgia Tech. Throw in Texas A&M and Kansas State taking one on the chin and the Cardinal were in line for a nice little boost across the board in the computer ratings. They still have a big game on their schedule against Oregon, but if they win that, you could make the argument they have officially gone as far as their computer ratings along will take them. They now need Oklahoma State to lose to get past the Cowboys. They also could use a decent size margin of victory in next week's LSU-Alabama game to make sure pollsters don't keep the loser too close to the top.
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, Colley Matrix, Massey Ratings, and Wolfe Ratings. Stanford rates as follows according to the computers:
The top rating of four and one of the bottom ratings of 8 are removed. Stanford's victory coupled with various other defeats increased their computer rankings percentage from .660 to .800. They do still have some room for growth in their computer rating, but not enough to surpass the top three teams ahead of them without a loss as well. And so, we sit and wait for next week's wild LSU-Alabama matchup and even the Oklahoma State-Kansas State matchup. We have entered the heart of the season and things are definitely getting interesting now.