BCS Standings to be released today at around 3:30 during the Fox NFL Postgame Show. The race for #2 should get really interesting, starting this week. How will voters evaluate Michigan after their narrow loss at Ohio State? And how will the computers value the Wolverines? I think USC will narrowly be your #2 team, but it's going to be close.
Update [2006-11-19 18:13:52 by HornsFan]: BCS Standings are released and there's no movement at the top. Michigan, thanks to its strength in the computer polls, and because it so narrowly trails USC in each of the human polls, retains its spot at #2. The question, of course, is what happens next. First, the standings:
The path to the title game for each of the remaining contenders, then:
USC must beat Notre Dame and UCLA, and do so convincingly, if it wants to jump Michigan. What's not entirely clear is whether they'll jump Michigan in the computers with the two victories. I'm fairly certain they would, which means that human voters would get to decide just how much they wanted a rematch. My best guess is that if USC handles Notre Dame and UCLA with double-digit wins, they're in the title game. Anything closer and we're talking about a razor thin margin, one way or the other.
A rematch looks reasonably possible right now. The way it most likely comes about is if no other team finishes with one loss and looks good doing so. If Florida stumbles past Arkansas, or USC lucks out to beat UCLA, Michigan will gets its shot. But I think the short memories of the human voters are likely to be a big factor. If USC, Florida, or Arkansas can finish with a flourish, they can bump past the Wolverines.
Human voters likely need to see Florida put away a top team convincingly. Ohio State has buried Texas. Michigan has buried Notre Dame. USC has buried California and Arkansas. The Gators need something to get a boost from the humans. A route of Arkansas could do the trick. (And it would help if Arkansas beat LSU.)
USC must lose, first of all. Second, the Razorbacks must look like the best one-loss team in the country in beating LSU and Florida. Two no-doubter wins to close out their SEC run would force voters to consider them very seriously. Anything less - given that awful loss to start the season - will mean coming up short.
The Irish haven't played an intriguing team since Michigan. And that was not a good result. They have one last shot to enter the conversation, and the only, only way they can is by beating USC by 30 points. Why? They still must jump Michigan, the team that beat them in South Bend by 26 points. I can't imagine the Irish making the title game. Near impossible.
And that's it, really. The key teams are Florida, Arkansas, and USC. If one of the three can dominate their remaining schedule, they can leap Michigan. If not, the nature of Michigan's loss to Ohio State leaves a lot of room for voters to justify a rematch.