The question is, will it be enough to push them into the No. 2 hole in the final BcS rankings when they’re released at 8:15 ET Sunday night?
In last week’s release of the USA Today coaches’ poll, Oklahoma State was sitting in fifth, 166 points behind No. 2 Alabama. A week later, Oklahoma State is at No. 3 and, more importantly, just 32 points behind the Tide.
The coaches’ poll is one of three elements the BcS uses to determine its rankings, the other two being the Harris poll and the average of six computer models. In order for the Cowboys to jump the Tide in the final BcS rankings, and given the current coaches’ poll and four of the six computers projected to have OSU at No. 2, BcS expert Jerry Palm predicts that OSU will need to finish with five more points than UA in the final Harris poll that will be released later on this afternoon.
To put that seemingly insignificant number into its proper perspective, and realizing that a first-place vote is worth 25 points, a second-place vote 24, etc., an idle Oklahoma State was 352 points behind Alabama in last Sunday’s Harris poll. While that deficit is not insurmountable for Boone’s boys, it’s going to take a seismic shift among the 115 Harris pollsters to merely close the gap as significantly as the coaches did let alone actually pass the Tide.
As far as the rest of the coaches’ poll is concerned, and for the seventh consecutive release, LSU sits firmly and very solidly at No. 1. It’s also the fifth straight week that the Tigers have been a unanimous selection.
Thanks to losses in conference championship games, Virginia Tech (then-No.3, now No. 11), Houston (No. 6/No. 17) and Michigan State (No. 9/No. 13) all dropped out of the Top Ten. Idle Stanford held steady at No. 4, while Oregon (No. 5) and Boise State (No. 6) each moved up two spots. Wisconsin and South Carolina each gained four spots to No. 8 and No. 9, respectively, while Kansas State gained five in rounding out the Top Ten.
For those interested, West Virginia (No. 22) is ahead of Cincinnati (No. 24) and Louisville (unranked and with zero votes). Those three tied for the Big East title, and their ranking in the BcS’ final release tonight will decide the conference’s representative to a BcS bowl; based on the coaches’ poll plus the fact that the Mountaineers were ranked ahead of both in the BcS last week, it’s safe to assume WVU will represent the Big East in the Orange Bowl next month.
And, in a bit of an oddity, no teams dropped from the previous week’s Top 25 for the first time this season. Speaking of an oddity, and in the worst segue ever, click HERE to vote in our poll on which team deserves to play No. LSU for the BcS championship.