No.8 Missouri knocked off No. 1 Oklahoma, 36-27, yesterday. It marked the third consecutive week the nation’s top-ranked program lost.
Last weekend, No. 1 Ohio State fell to Wisconsin, and the week before then-No. 1 Alabama suffered the same fate against South Carolina.
Don’t blame the pollsters for ranking incorrectly, it’s simply very difficult for an undefeated team to stay on top all season. Top-ranked teams have a target on their back thanks to their lofty status, and that fuels extra motivation for opponents. And it’s not like they are bad losses. All three former-No. 1s lost to ranked conference opponents — on the road.
Ironically, as hard as it is to stay undefeated, the longer a team remains unblemished the harder they’re punished for that first loss.
The problem is, the BCS has a short memory. Every year, it punishes teams whose lone loss came later in the season by arbitrarily ranking them behind other existing one loss teams. So the seven unbeaten schools face more pressure than their flawed competition.
Current undefeated powerhouses Oregon, Auburn, Michigan State, and Missouri must withstand another sort of pressure, too. They are joined by three non-BCS conference programs in the undefeated ranks: Boise State, Utah, and TCU. Those three schools are more likely to remain unbeaten thanks to their November conference schedules.
The polls become flawed when they must sort through a whole host of dangerous one-loss teams from power programs and several undefeated small-conference squads. The more these flaws are publicly exposed, the closer we come to a much-needed — and much more profitable — playoff system.
See Also: BCS Actually Gets It Right For Once
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