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Saturday, December 20, 2014

USC Coaching Poll Penalty Will Not Hurt Oregon in BCS Standings

Oregon is 7-0, leading the Pac-10, and ranked first in the AP and USA Today Coaches’ Poll. With a game Saturday evening at the Coliseum in Los Angeles, they’re set for their toughest test of the year since facing Stanford at home. Because the BCS computers already are ranking the Ducks lowly, my uncle brought up a good question leading up to this game: will USC’s penalty of being unranked all season by the Coaches’ Poll hurt Oregon should the Ducks win? The answer is no.

The only team whose BCS standing is hurt by USC being unranked by the Coaches’ Poll is USC. That doesn’t matter since USC is ineligible for the postseason anyway. The BCS computers actually are ranking USC as if it weren’t on probation, that way Oregon — and any other team who plays them — gets the proper credit for the win. In fact, playing and beating USC actually will be more helpful than any win the Ducks have had since taking out Stanford, which is currently 13th in the BCS.

The computers are actually fairly high on the Trojans, ranking them 27th on average. Jeff Sagarin has them ranked 20th, Anderson & Hester has them 26th, Richard Billinsgley and Peter Wolfe rank USC 27th, the Colley Matrix has them 28th, and Kenneth Massey has them 29th.

Looking back over Oregon’s schedule, though they’ve looked impressive in their wins, the reality is their schedule has been weak and that’s why they’ve been ranked lower in the BCS than the polls. A win over USC will do wonders for its BCS ranking. The only remaining obstacle is winning the game. Now that will be the tough part.



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