Posts Tagged ‘Rankings’

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With today’s designated hitter breakdown, it brings to a close the second annual installment of my rankings of the Top 10 players at each position entering the spring. Coming to such conclusions is an imperfect science to say the least, based on both what is proven, predicated and set by precedence in some areas. But at the end, the goal is to get a snapshot of the players who have the biggest current impact at each position, pitted against each other. And that is a goal I do believe I achieved yet again.

Not to say that there were not a few close calls along the way, as well as players that I believe could easily turn in better 2015 returns than their ranking dictates. When putting 115 players into tiers, this is bound to happen.

One of the most hotly debated rankings was the placement of Pirates outfielder Starling Marte at #3 in left field, a spot that put him over such players as Matt Holliday, Justin Upton and Hanley Ramirez. The ranking of Marte so high is admittedly a gamble; he is clearly talented player that has turned in some impressive extra base hit, stolen base and defensive performances over the past few years. However he also is coming in off the benefit of a scorching hot second half of 2015 and is still yet to turn in a full year of the type of excellent play that many others below him have on that list. There are even some that make argument that he should not be considered even among the top 10 players at the position currently, let alone upper third.

But he is a perfect example of what a portion of the goal of the ranking is: to get it right going ahead. If he performs at a 15% decreased clip of his second half average, he still pulls in at just south of a .300 average at .297 and when combined with his proven ability to run up steals, runs scored and triples, Marte is an elite level contributor at the spot. And by taking him so high on the list, I am betting his development continues and he does.

Going in the opposite direction, there is the fact that I left the American League Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber outside of the top 10 starting pitchers this year. This could be seen as a ridiculous notion and I understand that. How can the guy that was just recognized as the best pitcher in his league not be considered among the top 10 players at his spot, especially on a list that includes four other pitchers (included then ALer Max Scherzer) that he beat out for the honors?

MLB: Chicago White Sox at Cleveland Indians

It is a valid argument, however one that is being made at the wrong position to jockey for position. The upper class of starting pitching hierarchy is one that is reached by reaching (and staying at) the elite level of pitching in my mind. And while Kluber had a solid 2013 (11-5, 3.86 ERA, 147 innings), followed by his massive 2014, it still does not surpass the regular standard set by the 10th man on the list in Jordan Zimmermann, or even other runners up in Cole Hamels or Jon Lester, among others. If Kluber comes back and anchors another tremendous year for the Indians, a full expectation of him making a Johnny Cueto-like jump into the top 10 will be realized.

Sometimes making a big debut into the rankings is simply a matter of the being aligned at the right position at the right time as well. While Kluber could not make it into pitcher’s top 10, there were several notable players that did make either high initial impacts or substantial jumps up the list.

Jose Abreu of the White Sox is easily the most notable of the group, because he did it at such a difficult position to make a dent within. The AL Rookie of the Year debuted at #4 on the first base charts after his huge breakout year. Part of this was a function of his undeniable impact on the field, but another portion was due to the fact that first base is undergoing a bit of an overhaul as well. While Miguel Cabrera and Paul Goldschmidt set a clear cap atop the position, it is open season some underneath that level with younger impacts such as Abreu and Anthony Rizzo fighting for position among a group of veterans such as Adrian Gonzalez, Joey Votto and Edwin Encarnacion who all make comparable impacts.

Another such major debut belong to Anthony Rendon, who checked in at #5 among third basemen. Third base is it usual mixture of impact depth, but is also seeing some of its long-time stalwarts such as David Wright, Evan Longoria and Aramis Ramirez beginning to slide some. That shake up allowed for Rendon’s big 2014 to push him to strong debut among his positional contemporaries in the same fashion that Matt Carpenter did just a year ago, who checked in just a spot above Rendon this year.

All in all, there a plenty of debates that can be made among these type of ranks, because for the most part there are only a few positions where there is a clear cut top guy. Giancarlo Stanton, Robinson Cano, Troy Tulowitzki, Adrian Beltre and Clayton Kershaw have it on lock. There are some very interesting to watch wages for positional supremacy between Cabrera and Goldschmidt, Mike Trout and Andrew McCutchen, Buster Posey and Yadier Molina, and Craig Kimbrel, Aroldis Chapman and Greg Holland.

Debates such as these are part of what makes the game the game, and the fun in how to determine it. Coming up soon at The Sports Fan Journal, I will begin to release my Top 100 players in the game today, which is built on slightly different set of parameters. Recent impact is offset by a look into the three year window of player more than just their immediate impact in the game. Developmental trends (both upward and downward) come into play more and award winners see a greater precedence set as well. There is no cap on players per position either, so more first basemen, starting pitchers and outfielders work their way into the scene as well.

There is a lot to sort out and a lot of work to put into the inexact science that its final result is, but for now here is a recap of the rankings by position. For the full article on each, click the header above each ranking column. (Top 3 at each position noted below)

Top 10 Catchers—January 28th (Buster Posey, Yadier Molina, Jonathan Lucroy)

Top 10 First Basemen—January 29th (Miguel Cabrera, Paul Goldschmidt, Adrian Gonzalez)

Top 10 Second Basemen—January 30th (Robinson Cano, Jose Altuve, Ian Kinsler)

Top 10 Third Basemen—February 3rd (Adrian Beltre, Josh Donaldson, Evan Longoria)

Top 10 Shortstops—February 4th (Troy Tulowitzki, Ian Desmond, Jhonny Peralta)

Top 10 Left Fielders—February 5th (Alex Gordon, Michael Brantley, Starling Marte)

Top 10 Center Fielders—February 6th (Mike Trout, Andrew McCutchen, Adam Jones)

Top 10 Right Fielders—February 9th (Giancarlo Stanton, Jose Bautista, Bryce Harper)

Top 10 Starting Pitchers—February 10th (Clayton Kershaw, Felix Hernandez, Chris Sale)

Top 10 Relief Pitchers—February 11th (Craig Kimbrel, Greg Holland, Aroldis Chapman)

Top 5 Designated Hitters—February 12th (Victor Martinez, David Ortiz, Nelson Cruz)

For kicks, what would a lineup look like made out of the top ranked player at each position? Here’s my take at the ultimate All-Star Team:

  1. Mike Trout-CF
  2. Robinson Cano-2B
  3. Miguel Cabrera-1B
  4. Giancarlo Stanton-RF
  5. Troy Tulowitzki-SS
  6. Victor Martinez-DH
  7. Buster Posey-C
  8. Adrian Beltre-3B
  9. Alex Gordon-LF

 

Clayton Kershaw-Pitcher

Craig Kimbrel-Closer

 

Now that’s downright ugly right there.

 

 

To keep up with me on Twitter, follow at @CheapSeatFan. Stay current on the columns at The Sports Fan Journal and I-70 Baseball as well.

There’s been a lot of stories to be had this season, but what’s really ran the course of the season is the youth movement that’s being served. Yet another highlight of it was served when the Chicago Cubs made a long-term deal with Starlin Castro, putting away the 22-year-old until nearly his 30th birthday last week. That follows on the heels of the rise of the Washington Nationals, Oakland A’s and Pittsburgh Pirates, all pushed by young pace-setters that have shook up the establishment in both leagues this year.

However, when it’s broken down, who really are the best of the best when it comes to baseball’s precocious youngsters? While previous early bloomers such as Ryan Braun, Robinson Cano, Miguel Cabrera, Joey Votto and Justin Verlander are moving out of the youth movement stage and into perennial standard bearers, the more recently debuted ballplayers are arguably making the biggest impact of any age group across the game. So in my most recent leap of ranking-based faith, here are the 25 best players 25 years or younger in the game today.

Mike Trout has gotten off to as big of a debut as anyone ever, but is it enough to take him even to the top of his peer group yet?

Before we get started, here’s a few guys just claimed by their 26th year but who would’ve definitely found a spot on this list a year ago: Felix Hernandez, Mark Trumbo, Yoenis Cespedes, Yu Darvish, Evan Longoria, Todd Frazier, Gio Gonzalez and Jordan Zimmermann.

 

25. Brett Anderson (24): There’s a reason he’s still been consistently considered the ace of the A’s despite missing most of the last two years. When he’s out there, he’s as good as it gets, as the one run surrendered in his first 20 innings back healthy shows. He has won all three starts since his return.

24. Mike Moustakas (23): The raw power of the Moose is clear, and he’s still figuring it all out. He’s come back from a light rookie year with 19 homers headed into the last month of the year for Kansas City.

23. Austin Jackson (25): The perfect centerfielder for the enormous outer territory of Comerica Field, Jackson has the highest average on balls hit in play over the last three years (.374) playing for the Detroit Tigers.

22. Alcides Escobar (25): It’s easy to not be noticed at being the best at something when you play in Kansas City, but Escobar has a rightful claim to the title of best glovesman at shortstop in baseball.

21. Wade Miley (25): The Diamondbacks’ surprise rookie lefty hurler has gone from last pitcher to make the rotation to being an All-Star and 20-win candidate in a few months.

20. Manny Machado (20): The second youngest player on this list, it’s eerie how much the Oriole resembles A-Rod at the same age in both frame (6’3, 185) and early impact (extra bases on 8 of first 15 hits).

Machado’s surprise promotion has been a big catalyst in the O’s shocking the world this summer.

19. Jeremy Hellickson (25): Last year’s AL Rookie of the Year doesn’t have a ton of wins, but still has nasty stuff that will let him pitch for a long time, which his 3.18 career ERA for the Rays is a preview of.

18. Eric Hosmer (22): There’s been a lot of worry about how his second year has gone (.240, 12 homers, .310 on-base %), but settle down. Being the by-far best player on an MLB squad at 22 is a tough haul on anybody, and the prophecy of The Hos as the leader of the Royal revival will be fulfilled.

17. Anthony Rizzo (23): He’s been everything he was billed as being as the Red Sox’s, Padres’ and Cubs’ top prospect over the last two years. After being traded for all the right reasons over the past two years, he’s finally settled in one place, where he’ll stay for awhile: third in the Cubs’ lineup.

16. Jason Heyward (23): In year three, his average is up over 50 points, and he’s pushed his homer total up 10 from a year ago. What’s more: The Brave has just as many home runs and doubles as the much more heralded Andrew McCutchen.

 

For the top 15 of the list, including what may seem like a shocker at the top, considering what’s going on this summer, head over to THE CHEAP SEATS at The Sports Fan Journal here: http://www.thesportsfanjournal.com/sports/baseball/youth-movement-baseballs-top-25-25-and-under/

 

And for more on the day-to-day of the game, follow me on Twitter at @CheapSeatFan

THE PEOPLE’S CHOICE – CSP’s Top 50 NFL Players (Part 2)

Posted: September 19, 2011 by The Cheap Seat Fan in NFL
Tags: , , ,

In part two of this season’s ranking of the top 50 players in the NFL, we bring it all home with #25 to #1. This is where the cream of the crop comes out. The faces of the league, the Super Bowl winners and MVPs, as well as the most respected players that may not get the brightest shine. All of that is represented here, as well as the biggest debates of them all.

Whenever word is dropped on who’s the best, it sparks up the most heated of all debates. What determines the best? Is it the biggest winner, the most statistically dominant or the best talent? Is it who’s hot at the moment or who’s got the best resume? All of that and more was represented by the ten voters that participated in determining this year’s top 50, and it is sure to inspire even more debate from here.

So why wait? Let’s get into it, the best of the NFL in 2011, via the CHEAP SEATS:

Vick pulled himself back into the elite of the NFL last season, but how high does he make it against his peers?

25. Joe Thomas (High 12, Low: Unranked): The biggest rock in Cleveland’s foundation is the massive protector that keeps the pressure off Colt McCoy and blows holes open for Peyton Hillis with equal ease. He hasn’t missed a Pro Bowl trip in his career, and if you’re going to beat the Browns, it’s going to have to go through another side than his.

24. Jamaal Charles (High 20, Low: 35): An unfortunate injury ended this season for him, but that’s about all that can stop KC’s speedster. Put the ball in his hands and just look downfield…and usually a long ways down it. Last season, his 6.3 yards per carry placed him only behind Jim Brown (barely) in single season effort. That’s good company for a guy entering only his third year as a starter.

23. Arian Foster (High: 19, Low: 40): The Texans ground threat came out of nowhere to go from undrafted free agent, to becoming one of the most unlikely rushing champions ever last year with 1,606 in his first full season as a starter. He’s battling a hamstring injury early this year, but once he gets right, more of the same is in store for the up and coming Texans.

Nobody had a bigger breakthrough in 2010 than Foster did in his year as a starter.

22. Patrick Willis (High: 8, Low: Unranked): The Niners could probably get away with using just one linebacker with Willis out there. Nobody racks up the tackles like the 49ers middle linebacker does. He lead the league in them each of his first three years, and when teams began to avoid anything he could reasonably get to last year (which takes some work), he set a career-high in sacks instead…and still had over 120 tackles.

21. Clay Matthews (High: 13, Low: 30): He bares a striking resemblance to both Thor and He-Man, and he plays exactly like they would in football pads. In both of his first two seasons he has reached double figures in sacks and opened up 2010 with six sacks in the first two weeks of the season.

20. Antonio Gates (High: 14, Low: 29): Oh what could have been if Gates’ health would’ve held together last year. In ten games and on just 50 catches, he hauled in 782 yards and got in the endzone 10 times. When he went down, he lead the NFL in TD grabs, was on pace to get up to 18. Let’s see if he can pick up where he left off this year.

19. Calvin Johnson (High: 14, Low: 26): There’s no other mixture of size and speed like him in the game. He’s fast enough to run past most cornerbacks, and if he isn’t, he can just dominate them physically. With Matthew Stafford finally getting healthy and being able to feed him the ball, the best is yet to come for Megatron.

18. Jake Long (High: 7, Low: 44): The Dolphins offense may come and go as far as productivity goes, but it can’t say it doesn’t have the chance with Long leading the way. The perennial All-Pro tackle is the main reason why Reggie Bush could be about to live up to his potential in Miami.

17. Philip Rivers (High: 13, Low: 27): It’s no secret he can fling the ball around the field, but last year he did more than he’s ever done, with the most depleted roster he’s ever been surrounded with. Despite his top receiver holding out, his All-Universe tight end out with injuries, a depleted offensive line and a rookie running back, he threw for a career high 4,710 yards.

Rivers has become a perennial candidate for MVP now, and carries as much weight as any QB in the game.

16. Haloti Ngata (High: 4, Low: 35): The most versatile defensive linemen in the NFL, it doesn’t matter where the Ravens place him, he makes plays. For years, he clogged the middle of the defense and was a Pro Bowler at tackle. Last year he set a career high in sacks after moving to defensive end, and still returned to the Pro Bowl.

15. Larry Fitzgerald (High: 12, Low: Unranked): The most dangerous endzone target in the game, Fitz still managed 90 catches and actually ended up with more yards than he did with Kurt Warner tossing to him the year before. Now with Kevin Kolb hooking him up way downfield again, he could easily add both a 4th year of over 1,400 yards and a 5th double digit touchdown year.

14. Michael Vick (High: 6, Low: Unranked): Vick’s renaissance took him from backup to Pro Bowl starter in under one season. He’s still the ultimate weapon in skills; has fast as a receiver and with an arm as good as any in the game. However, now he’s a better passer than ever before and has weapons around him just as quick and dangerous. The best is yet to come here.

13. Julius Peppers (High: 8, Low: 19): While he had better statistical seasons in the past, the story of Julius Peppers runs deeper than that. He’s never played better football than he is now. He’s just as dangerous running down rushers as he is chasing the quarterback and he brought an intensity that was undeniable and placed the Bears four quarters away from a Super Bowl in his first year.

12. Chris Johnson (High: 8, Low: 23): He’s the only back in the game that can say he’s going for 2,000 yards, and it’s not seen as crazy talk. Arguably the fastest player in the game, and is instantly a threat as soon as he touches the ball. He’s the all-time record holder for most yards in one season and will continue to carry the weight of the Titans world on his shoulders.

11. Nnamdi Asomugha (High: 9, Low: Unranked): So dangerous that teams don’t even throw his way. Since his eight interception breakout season in 2007, opposing QBs have only been brave enough to throw his way often enough for him to grab a total of three in the last four years. Now he moves over to Philadelphia and has a legit chance of turning that fear into the only number that counts: his first Super Bowl ring.

10. DeMarcus Ware (High: 9, Low: 21): It’s starting to seem like he can get sacks whenever he wants them. The best pass rusher in the NFL has led the league two of the last three seasons in QBs landed, and has averaged a ridiculous 13 sacks a season in his six year career. 20 of these came in one season, and it’s not a stretch to think he could top that number again.

9. Andre Johnson (High: 4, Low: 16): It’s not so much about if he’s the best receiver in the game now anymore, that’s a given. It’s more about how high up the all-time list the ninth year Texan is. He gets the job done early and often, and is one of two receivers to ever lead the league in yards two consecutive seasons (and passed 1,500 yards in each year).  The other player to achieve this? Some guy named Rice.

8. Darrelle Revis (High: 2, Low: 15): Revis Island is real, and it’s lonely. The Jets cornerback is a silencer: he takes the biggest and best receivers in the game on one-on-one, and takes them out the game. For his efforts, he’s made three consecutive Pro Bowls and pushed the Jets to two straight AFC Championship games.

7. Ed Reed (High: 4, Low: 10): No player turns defense into offense as often as Reed does. He has 13 touchdowns in his career from a mixture of interceptions, punt blocks, punt and fumble returns. For all of this, his greatest act, in a career with plenty of them, may have come last season when he lead the NFL in interceptions with eight despite playing in only 10 games.

Reed sometimes seems like an entire secondary by himself, and has legit claim to being the greatest free safety of all-time.

6. Aaron Rodgers (High: 2, Low: 17): The wheeling and dealing Rodgers threw the Pack on his back and took them to the top of the NFL a year ago. He leads one of the deepest receiving groups in the game and is the most dangerous passer on the move in the game. He doesn’t waste passes either: he is the All-Time leader in both regular season and playoff passer rating, and has the lowest interception rate in NFL history as well.

5. Drew Brees (High: 3, Low: 9): The face of the New Orleans Saints has made a career of being able to thread the needle like no other QB. To date, he has a 5,000 yard season and four 4,000 yard efforts. He is tied for the most consecutive seasons with 4,000 yards and 30 touchdowns, and opened up this year with a 400 yard day in Green Bay against the team that succeeded his Saints as Champions.

4. Adrian Peterson (High: 3, Low: 9): He’s the highest paid runner in the game, and for good reason. There’s no player that combines power, speed and instincts like AD. He reached 5,000 yards in third fastest time in league history and passed 6,000 early this year already. He has reached at least 10 rushing touchdowns in every season of his career.

In just four years, Peterson has become one of the most revered runners in the game's history due to his rare overall ability.

3. Troy Polamalu (High: 3, Low: 8): His effect on the Steelers over the last few years is simple, yet major. When he plays, they go to the Super Bowl. When he doesn’t, they aren’t even a playoff team. In 2008, they won the whole thing. In ’09, they miss the Playoffs when he misses most of the season. He comes back last year, plays better than ever and they go back to the Bowl. He’s the very definition of difference maker.

2. Peyton Manning (High: 1, Low: 2): No player means more to his team than Peyton does. His greatness has long been defined by numbers, but now it’s shown in presence. With him on the sideline for the first time in his career, the Colts look more like a team that lives at the top of the Draft every year, than one that has taken home seven of the last nine division titles. Last year, Peyton carried the entire team on his shoulders more than ever due to a rash of injuries. Now this year, they are healthier as a whole, but one injury has sunk the rest of the ship. He should win MVP this year even if he doesn’t throw one pass.

1. Tom Brady (High: 1, Low: 2): No one came in at the top of more lists than Brady, and for good reason. It’s bigger than the 14 win, MVP season he had a year ago. It’s the fact that he makes playing the most difficult position in the game look effortless. After landing his second MVP nod with a ridiculous, record-setting 9:1 touchdown to interception season, he picked right back up where he left off in 2011, throwing for 517 yards in the season opener, the fifth best performance in League history. Point proven.

It's his world: Brady didn't get a vote lower than #2, and came in at #1 on 80% of the ballots cast.

 

Follow me on Twitter at @CheapSeatFan for more on the never ending debate on who’s man around the NFL week-to-week.

This weekend the opening of controversy season got under way for college football, with the initial Bowl Championship Series polls were displayed to the public. While these are always open for debate, along with various interpretations of the BCS abbreviation (in many cases I ignore the “C” and switch words on the B and S, but I digress).

While the formula for this poll is up for debate between purists and statisticians, it is indisputable that it gives teams something to play towards. It also gives me something to answer on opinion on my texts, Twitter and even dinner with family time. To bring all of that to the middle, I sat down with the two main pure polls (AP and USA Today), along with the BCS poll, each teams schedules and the most reliable of all these methods, my opinion. Here is my interpretation of how it should look now and what’s going to weigh into where it ends up.

1. Oregon Ducks (6-0, #2 BCS, #1 USA Today, #1 AP)

Profile: Pac 10; 54.3 PPG, 16 PAG

Key wins: @ Tennessee (48-13), Stanford (57-31)

Lowdown: They are blowing teams out right now and are in a conference where they only have to play one more ranked team in Arizona, and that’s at home. They are a track meet of a running team, and have yet to be able to be held under 40 points yet.

2. Oklahoma Sooners (6-0, #1 BCS, #3 USA Today, #3 AP)

Profile: Big 12; 36 PPG, 19 PAG

Key wins: Florida State (47-17), Texas (28-20)

Lowdown: Oklahoma is moving ahead by staying undefeated in a power conference, despite having many close calls. They destroyed Florida State early and survived a down year Texas team in the River River Shootout. Somehow these slight wins were enough to boost them to #1 in BCS minds, despite being the consensus #3 otherwise. They feature an immediate test to this throne, going into Columbia, Missouri against a tough Mizzou defense.

3. Boise State (6-0, #3 BCS, #2 USA Today, #2 AP)

Profile: WAC; 47.5 PPG, 12.3 PAG

Key Wins: Virginia Tech (33-30), Oregon State (37-24)

Lowdown: They beat a top 15 team in Virginia Tech to open the season to prove they can play under the bright lights. Many critics say they don’t play on an even level with other Top 10 teams. I say don’t put them automatically in the Top 2, which could walk them into the BCS Championship and let them continue to play, and if they win out, be the first team to move into the Top 2 if one of the team loses. They deserve a shot.

4. Auburn Tigers (7-0, #4 BCS, #5 USA Today, #5 AP)

Profile: SEC; 40 PPG, 24.4 PAG

Key Wins: South Carolina (35-27), Arkansas (65-43)

Lowdown: Auburn has steadily rose up the standings all year and have beaten several quality teams convincingly, including three currently ranked foes. However, they’re fate is destined with Alabama, who they face in the season closing rivalry game. However, both of their signature wins have come against teams that have pushed Alabama, including the Gamecocks, who knocked them from number one.

5. LSU (7-0, #6 BCS, #6 USA Today, #6 AP)

Profile: SEC; 26.7 PPG, 14.4 PAG

Key Wins: North Carolina (30-24), West Virginia (20-14), @ Florida (33-29)

Lowdown: LSU has had a bit of a rabbit’s foot and have had a lot of things work out perfectly so far, as they have won several very close games to maintain their undefeated record. With back-to-back match ups with Auburn and Alabama, it will be shown very soon if they are legit or not.

6. Michigan State (7-0, #7 BCS, #8 USA Today, #8 AP)

Profile: Big 10; 34 PPG, 16 PAG

Key Wins: Wisconsin (34-24), @ Michigan (34-17)

Lowdown: They have played several close games and have simply out-toughed all of their opponents and beating Wisconsin and Michigan consecutively have proven them as the  class of the Big 10 early on.

7. Alabama (6-1, #8 BCS, #7 USA Today, #7 AP)

Profile: SEC; 33 PPG, 12.9 PAG

Key Wins: Penn State (24-3), @ Arkansas (24-20)

Key Loss: South Carolina (35-31)

Lowdown: Everybody’s #1 coming into the season has hit some tough speed bumps, with Arkansas and South Carolina pushing them as far as they can go, with South Carolina finally knocking them off. Even with the L, they still are the best of any one loss team and if they keep winning deserve to move up first, even before other undefeated clubs, because they still are plain better.

8. TCU (7-0, #5 BCS, #4 USA Today, #4 AP)

Profile: Mountain West; 40 PPG, 9.3 PAG

Key Win: Oregon State (30-21)

Lowdown: This is the team that has just moved along all season and are over ranked for what they have done. They did beat a quality Oregon State team, but otherwise there is nothing here that says they deserve to be high ranked than a BCS conference undefeated or even some one lose clubs. While they are top 5 in all major polls, I can’t give them that credit unless they beat Utah in two weeks.

9. Ohio State (6-1, #10 BCS, #10 USA Today, #11 AP)

Profile: Big 10; 39.6 PPG, 13 PAG

Key Wins: Miami (36-24)

Key Loss: Wisconsin (31-28)

Lowdown: The Buckeyes easily moved along beating every team convincingly in route to ascending to #1 for a week, just to never take the fight to Wisconsin in their first tough road game of the season. They are still a quality team, and can easily move back up towards the top 5 with a strong finish.

10. Utah Utes (6-0, #9 BCS, #9 USA Today, #9 AP)

Profile: Mountain West; 45.8 PPG, 14 PAG

Key Win: Pittsburgh (27-24)

Lowdown: Similar to conference mate TCU, they’re road to the a high BCS vote has been dictated against impressive wins versus underwhelming opponents. They’re match up for the MWC crown versus TCU is what they’re entire season is built around. For now, this is about where they should be placed.

11. Stanford Cardinal (5-1, #12 BCS, #14 USA Today, #12 AP)

Profile: Pac 10; 43 PPG, 23 PAG

Key Wins: @ Notre Dame (37-14), USC (37-35)

Key Loss: @ Oregon (52-31)

Lowdown: Stanford has played an impressive early schedule and has been solid every week, but a blowout versus Oregon pushes them down the poll. They have played well every week otherwise and could have a seat in the Rose Bowl if Oregon shoots above it in to the BCS Championship game.

12. Wisconsin Badgers (6-1, #13 BCS, #11 USA Today, #10 AP)

Profile: Big 10; 36 PPG, 18 PAG

Key Wins: Ohio State (31-28)

Key Loss: @ Michigan State (34-24)

Lowdown: Wisconsin is one of the teams that can play the biggest part in the Big 10, and by default BCS, picture. They fell to Michigan State, yet came back and knocked Ohio State from the top spot. They have been competitive all year, and because of this, they will be able to move up freely if they beat Iowa and win out.

13. Missouri Tigers (6-0; #11 BCS, #16 USA Today, #18 AP)

Profile: Big 12, 34.5 PPG, 10.8 PAG

Key Wins: Illinois (23-13), Texas A&M (30-9)

Lowdown: The Tigers take this position as the top representative of the Big 12 North, but they have yet to face a big name opponent on the season for a truly signature win. They have only traveled once outside Missouri, yet won convincingly. They have ascended to this spot by doing what they are supposed to do, but the show-and-prove part of their season is coming up and most of it is on the road. Mizzou will either shoot up the standings or settle out rather quickly.

13. Iowa Hawkeyes (5-1; #15 BCS, #12 USA Today, #13 AP)

Profile: Big 10; 34 PPG, 13.2 PAG

Key Wins: Penn State (24-3), @ Michigan (38-28)

Key Loss: @ Arizona (34-27)

Lowdown: They have played tough matchups all season, and save for a bad second half versus Arizona, they would be undefeated to this point. A gritty win in Ann Arbor versus Michigan and a convincing defeat of Penn State cement them as a solid contender for the Big 10 title. With back-to-back matchups with Michigan State and Wisconsin it remains to be seen how big of a player Iowa is in the season’s events.

15. Nebraska Cornhuskers (5-1 #16 BCS, #13 USA Today, #14 AP)

Profile: Big 12; 36 PPG, 14 PAG

Key Wins: @ Kansas State (48-13), @ Washington (56-21)

Key Loss: Texas (20-13)

Lowdown: The Huskers were one of the most dynamic teams in the season, reaching half way up the Top 10 until falling to Texas last weekend. For them to fall out of the Top 15 BCS teams is odd to me, because while Texas has been inconsistent they are a solid team that was the #6 team in the nation at a point, so they shouldn’t be severely punished for falling to them. The bottom line is that they have looked better winning five games than they were in losing one by seven points, and they have plenty of chances of to climb again.

With the first week of revealed BCS standings about to start up, it remains to be seen how long these stand revelevant. However, it is clear there are some teams being slighted, while others are being given a bit too much credit. But as always, all they can do is take it to the field and let the B(C)S take care of the rest, for better or worse.