The first BCS rankings of 2012 will be released tonight, and there will undoubtedly be several teams kicking themselves for their Week 7 performances. Although there will be some bickering among fans about their respective teams' rankings, these standings will set the tone for the remainder of the 2012 season.
We've already heard the same old line from coaches about what they expect these standings to look like. Listen to Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly addressing the impending release of the BCS rankings before his team beat Stanford this weekend.
"All we can focus on is what we can control on a day-to-day basis. When I do press conferences and talk to the media, sometimes I let our team know, I'll talk in those terms, but amongst us, it's about today and what we do today."
As much as coaches, players and even fans like to deny it, the BCS rankings will determine whether their team gets a shot at a national title in 2012. Let's take a look at three teams that hurt themselves this weekend and could be disappointed with where they end up in tonight's initial rankings.
Had WVU won out this season, it would have had a legitimate chance to make it to the national-title game. With Florida facing an angry South Carolina team next weekend, Notre Dame's impending matchups with USC and Oklahoma and Oregon's treacherous upcoming schedule, the Mountaineers would have had a chance to make history in 2012 had they taken care of business on Saturday.
WVU entered Lubbock, Texas ranked No. 5 in the AP Poll but left with a crushing 49-14 loss to Texas Tech. The team has since dropped to No. 17 in the AP Poll, so it may be fair to expect a similar ranking in the BCS standings.
As heartbreaking as it is to be virtually out of national-championship contention, West Virginia's season is not over. If it can beat Kansas State next weekend and win out in conference play, it has a serious chance at earning a bid to a BCS bowl game this season. This team can still have success in 2012, but its Week 7 loss has removed it from the national-championship discussion.
The Gamecocks lost a grueling battle on the road to a talented LSU squad in Week 7 by a score of 23-21. It would be unfair to say South Carolina should not have won the game, nor should it be faulted for losing to a talented team on the road by two points. However, the Gamecocks no longer control their destiny when it comes to making a national-championship appearance.
If South Carolina had gone through the SEC regular season undefeated, it would have most likely made it to the BCS National Championship game. After losing to LSU, it is going to need some serious help for that to happen.
Although the Gamecocks are one of the most talented football teams in the nation, they are going to be scoreboard-watching for the remainder of the season.
Stanford had an opportunity to vault itself into the national spotlight this weekend with a victory over Notre Dame. However, the Cardinal failed to score an offensive touchdown as they fell to the Irish in overtime 20-13.
Stanford has fallen to No. 23 in the AP Poll, so one would expect a similar drop in the BCS standings that come out later tonight. With that, the Cardinal still have matchups with nationally-ranked Oregon St. and Oregon remaining on their schedule.
Although Stanford's loss to Notre Dame does not affect its hopes of attaining a Rose Bowl berth, the Cardinal lost a game in Week 7 that could have had them creeping towards the top 10 in the BCS standings.