If you review Sports Illustrated's Top 20, you come to the awkward yet natural conclusion that the BCS could be a total mess this season.
USC, arguably, has the easiest road to the BCS. If they get past Cal on November 10th, the Trojans will finish the season undefeated and a lock for the BCS title game. They're the most balanced team on both sides of the ball, and may be the best Trojan team of the Pete Carroll era (if you believe Jim Harbaugh that is).
But imagine these scenarios:
West Virginia (4) and Louisville (5) and Rutgers (12). This thing could play out like last season and they could all beat each other thereby leaving each of them out of the BCS title mix. But what happens if one runs the table? West Virginia seems the most likely of the three to do it by virtue of getting Louisville at home on November 8th.
Texas (8) and Oklahoma (9). Neither one of these teams will lose before they play on October 6th and neither one will lose after, meaning that the winner will finish the season undefeated, barring a defeat to Nebraska in the Big XII title game (which won't happen).
Michigan (6). Penn State, at Wisconsin and Ohio State stand between Lloyd Carr getting the axe and an undefeated season. I like the Wolverines to run the table, although Chad Henne is 0-3 against the Buckeyes.
Virginia Tech (7). I don't know squat about the Hokies except that I hate them. I always have, which is why writing this is so painful. If the Hokies beat LSU on September 8th in Baton Rouge, they could certainly run the table. They get Boston College, Miami and Florida State at home, and have to go to Clemson and Georgia Tech.
LSU (2). The Tigers have the toughest road to the BCS title game of anyone ranked in the Top 5. They have to play Virginia Tech, Florida, Auburn and Arkansas at home and they go on the road to Alabama (with Nick Saban on the other side) and Kentucky (with a really good offense). LSU's defense is outstanding, so we'll see. Les Miles is their coach, and while this team can run on auto-pilot, if he has to coach in a close game, LSU is in trouble.
I believe that if USC and LSU run the table, they'll both get in by virtue of their strength of schedule. That said, I think you can make a sensible argument that USC, West Virginia, Texas, Michigan and LSU could all be undefeated at year's end.
I know, I know, it's never happened. But there's a first time for everything, isn't there?
We won't really know what this will look like until the first BCS rankings are released. But remember, no team ranked outside the BCS Top 12 when the first poll is released has ever made it to the BCS title game. Theoretically, everyone ranked inside the SI Top 15 has the potential to make it . . . and that includes Boise State.