For fans of BCS chaos, the first few weeks of November are always the best point on the college football calendar: that fleeting sweet spot when just enough of the season has passed to establish the leading players for the home stretch, and just enough remains to put them through some inevitable drama. Of the top-ten teams in the BCS standings on November 1, 2011, eight of them went on to lose games over the next three weeks that they were favored to win. Three members of that group, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, and Oregon, all fell as double-digit favorites in a span of 24 hours, taking their hopes of playing for a BCS championship down with them. In 2010, five of the top ten at the start of November were eventually upset. At the start of November 2007, two of the top four included undefeated Boston College and Arizona State, for heaven's sake, and that was the most sane and stable week of that insane, unstable season.
So to the Big Question of "Who's No. 2?" this week behind the all-powerful Death Star that is Alabama, the only appropriate answer is: let's wait and see. The Crimson Tide themselves survived an all-hands-on-deck upset bid last weekend at LSU, and face another one Saturday against the most explosive offense in the SEC, by far, in Texas A&M. Notre Dame's perfect season came even closer to the edge against Pittsburgh, of all teams, which never trailed until the Irish punched in the winning touchdown in triple overtime. The fact that undefeated Oregon and Kansas State have not been seriously challenged only means they're due in the next few weeks, and Saturday's road trips to Cal and TCU are as good spots for a scare as any.
Football Outsiders – 7th Day Adventure: Survival of the Fittest
At Football Outsiders, the weekly preview is up, examining the rites of November chaos, plus analysis, advanced stats and picks on the week's top games
By Matt Hinton