The top shelf of the initial Bowl Championship Series standings certainly has an Oklahoma feel to it.
Rivals Oklahoma and Oklahoma State are third and fourth, respectively, behind the Southeastern Conference's top two teams, LSU and Alabama.
The difference at the very top is minuscule. The Tigers and Tide, 7-0 teams who play Nov. 5 in Tuscaloosa, are separated by just .0003 points — .9522 to .9519 — in the complicated formula.
The Sooners (6-0) are close behind, at .9301. The Cowboys (6-0) are at .8568, ahead of No. 5 Boise State (.8027). Bedlam is scheduled for Dec. 3, when the other leagues, including the SEC, will play their conference championship games.
Both those from OU and OSU say they're more concerned with the standings in January — not mid-October.
“It only matters at the end of the year,” Sooners quarterback Landry Jones said Saturday night, after OU's win at Kansas. “Whether we're ranked where we are, whether we drop, we're still going to play ball.
“It'd be nice to be ranked high. It'd be nice to be ranked No. 1, or anything like that, but at the end of the year, that's when we'll know who the true No. 1 team is in the country.”
It's the first time since 2000 that the top four BCS teams came from two conferences, according to The Associated Press. Nebraska and Oklahoma represented the Big 12. Miami and Virginia Tech were Big East representatives, at the time.
This year's initial BCS Top 25 features three other schools from the 10-team Big 12. Undefeated Kansas State is 11th, Texas A&M is 17th and Texas is 24th. The relative strength of the league — the computer rankings say the Big 12 is the strongest conference in the country, top to bottom — is one thing boosting both OU and OSU.
Even those who dedicate their livelihoods to studying the BCS were caught by surprise by the first round of rankings. ESPN's Brad Edwards updated his projections late Saturday night to indicate OU would be ranked No. 1, ahead of the SEC's tandem. CBS' Jerry Palm thought Alabama would be first and OU second.
There's been plenty of juggling of those top three teams throughout the first half of the season. The Sooners remain No. 1 in the coaches' poll, which accounts for a third of the BCS formula. But they're third in the Harris Poll, which accounts for another third of the overall formula.
The other third is provided by seven computer rankings, with the highest and lowest ranking thrown out. The computers love Oklahoma State, which is No. 1 in five of the seven systems used.
“The recognition is great for our football program,” OSU head coach Mike Gundy said in a release after the standings were revealed. “But we are only halfway through the season and things can change quickly.”
The Cowboys play at Missouri this week.
“That game needs to be our focus,” Gundy said.
The 11 a.m. kickoff in Columbia could be a tricky test for OSU coming off a wild 38-26 victory at Texas. The Pokes did open as a 7 1/2-point favorite, though Missouri (3-3, 1-2 Big 12) played well Saturday to dismantle Iowa State 52-17.
Oklahoma, meanwhile, faces Texas Tech at home Saturday. The Sooners opened as 25 1/2-point favorites, despite the fact that the Red Raiders (4-2, 1-2) have lost consecutive games to ranked conference opponents by a total of just 12 points.
The Sooners won 47-17 on Saturday at Kansas, but it was an uneven evening for the most part. Jones said OU needs to “clean up” some of its issues — and particularly its red zone offense — if it wants to play for and win the national title Jan. 9 in New Orleans.
Worth noting, and some Sooners did on Twitter, is the fact that both OU and OSU control their own destinies. What happens in Stillwater on Dec. 3 looms large, clearly.