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Unranked when the 2011 season started, head coach Dabo Swinney’s Clemson Tigers heard their names called on national television Sunday night when the Bowl Championship Series computer spit out its first standings of the year.

Clemson (7-0, 4-0 ACC) came in at No. 7 in the nation according to the BCS – which bases its rankings on multiple polls and computer models. Meanwhile the University of South Carolina (6-1, 4-1 SEC) is ranked No. 14 – although the Gamecocks must play their final five regular season games (and any post-season match-ups) without star running back Marcus Lattimore, who is out for the year after seriously injuring his left knee against Mississippi State.

This week marked the 2011 debut of the BCS – the controversial rankings system that pits its top two teams against each other at the end of the season in a national championship game. Sometimes the system produces a credible championship game, other times it doesn’t – which is why we’ve long maintained that the BCS should be scrapped in favor of an eight-team playoff system, arguing that the NCAA should choose its Division I-A football champion the same way the NBA, NFL, NHL, MLB and every other major NCAA sport determine “who’s No. 1.”

Love it or hate it, though, the BCS has selected the national championship participants in each of the last 13 seasons – with the Southeastern Conference capturing the last five BCS titles.

SEC West powerhouses LSU and Alabama were ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in this year’s initial BCS poll, respectively – although one of those teams will walk away with a loss when they face off in Tuscaloosa, Alabama on November 5. Similarly Oklahoma and Oklahoma State – ranked No. 3 and 4 in the BCS poll – will meet each other on December 3.

While ranked No. 7 in the BCS poll, Clemson remained No. 8 in both the AP Top 25 and USA Today/ Coaches’ poll. Meanwhile South Carolina climbed one spot in both polls.

Here are the latest rankings …

BOWL CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES STANDINGS (Oct. 16)

1. LSU 7-0
2. Alabama 7-0
3. Oklahoma 6-0
4. Oklahoma State 6-0
5. Boise State 6-0
6. Wisconsin 6-0
7. Clemson 7-0
8. Stanford 6-0
9. Arkansas 5-1
10. Oregon 5-1
11. Kansas State 6-0
12. Virginia Tech 6-1
13. Nebraska 5-1
14. South Carolina 6-1
15. West Virginia 5-1
16. Michigan State 5-1
17. Texas A&M 4-2
18. Michigan 6-1
19. Houston 6-0
20. Auburn 5-2
21. Penn State 6-1
22. Georgia Tech 6-1
23. Illinois 6-1
24. Texas 4-2
25. Washington 5-1

ASSOCIATED PRESS TOP 25 (Oct. 16)

1. LSU (41) 7-0, 1452
2. Alabama (11) 7-0, 1411
3. Oklahoma (6) 6-0, 1372
4. Wisconsin 6-0, 1252
5. Boise State (1) 6-0, 1218
6. Oklahoma State 6-0, 1186
7. Stanford 6-0, 1164
8. Clemson 7-0, 1064
9. Oregon 5-1, 1020
10. Arkansas 5-1, 946
11. West Virginia 5-1, 778
12. Kansas State 6-0, 762
13. Nebraska 5-1, 748
14. South Carolina 6-1, 690
15. Michigan State 5-1, 610
16. Virginia Tech 6-1, 597
17. Texas A&M 4-2, 467
18. Michigan 6-1, 442
19. Auburn 5-2, 374
20. Georgia Tech 6-1, 281
21. Houston 6-0, 238
22. Washington 5-1, 221
23. Illinois 6-1, 207
24. Georgia 5-2, 144
24. Arizona State 5-2, 144

Dropped from rankings: Baylor 20, Texas 22

Others receiving votes: Penn State 130, Notre Dame 107, Southern Cal 87, Southern Methodist 19, Baylor 19, Texas 12, Southern Miss 4, Cincinnati 4, Wake Forest 3, Rutgers 2.

USA TODAY-COACHES TOP 25 (Oct. 16)

1. Oklahoma (31) 6-0, 1426
2. LSU (15) 7-0, 1410
3. Alabama (12) 7-0, 1403
4. Wisconsin (1) 6-0, 1262
5. Stanford 6-0, 1222
6. Oklahoma State 6-0, 1173
7. Boise State 6-0, 1172
8. Clemson 7-0, 1028
8. Oregon 5-1, 1028
10. Arkansas 5-1, 931
11. Nebraska 5-1, 775
12. South Carolina 6-1, 765
13. Michigan State 5-1, 690
14. West Virginia 5-1, 688
14. Virginia Tech 6-1, 688
16. Kansas State 6-0, 678
17. Michigan 6-1, 458
18. Texas A&M 4-2, 415
19. Georgia Tech 6-1, 396
20. Houston 6-0, 359
21. Illinois 6-1, 260
22. Penn State 6-1, 253
23. Auburn 5-2, 202
24. Washington 5-1, 174
25. Arizona State 5-2, 86

Dropped from rankings: Texas 21, Baylor 24

Others receiving votes: Georgia 60, Notre Dame 36, Rutgers 31, Southern Methodist 27, Texas 26, Southern Miss 14, Cincinnati 14, Baylor 9, North Carolina 9, Virginia 3, Temple 3, Texas Christian 1.

PREVIOUS WEEK’S RANKINGS: Preseason234567-8

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