Wow, where do we start? Oregon went down, Iowa finally fell, Cincinnati and Houston survived by the slimmest of margins, and Alabama and Florida clinched spots in the SEC Championship Game. Tons of upsets this week, and virtually all of them had relevance in the conference so let’s look at this by conference.
Ohio State came into Happy Valley and beat Penn State pretty thoroughly. I stated in the Picks column that I had no confidence that Penn State would come out and perform on any given week and it proved true this week. With this win, Ohio State controls its own destiny in the Big 10. If they win out, including a win over Iowa next week, they will win the Big 10 and head, in all likelihood, to the Rose Bowl to face the Pac-10 winner. The same goes for Iowa. If they win out, they go to the Rose Bowl. I like Ohio State’s chances much more, especially if Ricky Stanzi stays sidelined.
Here’s how they’ll finish
- Ohio State
- Penn State
- Michigan State
Florida and Alabama are clearly the class of the conference, and it shows as they have both clinched spots in the SEC Championship Game. Neither has lost, and barring a collapse against rivals Auburn for Alabama, both will be undefeated going into the game. With Texas’ stranglehold on the Big 12, it is highly unlikely that both teams can make the BCS Championship even after the SEC, so whoever wins that game moves on. My money has to be on Florida with their defense and Alabama’s QB problems, not to mention that every front-running team has won over the past year so there is no reason the trend should reverse. LSU is the best of the rest, followed by Georgia, Auburn and South Carolina. They are followed by everyone else, all of which have merit but few of which apply it on a consistent basis.
Here’s how they’ll finish:
- South Carolina
- Ole Miss
- Mississippi State
The only team worth talking about in depth here is Texas. It is tempting to not even rank the other teams, but I will do it. Texas has not been the class of the conference from day one, but since Sam Bradford went down, it has been theirs to lose. They haven’t done so yet, despite a few attempts, and it does not look like they will falter. This lands them in the BCS Championship Game where they will lose by double digits to Florida. Not a blowout necessarily, just not an especially compelling game. Nebraska and Oklahoma State are ok and probably second and third in the Big 12 in some order, but the gap from them to Texas is bigger than Chad OchoCinco’s ego. Not a crack at Ocho in the least, I love the guy, but you know it’s true.
- Kansas State
- Iowa State
- Oklahoma State
- Texas Tech
The ACC is a lesson in hype. Miami jumped out in front and got BCS hype but couldn’t handle it and ended up a pretty mediocre yet talented team. Georgia Tech was hyped preseason, but after getting beat down by the Canes, they started flying under the radar and now sit atop the ACC Coastal. Florida State was supposed to be pretty good too, but could not handle the hype. All of which leads us to today, where there are really no sure bets in the ACC. I think Georgia Tech is the best of these teams, but clearly they are not the only contender. Miami is the most talented probably, but that doesn’t mean much when you are so inconsistent.
Virginia Tech is a different story. They were not over or underhyped so they were not a part of that last paragraph, but they are clearly one of the better teams in the ACC. They really should be better than they are, but they did not win the big games on their schedule. They beat Miami and Nebraska, but only one of those counted in conference, and the other big games just did not work for them. Georgia Tech will represent the ACC in the BCS barring an upset by Clemson or BC in the Championship Game.
- Georgia Tech
- Virginia Tech
- Boston College
- Wake Forest
- Florida State
- NC State
Oregon had a stranglehold on the conference until they did not show up in Palo Alto. This opened the door not only
for Arizona but for USC in an unlikely scenario. Oregon still has to play Arizona and Oregon State, which are no cupcakes, so a once assured Pac-10 Championship is now very much up in the air. Arizona might even be favored in that game. I do not know what to think about the Pac-10 really. Oregon should have wrapped it up without any problem, but they have been derailed. Both Oregon and Arizona control their own destiny, but there is no guarantee that either will successfully control it. USC is still very much in the picture, but I would not bet on them. Right now I have Arizona winning the Pac-10 title, but with zero certainty. This will be a wild race to the finish.
- Oregon State
- Arizona State
- Washington State
Originally I was just going to write Cincinnati 40 times and call it thorough, but Pittsburgh has been showing mesomething lately. Bill Stull has been excellent and they have a solid running game. I am interested in seeing how they would do against the better teams, but until that time we will have to guess. Cincinnati is clearly the team to beat in the Big East and barring some serious problems they will roll to their second straight BCS game. Cincinnati in two consecutive BCS bowls? I know, it’s crazy.
- West Virginia
- South Florida
Yeah, they deserve the recognition for being one of the better conferences in America. TCU should win it,
but Utah is making a good case too and BYU is not at all a bad team despite the fact that they have almost
no shot at the MWC title. This is absolutely TCU’s to lose after how well they have played and I do not think they will squander it. Utah willchallenge and make them work for it, but it looks like TCU will get to crash the BCS with Boise State. I will avoid showing the final standings for this conference, but it should be noted that Air Force is pretty good too and could surprise someone in a smaller bowl game.
Well, hopefully that gives you a better picture of both the BCS and Conference titles will play out. I personally hope that my projections are way off so there is total mayhem in the BCS, but I wouldn’t mind being right. The AP Top 10 should see some new faces too with so many teams going down. Should be fun.