Sunday, November 11, 2007

College Football Homestretch

You won't ever hear me say there should be a playoff system in college football. In my world, if that were to happen, the college football season would become just as meaningful as the college basketball regular season, which is only a little more meaningful than Tic Tac Dough reruns on the Game Show Network.

I like things the way they are. It's not perfect, but it makes for an intriguing Rubik's Cube of possibilities, especially given what happened in Columbus yesterday.


Illinois rushed for 260 yards, opening up room for Juice Williams to finish things off with 4 TD passes, and the 8-3 Illinois Fighting Illini threw the BCS standings into a state of upheaval by knocking off the #1 Ohio State Buckeyes 28-21 in Columbus.

So with the Buckeyes slipping out of the National Title game for the time being, who benefits?


The new #1 will be the LSU Tigers. They survived a stern test (Bwahahahahaha) from Louisiana Tech this week, winning a 58-10 nail biter. They should win their last two pretty easily, as they travel to Oxford, MS to face Ole Miss, then finish up at home against Arkansas. Their probably foe in the SEC title game will be Georgia, who looked impressive in a 45-20 dismantling of Auburn this week. Of course, UGA looked pretty unimpressive giving up 34 points to Troy the week before. LSU has the advantage of controlling its own destiny, but that SEC title game may just be their biggest obstacle on the road to a national title.
They win the SEC. Easier said than done. Georgia looms large.


The Ducks had the week off, but they'll enter next week as #2. As you might be able to deduce, the top 2 teams in the BCS standings play for the championship, so they control their own destiny. Their toughest test will come when they travel to face wildly inconsistent UCLA in two weeks. They have a huge advantage in that they don't have to play a conference title game. They have a huge disadvantage in that this is the same team that got its ass handed to them by BYU in its bowl game last year, so they are my prime candidate to be exposed next.


The Ducks have the easiest road. A home game against Arizona should be a gimme. A roadie at UCLA less so, and then a rivalry game at home against Oregon State. All 3 are games the Ducks should win, and will need to if they want a title shot.


All 3 of these teams rolled in conference games yesterday. Oklahoma trounced Baylor 52-21 behind 3 TD passes for Sam Bradford and 3 rushing touchdowns for DeMarco Murray. Kansas handled Oklahoma State in a nationally televised night game in Stillwater, 43-28. Mizzou thumped Texas A+M 40-26 in Columbia. Missouri plays at Kansas in 2 weeks, with the winner likely going to the Big 12 title game to face Oklahoma.


The Big 12 champ will probably only get in if either LSU loses the SEC title game, or if Oregon doesn't win the Pac 10. If that happens, Kansas would be in for sure because the only way they are Big 12 champs is if they finish unbeaten. Oklahoma or Missouri would have to hope the BCS supercomputer deems them more worthy than some other potential 1 loss BCS conference champs, beginning with..


The 8-1 Mountaineers knocked off Louisville when QB Patrick White broke a 50 yard TD run with just over a minute remaining. They'll be tested severely when they go on the road to face 8-2 Cincinnati next week.


Oregon needs to lose. LSU probably does too, because the chances of UWV getting BCS love over the Big 12 champs are slim.


Yes, that brings us back to the Buckeyes. Of course, OSU needs to beat Michigan next week. From there, it's not as impossible as you might think.


Oregon or LSU lose, and Kansas doesn't win the big 12. Then, the Buckeyes go back in the one loss BCS conference champion hopper with West Virginia, either Missouri or Oklahoma, and a team that could still come out of nowhere to host the national title game...


The Sun Devils have one loss, but because it was to Oregon a mere two weeks ago, they've been buried near the bottom of the top 10. However, if they win at home against USC in two weeks, then take care of business at home against Arizona, they would finish the regular season with only one loss. If Oregon does not win out, that would make the Sun Devils the Pac 10 champs, and more than that the Pac 10 champs with only one loss.


Stay with me. Of course, ASU needs to win out (including beating USC) and Oregon needs to lose. Kansas needs to not win the Big 12. It wouldn't hurt if LSU lost the SEC title game, but it's not 100% necessary. Michigan beating Ohio State probably is necessary. West Virginia stumbling would complete the complicated spell. However, simply winning the Pac 10 while Ohio State and Kansas lose a game may just be enough to get them in. That would probably leave it between West Virginia and the Sun Devils, and they could win that computerized showdown.

To recap, circle these games that are going to determine the 2 teams playing for the national title:
11/17 West Virginia at Cincinnati
11/17 Oklahoma at Texas Tech
11/17 Ohio State at Michigan
11/22 USC at Arizona State
11/24 Oregon at UCLA
11/24 Missouri at Kansas
12/1 Oregon State at Oregon
12/1 SEC Championship Game--most likely LSU v. Georgia
12/1 Big 12 Championship Game-- Missouri or Kansas v. Oklahoma

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