December 4, 2012

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Bowl Season Observations

By: Joe Williams

College football’s regular season games have been played, the bowl selections have been made and now all there is to do is wait…for 2014. In two years we will finally get the college football playoff we’ve been waiting for. Until then, we are stuck with the BCS system that, every year, is filled with controversy.

Should Oklahoma have made a BCS bowl?

This year, the BCS has delivered the most disappointing and uninteresting lineup of games since the BCS system began. The Rose Bowl has a team that has already lost five times this year in Wisconsin. The Orange Bowl has a team that was never in the BCS discussion until there was one day left in the season and has the experts complaining that they don’t deserve to be in the game in Northern Illinios. In the Sugar Bowl we have a team that benefited by not having to play in its conference championship game in Florida taking on a team that has lost two of three and has not faced a ranked opponent all season in Louisville. And of course the BCS Championship Game will feature possibly the two most hated teams in college football (Notre Dame and Alabama) so many fans won’t even know who to root for. The only bright spot is the Fiesta Bowl. Oregon against Kansas State should be a good one.

Why is everyone getting so bent out of shape about Northern Illinois reaching the BCS anyway? So Oklahoma doesn’t get in this year. So what? The Sooners have played in the BCS eight times. I’d rather see some new blood get a chance. It’s not like the Sooners are left out of a national championship shot. Has everyone forgotten what happened when Boise State (2007 and 2010) and Utah (2005 and 2009) were in the BCS and people thought they shouldn’t be? I’m not saying Northern Illinois will beat Florida State. But they qualified for the game. If Oklahoma was so worried about playing in a BCS game it should have performed better against Notre Dame or Kansas State.

What happens if Alabama beats Notre Dame, leaving Ohio State as the only undefeated team? I don’t think it will happen and I don’t think it should happen (because the Buckeyes are not bowl eligible), but what are the chances that Ohio State could end up No. 1 in the AP and we have a split national championship? Talk about college football controversy.

If we have learned anything about college football and the people who run it over the years, it is that the most important thing is money. That is why I am surprised that we are still able to find out who will be playing in what bowl game before the actual BCS selection show is on TV. Why haven’t they come up with a selection show similar to the NFL draft where we have representatives from each bowl game coming up to the podium and announcing the team they have selected to play in each game. We would have teams all around the country gathered around the phone waiting for a call. I would have loved to see a split screen of the reactions from Oklahoma and Northern Illinois when the match-ups were made official. That would get higher ratings then having somebody from ESPN telling us what we have already known for days.

There are 35 games still to play. I’ve got no interest in most of them (East Carolina vs Louisana-Lafayette and Duke vs Cincinnati for example), and only one game means anything. Fortunately, we will go through this just one more time.

November 1, 2012

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College Football Week 10

By: Junior

With college football’s BCS bowl picture just vaguely starting to take shape, speculation is already running rampant about which teams will play for the BCS National Championship. We have a long way to go before we find out, but Week 10 in college football could help shape the futures of a lot of teams. We look at the 5 biggest games of the weekend and how they could change the BCS picture.

LSU could shake up the BCS National Championship picture with a win over Alabama.

Alabama at LSU

This game could drastically change the BCS National Championship game. Alabama has long been penciled into the BCS National Championship game and a loss to LSU could be devastating. LSU has been very successful in Saturday night games at home, but they are still thought to be heavy underdogs against the Crimson Tide. If they can pull off the upset, they would have one loss and be launched back into the national championship conversation. Not to mention potentially take Alabama out of it.

Oklahoma State at Kansas State

Kansas State has been one of the most surprising teams this college football season. They are averaging over 44 points a game and giving up only 17. The Wildcats have dominated their last two opponents, #13 West Virginia and #14 Texas Tech, and are contending for a spot in the BCS National Championship. Oklahoma State has two losses and this will be their first of 4 straight games against ranked opponents. A win against the Wildcats would start their streak off on the right foot. A loss puts Kansas State one step closer to their goal.

Oregon at USC

No team scores quite like the Oregon Ducks. The undefeated Ducks average 53 points a game and, at 8-0, have been pretty successful winning games. The knock on Oregon is that they don’t play tough competition, but they beat Arizona, a team that beat USC just last week. USC would like nothing better than to bounce back and spoil Oregon’s season. Both team’s look set for a rematch in the PAC-12 championship game, although a loss to Oregon would put USC’s chances in jeopardy.

Texas A&M at Mississippi State

Both of these teams are facing season-defining games these next two weeks. If #16 Texas A&M can win this week against Mississippi State and then upset #1 Alabama, their BCS resume would be looking great. The Aggies would be 8-2, with their only losses being to Florida and LSU.

However, if #15 Mississippi State can beat Texas A&M and then turn around and upset LSU, they would be 9-1 with their only loss coming to Alabama. Regardless of the outcome of this game, one of these teams will have a chance to make some noise in the BCS picture in the next few weeks.

Texas at Texas Tech

Both teams are 6-2 and fighting for ranking spots not only in the Big 12 but in the national polls as well.  While they both have two losses, Texas’ came at the hands of West Virginia and Oklahoma, while Texas Tech lost to Kansas State and Oklahoma. The winner of this game still has a chance to go to a big bowl game later this year if they can win out the rest of the season. That task will be a little harder for Texas, who still has to play Kansas State in their regular season finale.

October 23, 2012

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BCS Championship Update

By: Joe Williams

College football’s BCS championship contender field is narrowing each week. We are down to just 11 unbeaten teams (really 10 because Ohio State is not eligible this season) as we approach week eight and as that list continues to shrink, the chances of the top 1-loss teams continue to grow. Now that we’ve got a second edition of official BCS rankings, the championship picture is getting clearer…or is it?

Oregon has looked impressive so far this season. Will they make it to the BCS Championship game?

The battle for the SEC spot in the BCS title game has gotten much more interesting with the emergence of the Florida Gators. Their dominating win over South Carolina gave new life to No. 10 Georgia. Now the Bulldogs and Gators will go to the “World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party” with a likely spot in the SEC Championship Game on the line. The winner should take on the winner of the Nov. 3 showdown between Alabama and LSU. (Sorry Mississippi St., but you’ve got to beat somebody that is ranked before entering the conversation.)

That leaves the non-SEC unbeatens Kansas State, Rutgers, Louisville, Notre Dame, Ohio, Oregon, Oregon State and a few 1-loss teams in a battle royal for the other spot on the BCS Championship field in January. Obviously some teams are in better shape to be serious contenders and some are too far down the BCS rankings to make a real run. Here’s a look at the teams best positioned to play for the title.

No. 3 Kansas State

Road wins over Oklahoma and West Virginia were impressive. Now the Wildcats have No. 15 Texas Tech to deal with and TCU, Baylor and Texas will not be easy. Even if they run the table, they probably would get passed over for an unbeaten Oregon or Notre Dame.

No. 4 Oregon
The Ducks have scored at least 42 points in every game. Expect them to get to 8-0 before facing three more ranked teams in November and then a possible Pac-12 title game. They win out and they will get a title shot.

No. 5 Notre Dame

It’s not very pretty but the Irish keep finding ways to win. If that happens in big games at Oklahoma on Saturday and at USC to end the season, the Irish will have an excellent chance to play for the BCS title no matter what anyone else does.

No. 7 Oregon State

Could we be headed for the biggest “Civil War” of all time? If the Ducks and Beavers are still perfect, the Nov. 24 game may be the biggest event in the state’s history. The Beavers will likely need Notre Dame to lose get a title shot.

No. 11 Mississippi State
Go on the road and beat No. 1 Alabama on Saturday and then we’ll talk.

No. 15 Rutgers, No. 16 Louisville
If they both keep winning until the season finale on Nov. 29, that would be a huge game. Winner would also need everyone to lose. At least once. Maybe more.

No. 24 Ohio
They are beating everybody, but they aren’t playing anybody. It will be interesting to see if they can run the table and sneak into a BCS game, but it won’t be THE BCS game.
There are still a few teams with one loss that could get back in the mix if the rest of the season is as wild and crazy as they usually are. Here’s what you should be rooting for if you are a fan of one of these teams.

No. 8 Oklahoma
The Sooners have been crushing people since losing to Kansas State. They take down Notre Dame on Saturday and they will be right back in the conversation and if they run the table and both Oregon schools lose, the Sooners will be there.

No. 9 USC

The Trojans will need to run the table, which would require beating Oregon and Notre Dame and hopefully for USC a rematch with Stanford or an unbeaten Oregon State in the PAC-12 title game. They’ll also need Kansas State and maybe Oklahoma to lose.

No. 12 Florida State
The Seminoles don’t have the schedule they need to jump over all the teams in front of them. A win over an undefeated Florida to end the regular season would be very impressive but they would need Kansas State, Oregon, Oregon State, Mississippi State, Oklahoma, and USC to lose and even that may not be enough.

October 19, 2012

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BCS: Top 5 Overview

By: Tyler Vespa

With college football’s first BCS standings being released 4 days ago, there were a few surprises near the top of the standings, along with the two teams we all expected to be there. This season, at least to this point, has been one of the most intriguing for the fan in years. 3 of the top 5 teams are playing way above expectations, and there have been a few teams that have lost one game much earlier than expected.

If the second half of this season continues to be as wide-open as the first, we may have two teams in the BCS title game that haven’t been there in a while. And that’s an understatement.

Could the BCS championship be heading back to The Swamp?

Here are the current top 5 teams in the BCS Standings:

1. Alabama

The preseason number 1, the Crimson Tide will have to beat themselves to not be in Miami on January 7th.

2. Florida

This is the first surprise in this year’s standings. Great victories over Tennessee in Knoxville and against LSU in the Swamp came because of stifling defense. However, it doesn’t get any easier for the Gators as they play #7 South Carolina and #11 Georgia in back-to-back weeks.

3. Oregon

The Ducks have been nothing short of dominant, although they have yet to play the best competition on their schedule. That comes in two weeks, when they travel to Los Angeles to battle the 10th-ranked Trojans. They finish the year with back-to-back games against Stanford and at an up-start Oregon State team that is currently 8th in the BCS standings.

4. Kansas State

Heisman Trophy candidate Collin Klein has the Wildcats playing classic Bill Snyder football. Klein has passed for 1,074 yards with 7 touchdowns and just 2 interceptions. He is also a dual-threat, running for 5.2 yards per carry. The key to their surprise start to the season was their upset win against Oklahoma in Norman. This week against West Virginia in Morgantown and next week’s battle with a gritty Texas Tech team will tell us if these Cats’ are for real.

5. Notre Dame

Yes, wake-up the echoes. Senior linebacker Manti’ Teo is a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate. The Irish defense ranks 2nd in the country allowing just 8.7 points per game. The Golden Domers should proceed with caution starting this Saturday with a game against BYU who boasts the 7th ranked defense in the nation. It doesn’t stop there, next week the Irish take on Oklahoma in Norman, and they will finish the year with their annual “ Battle for the Jeweled Shillelagh” where they face the Trojans in the Coliseum. Sounds daunting.

The next few weeks will either separate these five teams even more, or make 2012 the most wide-open chase for a national championship ever. Just behind these 5 are a host of great one-loss teams: LSU, Georgia, South Carolina, Florida State, West Virginia, USC, and Oklahoma. So, just one slip-up down the stretch would be extremely costly. Personally, I would love to see 12 one-loss teams in the running for a national title. However, Alabama is my pick to go undefeated. Can anyone else? We’ll see.

October 9, 2012

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BCS Championship Update

By: Joe Williams

A lot has happened in college football the last two weeks. The number of unbeaten teams has dropped from 27 to 16. 12 teams ranked in the top 25 have lost (including nine on Saturday). Some contenders have proven to be pretenders while new contenders have emerged. Where do we stand now?

Even with a move to the Big 12 this season, the Mountaineers remain undefeated.

I still believe the SEC winner plays in the big game. After watching South Carolina destroy Georgia on Saturday, it looks like the Gamecocks will take on the Alabama-LSU winner in the SEC Championship Game for a chance to play for the BCS title (but we have to at least mention that Florida and Mississippi St. are both still undefeated and could get there with some help). Against who?

That’s where the BCS comes into play. Take away the SEC and we still have 12 unbeatens. Cincinnati, Kansas State, Louisiana Tech, Louisville, Notre Dame, Ohio, Ohio State, Oregon, Oregon State, Rutgers, Texas-San Antonio and West Virginia all have yet to lose.

Obviously some of those teams are serious contenders and some are too far down in the poll to make a serious run. Here’s a look at the teams best positioned to play for the title.

No. 2 Oregon
The Ducks have scored at least 42 points in every game. Expect them to get to 8-0 before facing three more ranked teams in November and then a possible Pac-12 title game. They win out and they will get a title shot.

No. 5 West Virginia

So far so good for the Mountaineers in their new conference. They have put up 118 points in the last two games, both against ranked opponents. Then again, they have given up 108 in those two games. Kansas State, TCU and Oklahoma are still to come.

No. 6 Kansas State

If the Wildcats are going to run the table and win the Big 12, they will have to earn it with road games at Oklahoma, West Virginia, TCU and Baylor. They got by the Sooners and take the trip to West Virginia in two weeks. That will essentially be an elimination game.

No. 7 Notre Dame

The Irish haven’t allowed a touchdown since Sept. 8. If the defense can do that to Stanford, Oklahoma and USC, the Irish will have an excellent chance to play for the BCS title.

No. 8 Ohio State

The Buckeyes are not eligible to play in a bowl game.

No. 10 Oregon State

The Beavers could be the surprise of the year. They play at Stanford but get Oregon at home. Lets see if they keep it going this week against a stout defense at BYU.

There are even a few teams with one loss that could get back in the mix if the rest of the season is as wild and crazy as they usually are. Here’s what you should be rooting for if you are a fan of one of these teams.

No. 11 USC

The Trojans will need to run the table, which would require beating Oregon and Notre Dame and hopefully, for USC, a rematch with Stanford in the PAC-12 title game. They’ll also need the Big 12 champs to lose.

No. 12 Florida State
The Seminoles don’t have as strong a schedule as some teams in front of them, but wins over Virginia Tech, Florida and in the ACC title game would give them a 12-1 record. They’ll need the Big 12 winner and everyone in PAC 12 to lose though.

No. 13 Oklahoma
The Sooners will have to go through Texas, Notre Dame, Baylor, West Virginia and TCU. If that happens and both Oregon schools lose, the Sooners will be there.

Unbeaten teams Cincinnati, Louisiana Tech, Louisville, Ohio, Rutgers and Texas-San Antonio are all going to need multiple miracles to move that far up in the rankings but they deserve to stay in the conversation until they lose. And hey, miracles do happen.