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As expected, week 13 had earth shattering effects on the BCS and the bowl post season.

Texas Tech proved to be a not-ready-for-primetime player as they were completely dominated by a truly National Title contender Oklahoma. Utah and Penn State both dominated their opponents also, assuring their presence in the BCS season.

The way it sits right now, it surely looks like the BCS ranking will MORE than determine the teams to the National Championship.  There are for all practical purposes, 4 teams in play according to the BCS: Alabama, Texas, Oklahoma, and Florida.  With the final regular season week coming up,  you’d think thats what it would all be about.  But there are a few more teams that might have a say in it.

Just this week, Oklahoma must get by Oklahoma State in Stillwater, which historically has been a real bloodbath for OU. Texas must get by Texas A&M, which any other year would be a toss up. Let’s not forget that Alabama plays Auburn this week also, which again, you can throw the records of the two teams out. Finally Florida hosts a very much improved Florida State, which could easily throw a wrench in the works.

Any slip ups of these could dash national title hopes.

Example:  If Oklahoma were to lose to Oklahoma State, Texas Tech would move on to the Big-12 Championship (at #7) and play Missouri (at #13), the winner of which goes to a BCS bowl. Not to mention the fact that OU would drop in the standings.

Let’s assume that all four teams do their job and win. It now puts the choice of not only the national title teams in the hands of the BCS, but also the Big-12 Championship.  That’s right. Currently Texas and OU are separated by 0.0084 in the standings. So if both teams win against their opponents, Oklahoma would most likely get the nod to move up because they would be playing a ranked team (#12 Oklahoma State).  It seems just a little bit tacky that all this doesn’t get settled on the field, but thats the way the Big-12 rules read for tiebreakers.  Even though, officially, Texas, TTU, and OU would be co-champions.

We’re not done.  Let’s say after this week, its Alabama, Oklahoma, Texas and Florida in the BCS. We now move into Championship week. We now need to look at what possibly could happen as a result of the Big-12 and SEC Championships.  there are only 4 possible results of the two games, and as such each has its corresponding effect on the BCS:

Alabama and Oklahoma Win:  This would be the easy scenario.  They would play for the National Title.

Alabama and Missouri Win:  Possible BCS result?  Alabama, Texas, Oklahoma, Florida? Alabama-Texas for the National Title.

Florida and Oklahoma Win:  Would this result in Oklahoma, Florida, Texas, Alabama?? Probably.  That gets us OU-Florida.

Florida and Missouri Win:  Easy.. that gets you Florida – Texas.

Well enough of hypothesizing.  Let’s take a look at OUR new rankings:

#1 Alabama (11-0). Did not play. Next week: Auburn (5-6) at home. Bama still must take care of business this Saturday against an underachieving Auburn to make their date with Florida in the SEC Championship a National Title Qualifier game.  All bets are off with this rivalry!

#2 Florida (10-1). Defeated The Citadel (4-8) 70-19 at home. Next week: #20 Florida State at home. As predicted this was no contest. Tim Tebow, who may now be the leading Heisman candidate, threw for 201 yards and three TDs.  The Gator offense generated over 700 yards of offense, 394 yards of it on the ground. RB Chris Rainey had  142 yards on 7 carries while Emanuel Moody had 13 carries and 116 yards.

#3 Texas (10-1). Did not play. Next week: Texas A&M (4-7)  at home. We give the benefit of the doubt here to Texas above Oklahoma, seeing that they beat OU soundly earlier in the year. Depending on the next two games, this could change.

#4 Oklahoma (10-1). Defeated #7 Texas Tech (10-1) 65-21 in Norman. Next week: #11 Oklahoma State (9-2) in Stillwater. There certainly was no doubt of the better team in Normal this past week end, as the OU rushing attack exposed a not-so-improved Texas Tech defense.  Add with this the fact that the Raiders couldm’t execute on offense, it added up to a complete domination by the Sooners. OU QB Sam Bradford was 14/19 for 304 yards while RB DeMarco Murray ran for 125 yards and two TDs

#5 USC (9-1) Did not play. Next week: Notre Dame (6-5) at home. The Trojans fate is in the hands of Oregon State, even if they win out. If Oregon State beats Oregon this weekend, USC will go to the Fiesta Bowl probably against either Texas or OU (whoever doesnt go to the national title).

#6 Penn State (11-1) Defeated  #20 Michigan State 49-18 at home. Next week: Idle. If there was any doubt about who should win the Big-10, it was laid to rest in Happy Valley.  The PSU defense throttled Javon Ringer and harassed Brian Hoyer all night long, while QB Daryll Clark threw for 341 yards and 4 TDs. Yeah that ought do it.  Rose Bowl bound!

#7 Texas Tech (10-1) Lost to #4 Oklahoma (10-1) 65-21. Next week: Baylor (4-7). See above.  The Red Raiders are on their way, most likely, to the Cotton Bowl against Mississippi unless Oklahoma loses. Then who knows.

#8 Utah (12-0) Defeated #17 Brigham Young (10-2) 48-24 at home. Next week: Idle. The Utes came to play on Saturday and play they did. QB Brian Johnson was 30/36 for 303 and four TDs, while the Utah defense sparked 6 Cougar turnovers. Ouch!  Utah is probably on the way to the Sugar Bowl against the loser of the SEC Championship.

#9 Ohio State (10-2) defeated Michigan (3-9) 42-7 at home. Next week: Idle. It used to be you could always count on a great game between these two, even if one or the other was having an off year. This, however was no contest and was almost like a controlled scrimmage.  Beanie Wells had 134 yards rushing to pace the 434 total offensive yards for the Buckeyes. Next stop, perhaps the Capital One Bowl vs Georgia.

#10 Boise State (11-0) defeated Nevada (6-5) 41-34 at Nevada. Next week: Fresno State (7-4) at home. The broncos needed the whole game to get the victory as a last minute hail mary was batted down. The star of the game was BSU’s Austin Pettis who had 9 receptions for 126 yards and 2 TDs. QB Kellen Moore threw for 414 yards. You gotta feel for the Broncos, probably an undefeated season, and no better than the Humanitarian Bowl agianst maybe a Maryland or Wake Forest team with 3 losses.

#11 Oklahoma State (9-2) did not play. Next week: #4 Oklahoma (10-1) at home. The whole world’s watching this battle next week, because the ramifications could be profound.

#12 Missouri (9-2) did not play. Next week: Kansas (6-5) at Arrohead Stadium. The traditional end to the season is a bit of a moot point.  Missouri is going to the Big-12 Championship against well, either OU or Texas Tech depending on the OU-Oklahoma State game.

#13 Georgia (9-2) did not play. Next week: #22 Georgia Tech (8-3) at home. The Bulldogs look like prime candidates for the Capital One Bowl probably against Ohio State.

#14 TCU (10-2) defeated Air Force (8-4) 44-10 at home. Next week: Idle. The Horned Frogs held Air Force to just seven first downs and 161 yards of total offense, whilethey amassed 504 yards of total offense in the rout. TCU will probably get a bid to the Pioneer Las Vegas Bowl possibly against Arizona.

#15 Ball State (11-0) defeated Central Michigan (8-3) 31-24 at C. Mich. Next week: Western Michigan (9-2) at home (Tuesday). It’s an early week season finale for the Cardinals against Western Michigan, coming off their come from behind win over Central Michigan. MiQuale Lewis was the leader of the Cards in this game rushing for 177 yards.  A victory over Western Michigan sends Ball State to the MAC Championship against Buffalo.

#16 Cincinnati (9-2) defeated #25 Pittsburgh (7-3) 28-21 at home. Next week: Syracuse (3-8) at home. Despite all adversity this year, the Bearcats find themselves one win away from a BCS bowl game. Their home victory over Pittsburgh puts them a game up on West Virginia, who they defeated earlier this year. QB Tony Pike threw for 309 yards and two touchdowns.

#17 Brigham Young (10-2) Lost to #8 Utah (12-0) 48-24 at Utah. Next week: Idle. See above.  The Cougars are likely headed to the Armed Forces or Poinsettia Bowl.

#18 Oregon State (8-3) defeated Arizona (6-5) 19-17 at Arizona. Next week: #19 Oregon (8-3) at home. The Beavers needed a last second, literally, field goal to beat Arizona, and to keep their dream season alive.  Justin Kahut’s 24-yard field goal won the game and allowed him to get redemption after missing an earlier extra point that would have tied the game. OSU needs only to beat Oregon next week to get an invitation to the Rose Bowl against #6 Penn State. Hmm #18 vs #6 or #5 vs #6. We wonder who the Rose Bowl is rooting for?

#19 Oregon (8-3) did not play. Next week: At #18 Oregon State (8-3). See above.

#20 Florida State (8-3) defeated Maryland 37-3 at Maryland. Next week: At #2 Florida (10-1). The Seminoles’ offense had almost 12 minutes more possession time, which allowed the defense to hold Maryland to 252 yards of total offense. Maryland turned the ball over 4 times, which usually spells defeat for most teams. A loss by FSU this weekend against Florida opens the door for Boston College to win the ACC Atlantic if they can beat Maryland.

#21 Michigan State (9-3) Lost to #6 Penn State (11-1) 49-18 at State College, PA. Next Week: Idle. See above.  The Spartans are probably looking at an Outback Bowl appearance against South Carolina.

#22 Boston College (8-3) defeated Wake Forest (6-5) 24-21 at Wake. Next Week: Maryland (7-4) at home. DeLeon Gause picked off Christian Ponder in the end zone in the fourth quarter with BC leading 24-17 which sealed the game late for the Golden Eagles. Montel Harris rushed 25 times for 121 yards and a touchdown, while the defense picked Chris Ponder off 3 times. BC needs to beat Maryland next week for the ACC Atlantic title.

#23 Georgia Tech (8-3) defeated Miami (7-4) 41-23 at home. Next week: At Georgia (9-2). Just when we thought Miami was the thing, up pops the GT offense for 518 yards and puts the Hurricanes in their place. The Jackets rushed for 472 yards in the game, the most that Miami has ever allowed. Even though GT is done, they must wait for the winner of the Virginia-Virginia Tech game to see their fate.  A win by VT gets them to the ACC Championship, otherwise the Jackets go.

#24 Northwestern (9-3) did not play. Next week: Idle. Northwestern had a most successful year, and is most likely on their way to the Alamo Bowl (probably against Oklahoma State).

#25 West Virginia (7-3) defeated Louisville (5-6) 35-21 at Louisville. Next week: At Pittsburgh (7-3). QB Pat White was a one man army, rushing for 200 yards on 21 carries amd three touchdowns. He also threw for another 122 and 2 touchdowns.  West Virginia still has a bowl shot but its a long one, as Cincinnati would need to lose to Syracuse, and the Mountaineers would need to beat both Pittsburgh and South Florida.

WORTH NOTING: The Abilene Christian Wildcats beat West Texas A&M 93-68 in Division II qualifying play.  Yes folks, thats a football score. ACU running back Bernard Scott ran for 292 yards while Quarterback Billy Malone threw over 400 yards in the record setting event (47 records were surpassed at the NCAA D1 and D2 levels). The Wildcats generated 810 yards of offense. Next up for ACU is NW Missouri State who ACU defeated earlier in the season 44-27.

Dropping out: Miami, Maryland

On the bubble: Mississippi, Iowa

Most Impressive: Oklahoma, Penn State, Utah, Florida State

Least Impressive: Texas Tech

Top 25 Composition: Big-12 (5), Big-10 (4), SEC (3), Pac-10 (3), MWAC (3), ACC (3), Big East (2), MAC (1), WAC (1)

BCS Bowl Projections:

National Title:  Florida  v.  Oklahoma

Rose Bowl: Oregon State  v. Penn State

Sugar Bowl:  Utah v. Alabama

Orange Bowl:  Cincinnati v. Florida State

Fiesta Bowl: USC v. Texas

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As we alluded earlier this week, the 12th week games showed many teams either resting or playing under-achievers.  While there were some lackadaisical performances,  there were few things to get excited about. As per usual, the bottom tier teams jostled around a bit, but overall, not much has changed.  But whoa boy wait till next week!

Here’s our top 25 for the12th week:

#1 Alabama (11-0). Defeated Mississippi State (3-8) 32-7. Next week: Idle. While Miss State had one the last two against an ailing Bama team, this outing was much different. The game started slow, and State was actually up 7-5 at one point. But this Tide team is much to good, everywhere, to keep the lid on for too long.  Alabama lingered around at 12-7 until Javier Arena returned a punt 80 yards to start the runaway. While the Tide offense took the night off for the most part, the defense  gets the game ball by holding Mississippi State to just nine first downs and 167 yards of total offense, and only 1.6 yards average per rush.

#2 Texas Tech (10-0). Did not play.  Next week: At #4 Oklahoma (9-1).

#3 Florida (9-1). Defeated #24 South Carolina 56-6 at home. Next week: The Citadel (4-7) at home. We’re almost sure that Florida could easily be the #1 team in the nation, and will eventually get there after the SEC Championship game, where they will almost certainly beat Alabama by 3-4 touchdowns. But for now, we’re left with the memories of a total annihilation of Spurrier’s Gamecocks. For the most part this game was close until  South Carolina played stupid for about 3 minutes toward the end of the 1st quarter and found themselves down 21-0. Two interceptions and a dump kickoff lateral play did the trick. We’re disappointed with Spurrier. Florida’s Percy Harvin, who could jump into the Heisman race this week, rushed for 167 yards and two touchdowns on just eight carries. Right now we can’t see anyone that can beat Florida.

#4 Oklahoma (9-1). Did not play. Next week: #2 Texas Tech (10-0) at home.

#5. Texas (9-1). Defeated Kansas (6-5) 35-7 at Kansas. Next week: Idle. Kansas has been such a let down this year after a phenomenal BCS year last year. The Longhorns were up 14 at half and blew the 3rd quarter open with 21 Texas QB Colt McCoy passed for 255 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 78 yards and a score.Texas’ fate is not in their control. They sit at #3 in the BCS Standings behind Alabama and Tech and just ahead of Florida. Texas must have a few complicated things happen if they are to get to a title game.  Tech has to lose to Oklahoma, and then OU must lose to Oklahoma State the following week, while Texas would need to beat A&M and then go to to Big-12 Championship and beat Missouri. Anything less probably punches their ticket to the Fiesta Bowl against Utah.

#6 USC (9-1). Defeated Stanford (5-6) 45-23 at Stanford. Next week: Idle. Well Stanford did their best to buck all the trends.  They scored 23, against a defense that has been averaging 4, and they stuck with the Trojans, mixing up their defense just enough to keep the SC offense sputtering. They were down only 24-17 going into the 4th Quarter, but by this time, the Cardinal defense was shot and tired. As such, the balanced USC offense kicked into gear for 21 4Q points to run away. Stafon Johnsons, USC RB  rushed 14 times for 115 yards and two touchdowns, including the go-ahead score late in the third quarter. Stanley Havili caught a 50-yard TD pass from Mark Sanchez to give USC a 38-17 lead midway through the fourth quarter putting an un reconcilable distance between the Trojans and Stanford.  USC is in a unique situation that could get them to a National Championship, while losing the Pac-10.  If Oregon State wins out, and USC does also… and Texas, Oklahoma and Tech all lose, USC could possibly garner some points to get to the title game (its doubtful that this could happen tho, on many levels).

#7. Utah (11-0). Defeated San Diego State (1-10) 63-14 in San Diego. Next week: #15 Brigham Young (10-1) at home. This one was never in doubt, as we expected. Utah QB Brian Johnson threw for 283 yards and five touchdowns. Utah’s season is on the line against BYU next week.  A win by the Utes will get them, in all likelihood, to the Fiesta Bowl. A loss could throw the MWAC into a three way tie between Utah, BYU, and TCU.  This would really be disastrous for the MWAC, as most likely Boise State would get the non-BCS autobid, and then Ball State would be in line for a possible invitation to a BCS. All MWAC teams would go to thei respective bowl games (BYU to the Las Vegas Bowl, Utah to the Poinsettia Bowl, and TCU to the Armed Forces Bowl.  Ugh.

#8 Penn State (10-1). Defeated Indiana (3-8) 34-7 at home. Next week: #16 Michigan State (9-2) at home. As we predicted, the Nittany Lions were eager to get back home and put on a nice performance to prove that the Iowa loss was an irregularity. QB Daryll Clark passed for 240 yards and two touchdowns, while the PSU defense held Indiana to only six first downs. PSU needs only to beat Michigan State at home next week to seal a bid to the Rose Bowl. A loss, sends Ohio State.

#9 Ohio State (9-2). Defeated Illinois (5-6) 30-20 at Illinois.  Next week: Michigan (3-8) at home. Both Tyrellle Pryor and Beanie Wells ran for more than 100 yards in carrying the Buckeyes to an easy victory. Illinois scored a late TD to make the score more respectable.  OSU will be rooting for Michigan State next week in hopes of going to the Rose Bowl, otherwise, its probably the Capital One Bowl.

#10 Boise State (10-0). Defeated Idaho (2-9) 45-10 at Idaho. Next week: At Nevada (6-4). No problems, as expected against Idaho for Boise State. RB Jeremy Avery ran for 156 yards on 11 carries and 2 TDs.  BSU has Nevada and Fresno State, then waits to see what BCS Bowl they go to (Orange or Sugar most likely),

#11 Oklahoma State (9-2). Defeated Colorado (5-6) 30-17 in Colorado. Next week: Idle. The Cowboys come off their drubbing by Texas Tech, with a solid win over the Buffaloes on the road. QB Zac Robinson threw for 217 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 61 yards and another score. The win marked the first time the Cowboys have had 9 wins in a season since 2003.  Unless something very unusual happens, OSU is probably headed for the Alamo Bowl, perhaps against Michigan State.

#12 Missouri (9-2). Defeated Iowa State (2-2) 52-20 at Ames, IA.  Next week: Idle. QB Chase Daniels was 32-of-40 passing for 328 yards and two touchdowns. Daniel’s two touchdowns gave him 102 total TDs for his career (92 passing, 10 rushing), tying him with Brad Smith for the Tigers’ all-time record.  More importantly, the win locks the Big-12 North title for them. The Tigers end their season in two weeks against Kansas.  They’ll wait patiently to see who they’ll play for the Big-12 Championship.

#13 Georgia (9-2). Defeated Auburn (5-6) 17-13 at Auburn. Next week: Idle. The Bulldogs escaped a come back victory by Auburn by the skin of their teeth. Auburn QB Kodi Burns overthrew RB Ben Tate in the end zone with one second left to allow Georgia to escape. Georgia RB Knowshon Moreno torched the Tigers for 134 yards and caught a touchdown pass. The Bulldogs are going through the motions right now, ending their season in two weeks against Georgia Tech.  The ‘dogs are eying a possible Cotton Bowl bid.

#14 TCU (9-2). Did not play. Next week: Air Force (8-3) at home. TCU needs the win over AF and for Utah to lose, to have a choice in bowl games.

#15 Brigham Young (10-1). Defeated Air Force (8-3) 38-24 at Air Force Academy, Colorado. Next week: At #7 Utah. QB Max Hall was 28 of 37 for 354 yards and 2 TDs while RB Harvey Unga had another 88 yards and 2 TDs. BYU’s super bowl comes next week as they will attempt to derail Utah’s chance for a BCS bid.

#16 Michigan State (9-2) did not play. Next week: At Penn State (10-1). Unfortunately, the Spartans can’t really play for anything definitive next week when they travel to Happy Valley. One month ago, MSU lost badly to Ohio State 45-7 which hurt their chances for a possible Rose Bowl berth.  However, anything can happen MSU must win and hope for a Michigan upset of Ohio State to gain that berth now.

#17 Ball State (10-0). Defeated Miami (OH) (2-8) 31-16 at Oxford, OH. Next week: At Central Michigan (8-2). QB Nate Davis threw for 289 yards and a TD, while RB MiQuale Lewis had 216 all-purpose yards and 2 TDs.  The Cardinals end up the next two weeks against their closest foes in the MAC West, Central Michigan and Western Michigan.

#18 LSU (7-3). Defeated Troy (6-4) 40-31 at home. Next week: Ole Miss (6-4) at home. As the 3rd Quarter wound down to 2:00 left , the Tigers gazed at the scoreboard in disbelief, down to Troy 31-3. But Jarrett Lee, the much maligned QB led a 30 point 4th quarter comeback, taking advantage of a muffed punt and 3 turnovers along the way.  Lee, who was benhed in the first half, eventually went 20/34 for 216 yards and a TD. It was the largest come from behind victory at home for the Tigers in the history of the program.

#19 Pittsburgh (7-2). Did not play. Next week: At #20 Cincinnati. Show down time in the Big East next week. A win against Cincy next week would be the first step on a tough road to get the Big East Crown. They would still need to beat West Virginia and Connecticut in the following weeks.

#20 Cincinnati (8-2). Defeated Louisville (5-5) 28-20 at Louisville. Next week: #19 Pittsburgh (7-2) at home. We are constantly amazed how a team riddled with injuries can continue to flourish. The Bearcats get their 3rd conference win in a row by gutting out a 4th quarter TD with six minutes remaining.  Junior QB Tony Pike went 19/33 for 250 yards and  2 TDs as part of a 400+ yard offensive night. The Bearcats put it all on the line next week when then play Pittsburgh. A win there and win the following week against Syracuse, would hand Cincy the Big East Crown.

#21 Oregon (7-3). Defeated Arizona (6-4) 55-45 at home. Next week: Idle. The score looks close, but Oregon had a 45-17 halftime lead and cruised in the second half, though Arizona QB Willie Tuitama did his best to bring the Wildcats back, throwing for 2 TDs on a 328 yard night.  Oregon allowed Arizona 527 yards of total offense, but also put up 507 of its own. Oregon QB Jeremiah Masoli threw for a career-high 298 yards and accounted for five Oregon touchdowns,  rushing for three touchdowns and throwing for two more, all in the first half. The Oregon-Oregon State finale could be a big one, should USC trip up and lose to either Notre Dame or UCLA.  That would put Oregon, Oregon State and USC at two losses.  A win by Oregon in the last week, would send them to the Rose Bowl under those circumstances.

#22 Miami (7-3). Defeated Virginia Tech (6-4) 16-14 at home. Next week: At Georgia Tech (7-3) Thursday. Randy Shannon’s team got a hard fought victory at home over the weekend, and in doing so, racked up their 5th straight win, 3 of which over conference opponents. Miami did the trick defensively, holding VT’s rushing game to a total of 77 yards, forcing them into an uncomfortable passing game. VT used both Glennon and Tyrod Taylor and still managed only 173 yards total for the game, Miami finishes with Georgia Tech and North Carolina State, the former of which will decide the ACC Coastal Division Champion.

#23 Oregon State (7-3). Defeated Cal (6-4) 34-21 at home. Next week: At Arizona (6-3). Cinderella Oregon State, who beat #6 USC early in the season, continues to roll on to a possible Rose Bowl bid. However, they will need lots more effort the last two weeks to do so. Getting by California this past week was a major step however. The Beavers did it on the ground, as they usually do. RB Jacquizz Rodgers chewed up 145 yards on the ground and got 1 TD.  The trouble facing Oregon State in the next 2 weeks is a road game to Arizona, and then home to Oregon, both teams playing well. Arizona has an excellent run defense, but not a particularly great passing defense. Oregon, has an amazing passing offense.  Both bode ominous for Oregon State.

#24 Maryland (7-3). Defeated #25 North Carolina (7-3)  17-15 at home. Next week: Florida State (7-3) at home. With the current condition of the ACC Atlantic, next week’s game with FSU should decide the division rep to the ACC Championship game. Both Florida State and Maryland have not been able to puta string of victories together. The Terps. however, scratched out a victory over previously favored NC through the gutsy play of QB Chris Turner who threw for only 141 yards but engineered a 19-play, 73-yard drive that led to the go-ahead field goal. By doing so, Maryland set a school record with its sixth consecutive win over a ranked opponent.

#25 Boston College (7-3). Defeated Florida State (7-3) 27-17 at FSU. Next week: At Wake Forest (6-4). Boston College gets into the T25 by virtue of beating Florida State. Well for right now. The Eagles intercepted FSU QB Christian Ponder three times, the fifth time this season they’ve forced at least three INTs in a game. BC back Montel Harris chewed up 121 yards on the ground to spark the Eagles offensive attack. By winning out against Wake and Maryland, the Eagles could really throw the Atlantic Division of the ACC  into a mess. Then it depends on what Florida State does.

Dropped Out: Florida State, Tulsa, South Carolina

On the Bubble: North Carolina (7-3), Florida State (7-3), Northwestern (8-3)

Most Impressive Teams: Florida, Miami

Least Impressive Teams: Florida State, North Carolina

Top 25 Composition: Big-12 (5), SEC (4), Big-10 (3), Pac-10 (3), ACC (3), MWAC (3), Big-East (2), MAC (1), WAC (1)

BCS Bowl Projections This Week:

National Title: Florida vs. Texas Tech

Rose Bowl: Penn State vs. USC

Fiesta Bowl:  Utah vs. Texas

Sugar Bowl: Alabama vs. Boise State

Orange Bowl: Pittsburgh  vs.  Maryland

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Just when I think a weekend is going to be boring, it turns out to be anything but. Games that I thought might be sleepers, turned the top 25 on end, yet again. With this year, I should know better.

Ohio State proved that they were anything but invincible as an inspired Illinois team, led by QB Juice Williams, humbled the Buckeyes in their own house. Barring some superhuman fluke (which could occur), this drops OSU out of the National Championship race, and sets up next week their showdown with Michigan (who also lost to an upstart Wisconsin team) for a trip to the Rose Bowl. What it also did was put LSU and Oregon in the driver’s seat for the top 2 slots. But the season is winding down and lots of things can happen.

By the way, Boston College lost again this week, this time to lowly Maryland, proving yet again that the East Coast writer block failed to assess talent as they should when they voted them in the top 5 and top 10. Now they will be in the bottom 10. Here’s the way I see them now:

1. LSU (9-1). Defeated La. Tech 58-10. Next Week: At Ole Miss.
These Tigers must have been pretty fired up after seeing Ohio State lose, and therefore took care of business properly so there would be NO decision on who should be #1. In my mind, Oregon gets a little bit hurt this week because they didn’t play. LSU still doesnt have a cake walk tho. They must beat a surprising Ole Miss team next week, then finish against Arkansas, before taking on (likely) Georgia for the SEC Championship. My advice to Les Miles, look at this year and don’t get comfy at this spot.

2. Oregon (8-1). Idle this week. Next Week: At Arizona (Thurs)
The timing really couldn’t have been worse for the Ducks, as they had an off week when #1 falls and LSU rolls. Still, the Ducks are in a most advantageous driver’s seat. They have a decent final schedule (at Arizona, at UCLA, home against Oregon State) which pits them against 3 unranked teams. Its true that 2 are on the road, but also in their favor there’s no Pac-10 championship game, so if they can win out, they could be sitting at #1. But lots of things could happen between now and then before they punch a ticket to New Orleans.

3. Oklahoma (9-1). Defeated Baylor 52-21. Next Week: At Texas Tech.
The Sooners find themselves in a similar predicament as LSU, but perhaps a little more difficult. OU must win out against two very high scoring teams in Texas Tech and Oklahoma State, which gets them to the Big 12 Championship game against either Missouri or Kansas. The BCS then goes to work for them if that happens. Figure that Mizzou or Kansas will be in the top 5 when one of them goes to the Big 12 Champioship game in San Antonio, and that pits #3 against #4 0r 5. The Sooners win that game, the BCS computers might just reward them with a trip to the National Championship.

4. West Virginia (8-1). Defeated Louisville 38-31. Next Week: At Cincinnati.
The Mountaineers have a real tough road ahead to hope to vie for a National Title, and it will take alot of luck as well as work. First, they must travel to Cincy and beat a Bearcat team thats on a roll after demolishing both South Florida and UConn. Then they get back-to-back home games against UConn and Pitt to win the Big East and an automatic BCS bid. Thats doable and within the range of this high powered offense. However, the writers dont seem to be very cordial to WVU, ranking them 6th or 7th last week. They’ll likely move up a spot with the OSU loss, but still undefeated Kansas and possibly even Mizzou might garner more “puter-points”. WVU needs for alot of things to happen ahead of them to get them in the mix, but first they have to take care of business.

5. Georgia (8-2). Defeated Auburn 45-20. Next Week: Kentucky at home.
Yep you dont need to do a double take. I raised the Dawgs up after their VERY impressive showing against Auburn. I was all ready to push these guyz down, as I thought Auburn might upset, but Georgia would have NONE of that. The Dawgs aren’t home free yet by any stretch of the imagination. They must play Kentucky next week, then on the road to finish against Georgia Tech. Keep in mind that one of Georgia’s two losses was to Tennessee, who is only one game behind them in the SEC East. That means ONE slip up by the Dawgs and they go from SEC Championship to a tier 2 bowl game. Now a fantasy scenario for them is that they do win out, beat LSU in the SEC Championship and get help above them to get to a possible National Championship. Thats pretty much to ask tho.

6. Kansas (10-0). Defeated Oklahoma State 43-28. Next Week: Iowa State at home.
This KU team, I think, gets a little bit shortchanged, but I can see why. Here’s my take. First, I think right now its a toss up between KU and Mizzou for this spot, but the fact that KU did very well against a high-powered offense like Oklahoma State, makes me feel comfy giving them the edge. However, lets face it. While teams ranked 1-5 above have played formidable opponents, Kansas hasn’t play a single Top 25 tea. This makes me a bit suspicious if they should be ranked this high at all. However, they are one of only two undefeated teams (Hawaii is the other one), and that deserves some merit until they show us they dont belong. That test will be in 2 weeks against Mizzou. Could KU get to the Natiional Championship? Absolutely. The BCS has them at #4 last week and probably #3 this week. If they win out, which would mean beating OU, they might garner enought BCS points to push LSU or Oregon out.

7. Missouri (9-1). Defeated Texas A&M 40-26. Next Week: At Kansas State.
As discussed above, these Tigers are pretty much tied for #6. At leat Mizzou can boast playing not only a top 25, but a top 5 team (Oklahoma). They lost that contest by 10, mostly on turnovers. However, similarly, they havent beaten a top 25 yet either. More cause for worry. This all shakes out against Kansas in 2 weeks for the Big 12 North title, and a trip to San Antonio to most likely play OU for the Big 12 Championship. Mizzou would need lots of help to get to New Orleans tho.

8. Ohio State (10-1). Lost to Illinois 28-21. Next Week: At Michigan.
Enough said – the Buckeyes failed to keep their eyes on the prize and stumbled badly against Illinois. So what’s next? Probably a Rose Bowl bid, if they can beat Michigan on the road next week. Given past history, thats a good bet. I’ll doubt that the pollsters will put the Buckeyes this low, but they certainly deserve it.

9. Virginia Tech (8-2). Defeated Florida State 40-21. Next Week: Miami at home.
The Hokies got a big win over the Seminoles the week after FSU knocked off Boston College. Va Tech will need to dispose of Miami next week, then turn their sites on rival Virginia to win the ACC Coastal.

10. Arizona State (9-1). Defeated UCLA 24-20. Next Week: Idle.
The Sun Devils gutted it up against a formidable opponent this week, and this was a great character builder after losing a tough game last week to Oregon. Closing wins against USC and Arizona, will get them a very high non-BCS bowl game. But USC has re-emerged, so look for a tough game.

11. Hawaii (9-0). Defeated Fresno State 37-30. Next Week: At Nevada.
I expected a tough game here, and it started out as a cakewalk. The Warriors took a 21-0 lead and I thought that they would just run away with it. However, Fresno St hung in, and took advantage of an injury to Colt Brennan to get close. However, kudos to the Hawaii defense for rising up at the end. Hawaii suffers from the same fate as Kansas in that they just dont play anyone. However, Hawaii still has a very tough road game against Nevada, but then must finish at home against Boise State and Washington.

12. Boise State (9-1). Defeated Utah State 52-0. Next Week: Idaho at home.
Quietly, Boise State has put up some terrific numbers and look to be headed for a showdown with Hawaii for the WAC Title. We all remember the fireworks last year between Oklahoma and BSU, and who knows… a similar match up might be in a future bowl game.

13. Florida (7-3). Defeated South Carolina 51-31. Next Week: FAU at home.
The Gators took care of business this week, something they just haven’t decided to do this year much. I’m a little uncomfortable putting them this high with 3 losses, but a 3-loss SEC team might be as good or better than a 1 or 2 loss team anywhere else.

14. USC (8-2). Defeated California 24-17. Next Week: Idle.
The Trojans seem to be resurgent with John David Booty now healthy. Lest we forget that their two losses this year have been for a combined 8 points, this is still a very good team Assuming that Oregon can win out and go to the National Championship, USC’s next game against Arizona State on 11/22 could be for a Rose Bowl bid, and I wouldn’t count them out with those stakes in play.

15. Texas (9-2). Defeated Texas Tech 59-43. Next Week: Idle.
Texas seems to just find ways to win every week, and even though the Longhorn defense was shredded for almost 500 yards in passing by Graham Harrell, they still prevailed. Texas hasnt got many options really. They have a day after Thanksgiving date with A&M, and then on to a tier 2 bowl game.

16. Virginia (9-2). Defeated Miami 48-0. Next Week: Idle.
The Cavaliers certainly continue to impress week after week, but they havent played a top 25 team this year yet, and wont until their matchup with Virginia Tech on 11/24 for the ACC Coastal title and a possible trip to the ACC Championship. The road victory against Miami this week was a good show of power that’s got to give the Hokies alot to worry about.

17. Boston College (8-2). Lost to Maryland 42-35. Next Week: At Clemson.
This week was disgraceful for the Golden Eagles, to be honest. I think I might be being too nice to them ranking them this high. A really good character team would have bounced back after the tough loss to FSU, and dominated a mediocre 4-5 (now 5-5) team like Maryland. Instead BC wimps out for a second week in a row. They need to really gut check this week against Clemson, as this will most likely be for the ACC Atlantic title and a trip to the ACC Championship to play Viriginia, or Va Tech, both of which are playing better than BC right now.

18. Michigan (8-3). Lost to Wisconsin 37-21. Next Week: Ohio State at home.
This loss to Wisconsin just is an enigma. Chad Henne starts the game, but leaves early. Mike Hart never enters. Most writers are writing off the Wolverines, but I’m not ready to do that quite yet. They mounted a heck of a come back in the 4th Quarter without the heart and soul of the team, so it shows me they haven’t given up. If Henne and Hart can get healthy for the last game, I think they have a chance, otherwise a Rose Bowl berth isnt likely.

19. Clemson (8-2). Defeated Wake Forest 44-10. Next Week: Boston College at home
These Tigers roll off 4 victories to open the season, then lose back-to-back against Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech, but have since gone on a 4-0 run again. With Clemson playing better, and Boston College on a downslide, this could be a very interesting matchup for, presumably, the ACC Atlantic Title and a trip to the ACC Championship game.

20. Tennessee (7-3). Defeated Arkansas 34-13. Next Week: Vanderbilt at home.
The Vols continue to hang in the SEC East race with Georgia, and in fact, remain a threat to drail them since they have defeated them earlier this year. Any slip up by Georgia, and Tennessee goes to the SEC Championship – well, if they can close out against Vandy and Kentucky (no small feat).

21. Cincinnati (8-2). Defeated UConn 27-3. Next Week: West Virginia at home.
Suddenly Cincy is looking at a possible automatic BCS berth. Yes you read that right. It’s as simple as defeating the Mountaineers at home – well if you can call keeping Pat White, Steve Slayton, et al in check. But the goal is clear and defined. There’s no dependence on anyone else – they are in control.

22. Illinois (8-3). Defeated Ohio State 28-21. Next Week: Northwestern at home.
Ron Zook and his team made the definitive statement over the weekend, defeating the #1 team in the nation and killing the Buckeyes’ hopes for a National Championship. At stake now is a 9-win season, and a trip to a very nice bowl game if they can prevail over Northwestern.

23. UConn (8-2). Lost to Cincinnati 27-3. Next Week: Syracuse at home.
The Huskie Big East hopes went down the tube with their underwhelming performance against Cincy. However, the Huskies will probably get a decent bowl bid if they can defeat Syracuse this week and play West Virginia close at the end.

24. Penn State (8-3). Defeated Temple 31-0. Next Week: At Michigan State.
The Nittany Lions, but for a few lapses this year, could be in the mix in the Big 10, but such has not been their destiny. However, a final win against MSU will give them a very respectable 9 win season and a good post season bowl game.

25. Wisconsin (8-3). Defeated Michigan 37-21. Next Week: At Minnesota.
The Badgers just have some of the best character of any team I’ve seen this year. Banged up and without All-American RB P.J. Hill, they battle Michigan and hold off a 4Q charge to win – thats just great character. A final win against Minnesota gives the Badgers, like Penn State and Illinois, a 9 win season, and a reasonable bowl game.

Dropped Out: Florida State, Alabama, Auburn

On the Bubble: BYU (7-2), South Florida (7-3)

Most Impressive Teams This Week: LSU, Georgia, Illinois, Va Tech, Cincinnati

Least Impressive Teams This Week: Ohio State, Boston College, UConn

Have a Great Week – we’ll be back on Wednesday to preview Week 12.

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