I just got back from Baton Rouge a few hours ago. I want to do a write-up that is worthy of the greatest place to experience college football in the country, but for now I’m going to focus on my ballot and do it just a little bit different this week. Without further ado:
The Top Five:
- Alabama – (10-0) Ended a five-game, series losing streak in Baton Rouge in overtime. Overcame three first-half turnovers, two missed field goals (one blocked as time expired) and the worst rush-defensive effort of the season to win the game in overtime. In the process they punched their own ticket to Atlanta and the championship game. This is a gritty, physical football team. They don’t look pretty but they found a way to win this weekend, which in all fairness, is the first time this season they have had to do that. They have Mississippi State up next weekend and Auburn on the last weekend of November. Neither of the final two opponents have winning records but sport streaks over the Tide. Alabama can expect the effort they saw from LSU from the next two opponents. They should be unbeaten when they play Florida in the championship game, but then again Penn State should still be undefeated as well.
- Texas Tech (10-0) Beat up on Oklahoma State Saturday night and now get a week to rest up and get ready for Oklahoma in Norman. The Red Raiders defense gave up 368 yards and 19 points but their 38 points and 629 yards of offense were more than enough to keep the game from being close. After the game in Norman they finish with Baylor. Win both of those and they play in the conference championship for not only the Big 12 title but also a shot at the national title.
- Florida (8-1) Routed Vanderbilt this weekend and host former coach Steve Spurrier and his Gamecocks from South Carolina this weekend. Then host the Citadel before traveling to Tallahassee for their annual intra-state showdown with the Noles. Will play Alabama in Atlanta the first week of December regardless of what happen the next three weeks. Might be the most complete team in the country right now with excellent defense and special teams play to complement their offense that seems to be hitting on all cylinders. Just like Texas Tech people want to see what other teams defenses can do to stop their offense. My thought is that it takes a good, time-churning type offense in unison with a good defense, to keep their excellent offense off the field and out of rhythm if there is a chance for them to be beaten. They are playing at a high level. Can they keep it up? I expect that should they win the last three they will be a favorite, by at least a touchdown, over Alabama when they meet. I believe that the national pundits will side with the few sore-loser Tiger fans we saw last night that won’t give Alabama a chance in that game.
- Texas (9-1) Hammered Baylor 45-21 yesterday and close out with a trip to Kansas and by hosting Texas A&M in Austin. If Tech slips up they might get back in to the conference title but that seems unlikely at this point. They are still a good team and deserve a real good bowl game.
- Oklahoma (9-1) Destroyed Texas A&M yesterday. They close out with Texas Tech in two weeks and at Oklahoma State for the bedlam game. Like Texas they are a good team but look to be out of the big-time title hunt by virtue of their loss to Texas.
- I really don’t like having three teams from the Big 12 South in the top five. The more I look at this the more I think it is a product of weak early-season scheduling. The only quality win that any of these three teams have – including Oklahoma State, who now has two losses that both game from the three teams in the top five – is Oklahoma’s win over two-loss TCU. That’s it. Their wins over each other are what is giving them the appearance of quality. My only real hope to solve this is some good bowl match-ups.
The Next Five
- Penn State (9-1) Fell from the ranks of the unbeaten by a last second field goal at Iowa in a game they were favored in. Texas Tech and Alabama, take note.
- USC (8-1) Got by Cal on Saturday night 17-3. I learned something interesting this morning. Oregon State (6-3) who lost to Penn State, Stanford, and Utah, could win the conference by virtue of their head-to-head win over the Trojans if they win out against Cal, Arizona and Oregon. The Beaver are playing better ball and could conceivably do that. That would put them in the Rose Bowl, probably against Penn State. Where would that put the Trojans? Should they win out they would be a lock for a BCS game based on their ranking. Or would they? That would put two teams from the dismal Pac-10 into BCS games. The SEC will certainly put in two, as will the Big 12. That’s six teams plus one each, automatically, from the ACC, Big East and Big Ten. If Ohio State makes a strong case for admittance, what would happen to a Utah or Boise State. I forget the rules for this but Oregon State could make things tough on some team that thinks its in.
- Georgia (8-2) Squeaked by Kentucky. Play Auburn this weekend before finishing out with Georgia Tech. The defense seem to be underachieving and I’m wondering if the loss of the pre-season goal of conference and national titles have taken the motivation away from the Bulldogs.
- Ohio State (8-2) Hammered Northwestern. Will finish out with Illinois in a payback type game to avenge the loss form last year and what should look similar to clubbing baby seals with a finale against Michigan.
- Pittsburgh (7-2) Beat Lousiville and have three games remaining to win the Big East. Thought about Michigan State for this spot but there is no way the Big Ten can have three of my twelve.
- Utah (10-0) Beat TCU to earn their way back in after a weeks absence. Travel to San Diego State before hosting Brigham Young to finish the season.
- Boise State (9-0) Punished Utah State to remain perfect. Close out with three relative cupcakes.
LSU and Oklahoma State dropped because they lost. I still think LSU is better than at least three of the teams in the bottom five, but they don’t have the record to prove it. I hate Boise and Utah, they are taking room that real football teams deserve.