The Pi-Rate Ratings

November 11, 2008

PiRate Ratings For College Football: Week Of November 11-15, 2008

NCAA Week 12: BCS Could Be On Verge Of Getting Quite Muddled

 

Bye Bye Penn State.  Alabama just barely survived in the Bayou.  Florida and Southern Cal showed they are the two best teams in the nation, but it’s going to take a few more losses at the top before that match-up has any chance of ever occurring.

 

Last week’s games really threw a monkey wrench into the lower bowls.  There is a good chance now that at least six bowls will have to look for at-large teams because the conferences that have agreements with these bowls will not have enough bowl eligible teams.  Read below in my bowl section to see the ensuing problems.

 

The PiRate Top 25 is different from the polls.  I do not rank the teams based on what they have done to date.  These teams are rated on how I think they will perform in the future (predictive ratings).

 

NCAA Top 25 For 11-Nov-2008
Rank Team PiRate Won Lost
1 Florida  135 8 1
2 Southern Cal 132 8 1
3 Texas Tech 127 10 0
4 Oklahoma 127 9 1
5 Texas 126 9 1
6 Ohio St. 126 8 2
7 Penn St. 124 9 1
8 Missouri 121 8 2
9 Alabama 120 10 0
10 Georgia  120 8 2
11 Oklahoma St. 117 8 2
12 T C U 117 9 2
13 Boise State 116 9 0
14 Oregon State 116 6 3
15 South Carolina 115 7 3
16 Utah 114 10 0
17 Ball State 114 9 0
18 Oregon 114 7 3
19 California 114 6 3
20 L S U 113 6 3
21 Iowa 112 6 4
22 Arizona 112 6 3
23 West Virginia 112 6 3
24 Cincinnati 111 7 2
25 Florida State 111 7 2
         
Note: Ratings rounded to nearest whole number
even though I rank them to two decimal points

 

PiRate Ratings By Conference

 

Atlantic Coast Conference
Atlantic Division          
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
Florida State 4-2 7-2 111 70 41
Clemson 2-4 4-5 107 65 42
Boston College 2-3 6-3 105 64 41
Maryland 3-2 6-3 104 64 40
Wake Forest 4-2 6-3 103 56 47
North Carolina State 1-4 3-6 98 66 32
           
Coastal Division          
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
North Carolina 3-2 7-2 110 69 41
Virginia Tech 3-2 6-3 108 67 41
Miami 3-2 6-3 104 61 43
Georgia Tech 4-3 7-3 102 62 40
Virginia  3-3 5-5 101 59 42
Duke 1-4 4-5 94 61 33

 

Big East Conference
           
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
West Virginia 3-1 6-3 112 67 45
Cincinnati 3-1 7-2 111 65 46
South Florida 1-3 6-3 109 69 40
Rutgers 3-2 4-5 108 65 43
Pittsburgh 3-1 7-2 108 65 43
Connecticut 2-2 6-3 103 64 39
Louisville 1-3 5-4 96 59 37
Syracuse 1-4 2-7 88 55 33

 

Big Ten
           
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
Ohio State 5-1 8-2 126 70 56
Penn State 5-1 9-1 124 75 49
Iowa 3-3 6-4 112 70 42
Wisconsin 2-5 5-5 110 71 39
Michigan State 6-1 9-2 106 64 42
Illinois 3-3 5-5 106 67 39
Michigan 2-4 3-7 100 60 40
Northwestern 3-3 7-3 99 62 37
Minnesota 3-3 7-3 97 61 36
Purdue 1-5 3-7 97 63 34
Indiana 1-5 3-7 85 57 28

 

Big 12
North Division          
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
Missouri 4-2 8-2 121 75 46
Kansas 3-3 6-4 108 67 41
Nebraska 3-3 6-4 106 68 38
Kansas State 1-5 4-6 97 68 29
Colorado 2-4 5-5 93 56 37
Iowa State 0-6 2-8 85 57 28
South Division          
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
Texas Tech 6-0 10-0 127 86 41
Oklahoma 5-1 9-1 127 86 41
Texas 5-1 9-1 126 81 45
Oklahoma State 4-2 8-2 117 71 46
Baylor 1-5 3-7 102 65 37
Texas A&M 2-4 4-6 92 57 35

 

Conference USA
East Division          
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
East Carolina 4-1 6-3 97 62 35
Southern Miss. 2-4 4-6 95 64 31
Marshall 3-2 4-5 94 59 35
Memphis 3-3 5-5 90 60 30
Central Florida 1-4 2-7 87 48 39
U A B 1-4 2-7 79 51 28
West Division          
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
Tulsa 5-0 8-1 106 72 34
Houston 4-1 5-4 95 63 32
Rice 5-1 7-3 91 62 29
U T E P 3-2 4-5 87 59 28
S M U 0-6 1-9 81 59 22
Tulane 1-4 2-7 79 53 26

 

Independents
           
Team   Overall Rating Off Def
Notre Dame   5-4 103 61 42
Navy   6-3 97 60 37
Army   3-7 86 49 37

 

Mid American Conference
East Division          
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
Bowling Green 3-3 5-5 99 66 33
Buffalo 3-2 5-4 98 65 33
Temple 2-3 3-6 96 56 40
Akron 3-2 5-4 93 62 31
Kent State 1-4 2-7 89 58 31
Ohio U 1-5 2-8 87 48 39
Miami (O) 1-4 2-7 86 57 29
           
West Division          
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
Ball State 5-0 9-0 114 74 40
Western Michigan 5-1 8-2 102 64 38
Central Michigan 5-0 7-2 98 66 32
Northern Illinois 4-2 5-4 98 60 38
Toledo 1-4 2-7 86 56 30
Eastern Michigan 1-5 2-8 83 52 31

 

Mountain West Conference
           
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
T C U 6-1 9-2 117 66 51
Utah 6-0 10-0 114 68 46
Brigham Young 5-1 9-1 106 66 40
Air Force 5-1 8-2 99 60 39
New Mexico 2-5 4-7 96 59 37
UNLV 1-5 4-6 90 59 31
Colorado State 2-4 4-6 89 58 31
Wyoming 1-5 4-6 88 53 35
San Diego State 0-6 1-9 72 47 25

 

Pac-10 Conference
           
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
Southern Cal 6-1 8-1 132 73 59
Oregon State 5-1 6-3 116 74 42
Oregon 5-2 7-3 114 71 43
California 4-2 6-3 114 72 42
Arizona 4-2 6-3 112 73 39
Stanford 4-3 5-5 108 65 43
Arizona State 2-4 3-6 105 64 41
U C L A 2-4 3-6 98 56 42
Washington 0-6 0-9 87 57 30
Washington State 0-7 1-9 71 48 23

 

Southeastern Conference
East Division          
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
Florida  6-1 8-1 135 84 51
Georgia  5-2 8-2 120 74 46
South Carolina 4-3 7-3 115 67 48
Kentucky 2-4 6-4 106 63 43
Vanderbilt 3-3 5-4 104 58 46
Tennessee 1-5 3-7 101 59 42
West Division          
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
Alabama 6-0 10-0 120 68 52
L S U 3-3 6-3 113 71 42
Ole Miss 3-3 5-4 110 67 43
Auburn 2-4 5-5 105 58 47
Mississippi State 1-4 3-6 102 57 45
Arkansas 1-5 4-6 101 67 34

 

Sunbelt Conference
           
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
Troy 4-1 6-3 97 64 33
Louisiana-Lafayette 4-0 5-4 93 67 26
Florida Atlantic 2-2 4-5 93 62 31
Arkansas State 2-2 4-5 89 59 30
Middle Tennessee 2-3 3-6 88 56 32
Louisiana-Monroe 2-4 3-7 88 57 31
Florida International 3-2 4-5 86 56 30
* Western Kentucky 0-0 2-8 83 52 31
North Texas 0-5 1-9 70 54 16
           
* Western Kentucky will become eligible in 2009      
Their games will not count in the SBC Standings in 2008    

 

Western Athletic Conference
           
Team Conf. Overall Rating Off Def
Boise State 5-0 9-0 116 72 44
Fresno State 2-3 5-4 92 64 28
Nevada 3-2 5-4 99 71 28
San Jose State 4-2 6-4 89 54 35
Louisiana Tech 3-2 5-4 96 56 40
Hawaii 4-3 5-5 90 54 36
Utah State 2-4 2-8 87 54 33
New Mexico State 1-4 3-6 77 50 27
Idaho 1-5 2-8 75 58 17

 

This Week’s Games–PiRate Ratings
Home Team in CAPS (N) Denotes Neutral Site    
       
Tuesday, November 11      
Favorite Underdog Pred. Spread Approx. Score
Ball State MIAMI (O) 25 45-20
       
Wednesday, November 12      
Favorite Underdog Pred. Spread Approx. Score
Temple KENT STATE 4 24-20
NORTHERN ILLINOIS Central Michigan 3 30-27
       
Thursday, November 13      
Favorite Underdog Pred. Spread Approx. Score
Buffalo AKRON 2 33-31
Va. Tech MIAMI-FL 1 22-21
UNLV Wyoming 5 26-21
       
Friday, November 14      
Favorite Underdog Pred. Spread Approx. Score
Cincinnati LOUISVILLE 12 26-14
       
Saturday, November 15      
Favorite Underdog Pred. Spread Approx. Score
PENN STATE Indiana 42 49-7
Ohio State ILLINOIS 17 30-13
SOUTH FLORIDA Rutgers 4 27-23
MICHIGAN Northwestern 4 24-20
CLEMSON Duke 16 33-17
Notre Dame NAVY           (Baltimore) 4 24-20
IOWA Purdue 18 38-20
Texas KANSAS 15 40-25
Georgia AUBURN 12 24-12
Middle Tennessee WESTERN KENTUCKY 2 23-21
New Mexico COLORADO STATE 4 27-23
OLE MISS Louisiana-Monroe 25 38-13
WESTERN MICHIGAN Toledo 19 35-16
LOUISIANA TECH Utah State 12 24-12
SOUTHERN MISS. East Carolina 1 31-30
TULANE U a b 3 27-24
FLORIDA South Carolina 23 37-14
North Carolina MARYLAND 3 27-24
B y u AIR FORCE 4 27-23
Wake Forest N.C. STATE 2 22-20
OREGON STATE California 5 33-28
WISCONSIN Minnesota 16 37-21
OREGON  Arizona 5 34-29
Nebraska KANSAS STATE 6 37-31
FLORIDA ATLANTIC Louisiana-Lafayette 3 38-35
BAYLOR Texas A&M 13 31-18
NEVADA San Jose State 13 37-24
MARSHALL Central Florida 10 20-10
Boise State IDAHO 38 52-14
FRESNO STATE New Mexico State 18 38-20
ARIZONA STATE Washington State 37 44-7
Missouri IOWA STATE 33 45-12
Southern Cal STANFORD 21 28-7
Connecticut SYRACUSE 12 28-16
ALABAMA Mississippi State 22 35-13
Utah SAN DIEGO STATE 39 42-3
Oklahoma State COLORADO 21 34-13
FLORIDA STATE Boston College 9 30-21
L S U Troy 19 38-19
Tulsa HOUSTON 8 38-30
KENTUCKY Vanderbilt 5 17-12
U T E P S m u 9 37-28
U c l a WASHINGTON  8 25-17

 

This Week’s Games–Mean Ratings
Home Team in CAPS (N) Denotes Neutral Site  
Tuesday, November 11    
Favorite Underdog Predicted Score
Ball State MIAMI (O) 37-14
     
Wednesday, November 12    
Favorite Underdog Predicted Score
Temple KENT STATE 28-23
NORTHERN ILLINOIS Central Michigan 24-23
     
Thursday, November 13    
Favorite Underdog Predicted Score
AKRON Buffalo 28-27
MIAMI-FL Virginia Tech 24-20
UNLV Wyoming 28-20
     
Friday, November 14    
Favorite Underdog Predicted Score
Cincinnati LOUISVILLE 24-17
     
Saturday, November 15    
Favorite Underdog Predicted Score
PENN STATE Indiana 41-7
Ohio State ILLINOIS 23-14
SOUTH FLORIDA Rutgers 27-19
Northwestern MICHIGAN 31-26
CLEMSON Duke 28-23
NAVY Notre Dame 27-26
IOWA Purdue 28-13
Texas KANSAS 40-27
Georgia AUBURN 20-10
Middle Tennessee WESTERN KENTUCKY 16-14
New Mexico COLORADO STATE 24-23
OLE MISS Louisiana-Monroe 38-14
WESTERN MICHIGAN Toledo 35-19
LOUISIANA TECH Utah State 31-21
East Carolina SOUTHERN MISS. 24-24 to ot
TULANE U a b 30-24
FLORIDA South Carolina 41-21
North Carolina MARYLAND 21-16
B y u AIR FORCE 27-27 to ot
Wake Forest N.C. STATE 24-16
OREGON STATE California 31-27
WISCONSIN Minnesota 38-33
OREGON  Arizona 30-26
KANSAS STATE Nebraska 37-31
FLORIDA ATLANTIC Louisiana-Lafayette 24-23
BAYLOR Texas A&M  34-28
NEVADA San Jose State 31-23
MARSHALL Central Florida 21-13
Boise State IDAHO 44-10
FRESNO STATE New Mexico State 40-27
ARIZONA STATE Washington State 45-21
Missouri IOWA STATE 40-14
Southern Cal STANFORD 23-3
Connecticut SYRACUSE 28-16
ALABAMA Mississippi State 35-7
Utah SAN DIEGO STATE 35-3
Oklahoma State COLORADO 38-23
FLORIDA STATE Boston College 28-20
L S U Troy 31-17
Tulsa HOUSTON 42-35
KENTUCKY Vanderbilt 14-10
U T E P S m u 40-27
U c l a WASHINGTON  26-21

 

 

Bowl Outlook by Conference

 

As I mentioned above, this is becoming a mess.  Let’s take a look at the possible problems facing the bowls that must rely on conferences to produce seven to nine bowl eligible teams.  A half-dozen bowls and maybe more could be forced to find at-large teams.

 

Teams in all CAPS have already accepted invitations to that bowl.

 

ACC

North Carolina State, Virginia, Clemson, and Duke are on the verge of elimination, and I believe three of the four will fail to get to six wins.  The ACC has nine tie-ins, and it looks like they will just barely have nine bowl-eligible schools.  The Clemson-Virginia game at Charlottesville on November 22 will be a bowl elimination game.

 

1. Orange Bowl-North Carolina 11-2 vs. Cincinnati

2. Chick-fil-a-Virginia Tech 8-4 vs. Kentucky

3. Gator-Florida State 8-4 vs. Missouri

4. Champs Sports-Wake Forest 9-4 vs. Northwestern

5. Music City-Miami 8-4 vs. Ole Miss

6. Meineke Car Care-Georgia Tech 8-4 vs. West Virginia

7. Eagle Bank-Maryland 7-5 vs. NAVY

8. Emerald-Boston College 7-5 vs. Arizona

9. Humanitarian-Virginia 6-6 vs. San Jose State

 

Big East

Another week, another leader in the pack for the Big East-Cincinnati is the new team on top.  The Bearcats won at West Virginia, and wins over Louisville this Friday and Pittsburgh the following week will sew up the Big East title.  They could lose either or both games, but for now, I have them penciled in as the champion.

 

With Notre Dame’s consecutive losses and almost assured to lose to Southern Cal, I have removed the Irish from the Big East equation.  However, they will certainly grab an at-large bid from the first bowl that loses a tie-in.

 

I have Rutgers as the sole 6-6 team getting an at-large bowl bid.  Should someone like Temple or Akron finish 7-5, they will take the at-large bid away.

 

1. Orange-Cincinnati 10-3 vs. North Carolina

2. Sun-Pittsburgh 9-3 vs. Oregon State

3. St. Petersburg-South Florida 8-4 vs. East Carolina

4. Meineke Car Care-West Virginia 7-5 vs. Georgia Tech

5. International-Connecticut 7-5 vs. Central Michigan

6. Papa John’s-Louisville 6-6 vs. Florida Atlantic

7. Hawaii (at-large)-Rutgers 6-6

 

Big Ten

Penn State’s loss has virtually relegated the Nittany Lions to the Rose Bowl.  Should Michigan State beat them, then Ohio State can back into Pasadena for a possible rematch with Southern Cal.  Illinois lost to Western Michigan, and now the Illini must beat either Ohio State or Northwestern to gain eligibility.  For now, I have them out of the bowl picture, and that means the Big 10 will likely fall one team short of its obligations.  That means the Motor City Bowl will need to search for a substitute.  Notre Dame would fit in perfectly here, but if Ball State runs the table and finishes 13-0, it could present a special situation for the Motor City Bowl to make a deal with the WAC and take a 12-0 Boise State team for a dream match.

 

Minnesota’s loss to Michigan opens the door for another team to sneak into a New Year’s Bowl, but for now I have the Gophers still there.

 

1. Rose-Penn State 11-1 vs. Southern Cal

2. Fiesta-Ohio State 10-2 vs. Texas

3. Capital One-Michigan State 9-3 vs. Georgia

4. Outback-Minnesota 8-4 vs. South Carolina

5. Champs Sports-Northwestern 8-4 vs. Wake Forest

6. Alamo-Iowa 7-5 vs. Nebraska

7. Insight-Wisconsin 7-5 vs. Kansas

8. Motor City-No Team Available

 

Big 12

Texas Tech looked like a championship team against Oklahoma State, but I think they will find it difficult to win at Oklahoma.  If the Sooners beat the Red Raiders, they will then have to beat Oklahoma State in Stillwater in order to finish in a three-way tie in the Big 12 South.  If they win both games, they should finish with the highest BCS rating among the trio and acquire the bid to the Big 12 Championship Game.  I have them doing just that.  Now, here is where I think the evils of money will win out over what is just.  At 11-1, Texas Tech would deserve an at-large BCS Bowl bid over 11-1 Texas, but I am sure greed would win out.  Texas would get that bid.

 

Colorado and Kansas State still have much work to do to gain bowl eligibility.  I think the Buffaloes will miss out, and it could mean big trouble for Coach Dan Hawkins in Boulder.  Kansas State has a decent chance to upset Nebraska and knock off Iowa State to sneak in at 6-6.  If they lose to the Cornhuskers, then the Big 12 will fall two teams short in their allotments.

 

1. BCS National Championship-Oklahoma 12-1 vs. Florida

2. Fiesta-Texas 11-1 vs. Ohio State

3. Cotton-Texas Tech 11-1 vs. LSU

4. Gator-Missouri 10-3 vs. Florida State

5. Holiday-Oklahoma State 9-3 vs. California

6. Alamo-Nebraska 7-5 vs. Iowa

7. Insight-Kansas 6-6 vs. Wisconsin

8. Independence-Kansas State 6-6 vs. Louisiana Tech

9. Texas-No Qualifying team

 

C-USA

This is a big week in the C-USA, as both divisions have key showdowns that will go a long way in determining their representatives in the conference title game.  Houston hosts Tulsa, and should the Cougars win, the West Division will be tied three ways between these two and Rice.  Houston concludes the season at Rice.  Tulsa holds the tiebreaker over Rice, and Houston would hold the tiebreaker over Tulsa if they beat the Golden Hurricane.

 

In the East, East Carolina visits Southern Mississippi.  If the Pirates win, they are in the title game.  Marshall still has an outside chance to win this division, but I believe the Thundering Herd will lose at least two more games and fail to gain bowl eligibility. 

 

After a start that looked like it would cost Tommy West his job, his Memphis team is the hottest squad in the East Division.  I look for the Tigers to win out and earn their fifth bowl game in six years.

 

Southern Mississippi must defeat ECU and SMU to get to six wins; for now, I have them doing that, but it is quite a tenuous supposition.  Chances are about 60% that the New Orleans Bowl will have to find an at-large team.

 

1. Liberty-Tulsa 11-2 vs. Vanderbilt

2. St. Petersburg-East Carolina 8-5 vs. South Florida

3. G M A C-Rice 9-3 vs. Western Michigan

4. Armed Forces-Houston 7-5 vs. U N L V

5. Texas-Memphis 7-5 vs. Buffalo

6. New Orleans-Southern Miss. 6-6 vs. Troy

 

Independent

The one sure thing is that Navy is headed to the first Eagle Bank Bowl in Washington, D.C.  Notre Dame should be bowl eligible, and at 7-5 they will definitely be invited to fill an at-large spot.  They could still steal the Sun Bowl bid from the Big East, but I believe there will be more deserving teams to go to El Paso.

 

1. Sun-Notre Dame 7-5 vs. Arizona

2. Eagle Bank-NAVY 7-5 vs. Wake Forest

 

M A C

Here is where the bowl situation becomes a bloody mess.  Let’s start with the possibility that Ball State could finish 13-0 and in the top 15 and not qualify for an at-large BCS Bowl.  At 13-0, it would be terrible for the Cardinals to face a 6-6 Big 10 team or some at-large team that barely qualified at 7-5.  I believe an excellent situation would be available if both Boise State and Ball State finished undefeated.  A deal could be struck for the two teams to play, leaving a western bowl with two more evenly-matched teams.  Should Utah lose to BYU, then Ball State would still need a Boise State loss to back into a possible Sugar Bowl bid.

 

Since it is silly to try to predict a back room deal, I am leaving the bowl tie-ins alone for now, but with the above caveat in place.

 

As for the rest of the league, this is getting very interesting.  The MAC finishes the season with November games on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.  Last week, the nation saw Ball State destroy a good Northern Illinois team.  Tonight (Tuesday), the Cardinals should blow Miami of Ohio off the field.  Three more key conference games tomorrow and Thursday could play important roles in determining bowl bids.  Akron and Buffalo hook up in the Rubber Bowl, where the winner takes a commanding lead in the East.  Temple goes to Kent State, where an Owl win puts them in position to challenge for a piece of the division title.  Northern Illinois and Central Michigan play Wednesday in Dekalb, and if the Chippewas win on the road, they may be a major obstacle for Ball State the following Wednesday.

 

1. Motor City-Ball State 13-0 vs. Notre Dame (Boise State?)

2. International-Central Michigan 9-3 vs. Connecticut

3. G M A C-Western Michigan 9-3 vs. Rice

4. Poinsettia (at-large)-Northern Illinois 7-5 vs. BYU

5. Texas (at-large)-Buffalo 7-6 vs. Memphis

 

Mountain West

Utah’s come-from-behind win over TCU has them firmly holding onto the at-large BCS Bowl bid.  A win over a weakening BYU team will clinch it.  That means, the MWC will get an extra bowl bid, and there will be an available team.  That team will be the one that finishes 6-6 from among UNLV, Wyoming, and Colorado State.  Wyoming plays the other two to finish out the season, while UNLV also plays San Diego State and Colorado State also plays New Mexico.  The Rebels have the easiest path to 6-6.

 

See the WAC for an explanation of the New Mexico.

 

1. Sugar-Utah 12-0 vs. Alabama

2. Las Vegas-TCU 10-2 vs. Oregon

3. Poinsettia-BYU 9-3 vs. Northern Illinois

4. New Mexico-Air Force 9-3 vs. Boise State (Notre Dame?)

5. Armed Forces-UNLV 6-6 vs. Houston

 

Pac-10

Oregon State still controls its own destiny in the Pac-10.  If the Beavers beat California, Arizona, and Oregon, they are in the Rose Bowl no matter what USC does in their games.  An Oregon State-Penn State rematch would not be all that exciting.  I think OSU will lose one of those final three, and USC will win out.

 

Stanford must upset either USC or Cal to gain bowl eligibility, and I don’t believe they can do that.  UCLA will most certainly not win out, so the Bruins will not get to six wins.  Arizona State has a remote chance of winning out to finish 6-6, but for now I have them finishing 5-7.  That means the Pac-10 will fall two teams shy of their bowl allotments.

 

 

1. Rose-Southern Cal 11-1 vs. Penn State

2. Holiday-California 8-4 vs. Oklahoma State

3. Sun-Oregon State 8-4 vs. Pittsburgh

4. Las Vegas-Oregon 8-4 vs. TCU

5. Emerald-Arizona 8-4 vs. Boston College

6. Poinsettia-No qualifying team

7. Hawaii- No qualifying team

 

S E C

Has there ever been a more dominant one-loss team in college football than the 2008 Florida Gators?  I can only compare them to a few past teams, mostly from six decades past.  In 1943, a 9-1 Notre Dame team easily destroyed eight of their opponents before surviving against one military all-star team and losing late to another.  Of course, the Irish were so dominant then with help of WWII.  I liken this Florida team to the 1968 UCLA Bruin basketball team.  UCLA lost by two points on the road to the best team since 1956 not coached by John Wooden.  They lost with Lew Alcindor (Kareem Abdul Jabbar) still hampered by an eye injury.  When the Bruins faced Houston in the Final Four, they led by over 40 points with eight minutes remaining before Coach Wooden emptied the bench.  Now Florida did not lose on the road at Alabama, Texas Tech, or USC.  Tim Tebow was not recovering from an injury at the time the Gators lost at home to Ole Miss.  However, this is SEC football.  Any SEC team that is headed to a bowl is by definition one of the best in the nation.  We all know the Gators would beat Ole Miss by five touchdowns in a rematch.  I think Florida today can beat any college team by two touchdowns or more, with the exception of Southern Cal, and they would beat them by 7-10 points. 

 

Alabama is still unbeaten and ranked number one.  The Tide should reach the SEC Championship Game at 12-0, but I’m willing to wager that an 11-1 Florida team will be favored by the wise guys in Las Vegas, who know who is the best team in the nation.  Penn State’s losing last week crushed the hopes of the Rose Bowl to get the Tide out to Pasadena.  If Southern Cal could move into the top spot, then a 12-1 Bama team could still make it west for the first time since January of 1946.  Fat Chance!

 

The SEC is going to fall at least two teams short in meeting their bowl obligations.  Tennessee was eliminated last week.  Auburn would have to beat either Georgia or Alabama, and that won’t happen.  Mississippi State would have to beat Alabama, Arkansas, and Ole Miss, and there’s no chance.  Arkansas might beat Mississippi State, but they won’t defeat LSU and will finish under .500.  Vanderbilt still needs one win and has Kentucky, Tennessee, and Wake Forest left.  For now, I am calling the Tennessee game a win, but I am not confident about that.  They could easily finish 5-7 after starting 5-0 and really put daggers in the hearts of their fans.

 

1. National Championship-Florida 12-1 vs. Oklahoma

2. Sugar-Alabama 12-1 vs. Utah

3. Capital One-Georgia 10-2 vs. Michigan State

4. Outback-South Carolina 8-4 vs. Minnesota

5. Cotton-L S U 9-3 vs. Texas Tech

6. Chick-fil-a-Kentucky 7-5 vs. Virginia Tech

7. Music City-Ole Miss 7-5 vs. Miami

8. Liberty-Vanderbilt 6-6 vs. Tulsa

9. Independence-No qualifying team

10. Papa John’s-No qualifying team

 

Sunbelt

Troy is still in command here, but the Trojans have a tough game remaining against Louisiana-Lafayette.  Troy would have gotten an extra week to prepare for this game, but their game with LSU had to be rescheduled after the September hurricane.  The ULL game is in Troy, so I still have the Trojans penciled in darkly as probable SBC champs.

 

With all the at-large possibilities, chances are quite strong that a second team will get a bowl bid.  There is even a slim chance that a third team could earn one too.

 

1. New Orleans-Troy 8-4 vs. Southern Miss.

2. Papa John’s (at-large)-Florida Atlantic 7-5 vs. Louisville

 

W A C

Boise State should finish 12-0, and they should finish in the top 10.  Unless Utah loses, the Broncos will be left out in the cold when the BCS doles out its big bowl bids.  Personally, I would love to see a Utah-Boise State Fiesta Bowl or even Cotton Bowl, but that isn’t going to happen.  What could happen is a deal for Boise State to be released from their WAC bowl alliance to face Ball State if both are unbeaten. 

 

San Jose State is the only other WAC team that has secured bowl eligibility, and there are four other teams vying for the remaining two bowls.  I believe three will get to seven wins, and one of the trio will get an at-large invitation.

 

1. New Mexico-Boise State 12-0 vs. Air Force

(Boise State could swap with Notre Dame and face a 13-0 Ball State team.  I am sure the New Mexico Bowl would gladly take Notre Dame.)

2. Humanitarian-San Jose State 7-5 vs. Virginia

3. Hawaii-Hawaii 7-6 vs. Rutgers

4. Independence (at-large)-Louisiana Tech 8-4 vs. Kansas St.

 

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