Monday, October 31, 2011
National Title Race thoughts
A month ago, we took a quick look at the remaining undefeateds. We took only a quick look, because unlike Rick "I has big crayon" Reilly, we understood that the college football season long playoff is wrought with pitfalls and several of those teams would lose to lesser opponents as well as knock off each other.
But now it's November, and the national title picture is coming in to focus around a handful of teams. Now, over the coming month, some of these teams square off, and some will stub their toe against lesser competition (like Chokelahoma and Hey Dabo! already have). Unlike last time, we'll include the non-BCS teams, cause they might get lucky and Boise St is still in the mix around the top 5.
Undefeateds by conference, with thoughts on each.
ACC, Big We Can't Count, and Big Crumbling Least-none
SEC-LSU and Alabama
The Game of the Millenium of the Century is Saturday night in Tuscaloosa, on CBS thanks to some wheeling and dealing. And oh, we are all anxiously awaiting these two powerhouses playing. Now, at least one of the two is almost assuredly making the big game. The other probably gets the Sugar Bowl, unless the other teams all drop a couple making the Big Game a rematch (we hope not, but that's us). And of course, there is the slight potential whoever wins Saturday slips up the rest of the way, although SEC refs will work hard to prevent that if a danger arises. After Saturday, neither looks too terribly tricky. Bammer goes to Mississippi St and to Auburn, with a bye week against Georgia Southern sandwiched in between. LSU has Western Kentucky, @ Ole Miss, and then Arkansas at home. Then of course comes the sacrifice of Georgia or South Carolina in Atlanta. But both teams will be playing their bowl game in New Orleans, and for a 6th consecutive season an SEC team will be playing for a national title.
Big Not 12-Oklahoma St
The T Boones haven't had a close game since September, and if we were laying odds, would make them the front runner to play the LSU/Bama winner in New Orleans. Their remaining slate goes K St (whose pass defense should make this the Justin Blackmon show), @ Tex Tech, @ Iowa St, bye, then Bedlam vs. Oklahoma. 3 of those 4 could be losses, and it'd be following in the state tradition to Choke. But if Oklahoma St wins out, their schedule strength would give them an advantage over any other remaining undefeateds.
If you don't want to see Boise in the big game, the Cardinal and the Cowpokes appear to be your only hopes. The Luck train pulled it out against Southern Cal, and the rest of their schedule is easier than Okie St's. @ Oregon St, then Oregon, Cal, and Notre Dame all at home to close things out. Then there's the Pac 12 Championship, against Arizona St, Southern Cal, or [shudder]UCLA. Oregon seems the most likely loss, although Vontez Burfinct or a Southern Cal rematch could also bring defeat.
Non BCS-Boise St and Houston
Houston would be jumped by a 1 loss major, so we can discount them, even if they make it through @ UAB, @ Tulane, SMU, @Tulsa, and then the C-USA Championship game. But Boise on the other hand, could make it through by default. A lot of fans will cry and whine, but we have a hard time seeing the BCS not putting them in there if Okie St or Stanford can't make it through clean. They're coming off a bye, and only a down TCU stands in their way. Their remaining schedule goes @ UNLV, TCU, @ San Diego St, Wyoming, New Mexico. So a lot of you better become Gary Patterson fans quick.
If only one undefeated makes it through, and it's LSU or Bama, a rematch will probably not happen as the BCS just wouldn't allow it. If it's only one, and not LSU or Bama, expect whichever of them wins the SEC to be the other team.
But your fears just may be coming true SEC fans, Boise just might make a national title game.