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NCAA Football Week 9 – Must See Games

This week has the potential to be very interesting for a couple of reasons. The first is that there are a lot of games that could very much clear up the BCS picture. NC State has a chance at beating Florida St. which means the ACC can’t have a 1-loss team emerge at the end of the season. A two loss team doesn’t look as good & if Virginia Tech winds up 11-2 they are murdered by an early season loss to James Madison. It might not matter for Florida St. anyway, but looking at a 12-1 Florida St. team has some merit if only because of the name of the school that is 12-1. If there are no undefeated teams at season’s end, how can a 12-1 Florida St. team be summarily dismissed from BCS Championship discussion?

The other games have more clarifying implications. I think Nebraksa has a good shot at knocking off Missouri in Lincoln. Iowa has a good shot at knocking off Michigan St. in Iowa City. USC has a decent shot at knocking off Oregon in Los Angeles. Even Air Force has a nice shot at knocking off undefeated Utah in Colorado Springs. If all of those things happen then it could really clear some things up as it likely gives Boise St. a clear path to the championship along with a 1-loss SEC school. Sure their might be some hand wringing over another 1-loss team losing out on the chance to play for a national championship, but typically everyone agrees that a 1-loss SEC team is deserving.

If all of the undefeated teams win then things get very very hairy. A Michigan St. win almost certifies a 12-0 season for the Spartans & it will be almost impossible to leave an undefeated Big 10 team out in the cold even if they managed to avoid Ohio St. If Missouri wins then they would still potentially have to face Oklahoma in a rematch in the Big XII Championship game, but Missouri looked great against the Sooners before & beating them only had to increase their budding confidence. A 13-0 Missouri team would be difficult to overlook considering they would have beaten Nebraska & Oklahoma twice. If Oregon beats USC on the road then it looks like a clear shot at 12-0 for the Ducks. They’ve already played Stanford & I don’t think road games against Cal or Oregon St. will be very daunting this season. And don’t forget about Auburn. War Eagle is going to go 11-0 before playing in Tuscaloosa, but if they win that game then I don’t see how Auburn doesn’t finish 13-0.

The winner of TCU/Utah is running the table. It’s possible I guess for Nevada to upset Boise St. in Reno, but it’s unlikely. That potentially gives us:

Auburn 13-0
Missouri 13-0
Oregon 12-0
Michigan St. 12-0
Boise St. 12-0
TCU/Utah 12-0

If that happens then there is no way TCU or Boise St. gets a shot at the BCS. NO WAY! Auburn will be a unanimous #1 & I don’t think Boise St.’s weak sister schedule gets them by any undefeated team from a Big 6 conference. The BCS has a way of working things out so I’d expect we’ll see some sparks fly this weekend. I don’t think Utah, Missouri, Oregon & Michigan St. will all lose, but I’d think 1-2 probably go down.

ROAD HOME PREDICTION
At 5-2 NC State still controls its own destiny if it manages to beat Florida St. tonight & then have a better conference record than the ‘Noles. Obviously FSU needs the win not only for itself, but also the ACC as a FSU/VTech title came would move the meter a bit. FSU avoids the Hokies & could easily got 11-1 in the regular season which could make things interesting for the BCS.
It’ll be interesting to see how the Cowboys bounce back after their only loss last week to Nebraska. It’s important to note that OSU still managed to score 41 points against a supposedly “good” black shirt defense. OSU’s schedule is backloaded so seeing how they rebound from a loss in Manhattan should be interesting to see.
Illinois all of a sudden looks very interesting. At 4-3, a win here could make Illinois 5-3 (3-2) & the 4th place team in the Big 10 assuming Iowa loses this week to Michigan St. The Illini shouldn’t have any trouble with Purdue, but it’s a team that could go 9-3/8-4 despite being very young. Ron Zook is taking himself off the hot seat which is amazing.
It really stinks that Syracuse lost to Pitt already, but if Syracuse can beat WVU in Morgantown, there is no reason why they couldn’t win out & finish 10-2 which is insane considering the Orange were 4-8 last year & dead last in the Big East. Doug Marrone has been an OUTSTANDING hire at Syracuse. To win the Big East though they’d need Pittsburgh to lose a couple of games.
With the death of an ND student & the Irish continuing with the game, it makes it all the more meaningful. It’s crass to think about football in the midst of tragedy, but ND has to win this game if they want to go to a bowl. It’s Tulsa & Army for 6 wins b/c I don’t think the Irish have any chance to beat USC & Utah.
This is certainly one of those games that could throw the rankings in an uproar. If Iowa wins then it’s difficult to rank the Big 10 teams because they lost to Wisconsin who Michigan St. beat, but who Ohio St. couldn’t beat. On the other hand, if Michigan St. loses then it helps clear up the BCS just a bit as it’s one less undefeated team to have to worry about at season’s end.
A lot like the MSU/Iowa game. If Missouri wins then you have to take the Tigers extremely serious as they would be favored to run the table at 13-0. If they lose it’s difficult to rank the Big 12 teams in a power-15, but the BCS would clear itself up a bit as Mizzou would be one less undefeated team to worry with. I hope both Missouri & Michigan St. win.
Not nationally significant, but Georgia & Florida is still must see television. Oddly enough both teams still control their own destinies to potentially get to the Sugar Bowl. If Florida can win out in their SEC games they are SEC East champions. If Georgia wins out & South Carolina loses twice then they are SEC East champions. It’s not that far fetched as South Carolina plays both Arkansas & Florida which could mean a couple of losses. Both teams have lots to play for.
Baylor is #25 in the BCS. Texas is unranked. Baylor is bowl eligible. Texas needs at least 2 more wins just to get bowl eligible. Has there every been a time in history when Baylor reached bowl eligibility two wins before Texas & was ranked in the top-25 when the Longhorns weren’t? At 6-2 Baylor really hasn’t played anyone yet. Their ceiling is 7-5, but maybe they pull of a stunner or two?
Air Force is 5-3 & a pretty good team, but after seeing TCU beat them 38-7 last week makes me leery they can mount any challenge to Utah. Then again, this game is at home where last week was at TCU. It would be a shame for Utah to lose now because next week they host TCU in what could very well be a game that could give Utah a chance at a BCS Championship.
Ever since Pete Carroll took over USC, these games have always been about USC being the hunted while Oregon played spoiler. Not so this case & the clincher is that USC is at home. Keep in mind that USC is 5-2 with their two losses coming by a combined 3 points. There is still a ridiculous amount of talent on USC’s team & they can put up a ton of offense. Then again, if Oregon plays like they did last week against UCLA then this could get ugly early & stay that way.
Rich Rodriguez needs a win. Remember the great start Michigan got off to last year & things went South fast. This year the Wolverines started 5-0 but have lost 2 straight win their only Big 10 win coming against bottom feeding Indiana. It’s a road game for Michigan against an average Penn St. team. The win gets Michigan bowl eligible but it also could set up a nice 3-game run b/c I don’t think Michigan can beat Ohio St. or Wisconsin to end the season. Going 8-4 would be very very nice for RichRod.
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October 28, 2010 - Posted by | Air Force, Baylor, Big Games, Florida, Florida St., Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan St., Missouri, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Oregon, Texas, USC, Utah, Week 9

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