I am back with a Week 8 review, and will not miss a week moving forward thru the end of the season! I am pumped for that, and also pumped for the last 6 weeks of this college football season. Where can we start this week? How about the fact ELEVEN teams remain undefeated? That number seems incredibly high to me as we are in late October – and that will certainly be something to keep an eye on. Make no mistake, some of these teams will still meet each other, which will cut down on the undefeated squads – but those games should be very entertaining when they arrive! Let’s jump into the Power Poll followed by a discussion of these teams below.
Week Eight Power Poll (ranking, team, record, 2 wk’s ago PP ranking, next game vs. Power Poll team)
#1 Alabama Crimson Tide (7-0, #1): 10/27 VS #17 MISSISSIPPI STATE
#2 Kansas State Wildcats (7-0, #5): 10/27 VS #16 TEXAS TECH
#3 Oregon Ducks (7-0, #2): 11/3 @ #14 USC
#4 Florida Gators (7-0, #3): 10/27 VS #9 GEORGIA
#5 Oklahoma Sooners (5-1, #7): 10/27 VS #8 NOTRE DAME
#6 LSU Tigers (7-1, #8): 11/3 VS #1 ALABAMA
#7 South Carolina Gamecocks (6-2, #4): 11/24 VS #13 CLEMSON
#8 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (7-0, #11): 10/27 @ #5 OKLAHOMA
#9 Georgia Bulldogs (6-1, #10): 10/27 VS #4 FLORIDA
#10 Oregon State Beavers (6-0, #14): 11/10 @ #20 STANFORD
#11 Florida State Seminoles (7-1, #9): 11/24 VS #4 FLORIDA
#12 Ohio State Buckeyes (8-0, #12): 11/24 VS #19 MICHIGAN
#13 Clemson Tigers (6-1, #13): 11/24 VS #7 SOUTH CAROLINA
#14 USC Trojans (6-1, #16): 11/03 VS #3 OREGON
#15 Louisville Cardinals (7-0, #17): 10/26 VS #21 CINCINNATI
#16 Texas Tech Red Raiders (6-1, NR): 10/27 @ #2 KANSAS STATE
#17 Mississippi State Bulldogs (7-0, #21): 10/27 @ #1 ALABAMA
#18 Rutgers Scarlet Knights (7-0, #18): 11/17 @ #21 CINCINNATI
#19 Michigan Wolverines (5-2, #23): 11/24 @ #12 OHIO STATE
#20 Stanford Cardinal (5-2, #20): 11/10 VS #10 OREGON STATE
#21 Cincinnati Bearcats (5-1, #25): 10/26 @ #15 LOUISVILLE
#22 West Virginia Mountaineers (5-2, #6): 11/17 VS #5 OKLAHOMA
#23 Texas Longhorns (5-2, #15): 11/3 @ #16 TEXAS TECH
#24 Ohio Bobcats (7-0, N5): no games remaining vs. Power Poll teams
#25 Toledo Rockets (7-1, NR): no games remaining vs. Power Poll teams
Dropped out of Power Poll:
#19 Arizona State
#24 Iowa State
New addition to Power Poll:
#16 Texas Tech: NR
#24 Ohio: N5
#25 Toledo: NR
Next Five to keep eye on, in alphabetical order only
A) Boise State Broncos (6-1): NR
B) Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (6-1): NR
C) Tulsa Golden Hurricane (7-1): NR
D) UCLA Bruins (5-2): NR
E) Wisconsin Badgers (6-2): NR
Big 12: 5
Big 10: 2
Big East: 3
Pac 12: 4
CUSA & MWC & Sun Belt & WAC: 0
This week we have five ranked vs. ranked matchups:
#17 Mississippi State @ #1 Alabama
#16 Texas Tech @ #2 Kansas State
#4 Florida vs. #9 Georgia
#8 Notre Dame @ #5 Oklahoma
#21 Cincinnati @ #15 Louisville
BCS Division & Conference Projections
Atlantic: Florida State remains the favorite to win this division following their home win over Clemson in late September, but both schools currently have one loss as FSU fell at NC State earlier this month. The Seminoles have three ACC games remaining, two on the road along with hosting Duke this week. The toughest remaining game figures to be Virginia Tech, who has clearly had a disappointing season especially defensively, but at the same time does have enough talent on the field should they reach their potential to play with the Noles – something that has evaded them to this point in the season. Both FSU & Clemson have HUGE rivalry games with SEC foes to close their season versus Florida & South Carolina, respectively. It is possible that both teams reach a BCS bowl, and may depend on the success of Notre Dame down the stretch.
Coastal: this division is much more wide open with 3-1 Duke sitting atop the heap currently, but a pair of 2 loss teams trails closely in Miami & Virginia Tech (UNC also has 2 losses but is not eligible to play in the ACC Championship game due to NCAA sanctions). The Blue Devils have played both of their closest pursuers, losing at VT but beating UNC at home last week. However, the rotational portion of their schedule will probably take them out of the running as they still must travel to FSU and host Clemson. For all the disappointment this season has been for the Hokies, especially defensively, they may be the team to beat in the Coastal at this point as they have three very winnable games in their last four, along with the aforementioned visit to Blacksburg by the Seminoles. Thursday’s game featuring VT @ Miami will go a long way to deciding the Coastal division. I think at the end of the day the Hurricanes will win the division after a series of tie-breakers.
Championship Game: Florida State vs. Miami, FL (FSU won 1st meeting this year 33-20)
Champion: Florida State
There are no longer two divisions and a championship game for this conference as the regular season round-robin will determine the conference’s BCS berth. Kansas State currently sits atop with a 4-0 mark, while a trio of 1 loss teams, and another trio of strong 2 loss teams trail. The Wildcats have five remaining Big 12 games, three in Manhattan and a pair on the road in Fort Worth and Waco. Even though this is perhaps the deepest conference in college football you have to believe either Kansas State or Oklahoma finishes the regular season with only 1 conference loss. That would mean K-State could lose one more game along the way, and OU would run the table – if those two were tied at top the berth would go to Kansas State based on their head to head win in Norman earlier this season. Bill Snyder’s club will be favored in all 5 remaining games they play this season, making an even stronger case that barring injury they get through their slate with at worst one loss. Oklahoma still must travel to West Virginia, the only spot on their schedule where they may not be a favorite. Texas Tech and Oklahoma State are the other current one loss clubs – but its very hard to see either of those two getting through the rest of their schedule without a loss – and they also still play each other so that will wind up being the second loss for one of them. This conference will be decided upon if Kansas State can get through their remaining schedule with only one more loss, and if Oklahoma can win in Morgantown to keep the pressure on the Wildcats.
Champion: Kansas State
The conference as a whole has performed solidly through this portion of the season as two teams remain undefeated (RU, UL), Cincinnati has only 1 loss which they suffered last week at Toledo, and of the remaining five teams four have 3 wins while USF brings up the rear with a 2-5 mark. Since there are only 7 conference games per team their BE slate gets kicked-off a little later than most conferences as Cincinnati for example has only played 1 conference game thus far – and that was their opener, a home win over Pittsburgh. On the flip side Rutgers has blazed out to a 4-0 conference mark and is clearly setting the early pace for the conference’s BCS bid – but with a tough trio of games remaining (@CIN, @PITT, Louisville) nothing is locked up yet. Along with the Scarlet Knights Louisville seems to be the class of the conference. The Cardinal have only two road games left, but one of those is the last game of the season at Rutgers – a game that is likely to determine the conference winner, the way it should be: on a Thursday night, in late November, winner take all scenario.
Legends: following Michigan State’s loss to Michigan in the Big House last week we know there will not be a repeat Legends champ in 2012. UM sits alone atop the division at 3-0, but is closely trailed by Nebraska and Iowa at 2-1. On Saturday night in Lincoln the Wolverines visit the Huskers in what could wind up being the determining game for this division – but I am not sure I agree with that unless we are talking a Michigan win. If UM pulls off this win I cannot foresee many scenarios where they are not representing the Legends in the Big 10 title game – if NU wins I still believe Michigan will finish with a better conference mark, and wind up winning the division – although it would likely take a pair of NU losses in their final four games if you assume Michigan loses at Ohio State to close their season. I project with a win this Saturday Michigan cruises to the Legends title; with a loss it will be tougher, but once the schedule is played out, they will finish on top.
Leaders: with the current top two teams in the division (OSU & PSU) both ineligible to play for the Big Ten Championship this season due to NCAA sanction, and the bottom three teams sitting at a combined 0-9, there really isn’t any other option than Wisconsin taking home the Leaders crown.
Championship Game: Michigan vs. Wisconsin (teams do not play during regular season)
North: this division is a three school race as the pair of Oregon schools currently sit atop the standings at 4-0, while Stanford is 1 game back at 3-1. The beauty of the current situation is none of the three teams have played each other yet – we will have a nice round robin in November that will likely decide this division winner. All three teams also play one of those games on the road, and one at home – leveling the playing field some more. On a pure talent basis Oregon would be considered the favorite – but we also must take into account scheduling. Oregon is the only one of the trio that still must play south favorite USC, and they play in LA. Stanford must also travel to LA, but to face cross town UCLA in a game that is much tougher than projected to be at the start of the season. Oregon State appears to have the easiest remaining slate since they play Oregon at home, and their three other games are @WAS, with home games vs. ASU & CAL. With all that said, at the end of the day, I am taking the talent of Oregon to take care of business, and narrowly edge out cross town rival Oregon State for the North crown.
South: this was thought to be a USC runaway before the season started, and while I still feel the Trojans are the favorite to win it, they will certainly be challenged more in their division then initially thought. I am certainly a buyer of UCLA, as I feel they can and will give USC all they want and then some in the Rose Bowl on November 17th. Arizona it the next best team, but their chances to win the division evaporated when they lost to the 3 North heavyweights in consecutive weeks in late September/early October. And although Arizona State only has one loss I fail to see them sticking around and being in the mix come mid-November. The Bruins are the only hope here to upend the Trojans, and it will take a head to head win, an Oregon win over USC in the Coliseum, and UCLA not slipping up in any of their other three games – it’s just too much to ask, although it will get interesting.
Championship Game: Oregon vs. USC
East: race is down to basically just two teams, Florida and Georgia, with these two rivals facing off this week in Jacksonville. Florida sits at 6-0, having already beat South Carolina and LSU of note. Georgia sits at 4-1, having lost to South Carolina – and they do not face Alabama, LSU or Mississippi State this season. Quite simple here for me, the winner of this game will win the East. And I think that team will be Georgia. For the Gamecocks to get back in the race they would need a lot to happen, such as Georgia beating Florida, then Florida losing to Missouri at home, then Georgia losing to Ole Miss at home or at Auburn to bring on a three way tiebreaker. It could happen, but I do not think it’s likely.
West: is there even a race? Alabama has dominated everyone in their path thus far in 2012, and there really aren’t many ways I see them being stopped from at least reaching the SEC Championship game. Unlike the East there certainly is still a lot of football to be played, especially for Alabama considering they still must play 2nd place Mississippi State at home this week, then travel to 3rd place LSU next week, on top of still facing Texas A&M and rival Auburn – but the Tide just seem too good right now. The best chance any team faces of dethroning Bama is if LSU can exact revenge in Death Valley next weekend from last year’s title game beatdown – that would put both Alabama and LSU with one loss, tiebreaker going to LSU. If LSU could then run the table, and they would be favored in every game to do so, they would win the West. But, that is a lot of “what if’s” to me. I just do not think LSU has the offense to execute both those scenarios.
Championship Game: Georgia vs. Alabama
BCS Bowl Projections
BCS National Championship Game: Georgia vs. Kansas State
Rose Bowl: Michigan vs. Oregon
Sugar Bowl: Alabama vs. Notre Dame
Fiesta Bowl: USC vs. Oklahoma
Orange Bowl: Florida State vs. Louisville
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