by Bob Epling
(from Game Day Weekly)
Great weather huh?
Yes, the crisp, cool autumn air that descended across much of the South the past week or so is beautiful, but we are talking great hot weather.
Hot as in the conference races heating up in what could be a November to remember.
All six major BCS conferences remain up for grabs. The second spot in the national BCS polls is a tossup. The Heisman race is wide open.
Yes, things are heating up.
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Two more top five teams fell this past weekend (#2 Boston College and #4 Arizona State), throwing conferences races wide open and keeping the BCS title picture muddled.
Here is our analysis of the BCS conference races (remember we go to print before the latest BCS polls are released).
ACC: The winner of Virginia-Virginia Tech will represent the Coastal division. Boston College, Clemson, or Wake Forest should win the Atlantic. Expect Tech to play Boston College. BCS Bowl Projection is Virginia Tech.
Big 12: Oklahoma should represent the South, but Texas and OK State are still alive. Missouri and Kansas are headed for a great North division showdown on November 24th. Let’s go with Oklahoma vs. Kansas. BCS Bowl Projection is Oklahoma.
Big East: Surprising U Conn is atop the league with West Virginia and Cincinnati looming. West Virginia should be the favorite, but don’t count out the Bearcats of Cincy. BCS Bowl Projection: West Virginia.
Big Ten: Once again, Ohio State or Michigan? While it is a familiar tune, it is also a good one. An Ohio State win should put the Buckeyes in the title game; a Wolverine win sends Big Blue to the Granddaddy. BCS Bowl Projection: Ohio State.
PAC 10: Oregon controls the league courtesy of Saturday’s nice win over Arizona State. The Ducks would probably need to lose twice for anyone else to win the conference (I expect Arizona State to lose again). The interesting question is whether the Ducks will outpoll LSU, Oklahoma, and West Virginia if all finish with one loss. BCS Bowl Projection: Oregon.
SEC: LSU is firmly in control of the West, but the Tigers sloppy play may cost them a BCS title shot if they are not careful. In the East, Tennessee has control, but Georgia is right there. If both fall, Florida could get there. BCS Bowl Projection: LSU
Around the Nation
#1 Ohio State takes on high scoring Illinois in Columbus. With a win, the Buckeyes would need only a victory at Michigan the next week to reach a second consecutive title game. Elsewhere in the Big Ten, Michigan plays at Wisconsin.
The Mangino Magic at Kansas could run out in Stillwater when the unbeaten Jayhawks play the Oklahoma State Cowboys. The Big 12 also features high scoring Texas Tech at Texas and Texas A&M at Missouri.
The Big East has a big Thursday game with Louisville at West Virginia. The Mountaineers are not out of the national title picture. I expect Cincy to stop the surprising U Conn Huskies on the banks of the Ohio River.
Out West, USC plays at Cal in a game that only matters for bragging rights and bowl positioning.
Around the South
The SEC East takes center stage this week.
Front-runner Tennessee hosts suddenly hot Arkansas and the great Darren McFadden. Georgia faces Auburn between the hedges in Athens, a place Auburn treats like home. Also, Florida goes to South Carolina in the third Spurrier-Meyer showdown.
The ACC has a nice slate this weekend, with Wake at Clemson, Virginia at Miami, FSU at Virginia Tech, and BC at Maryland.
Conference USA sees East leader East Carolina make the tough trip to Marshall, while Southern Miss welcomes Memphis to the Rock, and Central Florida takes on UAB in Birmingham.
See you at kickoff!