Tuesday, November 3, 2009

College Football Week 10

All the leaves are brown and the sky is gray ...
I'd be safe and warm, if I was in L.A. ...
California Dreaming ...

(California Dreaming, The Mamas and the Papas)

Hanging Ten

Like a So Cal surfer with all ten toes on the nose, two fistfuls of college football teams are still California dreaming as we move into November.

Welcome back to The Campus Game, where we can't furnish the sand or sea, but can provide a road map to Pasadena.

Today we review the current top ten teams in the BCS standings ... and explain what must happen for those squads to play for a national championship.

We'll start at the top where the conditions are clean and move down into the choppy waters of those needing to catch a sleeper wave.

Florida: 1) Win out and Gators are westward bound. 2) If Gators lose a regular season game, but beat an undefeated Alabama team in the SEC title game, they might still get to BCS championship by outranking any other one-loss team and undefeated Cincinnati, TCU, or Boise State squads (an undefeated Iowa would beat out a 12-1 Florida).

Texas: 1) Win out and the Longhorns play for another title in Tinsel Town. 2) Should UT lose a regular season game, but win the Big 12 title, the Horns would likely need Iowa and Oregon to lose down the stretch. Like Florida, a once-beaten Longhorns team should outrank undefeated Boise or TCU teams (but the weak schedule makes it more iffy with regard to Cincinnati).

Alabama: 1) Win out and Tide rolls to the Pacific. 2) Should Bama fall in regular season, same scenario as Florida above ... counting on one-loss SEC champ reaching title game over potential unbeatens and any other one-loss team (Oregon being the most dangerous).

Iowa: Hawkeyes must win out and count on two of the three teams above to lose. An unbeaten Iowa would get the nod over any once-beaten team.

Cincinnati: Bearcats are in a similar circumstance as Iowa, only the Hawkeyes figure to outrank them if both remain unbeaten. My feeling is that a one-loss SEC champ would get dibs over an undefeated Cincy team ... a one-loss Texas would not.

TCU: Horned Frogs are interesting, but I do not see them making the title game unless something freakish happens ... Texas, Iowa, and Cincinnati all lose, and the SEC teams finish regular season unbeaten. Frogs could make a case to play for title against winner of SEC championship game. Unlikely - but not impossible.

Boise State: While the Broncos victory over Oregon looks more impressive every week, Boise will not play for a title under any realistic circumstance. A one-loss SEC champ would block them, and Texas-Iowa-Cincy-TCU-Oregon-Georgia Tech would all have to lose ... even that might not be enough.

Oregon: Along with LSU, the Ducks have the clearest path from the back of the pack to the front. A one-loss Ducks team could displace anybody below Iowa from the list above ... so they need Iowa and two from among Texas and the SEC teams to lose. Boise presents a potential wipeout for the Ducks because the Broncos dominated them to open the season. Long-shot title contender but it's possible (and team is playing better than anybody right now).

LSU: Bengal Tigers quietly have a very clear path to title game (I just don't think they are good enough to navigate it) ... win out and the Tigers will play for a national title. A one-loss SEC champ figures to be in unless Texas and Iowa win out.

Georgia Tech: Nobody wants to face the Rambling Wreck offense but everyone would love a crack at that porous defense. Unrealistic to think of title game scenario but here goes ... Jackets win out and hope to play the SEC champ in title game ... so, Texas and Iowa must lose ugly and Cincy-Oregon must lose; then Jackets might outrank Boise and TCU. Extremely soft non-conference schedule (and a generally weak ACC) hurts chances. Orange Bowl is nice consolation.

The Campus Game Top Ten Games (Week 10)

Difficult to identify ten good games this week with many conference teams scheduling a post-Halloween non-conference cupcake but here goes:

10. TCU at San Diego State: 4-4 Aztecs, winners of two straight, are one of tougher games left for BCS dreaming Horned Frogs.

9. Oregon State at Cal: Two good teams with 3-2 conference marks in the underappreciated PAC-10.

8. Oklahoma at Nebraska: History and tradition alone make this game worth watching.

7. Kansas at Kansas State: The Sunflower Showdown is really important to K-State Wildcats as they sit atop Big 12 North.

6. Boise State at Louisiana Tech: If Broncos are to lose, a Friday night game against (Derek) Dooley's Dogs might be the game.

5. Navy at Notre Dame: Irish must win out for any potential BCS bowl game; otherwise Gator Bowl seems a lock.

4. Florida State at Clemson: As odd as it seems, this game has conference title game implications.

3. Oregon at Stanford: The nation's hottest team plays against the PAC 10's most physical squad. Letdown alert for Ducks.

2. Ohio State at Penn State: Nittany Lions not completely out of national title picture but must handle Buckeyes to stay alive.

1. LSU at Alabama: SEC West goes to the winner in all likelihood, and national title dreams stay alive as well.

Enjoy the games!