Can you hear that? It’s the sound of silence. Certainly something we are not used to in the BCS era, but for once, it appears as though the BCS critics will have to wait another year to make their case for a playoff. Now, there’s still time to throw everything out of whack and there are certainly a small group of TCU proponents out there that will cry fowl, but for the most part, the BCS appears to be working, for now.
Of course this is only possible because Boise State lost at Nevada last week and Auburn proved its mettle at Alabama. Yes, everything has fallen into place up to this point in the season, so BCS opponents will point to that fact, but the BCS proponents could have made the same case last year when everything seemed to go wrong for a clear BCS champion.
The bottom line is this, there are still three undefeated teams as of now, and if Auburn and Oregon win this week, then there will be one team left on the sideline, which in a perfect world would not happen, but think about this. What if there were a 16-team playoff and Alabama snuck into the mix. What if the ‘Tide ended up making a run and defeated Auburn in the championship game. Would they be any more deserving of the title than Auburn? Just something to think about for playoff proponents out there.
Avoid List: vacant
On the radar:
USC: Can anyone out there explain what is going on with this team? For that matter, what the heck got into the Fighting Irish? A weird end to the season for both teams.
Record YTD: 88-81-1
Units YTD: -0.3
Best Win: Wisconsin: My first three-unit play of the year was an easy winner. The Badgers got up 14 points early and absolutely cruised to victory.
Worst Loss: Alabama under: I was fortunate to get into a spot where I thought I had this game, but once in that spot, everything went wrong. Needing only three points to hit the over, Alabama went on a time-killing drive that ended up with no points. Auburn was able to kill the clock from there and the game was over.
Strange as it may seem, I actually went through an entire week of college football and nothing annoyed the heck out of me. I could rant about something that kind of bothered me, but that’s not what this section is about. If I’m going to write about it, you can rest assured that it grinds my gears. I have a feeling something will come up this week however.
Conference championship games are right on the horizon and those of you that have attempted to handicap these games in the past are fully aware how difficult they can be. Need evidence, just look at the Big-12 Championship game from last year. Nebraska entered as a huge underdog to a very good Texas Longhorn team, but by the end of the night, the ‘Horns were lucky to get out of there with a win. It wasn’t the final outcome that was surprising though, it was how the two teams got there. It was as if everything we knew about both of the teams was flat out wrong. Texas’ offense looked nothing like the high-powered machine they were all year and although Nebraska brought a solid defense all year, they never came close the level they performed at in that game.
The point is this, there are going to be certain teams that jump up this weekend and play better than they have all year long. The key is to find those teams; because for every team that outperforms their season long performance, there will be one that grossly underperforms.
My thoughts on which teams jump up will be included in the games listed below.
Arizona State at Arizona: This one looks dangerously easy to me. Arizona is the better team here and it’s at home laying less than a touchdown. I could be falling into the trap here, but so be it. I don’t expect ASU to jump up here in this spot, rivalry or not.
Side: Arizona -5.5 (1)
Illinois at Fresno State: I’ll admit, I might be off here because I watched much of Fresno State’s game last week and let me tell you, the Bulldogs were awful last week, almost as bad as they were the previous week when Boise State kicked that crap out of them. Illinois is by no means a powerhouse, but it’s certainly capable of covering this number on the road.
Side: Illinois -5.5 (1)
Miami Ohio vs. Northern Illinois: The Red hawks have proven to be a pesky beat over the past month, but I have a feeling their fortune is about to run out this week. Northern Illinois is clearly the best team in the MAC this season and the Huskies will prove it on Friday. The number is awfully big, but just as Central Michigan has turned these MAC Championships into blowouts in the past, so will the Huskies this year.
Side: Northern Illinois -17.5 (1)
Rutgers at West Virginia: The Mountaineers have a legitimate shot at winning the Big East this season, but they must take care of business on Saturday. Luckily for them, they’ve got a Rutgers team coming to town which is more than ready to call it a year. West Virginia is hitting on all cylinders right now and that should continue this week.
Side: West Virginia -20.5 (1)
Washington at Washington State: Washington State has been a nice surprise in the Pac-10 this season. Sure, the Cougars are still bottom dwellers within the conference, but they are nowhere near as bad as they were last year. WSU has a couple wins under its belt this season, but this is by far its biggest game. As such, I not only expect WSU to cover this game, but I expect a straight-up win also.
Side: WSU +6 (1)
Oregon at Oregon State: Oregon seems to be cruising along, but after watching them again last week, I am starting to wonder if the Ducks are starting to slow down a bit. Sure, they ended up crushing Arizona last week, but that was due more to fatigue than anything else, and things like pace and fatigue are bigger issues on the road than they are at home. As such, I expect OSU to come up with a huge effort this week and put one heck of a scare into Oregon.
Side: Oregon State +16.5 (2)
Auburn vs. South Carolina: Auburn played on heck of a game last week, but I have to believe that they way it played out might have an ill effect on the team this week. While all the attention is on the Tigers, the team on the other side of the field is not to be overlooked. South Carolina played Auburn very close earlier this year and the Gamecocks appear to be playing their best football coming into this one. South Carolina is capable of winning this game and although I’m not going to go as far as to call for the upset, I do think they’ll cover.
Side: South Carolina +6 (1)
Total: Over 61 (1)
Florida State vs. Virginia Tech: This could be a spot where a FSU plays above its head, but Virginia Tech has come too far from a 0-2 start to slip up now. The Hokies are clearly the best team in the ACC and they’ll prove it this weekend.
Side: Virginia Tech -4.5 (2)
Nebraska vs. Oklahoma: The ‘Huskers had no problem moving the ball without Taylor Martinez last week, but this game won’t be played in Nebraska and the opponent will not be Colorado. Oklahoma has cured their road woes and that should help them in this neutral site game this week. Oklahoma will be the team that up its game this week and this one could get ugly.
Side: Oklahoma -6.5 (1)