It happens around this time every year. The talking heads take a gander at the list of undefeated teams and a panic sets is. "What happens if there are five undefeated teams at the end of the season?"
It's funny; our ability to remember events, even within the previous 12 months, seems to be getting worse. Don't we go through this every year? And how does it usually turn out? OK, sometimes it doesn't work out, but most of the time, the field rids itself of the undeserving. The last two weeks, the field shed three potential contenders in Oklahoma, Wisconsin and Clemson. This is how it works; this is how it always works.
What we have left now is a more condensed field, but we know that one undefeated team will go down this week. That will leave us with four undefeated teams at week's end, but fear not, there are still games to be played.
Obviously, the worst-case scenario is a trio of undefeated teams from BCS conferences. I'm not sensing a lot of Boise steam right now, and that's probably due to the fact that the Broncos have looked uninspired at times this year. That "big" win they had against Georgia in Week 1, doesn't look so great anymore.
Back to the trio, though, the winner of the LSU-Alabama game this week likely will get through the season unscathed, which leaves Stanford and Oregon. Both teams have one major hurdle to cross prior to season's end but also have minor hurdles as well, you know, like the minor hurdles Oklahoma and Clemson failed to get over.
The bottom line is there are several weeks left in the season and these kids are human, they aren't going to get up for every game just because we expect them to. A doomsday scenario sure looks like a possibility as of this moment, but that could all change five days from now.
As for last week's action, yet another rough week, but it could have been worse. The good news is that I hit the .500 mark in my top-two categories; the bad news is I got destroyed in my PASSing thoughts. Special thanks to Stanford, which somehow covered a 7.5-point spread in overtime. You don't see that too often. Among the complete misfires of the week were Iowa, which lost straight up, and Clemson, which never threatened the lead.
Cream of the Crop: (Week: 3-3-0/Season: 24-28-0)
Purdue at Wisconsin: This game will go one of two ways. Either the Badgers come out feeling sorry for themselves after two tough losses and sleepwalk through this game, or they come out looking to beat on a helpless opponent. I have a feeling the latter is in store as Wisconsin doesn't seem like the type of team that would give up on the season.
Side: Wisconsin -25.5
Kansas at Iowa State: It's one thing to sneak up on a team as the underdog and thump it, like the Cyclones did last week at Texas Tech; it's another thing to destroy a team as a two-touchdown favorite. I'm certain the Cyclones feel pretty good about what they accomplished last week, and well they should, but with Kansas coming to town, this has trap written all over it. Yes, I know, a team like ISU should never overlook an opponent, but it happens. Meanwhile, the Jayhawks look at this game as their only chance to grab a conference victory. Who do you think is going to be more jacked up to play this game?
Side: Kansas +14.5
Michigan at Iowa: When I first saw this line, I wanted to justify an Iowa selection, but I just couldn't. The Hawkeyes are bound to bounce back after a humiliating loss at Minnesota last week, but I just don't trust that defense. The Iowa offense has been fairly reliable all year, especially at home, and I think the Hawkeyes can keep up with Michigan. I'm just not sure they can win. Regardless of the outcome, there will be plenty of points scored in this game.
Total: Over 57
Texas A&M at Oklahoma: Will the real Sooners please stand up? I bet against Oklahoma last week, yet I was uneasy about that pick in many ways. I kept hearing this little voice telling me that Kansas State was not in the same class and that Oklahoma would bounce back from a horrible loss, but I didn't listen. Well, I am listening now. Oklahoma probably feels it still has a chance at the BCS title game if it can run that table. And as long as the Sooners believe that, they are going to be trouble for anyone that gets in their way. I'll hedge with the total as the Aggies are capable of scoring in bunches, but they usually fade in the second half.
Side: Oklahoma -14.5
Total: Over 67
LSU at Alabama: Earlier this season, when I was seeing things very clearly, I pegged Alabama as the better team in this match-up. The Tide's running game is much better than LSU's, and though the Tigers may have a slightly better defense, let's not forget where this game is being played. On a neutral field, I might lean a different direction, but this game is in Tuscaloosa.
Side: Alabama -5
Best of the Rest: (Week: 4-4-0/Season: 32-31-1)
USC at Colorado: The Buffaloes are horrible, and there's no doubt that USC is light years ahead of them. But this is a huge number and the Trojans are not exactly accustomed to blowing out teams. Factor in the grueling and heart-breaking loss last week and we might see a very slow start from USC this week.
Side: Colorado +21.5
Louisville at West Virginia: A very nice win from the kids at Louisville last week, but a step up in class this week will prove much more difficult. WVU has struggled a bit the last two weeks, but both of those games were on the road. The Mountaineers are simply a different team at home.
Side: WVU -13.5
Syracuse at Connecticut: I fell into the trap last week. Syracuse was the Big East flavor of the week after having dismantled West Virginia at home, but what I didn't realize is that this team does not travel well. Another tough road test this week as the scrappy Huskies await their visit.
Side: Uconn -2
Indiana at Ohio State: OSU appears to be putting everything together, but I'm not sure the Buckeyes have the offense to lay this type of number. With the exception of their trip to Wisconsin, the Hoosiers have managed to stay within three scores of every opponent this season. I think they'll find a way to stay within four scores this week.
Side: Indiana +28
South Carolina at Arkansas: So you took care of business at Tennessee, well good for you, Steve Spurrier, but now a real test. The absence of Marcus Lattimore did not hurt the Gamecocks last week, but it will catch up with them as soon as they face a team that can score. Enter Arkansas.
Side: Arkansas -5.5
Houston at UAB: There's only one reason to avoid the over when Houston is playing - natural disaster. As always, check the weather forecast on Saturday morning.
Total: Over 73
PASSing thoughts: (Week: 1-5-0/Season: 25-24-2)
Florida State at Boston College: Florida State is on a roll, but the Seminoles are due for a letdown at some point. I thought it would come last week, but that didn't happen. Teams like FSU are not made to cruise through the conference like this. They have to slip up at some point, and this looks like a good spot as Boston College is coming off a conference road victory.
Side: Boston College +14.5
Northwestern at Nebraska: Nebraska is coming off two impressive wins, the most recent against a strong MSU squad, but this looks like a spot where the Huskers might let up a bit. Northwestern has proven a scrappy bunch all year, and the Cats can hang in there long enough to cover the number this week.
Side: Northwestern +17.5
Oregon at Washington: I had the Huskies as one of my top picks last week, and even though they covered, their defense didn't impress. That's going to be a problem this week as Oregon visits. The Ducks are coming off an uninspiring win against Washington State last week. What are the odds that they play down to their competition again this week?
Side: Oregon -16.5
Kansas State at Oklahoma State: OSU might be a better team than Oklahoma, but the Cowboys are a completely different beast. They don't beat you up like the Sooners do; they finesse you, which will be a welcome sight for a Kansas State team that got destroyed last week. The spread puts too much stock into last week's results.
Side: Kansas State +21