In looking at last week’s AP Top 25 Poll I think we can now identify 17 of the Top 25 teams that are no longer relevant in the chase for the BCS national championship game. All of them have 2 or more losses. They are:
Oregon, Oklahoma, Georgia, Virginia Tech, Southern California, Texas, Florida, Clemson, Virginia, Boston College, Tennessee, Illinois, Cincinnati, Kentucky, Michigan, Wisconsin and Connecticut.
So my message to you is: Get over it and move on.
The latest casualties in a season of upsets and attrition were the No. 2-ranked Oregon Ducks and No. 3-ranked Oklahoma Sooners.
The Ducks not only picked up their second loss at Arizona, 34-24, but also lost their Heisman Trophy candidate and superstar quarterback Dennis Dixon in the 1st quarter to a torn ACL in his left knee. Dixon was the Oregon offense and without him it showed.
The Sooners picked up their second loss at Texas Tech, 34-27, leaving them on the outside looking in at the BCS title game. Like Oregon, the Sooners lost their quarterback Sam Bradford in the 1st quarter with an apparent concussion.
Eight teams now become harder to ignore. They are Louisiana State, Kansas, West Virginia, Missouri, Ohio State, Arizona State, Hawaii and Boise State. All have only 1 loss except Kansas and Hawaii which remain unbeaten.
All remain in the hunt because they continue to win as the season winds down or they were idle this week, like No. 9-ranked Arizona State (9-1).
No. 1-ranked Louisiana State (10-1) used a 98-yard kickoff return and forced two turnovers during goal-line stands to hold off Mississippi 41-24. Mississippi is now 0-7 in the SEC.
No. 4-ranked Kansas (11-0) hosted Iowa State and made the Cyclones look like an easy breeze by winning 45-7.
No. 5- West Virginia (9-1) traveled to No. 21-ranked Cincinnati and handed the Bearcats their 3rd loss, 28-23, setting up a showdown this week with No. 25-ranked Connecticut (9-2) for the Big East title and a BCS bowl-game berth.
Connecticut gets my nomination as the 9-2 team with the least press and notice this season. The Huskies have quietly and efficiently beaten South Florida, Rutgers and Cincinnati, all of whom have been ranked and received much more notice. At one point in the season South Florida was ranked 2nd, Rugters10th and Cincinnati 15th.
No. 6-ranked Missouri (10-1) traveled to Kansas State and beat the Wildcats 49-32. Missouri freshman Jeremy Maclin (he has speed) set an NCAA single-season freshman record in the game with 252 all purpose yards, returning a kickoff 99 yards for a score and catching 2 TD passes, giving him a record 2,201 all-purpose yards so far.
This week No. 6 Missouri travels to No. 4 Kansas for a Big 12 showdown of horrendous proportions. Kansas is 7-0 and Missouri is 6-1 in the Big 12 North Division.
No. 7-ranked Ohio State (11-1) followed its upset loss to Illinois last week with a 14-3 victory over No. 23-ranked Michigan to capture the Big 10 championship. Ohio State’s regular season is now over; the Buckeyes will sit and wait and see what their fate is in the BCS chase. Look for them in the Rose Bowl at worst.
Jim Tressel became the first Ohio State coach to beat Michigan 6 times in 7 years. His Buckeyes captured their first consecutive outright Big 10 titles in 50 years.
No. 13-ranked Hawaii (10-0) traveled to Nevada and was lucky to get out alive with a 28-26 victory. The Warriors led at the half 19-10 but were outscored by the Wolfpack 16-9 in the second half.
Hawaii beat San Jose State 42-35 in overtime and Fresno State 37-30 earlier this year. The Warriors, who score a lot of points (45+), get their first real test of the season this week when they host No. 17-ranked Boise State. A win by either Hawaii or Boise State could vault them into a BCS bowl-game, especially if any team in front of them loses again.
Boise State warmed up for Hawaii by destroying Idaho 58-14. The Broncos win was no big deal either as Idaho is 1-10 on the season and beyond anemic.
So there you have it, the mighty 6-LSU, Kansas, West Virginia, Missouri, Ohio State and Arizona State-and the not so mighty 2-Hawaii and Boise State.
Sunday night’s (11-18-07) new AP Poll showed LSU 1st, Kansas 2nd, Missouri 3rd, West Virginia 4th, Ohio State 5th, Arizona State 7th, Hawaii 14th and Boise State 17th.
Monday’s (11-19-07) new BCS Standings showed LSU 1st, Kansas 2nd, West Virginia 3rd, Missouri 4th, Ohio State 5th, Arizona State 6th, Hawaii 15th and Boise State 19th.
There is a guaranteed lockdown that 2 of the 8 teams involved in the BCS title hunt are going to lose this week as Kansas and Missouri clash in one showdown and Hawaii and Boise State in another. That should help lift the fog the following morning.
Copyright © 2008 Ed Bagley