One undefeated team fell on Saturday. Another will fall on Thursday when West Virginia and Louisville hook up. If the national championship matches two undefeated teams those will almost certainly be the Michigan / Ohio State winner vs. the West Virginia / Louisville winner.
But if there are not two undefeated teams, we will definitely have BCS chaos. There could easily be a half dozen one-loss teams with legitimate resumes for the title game. The strongest ones will come from a one loss SEC champ or a one loss Pac 10 champ. Some need more help than others. Here is where we stand today.
Tier 1--The Favorites
- Ohio State 9-0--The Buckeyes have not been challenged in the last month. OSU hasn't allowed an opponent to score double digits in points since Iowa scored 17 at home but still lost by three touchdowns. OSU won't be tested the next two weeks either as they travel to Illinois and Northwestern. Those two cellar dwellers have a combined 1-9 record in the Big 10. Next up: at Illinois.
- Michigan 9-0--The Wolverines seemed to sleep walk through the bad weather on Saturday. Chad Henne wasn't sharp and Mike Hart was held under 100 yards (barely). But the Wolverines were never really in danger of losing the game because the Michigan defense was dominant, again. Northwestern finished with -13 yards of total rushing. One more home game before Michigan heads to Indiana and Ohio State to finish the season. Next up: Ball State.
- (tie) West Virginia 7-0 / Louisville 7-0--Neither team played this past weekend. Thursday will likely decide the Big East title and certainly knock the loser from the national championship picture. The winner will be ranked in the top four and gain much needed computer strength. The winner must still survive Pitt and Rutgers for a perfect season but don't be fooled this is the big win. Next up: West Va at Louisville Thursday ESPN.
- USC 6-1--For the first time in two years, the Trojans dropped a regular season game. Here are two different views of USC. One, this was only the beginning. They have been hanging on all season and will end up with one or two more losses. Two, USC showed tons of heart in the second half. They didn't fall too far in the polls. The computers love the Pac 10 and the Trojans. And with wins over Oregon, Cal, and Notre Dame (along with earlier wins over Arkansas and Nebraska), USC will have the strongest resume of any one-loss team at season's end. We shall see which one ends up closer to the truth. Next up: at Stanford.
- Florida 7-1--The Gators almost let a three touchdown lead slip away. Florida is no Tech though. The tough Gator D won this one by holding Georgia to just 215 total yards and by forcing five turnovers. Florida struggled inexplicably last year with Vandy at home. This weekend they must travel to Nashville. Next up: at Vanderbilt.
- California 7-1--Cal was off this weekend but are now even firmer believers of USC's fallibility. The Golden Bears already have wins over Oregon, Arizona St, and Washington St. A late season win at USC might be enough to catapult them to the top of the one-loss heap. They will need to move up into the top four in the human polls to have any shot. Next up: UCLA.
- Texas 8-1--Down three scores with freshman quarterback on the road. No problem. Colt McCoy looks more like a fifth year senior and multiple year starter than a redshirt freshman. There simply isn't a better quarterback in the Big 12. We survived our two most dangerous road trips despite the freezing weather, despite missed field goals, despite multiple fumbles, and despite our secondary being largely MIA. Good teams find ways to win when they aren't playing their best. Another dangerous passing attack visits Austin this weekend. Next up: Oklahoma State.
- Notre Dame 7-1--Shockingly the Golden Domers are stronger in the computers than they are in the human polls. They will move up some as they plug along to 10-1 before visiting USC to end the season. ND's next three opponents are a combined 7-17. Will an end of season road victory over the Trojans be enough? Probably not. ND fans should become USC fans for the next few weeks. Next up: North Carolina.
Close: Arkansas 7-1 & Tennessee 7-1