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Road to Glendale, October 9th Edition

Auburn falls hard. Oregon is sent rudely back to Eugene. LSU's resume is permanently stained with a second loss. Florida State is missing their defense and a rushing attack. As we head into the middle of the season, the field of true national championship contenders is really starting to thin.

Is Texas among those with a shot? Of course, but we still need some help. The safe money is on the Michigan / Ohio State winner matching the West Virginia / Louisville winner in Glendale and that neither Florida nor USC finish the season undefeated. I, for one, am still rooting for chaos (think, just a single undefeated team).

Tier 1--The Favorites

  1. Ohio State 6-0--The Buckeyes cruised past Bowling Green but failed to cover for the first time this season (nice bet PB). It would take a minor miracle for them to drop a game before their season finale with Michigan. This weekend Jim Tressel and OSU gets to take their shots at everyone's favorite whipping boy, John L. Smith. Next up: at Michigan State.  
  2. USC 5-0--USC clock operator 1, Washington Huskies 0. USC held on to win at home over an improved but not great Tyrone Willingham team on Saturday afternoon. For the first time in a few seasons, there is legitimate debate as to the top team in the Pac 10. If they have to -survive- another one, the Trojans will be shipped to Tier 2 status. Their last four games look tougher and tougher now. Can you imagine USC vs. Missouri in the Holiday Bowl? I can. Next up: Arizona State.
  3. Florida 6-0--Enough with the Tim Tebow love fest. The Gators defense dominated LSU on Saturday and Chris Leak was behind center for 75% of the snaps. Very few thought the Gators could survive this four game stretch. Two down, two to go. If they win this weekend, I'll rank them #1. Next up: at Auburn.
  4. West Virginia 5-0--The Mountaineers beat Mississippi State handily on the road this past weekend. No one watched and no one cared. Could a one loss team from the Pac 10 or SEC be ranked ahead of an undefeated Big East champ? Discuss. Next up: Syracuse.
Tier 2--The Contenders
  1. Michigan 6-0--The Wolverines coasted past their "rivals" from East Lansing 31-13. Cruise control is over though. Michigan travels to Happy Valley on Saturday night. Survive that one and then an up and down Iowa squad comes to visit the following weekend. Could Michigan drop one of these two and then upset OSU for the Big Ten title? Next up: at Penn State.
  2. California 5-1--Is there a hotter team than the Golden Bears? Cal has won all five of their games by at least 21 points including a drubbing of previously unbeaten Oregon on Saturday night. The next four contests are very manageable. Beat USC in November and the Pac 10 title is yours. Next up: at Washington State.
  3. Louisville 5-0--The Cardinals took care of Middle Tennessee State 44-17 on Friday. As mentioned in last week's thread, Louisville will remain in this category until Brohm returns and / or they beat West Virginia. The Cardinals road to a perfect season is much tougher than the Mountaineers' though. Louisville must travel to both Rutgers and Pittsburgh. Neither should be considered world beaters but they are not to be overlooked. Next up: Cincinnati.
  4. Tennessee 5-1--The Vols in the second half against Georgia were very impressive. They get to take a rest this week before a tough four game stretch: Alabama, at South Carolina, LSU, and at Arkansas. If Eric Ainge and Robert Meachem continue to connect through the air, this team might have too much scoring for the SEC. Next up: Bye.
Tier 3--Need Help
  1. Texas 5-1--Huge win for the Horns. This one cannot be overstated. Big Game Bob is missing. Adrian Peterson is still searching for championships. The tide in the series is overwhelmingly in UT's favor. And we control our destiny in the Big 12 South. The new spread the field Bears crawl into Austin on Saturday after being the tenth team in a row to beat Colorado. Next up: the Big 12 South co-leaders.
  2. Notre Dame 5-1--A win over Stanford doesn't deserve a review or praise especially not when you only lead 14-3 at home at halftime. Next up: UCLA.
Dropping Out: Auburn 5-1
Close: Clemson 5-1