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The Road to Glendale, Oct. 2nd Edition

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Save the drubbing of Iowa by Ohio State, this weekend didn't affect the national championship picture too much. If the favorites continue to win, we could have a problem. I am getting excited for BCS chaos. I know, it is barely October, but there is a decent chance we have an odd number of undefeated teams at the end of the season.

The Michigan/Ohio State winner should be unblemished as should the West Virginia/Louisville winner. It is not out of the question to see Oregon or USC run the table out west and still alive is my preseason champ pick, Auburn.

Tier 1--The Favorites

  1. Ohio State--The Buckeyes continue to impress as their defense continues to improve despite giving up 300+ to the Hawkeyes. Troy Smith and company continue to pile un the points. I wrote two weeks ago, that if they survived the next two weeks, only Michigan would stand in the way of a trip to Glendale. OSU survived Penn State and then dominated Iowa. The schedule gets much easier from here. Next up: Bowling Green.  
  2. USC--The Trojans survived a scare in Pullman on Saturday night. Their offense is not what is has been and their defense even looked shaky against Washington State. The USC D gave up 26 first downs and 418 total yards. Both units have about a month to improve before the season ends with a tough four game stretch. Next up: Washington.
  3. Auburn--The Tigers played an entertaining game last Thursday night at South Carolina. The game was closer than it should have been but a road win at night in the SEC is nothing to scoff at. Auburn accomplished one of the most amazing feats I have ever seen in college football: they held the ball for the entire third quarter. Two drives with a recovered onside kick in between. Steve Spurrier has rarely been more frustrated. Arkansas comes to visit this weekend followed by Florida.
  4. West Virginia--The Mountaineers had an off week. Don't worry, the cupcake schedule continues this Saturday. They literally have a one game schedule. WVU is going to have to look mighty impressive to even be ranked ahead of some one loss teams at the end of the season. Next up: at Mississippi State.
Tier 2--The Contenders
  1. Michigan--The Wolverines coasted to a 28-14 victory at Minnesota this weekend. Coasted may be the key word. Michigan seemed to lose focus during the second half but still held on to win back the Little Brown Jug. Mike Hart (195 yards on 31 carries), Mario Manningham (5 catches, 131 yds, 1 td), and Chad Henne (284 yds, 3 TDs) were outstanding once again. The reeling Spartans visit Ann Arbor this weekend. Somewhere John L. Smith is crying. Next up: Michigan State.
  2. Florida--The Gators began a brutal four game stretch with a much needed home victory over Alabama. Florida capitalized on two 4th quarter Bama turnovers to produce a backdoor cover and a 15 point win. Don't celebrate too much. That might look like a cakewalk compared to what is up next. LSU visits this weekend, followed by a visit to Auburn, and then Georgia in Jacksonville. Ouch! Next up: LSU.  
  3. Louisville--Brian Brohm and Louisville had the week off. As mentioned above, the winner of their November 2nd contest with West Virginia should be undefeated. The Big East regular season champ will not have to survive a conference championship game either. Next up: at Middle Tennessee State.
Tier 3--Need Help
  1. Texas--There is nothing to say other than there were no injuries. Bring on the Sooners. The Horns own a 56-39-5 overall advantage over the Sooners and are currently riding a one game winning streak in the series. We are also early six point favorites. Slow down AD and we win. Next up: Oklahoma in Dallas.
  2. Notre Dame--I can't stand the Irish. Unfortunately, they won't go away. Brady Quinn picked Purdue apart in their 35-21 victory. The win was one of his more impressive games of the season going 29/38 for 216 yards and 2 TDs. With the constant exposure, national television experiences, and the late season shot at upsetting USC, Quinn is very much in the Heisman race. Their schedule is so weak. I guarantee they will be 10-1 and ranked in the top 5 when they play the Trojans to end the season. Next up: Stanford.
--AW--