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Road to Glendale, Nov. 13th Edition

What a weekend. The dominoes were all starting to fall. After Louisville's loss on Thursday night, I thought the chances for Texas were pretty good. After Auburn's loss, Cal's loss, and Florida's near loss, I thought Texas almost controlled its own destiny. It was not to be.

Four of the top ten teams lost this past weekend. Until recently, it appeared almost inevitable that two undefeated teams would play in Glendale. Then it looked like there would be a serious beauty pageant among the one-loss teams. If there's another Saturday like the last one, we may be just who is left standing.

In my mind, it is down to just seven teams.

Tier 1--The Favorites

  1. Ohio State 11-0--After one close game, the Buckeyes were back to dominating. Saturday's showdown is essentially the semifinals for the national title. OSU's 54 points were the most scored by the Buckeyes in over a decade. Michigan will need to play exceptionally well to beat OSU in Columbus. Next up: Michigan
  2. USC 8-1--This may not be a popular selection but the Trojans control their own destiny. If they win out, they will be in Glendale as the top ranked one-loss team and the one-loss team with the best overall resume. There is still a long way to go though. USC had no trouble dispatching of Oregon late Saturday night. Their biggest conference test visits the Coliseum this Saturday with the Pac 10 title on the line. Next up: California.
Tier 2--The Contenders
  1. Michigan 11-0--The Wolverines looked to be back to their old selves by cruising past Indiana 34-3. The Michigan offense has enough weapons (Henne, Hart, Manningham, Breston) and their run defense is the best in the country. Will Michigan be able to control Troy Smith through the air? Next up: at Ohio State.
  2. Florida 9-1--The Gators were oh so close to joining the list of the fallen. A blocked field goal and a blocked extra point proved to be the difference. Florida has already wrapped up the SEC East but has two more out of conference games left. Scheduling Western Carolina won't help them in the polls or the computers but beating a one-loss Arkansas team would put them in the discussion with USC if both teams win out. Next up: Western Carolina.
Tier 3--Need Help
  1. Notre Dame 9-1--I can't believe they are back in the picture. After taking care of Army this Saturday, only USC will stand between the Irish and an 11-1 season. The Irish still probably need Michigan to win and the SEC champ to have two losses. If Michigan loses, there is no way voters should place ND above the Wolverines but they might. Next up: Army.
  2. Arkansas 9-1--Houston Nutt has gone from coach on the hot seat to probable SEC coach of the year. The Hogs easily took care of a reeling Tennessee club 31-14 on Saturday night and are a single win away from the SEC championship game. Who would have thought Arkansas might be the team to run the table in the SEC? It could still happen with two games left.  Next up: at Mississippi State.
  3. Rutgers 9-0--Do they deserve to be in the discussion? I guess so. They only have one quality win but it was a big one. The Scarlet Knights shocked Louisville and the nation with their come from behind 28-25 victory. With three more victories, including one at West Virginia, they will be right there. Lots of work left though. Next up: at Cincinnati.