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Race to the Roses October 19

Despite the fact that none of the top three teams brought their "A" games on Saturday, all three survived and advanced. For Florida, Alabama, and Texas that is all it's about-survival. The top three in all polls don't need to worry about style points; all they need to do is win. The potential collision of an undefeated SEC champion vs. Texas for the national championship remains a possibility.

There were a few teams that did crap the bed last weekend, though. We can officially say goodbye to Ohio State, Virginia Tech, and even Kansas from the national title hunt. Terrell Pryor couldn't hold onto the ball; Bud Foster couldn't figure out how to stop Georgia Tech's triple option; and Kansas couldn't stop Colorado after Coach Hawkins finally benched his son.

The first edition of the BCS standings is out. The top three were no surprise, but there were a few surprises that followed.

  • Boise State, Cincinnati, and Iowa are all ranked ahead of USC. USC has the advantage in the human polls (who would believe it?)but the Broncos, Bearcats, and Hawkeyes are each ranked considerably higher than the Trojans in the computers. In fact, LSU, TCU, Oregon, and Georgia Tech are ahead of USC in the computers too. The Trojans computer strength should improve soon with games against the Oregon schools upcoming.
  • Penn State and Oklahoma State are both hated by the computers but slide into the 13th and 15th spots respectively because of their human poll rankings.
  • Texas is ranked 3rd(Billingsley), 4th (Anderson & Hester), 4th(Colley Matrix), 7th (Wolfe), 9th (Massey), and 15th(Sagarin) by the computers. Their computer ranking is good for sixth best overall.

After the jump, a look at this week's Favorites, Contenders, and those that Need Help...

The Favorites:

1. Florida (6-0; BCS 1): Does Florida really even need to play the rest of their games? With calls like those, how can they possibly lose? And with Colt struggling, Sam Bradford out, and Jimmy Clausen now saddled with two loses, I guess they can start engraving Tim Tebow's name on the Heisman trophy for a second time. Seriously, this is not the same Florida team that we saw a year ago. They are not as explosive offensively or as stout defensively. That said, it is hard to see a loss on their remaining schedule.

Next Games: 10/24 @ Mississippi St, 10/31 (n) Georgia, 11/7 Vanderbilt

2. Alabama (7-0; BCS 2): Bama jumped to the top spot in the AP poll and deservedly so, but the Tide definitely looked beatable. Greg McElroy and the Alabama passing game has all but disappeared over the last two weeks. Mark Ingramis a stud, no doubt, but a one-dimensional offense isn't going to win a national title. The ‘Bama vs. LSU game in three weeks could realistically end in a scoreless tie.

Next Games:  10/24 Tennessee, 10/31 Bye, 11/7 LSU

3. Texas (6-0; BCS 3): As bad as the offense has looked in spots this season, the ‘Horns are still undefeated and in a perfect position for another trip to Pasadena. Glass half full: the running game came alive in spots against OU, Marquis Goodwin's emergence, UT special teams, defense, and the last four UT opponents are UCF, Baylor, Kansas, and A&M. Glass half empty: the offensive line remains the weakest unit on the team, Greg Davis, slow starts, and Colt keeps throwing the ball to the other team.

Next Games:10/24 at Missouri, 10/31 @ Ok State, 11/7 UCF

The Contenders:

1. USC (5-1; BCS 7): The Trojans escaped South Bend and appear to be in excellent position to back into the national title game should the top teams stumble. I say appear because I'm not so sure that they don't need more than a little help. Should Texas lose, USC is in decent shape but would they be more deserving than an undefeated Big 10 champion or an undefeated Big East champion? I'm not so sure. Should Florida and / or Alabama lose, wouldn't a one-loss SEC champion still be higher ranked and more appreciated by the computers than a one-loss USC? I think so. In my opinion, the Trojans need to start worrying about style points and impressive wins over Oregon State and Oregon in the next two weekends would be a good place to start.

Next Games:, 10/24 Oregon State; 10/31 @ Oregon, 11/7 @ Arizona St

2. Cincinnati (6-0; BCS 5): The Bearcats are the surprise of the season. Cincinnati wasn't even ranked in the pre-season and after less than two months are ranked in the top five of the first BCS standings. Tony Pike's injury doesn't appear to be serious and even without him, Cincy should have no trouble over the next couple of games. College football has been crazy already...with wins over West Virginia and Pittsburgh and an undefeated campaign, who knows.

Next Games: 10/24 Louisville, 10/31 @ Syracuse, 11/7 Connecticut

Need Help:

1. Boise State (6-0; BCS 4): Why so low? Cause they're Boise State. As BZ mentioned last week, this may be as high as they can get. Major conferences teams like Cincinnati, Iowa, and USC are all likely to jump the Broncos in the weeks ahead.

Next Games: 10/24 @ Hawaii, 10/31 San Jose State, 11/6 @ La Tech

2. Iowa (7-0; BCS 6): Vegas may not believe in the Hawkeyes but they don't have to. Road trips to East Lansing and to Columbus are all that really stand in the way of an improbable undefeated season. I think Iowa will have no trouble jumping Boise State and Cincinnati in the weeks ahead, as long as they keep winning.

Next Games: 10/24 @ Michigan State, 10/31 Indiana, 11/7 Northwestern

Knocking on the Door:

1. TCU (6-0; BCS 8): Game at BYU this weekend is only real chance to make some noise. Should they win out and be ranked in the BCS top eight, they deserve a BCS berth even if Boise State is also undefeated and ranked ahead of them.

2. LSU (5-1; BCS 9): It was easy to overlook the Tigers after a loss to Florida and a bye week. However, LSU is not completely out of it. Les Miles' club will almost certainly be 7-1 when they travel to Alabama on November 7th. Win that and a rematch with Florida in a de facto semifinal game is not out of the question.

3. Miami (5-1; BCS 10): With no ranked teams remaining, 11-1 is a possibility. ‘Canes are in good position to claim ACC Coastal division but outlasting Ga Tech and Va Tech won't be easy and clawing their way to the BCS top two is unlikely.

4. Oregon (5-1; BCS 11): The Ducks have rebounded nicely from an embarrassing opening weekend loss with wins over Utah, Cal, and Washington. It is likely too little, too late but a win over USC in two weeks would make things interesting.

5. Penn State (6-1; BCS 13): It's hard to see how non-undefeated Big 10 team gets all the way into the top two. Even wins at Michigan and over Ohio State won't impress enough.