What a week, eh?
Two days after having one of the most interesting subplots to the BCS wiped out....three more of the Championship hopefuls bit the dust in spectacular fashion.
First off, Louisville was beaten by Rutgers. For the most part, Louisville is done from the National Championship picture.
The same can be said for California, Texas and Auburn. All three teams lost to unranked foes...with Auburn losing at home to a team that Kentucky slammed last week.
These losses means that four of the top 8 in the BCS lost this weekend. Cal, Texas and Auburn now have two losses and are pretty much eliminated from any chance at a title.
With the loss of several 1-loss teams, Rutgers' shot at a BCS Championship looks a bit more realistic. A long shot....but realistic. More must happen for Rutgers to be a legit candidate....but that actually could happen. More on this in a bit.
Florida is a winner by barely beating South Carolina. The Gators aren't exactly looking like world beaters right now and are right for the plucking. But they could/should be the #3 ranked team in the BCS by this time tomorrow and would have the inside track to the title.
USC should jump back into the title race just one week after losing to Oregon State. If the Trojans win out, they will have beaten a couple of teams that were in the title race when Saturday started. Another team that lost last week, West Virginia, may be in the thick of the race now.
Notre Dameis now right in the thick of the race and could be in thetitle game if they run out the schedule. Remember, their lone loss is to Michigan, who could be the #1 team in the land in a week. Unlikely Arkansas is right in there too, with only a season opening loss to USC as their blemish. Does Wisconsin have any shot to get in??? They have just one loss too...and that was to Michigan.
Another winner is the, uh, loser of the Ohio State-Michigan game. Whomever wins that game will be in the National Championship game. The loser, however, has a good shot at the other spot if the voters [and computers] show them some love.
HOW THIS COULD SHAKE OUT
Of course, all this could come crashing down. If I was a betting man, I'd say that we'll see Ohio State-Michigan for the BCS Championship in January. I really believe that. As I said before, one of them will be in the game after their meeting on Saturday. The other team will have just one loss....to the team playing for the title. The only other schools that can say that are Notre Dame and Wisconsin...and that is if Michigan wins this Saturday.
Next in line is Florida. The Gators have an impressive resume if they do run out the table. They will have beaten Tennessee, LSU, Kentucky, Alabama and Georgia...who all will be in bowls....plus South Carolina and whomever they face in the SEC Championship. They do have to go to Florida State [not a great team, but a rival] and then get Arkansas/LSU in the SEC Championship game. They could lose either game...or both.
So, next in line is USC. Despite not being the dominant Trojan team we all loved in the past....this season's team isn't that bad. If they win out, they will have beaten Arkansas, Notre Dame, Cal, Nebraska and Oregon. But, Cal and Notre Dame aren't in the bank....both are on deck. A loss to either one would kill their chances.
That means that Notre Dame is still in the thick of the race. They need a lot to fall their way, but a win at USC would really put them on the map for the title. Again, their lone loss is to Michigan.
If all these guys lose, then Arkansas has a good chance to get in. They would've beaten Auburn, Tennessee, LSU and [most likely] Florida and own a 12-game winning streak heading into bowl season. I don't think either Louisville, Wisconsin or West Virginia have a chance to get in because their 1-loss seasons aren't better than anything the Ohio State-Michigan loser can boast.
Then there is Rutgers. If Rutgers beats West Virginia and runs the table...they will be one of three undefeated teams [most likley Boise State will be shut out of National Championship contention]. But, if Arkansas loses to LSU....and then either one of those teams beats Florida in the SEC Championship game....Cal beats USC and then USC beats Notre Dame...then Rutgers could jump up into that conversation with the loser of the Buckeyes/Wolverine tilt for a title shot.
Not when you accept the fact that we could have a 2nd Ohio State-Michigan game in Glendale, AZ to decide the National Champion. And, for the 2nd time, the BCS title game will feature a team that didn't win it's conference championship.