Tuesday, September 16

Modulo 4

LSU somewhat controversially was awarded an invitation to last season's BCS championship game, earning the somewhat dubious distinction of having the most ever losses for a BCS champion. In what amounted to a home game, they beat an overrated opponent who many people felt didn't belong in the title game, led by a coach who also might be overrated as a possible BCS slide sets in despite continued conference dominance.

USC, who finished with the same record as LSU but were relegated to dominating a Big Ten team in the Rose Bowl, opened the season with an impressive road victory in Virginia. A few weeks later, they followed it up with a victory in the early Game of the Season and have established a clear foothold on the #1 ranking. There's one other decent team in the Pac 10, but beyond them we expect the Trojans to cruise to a perfect record once past September.

Trailing them are the Oklahoma Sooners and a bunch of Floridians. The Sooner offensive juggernaut rolls on, but quietly we're concerned that their defense doesn't look like a championship group. Can a young runningback add another dimension to their offense that was sorely missed in last season's BCS bowl defeat? They'll be challenged for the Big 12 title by a team with arguably the nation's hottest quarterback, a team angry about a BCS snubbing despite being ranked above several teams who were chosen, but at the same time a team they defeated soundly last season.

Way, way down on the radar, a less-regarded SEC team is racking up victories via a strong running game and ridiculous defense. Auburn has allowed over ten points just one in their September games, and a big showdown could seen them upset the defending champions. The receivers are questionable, but with a mobile quarterback and two legitimate runningbacks, they could have just enough firepower to let their stellar defense carry them to a perfect season. Then again, the conference is loaded with top ten and top 25 teams, so we'll see if the Tigers can weather the storm and, if they can, whether the voters will reward them for it.

And what about those crazy BCS busters? Utah opened the season with a victory over a BCs opponent who's probably overrated buy may end up bowl-eligible anyway.

The Big East and ACC are crap.

If it sounds familiar, that's because this describes the 2004 season as well. USC opened with a road victory over Virginia Tech then defeated Cal in a huge early-season top ten showdown. Oklahoma was rolling and would only be challenged by Vince Young and Texas, whom they shut down with a surprising defensive effort. It was an effort they would not duplicate in the Orange Bowl against USC. Oklahoma actually trailed Miami for parts of the season, contrary to the belief of many (and an excuse to justify keeping Auburn #3) that OU never moved down from their preseason #2 spot; in fact Miami was #2 in the first BCS rankings of the season. Auburn shot out of nowhere, winning a close game over LSU and surprisingly rolling through the SEC with ease up until the title game, still winning by 10 but being left out of the BCS title game at 12-0. Utah defeated A&M to open their way to a perfect season, but they weren't the only mid-major to achieve perfection as Boise State finished unbeaten but were left out of the BCS. The Rose Bowl's eventual pick of Texas over Cal was controversial - can't see the Rose Bowl committee possibly picking the Pac 10 and/or Big 10 #2 teams over somebody like Missouri... nah, impossible! Of course, the real undeserving team was Pitt... this season, USF looks like the only team out of the Big East OR ACC who might deserve a BCS bid, and of course those conferences will send at least two so there's likely to be at least one dud.

Three weeks into the season, don't count out the possibility of some BCS deja vu! (for the record, I'm also liking Alabama to play the role of this season's Auburn... bonus that they started way down in the polls)