National Championship Picture
The BCS title is starting to take form with a distinct set of teams separating themselves from the rest of the pack. Alabama, Oregon, Kansas State, and Notre Dame take the first four spots in this weeks’ poll in that order, although in the all-important BCS standings both the Wildcats and the Fighting Irish are ahead of Oregon. All of these teams have difficult tests remaining, but it appears that they all will be favored throughout the rest of their schedules. All the teams looked very impressive this weekend, none more so than Notre Dame, winning a tough road game in Oklahoma by the score of 30-13. Other teams that could look to make a title push include LSU and Georgia. If either one loss team is able to run the table and win the SEC, a case could be made that they should be in the championship game.
The Fall of the Unbeatens
Five previously undefeated teams went down in defeat for the first time this week. Former No.2 Florida saw their inside track to the national championship ruined with a loss to Georgia. Oregon State lost their chance at an undefeated campaign with a road loss against the Huskies of Washington, dropping them six spots to No.13 in this week’s poll. Mississippi State’s luck ran out against a dominant Alabama in Tuscaloosa, as they fell to No. 17. Cinderella stories Rutgers and Ohio were unable to keep their winning streaks alive as they fell to Kent State and Miami (OH), respectively. As a result, both teams fell out of the AP rankings.
Alabama and Oregon both play games this weekend with huge national championship implications. The Crimson Tide will travel to Death Valley to take on LSU in a rematch of last year’s title game. This game should decide who will represent the West in the SEC championship game. Oregon faces its toughest test of the season with a road game at USC. Oregon has yet to play a tight game, and although USC has not lived up to expectations this season, they should still be able to put up a fight against a thus far dominant Ducks team.
Ohio State’s Lost Season
An undefeated team not discussed above is the Buckeyes of Ohio State. Sitting at 9-0 and with a relatively easy schedule remaining, one could make the case that they have the best chance of anyone at going undefeated. A road win against a tough Penn State team this past weekend only helped strengthen those views. However, the Buckeyes, ranked at No. 6, are ineligible for the postseason due to NCAA violations under former coach Jim Tressel. The national title hopes in Columbus will have to wait another year.