Nov. 2 - Oklahoma vs. USC for the national championship. The best defense against the best offense. That’s my new Sugar Bowl prediction (subject to change, of course). Because, as we all witnessed Saturday, things can change quickly in college football.
OKLAHOMA REAFFIRMED ITS status as the nation’s top team by shellacking Oklahoma State 52-9 after the Cowboys dared to talk some trash.
Meanwhile, the USC Trojans showed they are the best of the one-loss teams by turning back Washington State 43-16 in the Pac-10.
Oklahoma vs. USC. Makes perfect sense.
Oh yeah. Here’s another prediction: When the latest Bowl Championship Series standings are released Monday, there will be controversy.
Lots and lots of it.
USC (8-1) might be worthy, but Florida State (8-1) will be complaining: Hey, what about us?
After all, the Seminoles are on a roll, too. But that claim of superiority can be challenged by Miami (7-1), which soundly defeated Florida State. If you keep talking Miami, though, that will upset Virginia Tech (7-1), which still is relishing its spanking of the Hurricanes.
Let’s not forget about Ohio State (8-1), the defending national champions.
What about LSU (8-1) in the SEC?
This isn’t a national-championship race. It’s a bar argument. And that’s a very fine thing, certain to make college football the centerpiece of everyone’s sports talk for the next month. It will be fun.
Until someone is left out.
As the BCS races to its homestretch, Oklahoma is the only Division I-A unbeaten with a shot at the title (sorry, TCU). The Sooners should roll in —good luck Texas A&M, Baylor, Texas Tech and the sacrificial lamb, er, Big 12 North champ in the conference title game.
After that, we’re headed for a festival of decimal points. It’s the Florida presidential race all over again.
Six one-loss teams, each with an argument. You can ship Miami back in the pack. And you can forget about Georgia. It would have been a lot more tidy had the Hurricanes and Bulldogs won. But they didn’t.
Miami’s 39-game regular-season winning streak is history after a nightmarish visit to Virginia Tech. Georgia’s hopes are over — the Bulldogs are now a two-loss team — following yet another haunting defeat to Florida.
So it’s Oklahoma against the world. A small world, really.
Here’s how we rank the other contenders:
The Trojans had been kicking themselves over that triple-overtime loss at California.
But now, it doesn’t figure to be as large.
USC served notice with its season-opening 23-0 win at Auburn. The question marks — the defense and inexperienced quarterback Matt Leinart — have become exclamation points.
InsertArt(2058815)The Trojans must go to lowly Arizona, then they finish with home games against UCLA and Oregon State. Only UCLA presents a mild worry, mostly because of the rivalry factor, but not enough to compromise USC’s eventual trip to New Orleans.
The Trojans couldn’t be happier with the way things have shaken down. The Rose Bowl couldn’t be sadder. For the third straight year, it appears Pasadena will not have its traditional Pac-10 champion vs. Big Ten champion matchup.
The Seminoles made a statement with their 37-0 win at Notre Dame.
Unfortunately, that statement doesn’t carry too much weight. Neither did Florida State’s big win against Colorado. What looked like a very formidable non-conference schedule in the preseason has turned out to be nothing special.
Now Seminoles coach Bobby Bowden might have the unenviable task of closing out his son’s career at Clemson. Tommy Bowden has been under fire and it will get even worse after a lopsided loss to Wake Forest.
The Seminoles then host North Carolina State and travel to resurgent Florida — two games they should win (but you never know). Bottom line: Florida State will rue the (rainy) day it lost to Miami.
The Buckeyes’ season has not been a thing of beauty. Far from it, actually.
But outside of a loss at Wisconsin, the Buckeyes have swept through the Big Ten, while adding non-conference victories against Washington and North Carolina State.
It would take a few more upsets to seriously propel Ohio State into the Sugar Bowl mix. And don’t forget about the Nov. 22 game at Michigan, which might be the Big Ten’s best team.
The Wolverines can’t be part of Sugar Bowl discussions, though, because of their losses against Oregon and Iowa.
Gritty Matt Mauck and the Tigers’ defense probably comprise the SEC’s best overall team.
LSU was wondering how on earth it could have lost at home to Florida. The once embarrassing loss looks more palatable now, since the Gators have gone on to defeat Arkansas and Georgia.
We’re willing to forgive that home loss to West Virginia, mostly because the Hokies answered the call so nicely in beating Miami.
Virginia Tech’s weak non-conference schedule will come into play, though, essentially killing any hopes of a national title.
One loss was critical. Now the Hurricanes are on the outside looking in. Even a share of the Big East title no longer is a given. The Hurricanes must go to Pittsburgh on Nov. 29.
Miami managed to weather its shaky moments (rallying from a 33-10 second-half deficit to defeat Florida, then salvaging a 22-20 home comeback win against West Virginia). Getting drummed by Virginia Tech won’t look too good for Miami’s overall chances.
The Fighting Irish have a promising future based on coaching, current talent, recruiting, title path, and program power.
CFT: Johnny Manziel nearly transferred out of Texas A&M before the 2012 season after being suspended, according to reports, but he stayed after his successful appeal.
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