I did pretty good over the last two weeks in my predictions; 15-6 in week one and 18-3 in week two. Things fell off a good bit in week three however. My record for this week is 12-9 for a grand total of 45-18. Pretty good but not quite ready for Vegas I suppose. On to the analysis.
Sun Belt: The Sun Belt fell off a bit this week but there was certainly one bright spot. FIU came real close to beating the Aggies in College Station. It was down to the wire. Mario Cristobal must be doing something right down there. Middle TN should have beaten the Memphis Tigers but alas they came up on the losing end. Perhaps the suspension of Dasher hurt them. It must be noted however that there are no valid excuses in football. Likewise, there is no real reason that Troy should have fallen to the Blazers of Birmingham. Perhaps they were overconfident. Come on Trojans. You play in the Sun Belt. There is no such thing as overconfidence. Maybe they were still trying to recover from their exceptional performance against the Cowboys last week. Judging on the past performance of the Red Wolves, I did not see them taking down ULM. I certainly figured that the Warhawks would pull this one out of the hat. Wrong. North Texas was North Texas in their contest with West Point. Coach Dodge should probably start packing now. WKU is still looking for that first win. I think they will find it at some point during conference play.
SEC: I watched some of the Mississippi State/LSU contest and came to the conclusion that the Bulldogs are improved and LSU is not as bad as the pundits say. The Tigers do have some red zone problems and will not be able to compete with the likes of Bama or maybe even the Hogs, but still will reach a decent bowl. Will that be enough to keep Miles in Baton Rouge for another year? Bama was not tested. I don't like for Saban but he sure does know how to coach. Florida is improving but are not what they were. Somewhat of a rebuilding job for Meyer. Tennessee has a long way to go. The Rebs are not going anywhere as they were taken down by Vanderbilt. Auburn came out on the winning side in OT against Clemson. Both of those Tigers are a pretty good ball clubs. Kentucky continued with their confidence building schedule with a route of Akron at home. South Carolina looks like they may have struggled a bit against IAA Furman. Did not see any of that game. Mark Richt better start looking around for new digs. He will not be the Bulldog coach next season.
Big XII: Colorado struggled early against the Warriors of Hawaii and I was pretty sure they would lose that contest, but they came back and won in fairly convincing fashion. If I was Hawkins though I would continue to shop for luggage. Did KSU/Iowa State prove anything? Probably not a lot. Missouri struggled against the Aztecs and that was predictable. Texas is certainly not what they were and neither is Texas Tech. Neither are ready to compete for the mythical National Championship. The Cowboys came back in fine fashion against CUSA rival Tulsa after almost losing to Troy. Kansas lost to USM Friday night and that was probably not an anomaly. Oklahoma continues to struggle but comes out with a win again. Problems with Utah State and Air Force along with smashing the Seminoles means these guys are a bit hard to figure at this point. Of course the Air Force Academy is a pretty good ball club and Utah State is quite improved. Baylor did not stand a chance against the Frogs. I thought they would hang in there a bit longer. Still not sold on TCU as a BCS buster quite yet. Nebraska appears to be the only team in the Big XII that may have a shot at a "National Championship" game, but they are probably a dark horse. The Aggies are likely going nowhere. Perhaps a minor bowl.
Big East: Something is wrong in this conference. West Virginia did come out with a win and are probably a pretty good ballclub but this conference is weak. Pitt was off and they may need the extra practice anyway. UConn was beaten by the Owls of Temple and that was somewhat predictable. Nothing else in the Big East really is worth mentioning at this point other than perhaps Louisville at least keeping it close against a pretty good Pac 10 team.
Big X: This conference is Ohio State and everyone else. The Buckeyes are the only school that has a shot at the big game and I predict they will be in it. Probably against Alabama, but there is a lot of football left to be played until we get to that point. Iowa did not look like a top ten team but I was fairly certain of that. Wisconsin continues to win but does not impress. Michigan is certainly not a real good football team, but they seem to find a way. Ditto for the Spartans. The Gophers held their own for a while against USC and I was hoping for an upset. Don't like those Trojans or that Kiffin. Northwestern was not seriously challenged in a game I considered going to see. Raining too much for me to make the trip up the road to the Rice campus so I decided against it. Is anyone else worth mentioning in this conference? Not really. Zook continues to win at Illinois but he is on the hot seat.
WAC: Boise State decimated the Cowboys of Wyoming and I get the feeling Boise called off the dogs in the second half. I don't care what they say, I think this team (BSU) can play with anyone. Fresno State was victorious over an improved Utah State squad in their conference opener. I watched most of the Idaho/UNLV game and came away with the impression that the Vandals will again find themselves bowling this year. Nevada looks like a good team also. Probably on the same level as say a Tennessee or Mississippi State in the SEC or a Michigan State of the Big X. Maybe somewhat better than that. New Mexico State is New Mexico State. Hawaii is probably improved over last year somewhat but are still not a very good football team. Louisiana Tech will likely not be a factor.
Mtn West: TCU and Utah remain undefeated and may perhaps sneak into a BCS game. I am not totally sold on either team to reach that level, but they are quite good none the less. Air Force is a quality program also. Very commendable performance against Oklahoma. BYU may be nothing more than middle of the pack in this conference this year. They did not look good in their last two outings. Most other teams have not shot at anything it appears. UNLV, Colorado State and New Mexico are horrible. Wyoming is probably little better than fair although they played some quality teams in the last two outings and held their own against the Longhorns for a while. Not a strong conference this year at all. It appears but have perhaps two very very good teams and one or two that are not too bad. That is about it.
MAC: The Middle American Conference has a few good teams as is the norm. Temple appears to be at the top of the pack and will most likely be in the MAC Championship Game. Yesterday the Owls improved their record to 3-0 with a very impressive win against Connecticut. They have already beaten CMU, the team they will likely face in the MAC Championship. I would look for someone to throw some serious jack at Al Golden (Georgia, Colorado) after this season is finished if not before. CMU won in impressive fashion against their cross state rival. Things appear to be moving along quite well for the Chippewas. Ohio was demolished by Ohio State and that was predictable. Coach Solich still may have a pretty solid team with this years' group of Bobcats. Toledo certainly seems improved. Much of the rest of the MAC is not going anywhere. Jerry Kill does appear to have a pretty fair Husky team but probably not a MAC contender.
ACC: We learned a good deal about this groups of Clemson Tigers in their OT loss to Auburn. They are a pretty good team and may well have what it takes to compete for the ACC Championship. What is wrong with VA. Tech? ECU did not have the depth to take the Hokies down but they did play a pretty good game. Still the Gobblers can not be ruled out when thinking of the ACC Championship. Miami was idle and FSU showed that they can still play some football after last week's dismal performance against the Sooners. I would not rule out FSU as competing in this conference also. Stanford made Wake Forest look silly. I figured that they would lose out in California but not by such a margin. Georgia Tech redeemed themselves somewhat against NC and NC State handled Cincinnati fairly easily. Duke is Duke but really should not have been on the same field and the Tide. Boston College was tested by a MAC opponent a couple weeks back and probably will not make much noise.
This conference is probably up for grabs at this point with VA. Tech, FSU, Miami, NC State, Georgia Tech and Clemson all having a legitimate shot at a BCS game. None are anywhere ready to compete for the "National Championship" however.
Pac 10: Interesting conference this year. What USC does is of no consequence. Stanford is pretty good apparently as is perhaps Oregon State. Oregon had a scrimmage against an in state IAA opponent. Oregon may have a legitimate shot at the National Title game. If Bama or Ohio State should falter I would look for this team to step in. Both Washington squads are not very good. Cal was embarrassed the other night in Reno and UCLA had a good win against U of H. Both Arizona teams are not too bad apparently. Arizona may be a dark horse to take this conference but it is doubtful that they are National Title material.
CUSA: Any chance that Houston may have had to be a "BCS Buster" this year is gone. They ended up playing with their fourth string QB (I believe) after the Bruins knocked out the others on the depth chart. That had to have been a factor in such a lopsided loss, but as I noted earlier; there is no excuses in college football. The Coogs may still have a legitimate shot at the Conference Title and the Liberty Bowl. USM looked pretty good the other night against a hard to figure Kansas team. They may be better than expected. ECU had their chances against VA. Tech but the outcome was a loss. SMU may be a year away but Jones already has the Mustangs ready to compete in this conference. The took out WSU at home in front of a crowd of about 26. Attendance should improve along with the Mustangs fortunes. Memphis had an unpredictable win against MTSU and Marshall fell to a MAC squad. Coach Doc has a ways to go to get the Herd back. Also somewhat surprising was UAB beating cross state rival Troy. Perhaps the Blazers are not as bad a predicted. They did hang well with SMU a while back and the minor upset vs Troy was a confidence builder. UCF can not be ruled out at this point but perhaps Tulsa can. Rice was Rice and UTEP had little touble with NMSU. I would look for UCF, U of H, USM, ECU and perhaps UTEP or SMU to have a legitimate shot at the Conference Title.