Well this week my record was a non banner 10-10 for a grand total this season of 80-43. Not ready for Vegas to be sure. I again had to work Saturday night and did not see very much football and that is a drag, but income trumps lazing about watching television.The big surprise this week (in college football) is the Gamecocks handling the vaunted Crimson Tide. I guess the Brett Favre thing trumps all in sports surprises. I really did not see that (Favre, or Bama losing) coming. I suppose that when one thinks about it the Tide should be 2-2 at this point (and if one really thinks hard about Favre...). The Hogs choked the other week. I still think that Alabama has as much talent as any team in the nation and is not to be ruled out for the BCS Title Game. I am not usually a "yeah but we play a SEC schedule" kind of guy, but that rationalization does have at least some merit this year. It is no doubt that Arkansas, Bama, Auburn, LSU, SC, and even perhaps Florida can play with any team in the land. I would go as far as to say with the possible exceptions of the Big Ten and possibly the WAC or Mtn West any of the aforementioned SEC schools would be first in the conference. I am not sold on Oregon (or Oklahoma, Nebraska and Missouri) yet. I don't know if they could play with Bama or Auburn consistently. They did beat a solid Stanford team though and that says something. On to the conference analysis.
The Sun Belt is shaping up with Troy looking like the top dog. The thrashing of MTSU proved that the Trojans are again for real as far as conference play goes. The Cajuns turned in a fairly commendable performance against the OK State Cowboys in a game I actually did watch. I thought the Cajuns may just pull out another upset at home but the better team ran away from them in the second half. The Sun Belt is improving year in and year out and it is becoming dangerous for BCS level teams to schedule them. WKU is still looking for that first win and will probably get it at some point this year. FIU may be a dark horse to challenge Troy but that is probably somewhat unrealistic.
The SEC is pretty confusing. Georgia found a way to beat a young TN squad. Mississippi State went to Houston and won. LSU found a way again to find their way into the win column over the apparently rebuilding gators and of course Alabama was beaten by Spurrier. Auburn looks to be a team to contend with as do the Hogs. I was a bit worried about the Hogs playing the Aggies in Texas, but that fear apparently was not warranted. Who will win out in this conference? Hard to say at this point. I would not count out the Tide but there are now others who poised also.
The WAC is Boise State, Nevada and everyone else. Hawaii is 2-0 in conference play but that will likely change next week when they meet Nevada. Boise should not be challenged (except perhaps by Nevada) by anyone else. Even the Bulldogs, who tend to play the Broncos tough, do not look capable of that this year. Idaho was idle and Utah State fell off the pace with their loss to Louisiana Tech.
The Mountain West has some good teams. TCU and Utah of course, and this year Air Force joins the fray. No one else is of any consequence this year. BYU is dismal and even Wyoming, who can play people tough, is going nowhere at all.
In the Big Twelve Nebraska looks poised to rule the roost. I am not convinced by Oklahoma quite yet. Baylor is up an coming despite a loss to Texas Tech. The Longhorns are in rebuild mode. Missouri may be a dark horse to challenge Nebraska, they appear to be a quality team this year. Oklahoma State? No. No one else appears likely to make too much noise. KSU will probably go bowling somewhere as will the Longhorns. The Big Twelve is tied into too many bowls and that likely will result in some pretty sad bowl games when it is all said and done.
Oregon is for real. Are they as good as Ohio State, Bama, Arkansas, Boise, Auburn, SC, TCU or Utah? That is a question that is not answerable at this point. Oregon State proved that they are a good team yet with their win against the utterly over rated Arizona Wildcats. Stanford gets by USC but that was to be expected. California may be able to make a bit of noise yet. UCLA? Perhaps. Nothing else is of much consequence.
The Big East is down and their is really nothing to talk about except WVU football. They were predictably victorious Saturday over UNLV. Pitt did lose to Notre Dame and that says a lot about the state of their program. Rutgers redeemed themselves somewhat with their victory over the Huskies. Nothing else matters. Well Syracuse is 4-1 and may be a pretty good team playing under the radar. It is likely they will self destruct before it is all said and done though.
The ACC is still up for grabs apparently. Miami took a pounding at the hands of the Seminoles Saturday and that may have hurt their chances to some degree. Can't count them out yet though. NC State, Clemson (despite a surprising loss), and Va. Tech appear to be quality squads (by ACC standards) this year and may challenge yet.
The Big Ten still appears to have Ohio State in the drivers seat. I am not convinced that anyone else is a top 15 team at this point. Michigan State had a nice victory and Wisconsin, Iowa and Michigan appear to be fairly good teams. I don't think anyone will beat the Buckeyes in this conference although I thought the same about the Crimson Tide.
Northern Illinois took down Temple Saturday in MAC play in the only game this week that probably really matters in the race for the conference championship. Both are quality teams and may meet again. CMU was handled by VA. Tech and Solich found a way to win again. I will not count out Toledo to challenge either. Miami (OH) is 2-0 in conference play but is not likely a factor in the race at this point. Time will tell.
I will have the predictions up shortly for the games next week.