There were some pretty good games on tap this last week and some surprises as is usual. I was 11-9 this week for a grand total of 125-78. Did anyone notice the prolific scoring that happened at various sites across the country? I don't guess defense is being played anymore. The biggest surprises to me were the Texas/KSU and the TCU/Utah contests. I figured that TCU would beat Utah but not in such a rout. I did not think that KSU would have what it took to beat Texas but beat them they did. In fine fashion. Can anyone say that TCU and perhaps even Boise State don't deserve a shot at the mythical "National Title?" I don't think that any legitimate commentator would deny that they are very very good teams and perhaps as good as any in the land. Does LSU actually have a shot at the title? They may need a little help but a one loss SEC team is certainly not to be counted out. What about Oregon? The PAC 10 is a bit weak but still Oregon is a darn good ballclub. What about Ohio State or Wisconsin? Both are quality teams in a conference that is better this year than it has been in the past. Can anyone count out Nebraska? Perhaps but perhaps not. I will wager there will be a lot of controversy before it is all said and done this year. Anything that further erodes the credibility of the BCS system is ok by me. Enought pontificating. On to the analysis of week 10.
In the Sun Belt Troy is still the team to beat although they do not appear to be quite as dominant as they have been of late. MTSU is a disappointment to be sure. Both of the Florida schools are dangerous teams despite their record and the two Louisiana squads are not real good. La Monroe is probably a step above the Cajuns. ASU had a nice win over MTSU the other night and North Texas along with WKU round out the bottom.
Conference USA is still pretty interesting. I was surprised that ECU was beaten so badly by a fair Navy squad. UCF came to Houston and proved a point. I was a bit surprised that UTEP took down the Mustangs of SMU. It always just depends on which Miner team shows up to play. They can be good at times. Tulsa made a statement the other week against the Irish and continued with a pummeling of Rice. Tulane played fairly apparently but fell to USM. Memphis was smashed by the Vols and I was a bit surprised at the margin of loss. Memphis is not good and Porter has a long way to go but the Tigers regard the Vols as a mortal enemy and usually get up for the game to at least turn in a fair performance. Not so Saturday. In the East, UCF looks to be poised to take it with ECU and perhaps USM still in the hunt. CUSA West is still up for grabs with Tulsa, Houston and SMU all in the race.
In the Mid American East the Temple Owls along with Ohio and Miami of Ohio are still in the race. Temple must face both teams and probably should not lose to either team. Each of them have only one conference loss with Temple having the harder row to hoe the rest of the way. They are probably the better of the the three teams though. In the West it is down to Northern Illinois and Toledo. Both are undefeated in conference play. They meet Tuesday and that may decide it although both have 2 more conference games in addition. An interesting and perhaps under rated conference this year.
The Pac 10 is down to Oregon. I don't think they will lose and they may be one of the teams in the National Championship game. They may be as good as anybody in the country. Stanford is a major player yet and should Oregon stumble, they will be in a good position. Oregon State lost to UCLA which damages their credibility somewhat and must face Oregon in the "Civil War." Arizona will go bowling in a decent game. Nothing else really matters.
The Big East is in shambles. It is hard to figure but the best teams in conference appear to be Pitt and WVU (despite a 1-2 conference record for the Mountaineers). Not a lot to say here. This conference is weak this year. Syracuse is somewhat of a pleasant surprise. Every team has at least three conference games left, some four. This race has a long way to go before being decided with every team having a theoretical shot at the title.
The WAC is still going to go to Boise State. They knocked off Hawaii in convincing fashion Saturday but must play both Nevada and Fresno before the season ends. Either of these teams has a slight shot of knocking them off the perch but it is not likely. Is Boise ready for the BCS. You bet!!
The Mountain West has been decided. The only question is whether TCU will have a major melt down in one of the remaining games. Doubtful but stranger things have happened. If they do not (melt down) the question would be if they are "National Championship" ready. They very well may be. Utah will get a nice bowl as will SDSU. The Aztecs are a pleasant surprise. I like Hoke and hope he sticks around awhile.
The ACC is still a bit of a mess. One division is still up for grabs with no team in conference really being a quality stand out club with the possible exception of the Hokies. Their early season loss to JMU is still affecting their standing in the college game. Their loss to Boise State can be forgiven, but not a loss to a IAA club. Va Tech should win the Coastal as they are undefeated in conference play. Miami, their closest rival, has two conference losses. The Atlantic is still up for grabs with four teams having a shot. Florida State is in the driver seat with 4 conference wins and two losses. It is hard to say which will play Va. Tech for the ACC title.
The Big Twelve North is between Missouri and Nebraska with the Huskers being in the driver seat. Pelini is a hell of a coach and no mistake. Iowa State is a pleasant surprise this year and had the opportunity to knock the Huskers out of the possibility of a National Title. Granted Nebraska going to the BCS Title game is a bit of a long shot, but still a theoretical possibility. The South Division is really interesting with four teams still in the hunt. At this time OSU is the front runner with only one loss in conference with Baylor, Oklahoma and even the Aggies still in the race. Oklahoma should not have lost to the Aggies no matter where they played. Same actually for Missouri. TTU is not real good and the Bears should have beaten them. Baylor was capable of better play against the Cowboys but so it goes. Texas is done. Mack has a rebuild job on his hands for sure. The Kansas/Colorado game was interesting if inconsequential. The Jayhawks scored 35 points in the fourth quarter to upend the Buffs. Hawkins is done. This has been an interesting conference this year to watch.
The Big Ten has four teams still in the race for the conference crown with three of them having a possible shot at the National Title game. Wisconsin, MSU, Ohio State and Iowa all have only one loss in conference and in totality at this point. Iowa has two losses but only one is a conference game. It is still up for grabs. Four quality teams in this league instead of just one or two as is usually the case. The Michigan/Illinois game was a wild one indeed. Does either team have a defense. Both Zook and Rich are on the hot seat but may yet get to save their jobs. Northwestern let JOPA's squad back in and Paterno recorded his 400th victory (I believe). I like that old dude. They should let him stay as long as he wants. He has earned the right. Hopefully PSU won't "do him dirty" like FSU did to Bowden. Bobby also earned the right to coach until he felt the need to leave. Just the way it is.
The SEC may not always have the best team in the land but they seem to be hands down the best league year in and year out. Nothing really surprising there. The SEC East is up for grabs and does seem to be down this year. Florida is not the power this year that they normally are and South Carolina is a good but not great team. One of those teams will be in the SEC title game against a much stronger opponent from the West. Now we come to the other division. The SEC West has some powers that can play with anyone. Yes that includes the Crimson Tide. I would put the top three teams in this division up against anyone in the land and would suspect they would have a good chance of winning. Two of the other three teams in this division are quality also with only the Rebs being a poor team this year. Mississippi State has been a pleasant surprise. LSU needs Bama to beat Auburn for a shot at the SEC title game and I hate to root for the Tide and especially that Saban, but this is what it comes down to. Auburn and perhaps LSU are not to be counted out to play in the National Title game. The Tigers (LSU) still have to contend with the Hogs (and La. Monroe, Ole Miss) before it is all said and done. Not an easy proposition to say the least or at least the contest with the Arkansas. Auburn must of course play the Tide and get past a somewhat improved Georgia club. Still a very interesting race with a good bit of ball left to play.
I will try to get the predictions for this week up as soon as possible.