I’ve downgraded the college football landscape from a nuclear explosion to a ticking time bomb (complete with generic time-bomb image) because something weird happened this week -- none of my top 6 lost. Sure, two of them were off, but that doesn’t change the fact that they remain with the same number in the L column that they had last week. The 3 losses in my top 10 (by No. 7, No. 9 and No. 10) were hardly landscape-shaking. So here’s how the Top 10 shapes up for this week.
1. Boston College (last week: 1)
I’ll admit, my rankings were a minute away from going ka-blooey all over again, but then Matt Ryan came in, saved Boston College, saved my rankings and probably won the Heisman in the process. Now while BC does still have some games that may seem challenging, they’re only superficial. They get FSU and Miami at home, and Maryland and Clemson aren’t as good as their records would suggest. They’ll get Virginia or Va Tech (again) in the ACC title game, so there’s a good chance they’ll make it to New Orleans unscathed.
2. Ohio State (last week: 2)
They destroyed Penn State with ease, which is good for their resume, but honestly, I didn’t think much of Penn State before this week. I do however think that Ohio State won’t be tested until the season finale at Michigan (and how funny is it that Michigan is now seen as a challenge, after how pathetic the Wolverines were after two weeks).
3. Oklahoma (last week: 3)
The Sooners had a week off this week. Now here’s their remaining pre-Big 12 championship game schedule: home vs Texas A&M (6-3), home vs Baylor (3-6), at Texas Tech (6-3) and home vs Oklahoma State (5-3). The sad thing: none of those teams are as good as their records would suggest. All of them should be an easy handle for the Sooners.
4. LSU (last week: 4)
You think that schedule is sad, check out LSU’s: at Alabama (6-2) -- aka the Saban Bowl -- home vs Louisiana Tech (3-5), at Ole Miss (2-7), home vs Arkansas (5-3). They’ve survived the tough part of their schedule with just one loss, and now they just have to hope BC or OSU loses.
5. Oregon (last week: 5)
Oregon looks more impressive every week. I seriously have no idea how they lost to Cal (a Cal team that, as an aside, is 0-3 since that win). The Ducks offense is clicking on all cylinders, and their defense made Mark Sanchez look like a pretty bad quarterback on Saturday (and for those that don’t remember, Sanchez was a blue chip recruit just a couple years back).
6. West Virginia (last week: 6)
Slaton and White, White and Slaton. However you want to cut it, this is the best one-two punch in the nation. If only they could figure out how to beat South Florida, they’d still be the drivers’ seat for the national title. They are still in control of their destiny for a BCS bowl berth, since they host Connecticut in the Huskies’ season finale, and their other three games are against teams that already have at least two conference losses.
7. Arizona State (last week: 8)
Challenge 1 passed with flying colors. The Sun Devils sent Cal to its 3rd straight loss. However, I was tempted to actually move them down because of the way their fans acted after the game. They stormed the field (despite beating an opponent ranked 17 spots lower than them in the BCS), then spent 20 minutes trying to take down the goalpost -- and failed!
8. Kansas (last week: unranked)
They’re not good. I keep telling myself that. And then they keep winning. They’ve got three straight games against Nebraska, Oklahoma State and Iowa State, none of whom should pose much of a challenge. The season finale, against Missouri, could be their only challenge before the Big 12 title game.
9. Missouri (last week: unranked)
Speaking of Missouri, lookie here. The Tigers are now 7-1 and their only loss was to Oklahoma. And I know it seems strange that I have 3 Big 12 teams in my Top 10 and only 1 SEC team, but if the SEC teams are going to keep kicking the shit out of each other, I can’t leave them in my top 10, if only because I have no idea which ones to put there.
10. Hawaii (last week: unranked)
Whatever. Just, fuck this season. Sure, they’re undefeated, but they haven’t beaten anyone worth shit. But here’s the thing. The teams between them and the top 10 of the BCS entering this week were as follows: South Florida (lost), Florida (lost), USC (lost), Missouri (won), Kentucky (lost), Virginia (lost), and South Carolina (lost). In addition, No. 8 Virginia Tech (who I had at No. 10 last week) lost. So here are the Warriors, by default. Good luck to them.
Dropped out: South Florida, USC, Virginia Tech
Looking ahead to next week, here are the games that could impact the rankings the most:
LSU at Alabama, Saturday, 5 ET on CBS
The way LSU is playing this season, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Tigers won this game by 20, won on a last-second Hail Mary, or lost by 30. I’m sure Nick Saban will have his team more keyed up for this game than any other game this season. And if LSU loses, it takes the entire SEC out of the title picture.
Arizona State at Oregon, Saturday, 6:45 ET on ESPN Gameplan
This is easily the game of the week. The winner of this game is in total control in the Pac-10, and could become a favorite to make it to New Orleans. If ASU wins, they might vault ahead of either OSU or BC in some of the computers, or even the human polls.
Rutgers at Connecticut, Saturday, 7:15 ET on ESPN U
Did you know that UConn still only has one loss and is coming off its first-ever win against a ranked team? Did you know that if the Huskies win out, they go to a BCS bowl? Did you know that the BCS bowl between UConn and Hawaii will be lower rated than an episode of “America’s Next Top Model”?