Sunday, October 14, 2007

Predicting the Unpredictable

Three weeks in a row the college football world has been thrown upside down by upsets. But if something gets turned upside down three straight times, what does that really mean? I'm not really sure, and I'm fairly certain most prognosticators have no clue either. So now with the first BCS poll released, and the weirdness that has ensued since the words "South Florida would be playing in the BCS Championship Game if it happened today" became common terminology.

Well I figured I would try to make some sense of all these losses by teams, and try to figure out now, in October, how the college football season will fall out. And since nobody really knows what to make of the current top-10 (considering it doesn't look remotely close to how it did three weeks ago) I decided to sort through the new, in vogue teams. Make sure you pay attention to how little these current BCS polls matter.

1. Ohio State
Remaining potential losses: Michigan State, at Penn State, Wisconsin, Illinois, at Michigan
As you can see, every one of the Buckeyes' remaining games could potentially end in losses. That being said, if you've watched this Ohio State team at all this year, you'd have noticed that they are essentially like MIchigan's team from last year. There's a ferocious defense that has shut down every team it's faced, and a quarterback gaining confidence with every win. The only thing they're missing is a dynamite running back a la Mike Hart (although Wells is no slouch). This was supposed to be a down year, and this team is now on top of the polls. I could see them winning out, but my gut tells me they've got one loss in 'em. I want to say it'll come against Michigan, but I'd bet on it happening against Penn State in a couple weeks.
Where they'll end up come bowl season: 11-1, Big Ten Champs and in the Rose Bowl

2. South Florida
Remaining potential losses: at Rutgers, at UCONN, Cincinnati, Louisville
I'm not really sure what to make of this team. A road win over Auburn comes off as fluky to me since it happened week one, and the fact that the Tigers just lost to Mississippi State this past weekend. The home win over West Virginia was impressive, but something tells me this team just can't keep it up. They've got a huge one in Piscataway, N.J. against Ray Rice and Rutgers on Thursday night and I'm fairly certain they won't be undefeated after come Friday. In fact, I've got them chalked up for losses against UCONN andf Louisville, too. Call it a hunch, I guess.
Where they'll end up come bowl season: 9-3, 2nd in Big East and in the Gator Bowl

3. Boston College
Remaining potential losses: at Virginia Tech, Florida State, at Maryland, at Clemson, Miami, ACC Championship Game
I really like this team and I'm a big Matt Ryan fan. But it's too bad their schedule is so damn tough. All of their remaining games are against teams that have the talent to win any game. We'll learn a lot about the Eagles this week when they have to travel to Blacksburg to play Va. Tech. I'm predicting two losses in a row against the Hokies and Florida State.
Where they'll end up come bowl season: 10-3, 2nd in ACC and in the Chick Fil-A Bowl

4. LSU
Remaining Potential Losses: Auburn, at Alabama, SEC Championship Game
The Tigers may have lost in gloriously awesome fashion (every game should go to triple OT), but I still think they are the team to beat in all this madness. Even though I listed 'Bama and Auburn as games they might lose, I really don't see a misstep until the SEC Title game. But seriously, they've got BCS written all over them.
Where they'll end up come bowl season: 12-1, SEC Champs and in the BCS Championship Game

5. Oklahoma
Remaining potential losses: at Texas Tech, Big 12 Championship Game
I'm a big Sam Bradford fan, especially after watching a good chunk of the Sooners game against Missouri yesterday. He had one bad game against Colorado, and it looked like it would cost them a shot at the National Title. But now, with the way the standings stack up, Oklahoma has as good a chance as anybody to get to the promised land. The big question is: Will Bradford have another brain fart like he did against Colorado. Unfortunately, I don't see it happening and I expect one of those infamous shit eating grins on the face of Bob Stoops when everything is said and done.
Where they'll end up come bowl season: 12-1, Big 12 Champs and in the BCS Championship Game

6. South Carolina
Remaining potential losses: at Tennessee, at Arkansas, Florida, Clemson, SEC Championship Game
The 'Ol Ball Coach clearly has this program on the right track these days. They lost at LSU a couple weeks ago, but that's more than respectable. When Spurrier benched Blake Mitchell early in the season, I thought it would turn out disastrous, but Chris Smelley has been more than stable behind center. Unfortunately, besides LSU, I just can't see another SEC getting out unscathed given how brutal every week can be. I don't see the Gamecocks beating Florida in a few weeks even though it's a home game, and I'm skeptical if they'll have the moxie to win at Neyland against Tennessee.
Where they'll end up come bowl season: 9-3, 2nd in SEC East and in the Capital One Bowl

7. Kentucky
Remaining potential losses: Florida, at Georgia, Tennessee, SEC Championship Game
Just like South Carolina, I can't see kentucky beating Florida. I have the Gators winning the SEC East. I just think Tim Tebow is that good. But clearly, the Wildcats are way better than anybody expected, especially after going blow-for-blow with LSU yesterday. Unfortunately, they've already lost to South Carolina, so they'll lose any tiebreaker with them. The wild card is going to be their game at Georgia. I don't see them pulling that one out on the road.
Where they'll end up come bowl season: 9-3, 3rd in SEC East and in the Cotton Bowl

8. Arizona State
Remaining potential losses: Cal, at Oregon, at UCLA, USC, Arizona
Ummm...yeah...sorry Sun Devils. You may be undefeated, but I think Churchill High School could be a one-loss team if they played the schedule you just played to open the season. ASU should get a little wake up call in the next few weeks with consecutive games against Cal and Oregon. Then two weeks later, they get USC. Not winning any of those, and I'll give them one more loss for good measure.
Where they'll end up come bowl season: 8-4, 4th in Pac 10 and in the Sun Bowl

9. West Virginia
Remaining potential losses: at Rutgers, Louisville, at Cincinnati, UCONN
The Mountaineers won't go undefeated the rest of they way, I know that. But I do see them beating Rutgers, who will be coming off an emotional win over South Florida (atleast that's what I'm predicting). I do see a misstep amongst the Louisville, Cincy, UCONN gauntlet. The best guess here is that it happens against Cincy. West Virginia will be thanking its lucky stars for parity when BCS time rolls around.
Where they'll end up come bowl season: 10-2, Big East Champs and in the Fiesta Bowl

10. Oregon
Remaining potential losses: USC, Arizona State, at UCLA, Oregon State
I like this team, I like them a lot. And it's not solely based on the fact that they punished Michigan earlier in the season. The Ducks get USC at home, so it sets up nicely. But as down as you may be on the Trojans after watching them narrowly win this week, I can't pick against them...not after what they've done the past few years.
Where they'll end up come bowl season: 10-2, 2nd in Pac 10 and in the Orange Bowl

You'll notice I only have five of the current top-10 slotted in BCS bowl games. That means five spots are still up for grabs. So instead of having no balls and just ending this post now, I present you with how the BCS bowl games will look like after the season comes to a close (For the record, I'm not really sure how they slot teams into specific bowls, so I'm going to do my best in that regard, but if I get all the teams right I'll be a happy man.):

BCS National Championship Game in New Orleans: LSU (SEC Champs, #1) vs. Oklahoma (Big 12 Champs, #2)
Orange Bowl in Miami: Virginia Tech (ACC Champ) vs. Oregon (BCS At-Large)
Fiesta Bowl in Phoenix: West Virginia (Big East Champ) vs. Kansas (BCS At-Large)
Sugar Bowl in New Orleans: Florida (BCS At-Large) vs. Hawaii (BCS At-Large)
Rose Bowl in Pasadena: USC (Pac-10 Champ) vs. Ohio State (Big 10 Champ)

Wait, what's that? Yes, that's correct I picked Kansas to go to a BCS bowl game. But if you look at the Jayhawks' schedule, you'd realize it's prefectly doable. Now, will they actually run the table. My answer is obviously yes, but am I 100 percent certain: Hell no. Atleast this will give me something to root for in the Big 12. Go Colt Brennan, too.

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