Halloween came a night early for many teams, in a string of upsets and near upsets that came down to last-second plays. Oklahoma and Meechigan hung on, but Miami lost their perfect season before facing Virginia's finest. Florida State dropped out of BCS contention as the Fat Man protected his house. Texas A&M started a party by losing at Baylor. The Aggies had put 73 points on Baylor last year. They hope that this week they can repay their own 70-point debt as Oklahoma, a 77-0 winner last year, visits.
You might be surprised that the ratings don't seem to reflect the losses. This is an area where computer ratings are always easy targets for talk radio airheads. How could Arizona State still be #4 after two bad losses? The computer logic is that they played #1 and #2; did you expect them to win? If not, why punish them? And Miami's #6, ahead of unbeaten Auburn. The computer logic is that Miami's strength of schedule is so much better than Auburn's that their 6-1 record is more impressive than Auburn's 9-0. You may or may not agree with this specific example, but the polls use the same logic when they keep Boise State ranked below Texas.
Half the ACC is now 4-4, with only the schools from Virginia and Florida above mediocrity. The three big Florida schools lost last week for the first time since 1978. We'll hope the two Virginia schools have better luck in games they haven't been especially excited about, but that involve last week's surprise winners. UVa and Tech are ranked consecutively again this week. It's unusual for the computer ratings to follow "poll logic" that way.
The BCS has a couple of interesting stories right now. After beating San Diego State last week, Utah went up two spots in the polls but dropped 2.5 slots in the BCS computer rankings. The BCS computers are not allowed to use points, so if you play a poor team you suffer no matter how much you win by. If Utah stays in the BCS top 6, they are guaranteed a BCS bowl game that the bowl folks probably don't want to offer. They're currently #6, barely. Similarly, Cal is #4, exactly where they need to be to get a BCS bid as second place team in a BCS conference.
This week's big games are Big 12 South border battles, with the Oklahoma schools visiting the Texas schools. There's also the big intersectional (i.e., Notre Dame playing somebody decent) battle in Knoxville. The following predictions are straight from the ratings, with 4 points added for home field.
Virginia Tech over North Carolina by 3 (the Hokies are suddenly in first place in the ACC)
Virginia over Maryland by 11 (as are the Hoos)
Oklahoma over Texas A&M by 6 (the game of the year for the Aggies)
Texas over Oklahoma State by 8 (the Horns still have BCS hopes)
Wisconsin over Minnesota by 12 (the Gophers have lost 3 of 4, the Badgers need more upsets)
Southern Cal over Oregon State by 19 (no upsets likely here, but the Beavers played LSU tough)
Tennessee over Notre Dame by 11 (the Vols are in charge in the SEC East, but need BCS points)
Utah over Colorado State by 27 (the Utes' strength of schedule takes another hit)
Arizona State over Stanford by 18 (a good test of how overrated the Sun Devils are)
South Carolina over Arkansas by 3 (the biggest game in a down week for the SEC)
|79||San Diego St||36.62|
|89||New Mexico St||32.17|