The ACC gets a championship game this season after all! With Tech's win over UVa, the winner of the Tech-Miami game goes to the Sugar Bowl. This is certainly a fitting BCS game, but the bowls would prefer that this be for the Big East spot and not the ACC spot. This year is not one that a system like the BCS is going to handle well. According to my ratings (and the polls aren't that much different), the top two teams are in the same conference and the next two teams are in the same half of a conference! Any system that is "fair" enough to honor the champions of the power conferences will struggle with that scenario. So, this year it looks like an 8-team playoff is needed. Although you'd have to go to 16 to get a Big 10 team involved! And you'd pretty much have to let in all 117 to get the Big East in there.
I'll call this week Disaster Week for college football. Three of the ten games are make-up games from the hurricane disasters of September. The conference championship games are more of an unnatural disaster. Two are rematches of earlier games, won by Miami 23-16 and Auburn 34-10. Colorado's less of a disaster than Iowa State would have been, but you can't say that the Buffaloes are one of the best five teams in the Big 12. According to my ratings, Bowling Green is the best in the MAC, but instead their top two enemies play for the title. And why would anybody be excited about Auburn against a team they've already beaten by 24 and whose last three games were a loss to Notre Dame at home, and wins over Vanderbilt by 5 and Kentucky by 6? One of the hurricane make-up games, Pitt at South Florida, completes the Big East disaster. I've got Pitt #53, and a win gets them a BCS bowl. Ouch! At least Pitt did come from behind to beat Furman earlier in the year.
Of course, you can imagine bigger disasters for the BCS. Wins by Tennessee, Colorado, Southern Miss and UCLA would really shake things up. It could be Utah and Texas for the championship! But maybe not: I doubt that my ratings would drop SC from #1 even if they lose this week. I suspect that there would be a wide range of poll and computer rankings if some of those upsets come to pass. Then we'd have some real arguments.
The following predictions are straight from the ratings, with 4 points added for home field.
Miami over Virginia Tech by 7 (Sugar Bowl on the line in the OB)
Navy over Army by 13 (has Bobby Ross improved Army enough?)
Southern Cal over UCLA by 16 (can the Trojans go #1 wire to wire?)
Michigan State over Hawaii by 3 (the Rainbows can go 2-0 in the Big 10)
Pittsburgh over South Florida by 4 (the Panthers try to "earn" a BCS spot)
Louisville over Tulane by 23 (the Cardinals scored 70 last week, how many this week?)
California over Southern Miss by 23 (oddly, a game in Hattiesburg decides the Rose Bowl)
Miami over Toledo by 1 (MAC Championship Game)
Oklahoma over Colorado by 18 (Big 12 Championship Game)
Auburn over Tennessee by 8 (SEC Championship Game)
|76||San Diego St||38.47|
|89||New Mexico St||33.10|