Wow. Georgia Tech shook the walls. With the Yellow Jackets' upset victory over the Hurricanes, things get much more interesting in the BCS picture. Virginia Tech has the inside track to face Florida State in the ACC championship game. Let's assume they defeat the Seminoles. Then there's the SEC title game. Let's assume LSU defeats Georgia in that game. Then, the at-large picture comes down to a few eligible bachelors: Notre Dame, Auburn, Ohio State, Miami, UCLA and Oregon. Of this list, Oregon is the only one-loss team. If Oregon's name were "Ohio State," that would make them a shoe-in for a BCS bid. However, the Ducks don't have much drawing power, and it is likely they will be passed over for some two-loss teams. My hunch right now is that the Buckeyes and the Irish will be the at-large selections.
Southern Cal and Texas are on a collision course for Pasadena. Since the Pac-10 hosts the Rose Bowl anyway, the Trojans' appearance in the national championship game warrants no compensatory pick. However, the Fiesta Bowl is hosted by the Big XII champion, which figures to be Texas. Therefore, the Fiesta Bowl will choose first, and will likely pick Notre Dame. The second pick would fall to the Orange Bowl, which is hosted by the ACC champion (projected to be Virginia Tech). My guess is that Ohio State will prove more attractive than Penn State, which goes against just about everyone else's opinion. I'm also factoring in that the Buckeyes have been to the Fiesta Bowl twice in the past three years (2003 victory over Miami-FL, 2004 victory over Kansas State), and the BCS has the right to rearrange things in the interests of college football. The Fiesta Bowl has the third pick, and will make the obvious choice of Penn State over the Big East champion (projected to be West Virginia). That leaves the Sugar Bowl with the dud.
THE TOP TEN
1. Southern Cal (11-0) - Despite a sizeable scare from Fresno State, the Trojans remain atop this list. Texas had the same type of hiccup against Oklahoma State not long ago. When you win seven million games in a row, some of them will be ugly.
2. Texas (10-0) - The only way Texas loses is if it starts looking ahead to Pasadena. The Aggies and whatever joke the North produces will be pumped up to take on Bevo and company, but the Longhorns should roll.
3. LSU (9-1) - How LSU lost to Tennessee we may never know.
4. Notre Dame (8-2) - The Irish better not overlook Stanford. That would be a $15 million mistake.
5. Penn State (10-1) - The 3-5 rankings were almost a toss-up for me. Penn State is solid, and like LSU and Notre Dame easily could be undefeated. Regardless of ranking, the Nittany Lions are Big Ten champions and headed to Tempe or Miami for the holidays.
6. Auburn (9-2) - The Tigers exposed the Crimson Tide in the Iron Bowl. I hope nobody was shocked.
7. Virginia Tech (9-1) - The pain of being humiliated by Miami is wearing off quickly in Blacksburg. The team the ACC didn't want will get a chance to defend its conference title.
8. Ohio State (9-2) - It took a little bit of magic, but Jim Tressel improved to 4-1 against his hated foe to the north.
9. Miami-FL (8-2) - No matter what position I take on the Hurricanes I wind up being wrong. This time The Seventh Floor crew was on the receiving end of .... it's better if I don't finish that thought.
10. UCLA (9-1) - Karl Dorrell and company will be reviewing tape from the Fresno State game to find insight into how to dethrone the champions. With a share of the Pac-10 title (tie-breakers aside) on the line, the battle for the Victory Bell should be even more interesting than usual.
11. Oregon (10-1)
12. Fresno State (8-2)
13. Georgia (8-2)
14. TCU (10-1)
15. Texas Tech (9-2)
16. West Virginia (8-1)
17. Louisville (7-2)
18. Georgia Tech (7-3)
19. Wisconsin (8-3)
20. Florida State (7-3)
21. Florida (7-3)
22. Alabama (9-2)
23. Iowa State (7-3)
24. Central Florida (8-3)
25. Clemson (7-4)
Rose Bowl: Southern Cal vs. Texas
Fiesta Bowl: Notre Dame vs. Penn State
Orange Bowl: Virginia Tech vs. Ohio State
Sugar Bowl: LSU vs. West Virginia