It was an upset filled Halloween weekend in college football that must have left a number of last week’s top 25 member’s spooked at their new positions in or out of the BCS poll.
Six of last week’s top 25 found themselves on the losing end of their week ten matchups, five of whom were upset by a lower rated opponent.
In what looked like the biggest game of the week going in, No. 5 USC was ripped by their conference rivals No. 10 Oregon 47-20, the most lopsided defeat the Trojans have suffered since 1997 and the worst of the Pete Carroll era.
The loss knocked USC from their spot in the top five down to No. 12, and it cost them whatever opportunity they once had of sneaking into the BCS Championship with only one loss. On top of that, with two losses, both to Pac-10 opponents USC falls from the top spot in the league and it puts Oregon in the drivers’ seat to win the conference for the first time since 2001.
Another once highly ranked team whose conference title hopes took a hit this weekend was formerly No. 13 Virginia Tech who lost to unranked North Carolina 20-17.
With their third loss of the year and second in ACC play, the Hokies dropped to 23rd in the poll and fell out of a first place tie with Georgia Tech in the ACC’s Coastal Division. With Georgia Tech also holding the tie-breaker over the Hokies, their chances of even reaching the conference championship game again are looking bleak.
Perhaps the biggest change in regards to the national title picture though was Texas leapfrogging Alabama into the No. 2 spot in the poll following their 41-14 thrashing of previously 14th ranked Oklahoma State.
Texas was already in terrific position to reach the BCS Championship, being No. 3 behind two SEC teams Florida and Alabama. With the two Southeastern heavy weights likely on a collision course in the conference championship game, one of the two is eventually going to lose and Texas probably would have stepped in anyway.
However, Texas’ switch to the No. 2 spot this early solidifies their position near the top and makes it even less likely that they could at some point be passed by another top team. If the Longhorns win out, they’re a near lock to play in the BCS Championship.
Predictably, there were also some strange movements by a handful of teams, thanks in part to all of the upsets this weekend.
Among them, previously unranked Wisconsin jumped all the way to No. 21 in this week’s BCS poll after their 37-0 win over Purdue. Their long distance leap took them past Notre Dame who moved from 23rd, to No. 22 this week after their 40-14 win over Washington State.
Cincinnati was the primary beneficiary of USC’s loss, reclaiming the No. 5 spot they held two weeks ago before dropping to 8th last week without ever losing. They passed TCU and Boise State who remained at No. 6 and No. 7 respectively.
There’s still plenty of football to be played, but as the weeks go by the BCS Championship and bowl picture is becoming clearer. The top seven teams are all still undefeated, and because they come from six different conferences, only one of them is guaranteed to lose before the regular season is through.
More upsets will happen, but with so many teams threatening to run the table this late in the year it’s looking like it could be another controversial finish to the season. In the ever-cloudy national championship picture, it looks like there's a good chance that one or more deserving teams could be left out in the cold.
Here's this week's entire BCS poll:
1) Florida (8-0)
2) Texas (8-0)
3) Alabama (8-0)
4) Iowa (9-0)
5) Cincinnati (8-0)
6) TCU (8-0)
7) Boise State (8-0)
8) Oregon (7-1)
9) LSU (7-1)
10) Georgia Tech (8-1)
11) Penn State (8-1)
12) USC (6-2)
13) Pittsburgh (7-1)
14) Utah (7-1)
15) Houston (7-1)
16) Ohio State (7-2)
17) Miami (Fl) (6-2)
18) Arizona (5-2)
19 Oklahoma State (6-2)
20) California (6-2)
21) Wisconsin (6-2)
22) Notre Dame (6-2)
23) Virginia Tech (5-3)
24) Oklahoma (5-3)
25) South Florida (6-2)
Dropped out: West Virginia (21), South Carolina (22), Mississippi (25).
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