College Football Thoughts and Opinions: Week Nine

David HedlindAnalyst IINovember 1, 2009

EUGENE, OR - OCTOBER 31:  Quarterback Jeremiah Masoli #8 of the Oregon Ducks breaks the tackle of safety Taylor Mays #2 as he scores a touchdown in the first quarter of the game at Autzen Stadium on October 31, 2009 in Eugene, Oregon. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
Steve Dykes/Getty Images

Ugly Ducklings Transformed and Pac-10 Change

It’s the story of the season for Oregon: the ugly performance at Boise State and all that followed.

Now, seven games later, the Oregon team I saw maul USC was nowhere near the same team.

Before the season Oregon fans had hope of a Pac-10 title, the Rose Bowl, and possibly more. After the Boise State game, the attitude changed to that of hope for a solid winning season.

Now at 7-1 with wins over three ranked teams and the lead in the Pac-10 race, the thoughts of Pasadena have returned, and even talk of which bowl game played in the Rose Bowl they may have a chance at.

With the Ducks in the lead and the win over USC, the Trojan stranglehold on the Pac-10 appears over. Oregon still needs to win a few more games, but USC is likely out of the race. Oregon now has a three-game lead on the Trojans due to the two losses and the head-to-head tiebreak in favor of the Ducks.

The Ducks still have to play at Arizona, which only has one conference loss.

The Boise State BCS Debate

Before reading the rest of this section, we have to remember we assume Oregon and Boise State win out.

Trying to be unbiased is hard, but I promise you I understand both sides of the coin.

On one hand you have Boise State, who beat Oregon. Head-to-head Boise State got it done on the field. Who is better than who in the rankings usually comes down to assumptions and the eyeball test of who appears to have the upper hand if two teams were to play. This doesn’t need to be done since they did play.

The other side of it is that Oregon has or will have played the tougher schedule. Oregon will have more quality wins. Boise State will have beaten Oregon, and that is all.

Oregon has wins over three ranked teams already this season and could pick up a couple more. Arizona is ranked 18th in the BCS, and Oregon State could make a move if they can beat ranked California and win the other games on the schedule before the Civil War.


While the Atlantic is still a huge toss-up with two teams at 3-2 and two at 2-3, I feel pretty confident in saying the Coastal will be represented by Georgia Tech.

While nothing is a guarantee, I would be surprised if Georgia Tech were to drop either of their last two ACC games with Wake Forest and Duke. There is still that season finale matchup with Georgia as well, but that game would not impact the ACC race.

Cincinnati Rolling Along Without Pike

I like Tony Pike. I honestly thought he was one of the best, if not the best quarterback in the country before being injured. Zach Collaros has now stepped in nicely and has the Bearcats continuing to win. He is a dangerous dual-threat quarterback who can and will beat opponents with both his arm and his legs.

If Pike can’t return this season, the offense is in good hands with Collaros. That’s the good news for Cincinnati. The bad news for the Big East is that he will be back for a couple more seasons.

Lucky or Good? Maybe Both

That’s the question we need to ask about Iowa. People first brought it up with the Northern Iowa game. The questions resurfaced with the narrow win over Arkansas State. They won the Michigan game by only two.

The last-second, game-winning touchdown with Michigan State raised eyebrows and got people saying they can come back from being down but also that they got lucky to win.

Now, this week, down 24-14 going into the fourth quarter, Iowa rallied to score 28 unanswered points to again come back to win the game.

Undefeated is still undefeated though. Close wins or blowouts, one point or 50 points, runaway win or come from behind, the Hawkeyes are still undefeated.

BCS vs. Playoff

We hear it every year: Which is the better system? The current system is supposed to match the top two teams. But rankings are subjective. This year we could have a repeat of the 2004 season when there were multiple undefeated teams.

It is a given either Florida or Alabama will lose, but the other could still be undefeated. Texas, Cincinnati, Iowa, TCU, and Boise State could all finish undefeated.

In 2004 we had four undefeated teams. But seven? If there are seven undefeated teams, not to mention the worthy one-loss teams, then the system that is already under scrutiny becomes more chaotic and controversial.

We are still a few weeks away from the end of the season, and there are still big games to be played, so maybe in a couple more weeks this will be a moot point.