College Football Inquiring Minds: Five Things We Still Want to Learn

Phil Harrison@@PhilHarrisonCFNCorrespondent INovember 3, 2009

STATE COLLEGE, PA - SEPTEMBER 26:  Head coach Kirk Ferentz of the Iowa Hawkeyes talks with Ricky Stanzi #12 while playing the Penn State Nittnay Lions  on September 26, 2009 at Beaver Stadium in State College, Pennsylvania. Iowa won the game 21-10. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

As the college football season begins its stretch run to what we hope is a climatic conclusion, there are plenty of things that we know for certain (like Rich Rodriquez still has work to do). 

There is still plenty left unanswered, however. If you are anything like me, this part of the season is the best of all. At this point, you have teams in the mix, teams fallen flat on their face, and monumental memories still to make.

Here are the five things I still look forward to answering through the remainder of the season:


5. Who will be the BCS-buster this year, or better yet, which one will be left out?

You have two teams with a solid shot at crashing the BCS conferences' frat party this year. Unfortunately, probably only one of them will get a sure invite. Between Boise State and TCU, you could make an argument for either one. 

Perhaps no other season has screamed level playing field for the non-BCS conferences than this one. It is a toss-up as to which team the BCS will like at the end of the year, but Boise State's win over Oregon looks better and better. 

If ever there were a year in which the lower of two non-BCS schools deserved an at large, this is it. Both of these teams are legitimate, but neither team will travel well enough for the bowls to invite the other.


4. Will USC miss a BCS game for the first time in seven years?

This has gone almost unnoticed after the Oregon pummeling of the mighty Trojans, but USC is in real danger of not making a BCS game. It is highly unlikely Oregon will lose two games on its remaining Pac-10 schedule.

As such, USC is going to win the rest of its games and hope it gets an at-large berth. With a one-loss SEC team probably taking one at-large spot, and Boise State or TCU taking another, that leaves just one more available.

There are going to be more than a handful of teams vying for that last spot, and USC just may be on the outside looking in. If they are indeed relegated to a lower bowl like the Pacific Life Holiday Bowl, it will be the first time since 2003 that USC was not a fixture in the BCS games.


3. Will an undefeated Iowa or Texas get the nod over a one-loss SEC team?

For argument's sake, let's say both Florida and Alabama win out, with one of the two losing in the SEC Championship game when they meet. Let's also say both Texas and Iowa win the remainder of their games.

Who gets the opposite spot in the BCS Championship game? One would have to say Texas at this point, but it is no guarantee. I would have to say the SEC runner-up would be left out, but with everyone and their cousin's lovefest with the SEC, the possibility is there.

Please don't let it be so. Even more probable is having to chose between Texas and Iowa. I'd hate to see Iowa not make it after running a gauntlet through Happy Valley, East Lansing, Madison, and Columbus. 

I challenge anyone to find even an SEC team with this tough of a road schedule.


2. Can Boise State make the BCS Championship Game?

This may be a bit of a stretch, but stay with me. Let's say all of the following happens: Alabama loses to LSU this weekend, Florida loses in the SEC Championship game, Texas loses in the Big 12 Championship game, and Iowa loses against Ohio State in a couple of weeks.

Hello, Boise State! As long as Oregon continues to win, you would have to think that Boise State continues to move up. Taking all biased observations aside, and for all that is right with blue turf, Boise State would be more qualified than anyone to play for all of the marbles.

I know I am stretching, but if there was ever a year...


1.  Can Iowa finish its business?

I must admit I am in a bit of a quandry. I am still waiting for Iowa to lose one of these squeaker games. I would also love to see the Hawkeyes playing for big, big things.  Furthermore, I follow Ohio State with a passion and want to see the Buckeyes knock them off the pedestal.

Everyone is expecting Iowa to get knocked off by Ohio State in two weeks. Everyone is ready to say, "I told you so." I almost wish everyone would have to eat Hawkeye crow (this type of poultry may be found near nuclear facilities).

There is something that harkens me back to the 2002 Ohio State national championship season. Similar to this year, everyone was ready to point to several reasons why Ohio State could not measure up with the elite. 

In the end, they were wrong.

Say what you want about Iowa. The bottom line is they continue to win. They may not have the most talent even in the Big 10, but they sure do have each other's backs and play together as a team.

I will be rooting for Ohio State on Nov. 14, but if Iowa wins, I might just begin cheering, "I-O-WAH!" the rest of the year.


Enough blabbering, it is time to go down the path of getting answers to these five questions. We may get some answers this weekend, or, we may only get a glimpse futher down the road.

No matter the case, the next few weeks are sure to hold lore and memories for someone's team.


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