Oregon looks unstoppable these days
Another week has come and gone in the college football world and now that the season is at its halfway point, the BCS picture has become a bit clearer. A few squads made strong statements last week in pivotal games while other teams fell off. The BCS standings provide a bit of hope to those of us trying to gain some clarity, but there are many facts those numbers just aren't capable of telling. The BCS tells us this week that Auburn is the top team in the land, but the case could easily be made that Oregon is in fact at the apex. I'll attempt to clear this whole mess up a bit and try and sort out who really deserves to be at the top of the college football world.
With Oregon imposing their will each and every week on offense, they look to be as close to unstoppable as humanly possible right now. The Ducks have scored 40 or more points in every contest this season and opponents have been helpless against them from the jump. Besides a brief scare at Arizona State in week 5, Oregon has beaten every adversary by at least 20 points and it hasn't had to work very hard at all.
That's not to say they aren't working hard though, because averaging 55.1 points per game doesn't happen by accident. Their offense has been so destructive that the defensive side of the ball has merely had to suit up and that is sufficient enough. Darron Thomas has stepped in for the departed Jeremiah Masoli and compiled a passer rating of 158.87 while throwing for 17 touchdowns and just five interceptions.
It certainly doesn't hurt that he has the nation's fifth leading rusher behind him in the backfield. LaMichael James has been so explosive and efficient that he is averaging an astounding seven yards per carry while compiling 11 touchdowns to his credit. Oregon faces a couple stiff tests to close out their season starting this week with an extremely talented USC unit, but all the pieces are in place for the Ducks to fly their way into the BCS Title game for the first time in school history.
Since lambasting them in this very same space a couple weeks back, the Auburn Tigers have taken the necessary steps to convince me they may in fact be for real. Impressive back to back wins over Arkansas and LSU have given the Tigers some credibility and has earned them a No. 1 ranking in the BCS. While I stand firmly behind my previous statement that they will ultimately take a loss and fall back a bit, I have no choice but to take them seriously for the time being.
Both of their recent impressive victories came at the friendly confines of Jordan-Hare Stadium which will only add fuel to the fire that many people have been stoking since this winning streak began. Taking a closer look at the overall numbers will show you that without Cam Newton this team would be right in the middle of the pack in the SEC. Often times, having a stud under center in college football can be enough to catapult a team to glory, but in the end it takes a team effort.
The Tigers are scoring at will on the ground thanks in large part to an attack led by the fleet footed Newton and freshman Michael Dyer, but the passing attack has yet to fully prove itself. With a daunting trip to Tuscaloosa looming in the final week of the season, Auburn will have to fire on all cylinders in order to secure a trip to the title game. Color me impressed so far, but far from sold.
With all the non-AQ talk surrounding the highly celebrated Boise State Broncos, one cant help but wonder if TCU is capable of leapfrogging them (pun intended). TCU has quietly handled their business since the beginning of the season and doesn't look to be slowing down. After throttling a very talented Air Force squad last week, TCU has just one big test left on their schedule in two weeks at Utah.
TCU appears to have the momentum necessary in order to get on top of Boise in the BCS standings, but will it be enough? Barring some unforeseen development, this season is shaping up to be another in a long line that has left non-AQ teams out in the cold on championship night. TCU and Boise State will both undoubtedly have the resumes required to slip into the title game, but with powerhouses like Oregon, Alabama and Auburn playing much tougher schedules and proving themselves every week the chances aren't great.
The Horned Frogs are rolling through their schedule and imposing their will on every over matched foe, but unless the voters decide to improbably change their mindset they could be disappointed once again. The case can me made that having a team participate in a BCS bowl on consecutive years is quite an accomplishment and the financial boon has been undeniable, but until one of these teams earns a birth in the title game they will be just a cut below the juggernauts.
It's been quite some time since the top of the BCS standings didn't include either Texas or Florida, but that is just what has occurred this season. Sporting identical 4-3 records this year, Texas and Florida have left their fans and boosters will a terrible taste in their mouth. Two schools such as these are not accustomed to losing and being on the wrong end of three contests this year has surely left them shocked. Rebuilding years are not something often seen in these parts and this year has left many individuals around the two teams confused and dismayed.
Texas has been a mixed bag this season as one week they took down highly ranked Nebraska while falling the following week at the hands of a mediocre and over matched Iowa State group. Mack Brown has repeatedly defended his young core of athletes, but Longhorns fans have not been displaying the same patience. For a fan base not used to the term "rebuilding" this has been a trying year to say the least.
Down in Gainesville, the Gators have been struggling in their own right and fans down in the swamp are voicing their displeasure. After losing three straight games for the first time since 1988, The Gators are reeling and the schedule only gets tougher from here on out. With three losses already and tough contests against South Carolina and Florida State its fairly easy to imagine Florida losing four games this season.
The transition from the Tim Tebow era to the John Brantley era has gone anything but smooth and has fans calling for Urban Meyer to insert Trey Burton into the starting lineup. Burton has been a jack of all trades for Florida thus far this season, but has all the tools necessary in order to be the next in a long line of heralded Gator signal callers.
This season will prove to be a lost one for both of these schools, but rest assured that they wont be down for long. With all the resources they possess its only a matter of time before they are back at the top of the college football landscape and order is restored.