BCS Eliminator: Whose Championship Dreams Are Over After Week 2?
Last week, I took a look at the preseason title contenders who had already seen their hopes of reaching the BCS National Championship game completely eliminated due to losses in the first week of the season.
I also took a look at some teams who had put themselves in a very precarious position, along with a couple who earned victories while also raising some questions as to how much of a chance they really had at making it to the big game.
Let's take a look at what top 25 teams find themselves in trouble after this week.
Notre Dame (0-2)
Eliminated: Missouri (1-1)
After last week's underwhelming season-opener against Miami (Ohio), many began to predict this would be a disappointing season for the preseason Top 25 Missouri Tigers. Well, those people now have some more evidence for their case after Mizzou's overtime loss at Arizona State.
With this loss, the Tigers will surely drop out of the polls and find themselves looking up at five other Big 12 teams. Their only hope at this point would be to run the table, which would involve winning at Oklahoma and Texas A&M, as well as defeating the other Big 12 powers, Oklahoma State and Texas.
I can't possibly foresee this happening, and even if it did, it is almost a sure thing that Missouri would be passed over by any one-loss team from the SEC and any undefeated team, such as Boise State.
Eliminated: Georgia (0-2)
Well, I was willing to give Georgia a shot even after losing to Boise last week. Despite a tough slate of opponents, they had the good fortune of getting to face all of them at home. But they failed to take advantage of that, as they lost to the Gamecocks 45-42.
With two losses, the Dawgs are out of the championship race. It's yet to be seen if they'll be able to pull it together at any point to save Mark Richt's job.
In Trouble: Mississippi State (1-1)
It's been a bad couple of weeks for the Bulldogs of the SEC. But just as I couldn't completely rule out Georgia after their loss last week, I still think Mississippi State has the slimmest of chances of making the title game.
I'd be shocked if they ran the table—they'd have to knock off LSU, Georgia, Bama, South Carolina and Arkansas. Still, if they did, the Bulldogs would probably be a lock for the title game.
In Trouble: Penn State (1-1)
It was not a happy day in Happy Valley today. Penn State got a taste of just how nasty an SEC defense can be, as Bama held them to 11 points and 251 yards. With this loss the Nittany Lions will drop from the polls and won't face a ranked opponent again until the middle of November.
However, this is exactly what gives them some remaining hope. They could easily run through their next six games and go into the final stretch of their schedule at 8-1, which would give them a long time to climb back into the polls, probably up near the top 10.
Then they'll get to face Nebraska, Ohio State and Wisconsin. It'll undoubtedly be a challenging trio of opponents, but winning those three games in a row, along with the Big 10 championship game, would give them a very good chance to make it to the big game.
Questions Raised: Ohio State (2-0)
Any time you almost lose to Toledo, questions will be raised.
Are the Buckeyes talented enough to compete in the Big 10 this year? Will Luke Fickell face pressure to give Braxton Miller a real chance at quarterback? Can they survive until their suspended players return?
It will be tough; they'll face Miami, Nebraska and Michigan State in the coming weeks.
Questions Raised: Nebraska (2-0)
The real question I have about Nebraska is this: Is Taylor Martinez a quarterback who can run or a running back playing quarterback? So far the evidence points to the latter.
Martinez has rushed for over 250 yards in the first two games of the season against Chattanooga and Fresno State, but has been very poor as a passer. He hasn't completed over half of his passes in either game—neither against a strong defense—and didn't do much better last year. If he doesn't become a better passer, the Cornhuskers won't be able to compete in the Big 10.
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