There are several things that separate college football from other sports. Perhaps the most frustrating and yet exciting part is how the landscape can change in one day. While this is true every week, it was clearly on display this past Saturday.
Moreover, when chaos happens on Saturday, excitement happens on Sunday when the new BCS rankings are released. This week was no different. As a result, I present to you the top winners and losers of this past weekend.
After the release of the first BCS poll, it appeared that Boise State would once again be undefeated and watching the national championship game on TV. The Broncos debuted at No. 5 last week but had the Wisconsin Badgers right on their heels.
Not only did they move up to fourth in the ranking, after the Oklahoma Sooners were defeated, but Georgia entered the rankings at No. 22. Moreover, it is very possible that the Bulldogs could make it into the top 12 before the end of the season.
The matchup between Alabama and LSU will knock another team behind the Broncos in the rankings. As a result, an Oklahoma State defeat could land them in the national championship game.
For the rest of the season, the Broncos nation will be cheering for Georgia, South Carolina and TCU to win out. The Broncos do not want Georgia to make it to the SEC Championship Game and lose. As a result, if both teams finish with one SEC loss, the Gamecocks own the tie-breaker and can take the loss from LSU/Bama in the SEC Championship Game.
Nothing is guaranteed, but their prospects are much better today than they were yesterday morning.
I know Alabama fans will tell you that Trent Richardson never thinks about the Heisman trophy, but they are wrong. It is not his first goal, but it is every elite player's goal. The Heisman, however, tends to lean toward quarterbacks.
There were three potential Heisman candidates at quarterback—Kellen Moore, Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson. Moore is a long-shot because of his conference. Luck and Wilson, on the other hand, stood as great obstacles.
With the Wisconsin Badgers losing this week, all Heisman focus now will be on Luck and Richardson. It is an uphill battle because many people crowned Luck before the season started. However, with the LSU game and SEC championship game left, Richardson could soon become the front-runner.
It took 75 selections in the history of the Heisman Trophy award before a Crimson Tide player heard his name called. Richardson can make it two in three seasons.
The Big Ten is struggling for relevance. They were successful in luring the seasons two biggest free agents this summer—Nebraska and Russell Wilson. However, neither is going to get the Big Ten back to the national championship game.
There was a time that fans debated which was the better conference, the Big Ten or the SEC. If a person proposed that question now, he would be laughed to scorn. Since 2002, the Big Ten has posted an overall bowl record of 22 wins and 36 losses.
That is the bad news—there is, however, good news on the horizon.
The Big Ten placed five teams inside the top 20. In other words, one-fourth of the top 20 is filled by Big Ten members. Those five teams are No.11 Michigan State, No. 14 Nebraska, No. 15 Wisconsin, No. 18 Michigan and No. 19 Penn State.
Compare that to the SEC that only have four in the top 20. The SEC does have six in the top 25 but at least the Big Ten is standing strong.
Remember the talk coming into the season? Dabo Swinney had put together a great recruiting class, but he was on the proverbial hot seat. Message boards were exploding with fans guessing who might be the Tigers' next head coach.
There was one problem—Swinney had not thrown in the towel. Instead he has rallied the troops to an 8-0 start, and in the newest poll, Clemson has reached No. 5. The talk is no longer about who will be the next head coach. Now the topic is can the Tigers reach the national championship game?
As I stated in the Broncos review, either LSU or Alabama is going to fall behind the Tigers with a loss. An undefeated Clemson team is likely to jump an undefeated Boise State team. Moreover, both Oklahoma State and Stanford have serious road test ahead of them.
Clemson appears to have the easiest path to an undefeated season of all the remaining BCS schools.
The Oregon Ducks are a long-shot to get into the national championship picture. However, it is not impossible by any means. Voters are not likely to want to see another Ducks-SEC matchup. However, the computers might not give them any choice.
Oregon is the top ranked one-loss team in the nation at No. 7. They still have several quality games ahead, most notably No. 6 Stanford. Win or lose that game, and they are still in good shape.
Chances are high that the Pac-12 will get two BCS selections, and Oregon is primed to be that team. It might not be what their preseason goal was, but after getting torched in the season-opener, this is a nice consolation prize.
The Ducks have been bitten by the injury bug, but in their system they can still persevere. Where will we be if Oregon finishes as a one-loss team? Too early to tell, but at least they’re back in the conversation
I will be the first to say that I took the bait. I believed that Russell Wilson and the Wisconsin Badgers would make it to the BCS National Championship game and Wilson would be this year’s Cam Newton. The Badgers still have a lot to play for and Wilson is not completely out of the Heisman race, but their ceiling has lowered greatly.
As I wrote in an article earlier today—no Big Ten school will play in the BCS championship this season. The Badgers could, however, make it to the Big Ten championship game and a possible rematch with Michigan State.
In other words, they can still make “a” BCS bowl but they cannot make “the” BCS bowl. For Badger fans, this is devastating because this could have been the year.
Oklahoma came into the season with a No. 1 national ranking. However, they have looked anything but the part. Outside of Texas and an FCS opponent, the Sooners have looked like anything but a top-ranked team.
The Sooners dropped from No. 3 to No.9. While that is bad news, it is not the worst. The Sooners could easily lose four of their final five games. They have a home game against Texas A&M and three road games versus Kansas State, Baylor and Oklahoma State.
Is it possible that the preseason No. 1 team could finish the regular season 7-5? It is not probable, but it is possible. To this point Kansas State and Oklahoma State have looked superior to the Sooners, and Baylor and Texas A&M have looked like equals.
The Sooners are losers this week, but if they do not come out punching the rest of the season, they could be losers of epic proportion.
Arkansas seemed to take a major step backwards this week. They barely escaped against the now 2-5 Ole Miss Rebels. The Razorbacks dropped one position in the BCS rankings this week but are looking more and more like a pretender instead of contender.
Arkansas has remaining games versus LSU, South Carolina, Mississippi State, Vanderbilt and Tennessee. After watching the Razorbacks three road games, I am no longer certain they will beat Vanderbilt on the road next week.
They could easily lose to South Carolina and LSU as well. If the Razorbacks do not finish strong, it might be time to take Coach Petrino out of the elite coaching class that so many experts have placed him in.
I am one of them, and I am proud! I hate the current BCS system, and I do not consider college football to have a true national champion. My greatest sports desire is to see some type of playoff system instituted into the FBS.
This season seemed like it was going to be the perfect storm. It was not unreasonable to believe that six teams could finish undefeated. However, one weekend of games has changed all of that.
Now the media is trying to figure out which one-loss team could sneak in to the championship. There are still a few solid teams out there, but two of the strongest have been knocked from the ranks of the unbeaten.
Last week I was certain that Wisconsin had the greatest shot of ending the SEC reign. One week later, I would be shocked to see any team to stay within 10 points of Alabama or LSU.
The reality is that we are stuck with this system for the unforeseeable future.
Very few would argue that the SEC is the nation’s most domain conference. In fact, many are professing that the upcoming LSU/Alabama game might as well be the national championship game.
At the same time, the SEC has been considered a league filled with scandals and mischief, and this week has only confirmed those notions.
It started with the SEC’s horrific decision to suspend Georgia Bulldog nose tackle Kwame Geathers the same amount of time that they are suspending Vanderbilt center Logan Stewart, although video evidence shows that Stewart came dangerously close to ending Geathers; career by diving for his knees after the completion of the play.
Then news broke of three prominent LSU players being suspended for a failed drug test. The three players were Spencer Ware, Tyrann Mathieu and Tharold Simon. One could argue that Ware is LSU’s best offensive player and no one would argue that Tyrann Mathieu isn't LSU’s best defensive player.
The players will only be suspended one game.
The week, however, was not over. The following morning news broke that highly touted freshman running back Brent Calloway had been arrested for drug possession the night before.
Yes the SEC is the nation’s premier football conference, but it also has serious public image issues. However, as you can tell by this week suspensions, winning is all that matters.