BCS Breakdown

    College football’s standings were violently shaken up Saturday, as four top-10 teams were upset. In the wake, the teams contending for a National Championship and BCS Bowl berths are beginning to emerge. Here’s who’s in, out, and who could go either way:

    IN: Ohio State and Michigan

    For all practical purposes, the National Championship game is to be played this coming Saturday. Call your friends and grab the chips and beer, because there aren’t any teams even close to the stature of the Buckeyes or the Wolverines. The teams are very closely matched, as Michigan’s wicked defense will stand toe-to-toe against Ohio State’s power offense. Bookmakers favor Ohio State by a touchdown, likely getting the nod due to home-field advantage, which seems the appropriate thing to do. There is no reason to believe that the Wolverines would be picked to win if the game were being played in Ann Arbor, it’s just that close. And unless a crazy blowout (incredibly unlikely) takes place, these two teams deserve to remain in first and second place. And though one of them has got to lose Saturday, both will win out the remainder of the season.

    OUT: Louisville

    Until recently, the Cinderella-storied Louisville Cardinals were looking to bring the BCS ranking controversy to a head. That was before they fell to undefeated Rutgers, 25-28. After a glorious run, which saw the Cardinals power through the temporary loss of starting QB Brian Brohm, Louisville dropped the ball in their scoreless second half at Rutgers, and effectively blew their shot at a BCS berth. Had Louisville won out the season, yet been snubbed for a shot at the National Championship, the call to change BCS policy would’ve been deafening. But the ball that Louisville fumbled, Rutgers picked up.

    IN: USC

    The Trojans’ shocking loss to Oregon State was an anomaly, and figures to be a timely wake-up call to Pete Carol and his staff. No longer nursing their extended streak of regular-season perfection, Southern Cal. ought to take the field with extra preparation and determination, much as they did Saturday in their drubbing of the Ducks. Over the next two weeks, the Trojans play host to No. 15 Cal and No. 5 Notre Dame, games they should win, thanks in some small part to home field. USC’s strength of schedule puts them at the top of the pack, and a favorite to play in their fourth National Championship game in as many seasons.

    OUT: Texas and Auburn

    A week ago Texas was in. They had legitimate hopes, perhaps better than those of USC, to play in the championship game. Prior to Saturday, the Longhorns’ only loss came against Ohio State. Then Texas fell in a shootout to an unranked Kansas State, and, as they say, that’s that. The situation is much the same for the Auburn Tigers, who were beat soundly by Georgia, 37-15. Unless some shocking upsets take place, these two teams will settle for non-BCS bowls.

    IN: Arkansas

    Forget the Razorbacks’ season-opening blowout to USC ?” Arkansas is a team on the rise. Solid wins over solid teams like Auburn and Tennessee make the Razorbacks a healthy and wise choice. If they win out, closing at home against LSU, there’s no telling how many spots the Razorbacks could jump.

    TEAMS ON THE BUBBLE: Rutgers and Florida

    New Jersey’s Scarlet Knights made a name for themselves Thursday, emerging the SEC’s last unbeaten team. But the 28-25 score reflected more of a Louisville loss than a Rutgers win. The Cardinals’ offense totally fell apart. And while the Knights defense is good, it’s not that good. If Rutgers runs the table, and that’s a big ‘if,’ the war of words over whether or not they deserve a shot at the National Championship will be thunderous. Deserving or not, Rutgers will not play in that top game, due to their weak schedule.


Florida is a very tough team. The Gators have had a handful of wins against quality teams, and their only loss coming at Auburn gives them credibility, but squeaking by the poor South Carolina Gamecocks on a blocked field goal doesn’t make Florida a confident selection.