Playoffs versus Polls - Week 3
In what other sport could three teams’ seasons have ended by week two? This is the beauty as well as the pain of the BCS. Arkansas’ season is over. Never mind the fact that their quarterback and best player went down. A loss to a Sun Belt team is still unconscionable. Even though the Razorbacks defense could not make a stop, Arkansas probably still would have won had Tyler Wilson not missed the second half and overtime. The BCS doesn’t care. Dropped from the AP rankings entirely, Wilson’s squad has Alabama this week. An upset win would be joyful but not nearly enough to wipe the stink off from last week’s loss. That’s the thing with the BCS: a loss is always more powerful than a win.
Wisconsin and Nebraska know this all too well. In what was supposed to be a revamped Big Ten, three of their stalwarts have already gone down. Michigan lost to a superior team in week one. Nebraska might have done the same this week, going down at the hands of UCLA. September 8 Taylor Martinez (17 of 31 through the air with no touchdowns and a pick but 112 yards rushing) was much more in line with what we have come to expect than September 1 Taylor Martinez (26 of 34 for 354 yards and five passing touchdowns with no ground production). And then there is Rose Bowl regular Wisconsin. The Badgers blew any shot at the title game with their early season loss to Oregon State. The only consolation is that a loss to a Pac-12 middle man does nothing to hurt their chances of winning the Big Ten again and threepeating in the Rose Bowl.
In a week where no ranked teams played each other and “boring” was a kind description of the national schedule, college football never fails to generate enthusiasm…unless you’re a fan of the Big Ten that is. By the way, with Ohio State’s ineligibility, the Indiana Hoosiers are a full game ahead of the rest of the Big Ten Leaders division. I’m just sayin’.
This week, the schedule delivers another less than stellar slate of games. The only excitement stems from trying to predict what upsets will occur. The top teams have some harder opponents, but no one that should trip them up. Alabama faces the aforementioned Arkansas Razorbacks. Whether Tyler Wilson plays or not, Alabama should dismantle them. The same goes for USC facing the 21st ranked Stanford Cardinal.
While the top two are not up for debate, and assuming LSU slides in to the three hole, a battle has begun for that fourth and final playoff spot…that doesn’t exist for another two years but stay with me. It will be very interesting to watch the progression of Oklahoma, Oregon and a couple other teams hovering in the top ten. Oklahoma hasn’t appeared all that dominant just yet while Oregon is just running by everybody. Literally. No, literally.
Another year, this would make for a fascinating clash. Other than their game against USC, Oregon has what some would deem a weak schedule. On the other hand, Oklahoma has a murderous schedule, with five top 20 opponents still to come. With a human voting element, would there be any way an exciting, undefeated Oregon team would impress biased voters more than an underwhelming Oklahoma squad if they managed to traverse their entire schedule unscathed? And what about a high-powered West Virginia team with a Heisman candidate behind center? Or the Georgia Bulldogs, who may have their way to the SEC Championship paved yet again by avoiding both Alabama and LSU during the regular season. These are the arguments that will continue to come up all year long but will just remain “What Ifs” for this year and next, sadly, as that fourth spot is merely fantasy in 2012.
AOTM Predicted BCS Top Two:
(1) USC vs. (2) Alabama
AOTM Predicted Playoff Top Four:
(1) USC vs. (4) Oklahoma; (2) Alabama vs. (3) LSU