Tuesday, September 22, 2009

College Notebook: BCS is Headed For Another Jumbled Mess with One Loss Teams

College Notebook by Micah Roberts
Gaming Today

With all the spectacular losses to top ranked teams last week in college football, it gave back hope to a few major one-loss schools in the power conferences in their quest to make the BCS Championship game.

Three schools that cheered the most were Ohio State, Oklahoma and Virginia Tech, who hope that the theory of "If you have to lose in college football, lose early" holds true. All three took chances playing top non-conference teams early in the season, but after the losses, everything is starting to circle back to them, putting the ball back in their court.

In the Big-12, Oklahoma can right the ship with a win in two weeks at Miami, and then beat Texas on Oct. 17. In the SEC, Mississippi and Alabama will knock one or the other out with their game Oct. 10 and someone will also lose the LSU-Florida game that same weekend.

Out West in the PAC-10, Cal still has to take care of business against USC in two weeks to advance further, while in the BIG-10, the Buckeyes are pointing to their road dates late in the season against Penn State and Michigan.

The big game this week in college football comes from the ACC’s Coastal Division with Miami visiting Virginia Tech, which could have major implications in the BCS jumble down the road. Miami will be looking to beat their third straight ranked opponent, while the one-loss Hokies could strengthen their case with a win.

It’s sure to be a major log jam, again, at the end of the season with several top teams having one loss making legitimate claims to play for the title.

What does all this mean for you other than instilling more school pride? Well, odds to win the National Championship game should have a renewed interest with so many possibilities. The Gators are still the big favorite to get there, but one other team has to get there and there is bound to be some great future prices on several of these teams. Check out our future odds page and shop around!

Mountain West Creditability

Just as the conference was starting to gain some national attention in the continual cry for respect, the roof caved in over the course of a few hours. No. 18 ranked Utah saw the nation’s longest winning streak snapped in a 31-24 loss at Oregon. A few hours later, No. 7 ranked BYU saw their 18-game home winning streak come to a resounding end when Florida State thumped them, 54-28. TCU is still ranked and undefeated, but the best record in the conference goes to the mighty Rams of Colorado State at 3-0.

USC Played With Canadian Rules?

During USC’s epic loss to a team like Washington, who was 0-12 last season, the Trojans didn’t convert one third down. They had 10 chances with zero converts. In the process, USC also had three turnovers while the Huskies had none. You can’t win many games with those numbers. The loss was Pete Carroll’s first at Washington since his first year in Troy and also was only his 11th conference loss in nine seasons.

Locker Leave Early?

Scouts were already raving over Washington QB Jake Locker before the USC game, a performance like he had that says a lot about his toughness and mentality. He’s still got a year to go, but he may be the top QB drafted if he were to leave after this season. You’d love to see him elevate the Huskies to another level and stay through his senior year, but after seeing two instances in recent years weighing those decisions to stay or go, the wise decision would be to go if he‘s thought of that highly. Sam Bradford stayed an extra year and it may have cost him quite a bit, financially and physically. Matt Leinert’s stock plummeted by playing another year costing him millions.

Father Kiffin Shows Blueprint?

The Gators have the easiest of roads among all SEC teams of getting to the conference title game because they won’t face either Mississippi or Alabama until then. Last week’s mild 23-13 win over Tennessee against defensive genius Monte Kiffin’s "bend but don’t break" defense may have shown a few of the SEC coaches how to at least slow down the potent Gator attack. Next big date for Florida is Oct. 10 in Baton Rouge against the LSU Tigers, but first at Kentucky next week.

Moves From last Week

The Pittsburgh Panthers 27-14 win over Navy made them 3-0 for the first time since 2000. Pitt opened up a -7 favorite and was bet up to -8. It was one of the short list of moves that actually covered. Teams like Kentucky, Florida, BYU, USC and Texas all moved up as favorites last week, but didn’t get the money. How about Maryland losing to Middle Tennessee State? The Terps opened as -6½ favorites and were bet up to -7½ by game time.

Congrats go out to Syracuse for getting their first win with their new coach and new QB. Former Duke basketball player, turned ‘Cuse QB, Greg Paulus, threw for 346 yards and two TD’s in their 37-34 win over Northwestern. Congrats also go to the sharps who pounded the Orangemen early in the week, all the way until game time. Northwestern opened a -4½ favorite, pushed to -3 on Friday, and then chopped to -1 by kickoff.

MAC QB Late Scratch

Akron’s starting QB, Chris Jacquemain, was suspended for violating team rules the day before their home game against Indiana. The Zips opened up a -3½ favorite Monday and was bet up to -5, before re-opening at -3 after the news. The replacement QB playing had never started a game before and Indiana pounded them.

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