Tuesday, October 13, 2009

College Football Notebook: BCS Possibilities

by Micah Roberts
Gaming Today

We’re only half-way through the college football schedule, but things are heating up with several possibilities ready to unfold. Here’s a look at the top teams in the country and what they have to do to have a chance at playing for the BCS National Championship at the Rose Bowl on Jan 7.

Florida (5-0): Responded well under dire circumstances with a limited Tim Tebow playing at the toughest night crowd in college football. Their road is paved and set for a clash with Alabama in the SEC Championship game. The winner will play for the overall BCS Title.

Alabama (6-0): Still have a key home date on Nov. 7 against LSU and play a dangerous South Carolina team in Tuscaloosa this week, but if all goes well, they’ll have their chance to play for the National Title by beating Florida in the SEC Championship game.

Texas (5-0): Untested team that lost respect in their game against Colorado last week. They can regain some voters with an impressive win against Oklahoma this week. If they get by the Sooners, they still have four dangerous games on their schedule with three of those on the road at Missouri, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M. In the BIG-12 Championship Game, they’ll likely play either Kansas or Nebraska. Of all the top tiered teams, Texas could really earn some respect by running the table and would surely play either Florida or Alabama for the Championship if they did so.

Virginia Tech (5-1): Impressive home wins over Miami and Nebraska and a well played loss to Alabama to start the year have the Hokies in contention. Should they get by Georgia Tech this week they should have clean sailing with a road game at East Carolina maybe giving them their biggest test until the ACC Championship game where they’ll likely play Boston College who they just pummeled last week. Their hope is to run the table and root like heck against Texas in all their tough games along the way.

Boise State (5-0): No matter how many games they win against no losses, no one will give them a shot at the title. The voters set themselves up for that possible decision two weeks ago week when they dropped the Broncos in the poll despite winning their game and then the coaches bumped USC past them this week when both were idle. Their toughest game remaining comes at Tulsa this week. After that, the toughest WAC teams they’ll play will be Idaho and Nevada in Boise. The scenario where they might be considered for a shot at the BCS Title is if everyone in front of them loses two games.

USC (4-1): The Trojans are at Notre Dame this week, then have a tough game at Oregon and a visit from Stanford as obstacles. Their defense still has them very well respected with voters as does their big early season win at Columbus. If Virginia Tech or Texas stumbles, and USC runs the table we could see them playing Florida or Alabama for the title.

Ohio State (5-1): If the Buckeyes get through the last three weeks of their Big-10 schedule unscathed, they’ll be shouting for National consideration from the Buckeye friendly voters. Prior to the season it seemed like only Penn State was a road block on Nov. 7 in their quest, but it turns out their final two games after could help their cause. They get respected Iowa in the Shoe’ Nov 14 and then go to Michigan for their finale Nov. 21. They’ll need a lot of help in front of them to have any shot playing for the title, but they’re still technically still alive.

Cincinnati (5-0): They have been consistent all season, but have tough games remaining at South Florida this week, West Virginia on Nov. 13, and at Pittsburgh to close out the season. Even though the Big East is a BCS Conference, their lack of playing a quality schedule will stack up poorly against the one loss teams ahead of them. Until that time comes, voters will keep them on the back end of polls further hurting their chances no matter what they do.

Buckeye FG Saves Books From Middle

The Buckeyes opened -13½ favorites over unbeaten Wisconsin and the line was pushed Thursday to -16. By kickoff on Saturday, Ohio State was sitting at -14½. With the score 28-13 early in the fourth quarter, the Buckeyes made what seemed like a meaningless field goal, but it helped the books avoid getting middled on the sharp Wisky buy-back at 16, 15½, and 15. The public didn’t want anything to do with the Badgers and still laid the Buckeyes at any number on their parlays.

Buffs Bully Longhorns Around

At least they did for the first half, which gave No. 2 ranked Texas a huge scare at half time when lowly Colorado lead 14-10 at the break. Texas eventually won 38-14, but they didn’t cover. They also gave the National Media, many of whom went to bed on the east coast before the final results, a not too glowing perception of Longhorn football after watching No. 3 Alabama roll easy over a ranked Ole Miss team in the afternoon.

Texas managed only 313 yards against Colorado with only 46 yards coming on the ground. Even Toledo was able to compile 624 yards against Colorado. The biggest disparity besides the score was the penalties which went 20-8 in Texas’ favor.

Sharps Bet, then The Followers

Houston opened a -3 point favorite last week at Mississippi State. After being hit a few times by the Sharps, by Thursday, Miss St. was a -1½ favorite. Naturally when everyone see‘s Gordon Gekko make a move everyone else has to follow and by kickoff State was a -3 point favorite. Of course, without even having to see the game, we all know what happened… YES, Gekko goes to jail and Houston wins by 7 and the house wins all bets.

Line Moves of the Week

Kent State opened getting +5 at home and was bet down to +1½ by kickoff, with Kent State winning outright 55-36. Chalk one up to that sharp group and their knack for getting solid info of MAC games before anyone else. Hmmm, why is it that MAC games became part of the regular rotation a few years ago instead of on the limited added game list?

Mississippi was bet down from the opener of +6½ to +4 by kickoff in their home game against Alabama. The Tide rolled easily 22-3.

Army was a home dog getting +10½ from Vanderbilt and by kickoff, Army was +8½. The Army gets the straight up win 16-13.

Change of Heart?

Duke was bet down from +16½ to +14½ on Thursday, but then bet back up to 16 with NC State money by kickoff. The first move was the right one as Duke won outright 49-28.

ACC Teams Involved in Steam Plays
Every week a correlation has occurred with middle-tiered ACC teams getting bet on or against. Somebody has a really good read with Duke, Wake Forest, Virginia, NC State, and Maryland. Week after week, those teams have bet on or against by the sharps more than any conference, including the MAC.

Watch every Tuesday for a brand new College Notebook article

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