Q: Of the four presumed national title contenders to go down this past week--USC, Florida, Georgia, Wisconsin--which team has the best chance to get back in the race by the end of the year?
Well, given the fact that the AP and Coaches poll voters suffered collective amnesia between last Thursday and Saturday, keeping USC at #9 ahead of a Georgia team that just lost to a Top 10 team, I would still have to go with the Trojans at this point. Need another reason? How about this joke of a schedule? Is there even one quality win by any of their remaining opponents? A quick glance tells me hell no. So when USC is beating the Arizonas and Stanfords of the world by 20+ points and you hear the talking heads about how this team is "firing on all cylinders" and "playing as well as anyone in the country right now," you should be about as shocked as I was to hear that Warren Sapp found a way to inject himself into the news once again.
As for the others, Georgia is battling a major injury bug, and their schedule is too difficult compared to USC or Florida to make them a lock in this category. Florida's defense and ground game is still suspect. Wisconsin was never a national title contender.
Q: But what does this mean for Ohio State? Are they back in?
Of course they are! Braves and Birds put it best, but voters have very short memories and the chorus of "but Wells was out and Pryor barely played against USC!" will grow louder and louder as the season rolls on, especially with wins against Wisco,
Q: Did the week that was open the door for any of the undefeateds out of some of the non-BCS conferences like the Mountain West or the Big East? (Yup, that's a cheap shot. Thanks, Virginia Tech for not allowing me to make it about the ACC.)
Hmm...let's review those unbeatens:
BYU: Eeegh. Maybe. I guess. That's about as strong an endorsement I can give to these guys until they can provide emphatic wins against TCU and Utah. It goes without saying that they must pound into submission the UNLV, Colorado State, San Diego State, Air Force portion of their schedule. Even still, I don't see how you can take them over a two-loss SEC team. Basically, for BYU to have a clear cut shot at the BCS Championship, every other legitimate contender must have two losses to BYU's zero.
Utah: If an undefeated Utah beats an undefeated BYU in the Mormon Bowl on November 22, I'd say Utah has a more impressive resume than BYU.
Boise State: No, please no. If they go undefeated with their best win coming over what looks to be a fairly mediocre Oregon team, put them in a BCS game. That's fine. I'd rather see them in there than a 4-loss ACC or Big East champion. But unless they win their remaining contests by an average of 50+ points, you will never, ever even begin to convince me that Boise State is one of the two best teams in the country.
Tulsa: Is it possible to have a weaker schedule in Division 1? Let's just say to even think about sniffing a BCS bowl , a total disemboweling of Arkansas is in order. And with Gus Malzhan calling the plays in that one, I'm not ruling that out. If only they had Ole Miss on their schedule.
Ball State: Not gonna happen, though I will definitely be on the lookout for the inevitable Jason Whitlock "WE WUZ ROBBED" column.
Anyways, onto the picks:
Penn State/Purdue (OVER 57.5) - $10
Auburn/Vandy (OVER 37) - $10
Vandy (+4.5) over Auburn - $10
Miami (-2.5) over Florida State - $10
Florida (-23) over Arkansas - $20
Kentucky (+16.5) over Alabama - $20
S.Carolina/OleMiss (UNDER 42.5) - $15
Ohio State (-3) over Wisconsin - $15
And now, for a new feature we're tentatively calling Bourn's Inferior Pick o'd Weak...Bourn is trying his hand at this here gamblin' thing for the first time, and he will be picking one extra game per week for, you, our six readers. So what if he swung and missed (ECU -11.5 over Houston) like a relief pitcher pinch-hitting in the 15th inning last week...this is a new day and he's got a doozy for y'all:
South Carolina (+3) over Ole Miss - $5
South Carolina (ML + 110) over Ole Miss - $5
We're just shootin' for .500 at this point, fellas. Enjoy the weekend.
Last Week: 4-4
Inferior Pick: 0-1
2008 Record: 24-17
2008 Pot: $205