College Football BCS Race: And Then There Were Six
As a Notre Dame alum and reinvigorated Notre Dame football fan, this November feels awfully strange. For the first time since I got into radio in 2007, the Irish matter in November. For the first time since 1993, the Irish are 9-0. It's been a long, slow trip back to late season relevance, to be sure.
Almost not feisty enough
And it almost all went up in smoke on Saturday night.
In a game that Notre Dame dominated on the stat sheet and in time of possession, the Fighting Irish needed to overcome three ill-timed turnovers (Is there ever a good time for a turnover?) and needed a 33-yard missed field goal in overtime from Pitt's kicker to survive a 29-26 triple overtime win over the 4-4 Panthers.
I died ten times during the final quarter and overtime of that game, and I'm guessing this won't be the last time the Irish do this to me this season (They've won five of their nine games by a touchdown or less, two in overtime, all at home.), so I'm going to do a BCS landscape layout post while I can still actually care about it.
So for the benefit of the casual college football fan, and purely for my own college football/Notre Dame self-gratification, here is the BCS snapshot as of Tuesday, November 6:
Let's start by eliminating a few schools lurking on the fringe:
#7 LSU (7-2): Les Miles made the national championship game in 2007 with two losses, but that was one of the strangest seasons ever for upsets and the top three spots was one constant set of hot potatoes. (Remember South Florida being the number 2 team in the country at one point? Uh huh.) Not happening this season. By winning out, LSU is likely Cotton Bowl bound, but could be in the mix for a BCS at-large berth as a replacement for Alabama in the Sugar Bowl if the Tide wins out.
#8 South Carolina (7-2): It seems like this is about the level where Steve Spurrier has maxed out the Gamecocks -- a two or three loss team that can beat anybody on any given Saturday, but can't seem to find a quarterback good enough to get them over the top.
#9 Louisville (9-0): Title game is too high to climb, even if they go 12-0. Need any further proof that the Big East is just the new Mountain West? Well, just look at the rankings. Hell, even Boise State got more respect when they were undefeated the last few years than Louisville is getting right now.
#10 Florida State (8-1): Along those lines, the ACC isn't far behind the Big East in terms of recent respect downgrade. It's now a conference where perfection is a requirement to be in the title mix. It will be fascinating to see how the ACC gets treated in the "future four team playoff" world. If Florida State had been able to knock off North Carolina State, they'd probably still be fifth right now behind the four top undefeated teams. (For the record, the computers HATE Florida State, average computer ranking of 19th.)