A Very Special BCS Edition of 4 Winners, 4 Losers
For the first time in the history of my Texans fandom, their bye week left me with a palpable void. Sure, I love having NFL football in this city, even bad football is better than no football, so the bye week always feels a little weird. However, this season's team is a little different.
Say what, Grampa?
If the Texans were a comedian, then they've finally graduated to the point where they know when to drop the microphone and say, "Thank you, you've been a beautiful audience" and leave us wanting more.
I'm not sure if it's in spite of the absence of Matt Schaub or because of how his absence intrigues me, I just know I can't wait for this Sunday in Jacksonville. It feels good.
In the meantime, college football decided to go get itself into a big mess this weekend.
In case you missed it (yeah, right), three of the top five teams in the BCS standings lost -- Oklahoma State, Oregon and Oklahoma (favored by 27, 15 and 15 points, respectively). There is a MAJOR gambling lesson in there -- at night, weird shit happens, especially on the road. A lot like college life in general, honestly.
Additionally, we are now looking at a scenario where the top three teams in the country are all from the same division of the same conference, and the team that lost the so-called Game of the Century two weeks ago (Alabama) has an easier path to the BCS title game than the team that won.
(Side bar: Forget about the argument that "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" when it comes to the "greatness" of a game with no touchdowns scored in it. Some of you still contend the game was awesome because there was tension the entire time. Fine, let's pretend we all thought that aesthetically the game stacked up with other great bloodbaths. Let me repeat this -- the team who lost that game has an easier road to the title for the national championship, by and large because they don't have to deal with the hassle of a conference title game, than the team who won. By definition, it was better to lose that game than win it. That's fucked up. Sorry.)
Anyway, since we don't have the Texans to break down on a Monday, let's do a special 4 Winners, 4 Losers for what transpired in college football this past, crazy weekend. As a point of reference, here are the top 20 teams in the BCS rankings for your perusal:
1 LSU 11-0
2 Alabama 10-1
3 Arkansas 10-1
4 Oklahoma State 10-1
5 Virginia Tech 10-1
6 Stanford 10-1
7 Boise State 9-1
8 Houston 11-0
9 Oklahoma 8-2
10 Oregon 9-2
11 Kansas State 9-2
12 South Carolina 9-2
13 Georgia 9-2
14 Michigan State 9-2
15 Michigan 9-2
16 Wisconsin 9-2
17 Clemson 9-2
18 Baylor 7-3
19 Penn State 9-2
20 TCU 9-2
As a result of most of the contenders in the Big 12, Pac 12 and ACC (Clemson, what was that?) impaling themselves on the BCS wall this weekend, barring some major upsets, the only truly relevant games on the BCS title landscape for the rest of the season are being played on CBS -- Arkansas at LSU on 11/25, Alabama at Auburn on 11/26 and the SEC Title game on 12/3. It's a good time to be Tim Brando, Spencer Tillman and whoever else they bring into the studio the next two weekends.
3. University of Houston
Photo by Marco Torres It's good to be a Coog.
It's also a really good time to be a University of Houston Cougar. Saturday's Gameday telecast was a nice showcase for how rabid the fan base is right now, the Coogs won again in pretty convincing fashion, Case Keenum continues to solidify travel plans to New York as a Heisman finalist, and the school should be announcing any day now that they're going to be playing in the Big East starting sometime in the next couple years. All of that will trigger the stadium upgrades and hopefully a contract extension for Kevin Sumlin.
So with all of that said, that basically means the Tulsa game this Friday morning is the biggest one since the implosion of the Southwest Conference. Diehard Coog fans know this already, but if Houston is undefeated then so, too, is Tulsa, and what I mean is that Tulsa's only losses this season are to Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Boise State. Houston hasn't faced anyone remotely close to those three teams, so in terms of how they've done against relative competition, these two teams are virtually even. The 11 a.m. kickoff may be the biggest variable in this thing -- which team will be awake?
2. Boise State
On the heels of another utter kicking-game fail against TCU, it appeared that Boise State might be completely out of the BCS mix. But after that loss they only fell to 10th, and this week, they sit at 7th with a chance to move up even more if weird stuff happens.
Point being that Boise State still has to feel like they have an outside shot at something BCS-related, right? Let's assume that Houston gets one slot for the top ranked non-AQ champion inside the top 12 (not a given), and assume that the SEC gets one of the at-large slots (strangely, the SEC could send THREE teams to the BCS if LSU and Alabama qualify for the title game, and Georgia beats LSU in the SEC title game...don't ask). That leaves two more at-large slots. It all comes down to travel, ticket sales and TV ratings, all categories in which Boise is fairly strong. I'm guessing the Big 12 gets a second team in, whoever is a qualified (nine wins, top 14) runner-up like Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Kansas State, or possibly Baylor (more on that in a second), so would a Boise team in the top four or five be more attractive than an average Big Ten school or ACC school on the fringe of the top 14? If it's the wrong Big Ten school (10-2 Michigan?), Boise would probably be screwed, but the argument is an interesting one.