You may remember that before the season started, Ryan, Stephen, and I did a MTAF college football challenge. The first BCS rankings come out Sunday, and here is an update on that challenge we did a few weeks ago.
I wrote earlier this season that the Big Ten looked like a joke, and since then they have done nothing to change my thoughts on that. The three of us picked Wisconsin to win the Leaders Division; while they are currently in third place they will likely still represent the “Leaders” in Indianapolis. First and second place belong to Ohio State and Penn State respectively. I joked with a friend this week that it would be funny if Ohio State and Penn State, neither of which are eligible for the post-season, finished first and second the conference would be forced to take a third-place team for the championship game. That could happen. More embarrassing would be that third place team beating whomever from the Legends conference.
Speaking of the Legends Division, it does have two items in its favor: 1. every team is eligible for the post-season. 2. Every team currently has a winning record. With that non-sense out of the way, Ryan and Stephen both picked Michigan to win the division while I picked Michigan State. At this point, the class of the division appears to be Northwestern who suffered their first loss to Penn State this weekend. Michigan and Iowa who have no conference losses have only played one conference game each. Northwestern visits Michigan on November 10 and I expect that game to decide the division champion assuming Michigan takes care of Michigan State on October 20.
Who knew the Atlantic Coast Conference would be so competitive this early in the season? Right, three of you did. Surprise: Florida State is not as good as we thought and Duke is not as terrible as once thought. Want to know what is more shocking than Florida State losing to North Carolina State, finding out Duke only had one loss. All that said, the three of us were unanimous in our picks for the entire conference: Florida State in the Atlantic Division, and Virginia Tech in the Coastal Division. At this point, I only think one of those true.
Stephen makes his play in the Big XII where he is the only one of us that did not take Oklahoma, and at this point, he looks the smartest (only in relation to the Big XII). He picked West Virginia who is followed closely by; get ready for it, Kansas State. Kansas State’s Bill Snyder is a good coach and a greater person, but I do not think anyone envisioned an undefeated Wildcats team this year. Oklahoma has played four games to this point versus five for the majority of their conference, but already has a loss to the aforementioned Kansas State. In order to win the Big XII or reach a BCS game Bob Stoops and company will need help from the other schools while winning the remaining conference schedule. A matchup this Saturday at the Cotton Bowl versus Texas is a must-win game for Oklahoma.
The standings in the Big East are very confusing. The conference itself is still terrible, but because Louisville (5-0) has played no conference games while every other team has Louisville is listed in the middle. At the top of the conference is Rutgers and Cincinnati. Both teams being undefeated are a big surprise, but that just shows how pathetic their non-conference schedule was and how bad this conference is. Bottom line: Unless Charlie Strong is hired at Kentucky before the year is over Louisville will play in the Orange Bowl.
Out west in the Pacific-12 there are not many surprises as far as our picks are concerned. The three of us picked Oregon to win the North Division and the only thing that should change that would be Oregon State beating Oregon on November 24. Yeah, I know that is a long away from now, and I generally think the North is more competitive than the South this year I don’t think anyone other than the two mentioned or Stanford have a chance of doing anything special this year.
If you looked at the PAC-12 South standings, you would be surprised to see Arizona State at the top and not Southern California. The reason is simple, USC has played three conference games losing one, and ASU has played two losing none. All three of us picked USC to win the South and at this point, I do not see anyone else in the South having a chance to win the title.
On to the Southeastern, where there are no surprises at the top of the conference. Alabama and South Carolina have solid control of the West and East divisions respectively. The three of us picked South Carolina to win the East while Stephen was the only one to put his faith in Luck Les Miles instead of Alabama like Ryan and I did. The SEC has an unbalanced schedule meaning many of the teams in the East have at least three conference games under their belt while most of the West teams only have two games. No one really thought of Florida this year, but their meeting with South Carolina in Gainesville on October 20 becomes much more interesting after the Gators beat LSU this past weekend.
We’ll continue to follow this challenge throughout the season. Leave your comments below.
Written by Damien Bowman