Texas finds itself in quite a pickle. With Penn St’s loss, the Longhorns are ranked No. 3 in the BCS. All they have to do is win out and wait for either Tech or Alabama to lose, and they are in the BCS title game—right?
Not so fast, Phony-Championship Breath.
If Alabama loses, it will likely be to Florida in the SEC championship game, and the Gators will simply swap places with the crimson Tide as the conference’s almost certain representative in the only bowl game that matters.
And if Tech loses (more likely to OU in Norman than Baylor in Lubbock), and OU proceeds to beat Okie St, the Sooners will, in all probability, move past UT in the BCS Standings on the basis of strength of schedule, which is the deciding factor in a three way with Tech and UT.
But what if OU beats Tech and loses to Okie St? That scenario creates but a two-way tie between UT and Tech, with Tech holding the head to head tie-breaker.
But wait: Suppose Tech plays in the Big 12 championship game and loses to Mizzou. Will Texas then sneak into the Big Game?
Not likely. A clear bias against teams that do not win their conference or division was expressed last year when Georgia and KU were one loss teams that failed to win or even participate in their respective conferences’ championship games. If Texas does not play in Arrowhead on December 5, expect Southern Cal to magically jump them in the human polls to a great enough extent to result in a USC/SEC Pretend Title Game.
That is, unless there are special rules for Texas that apply to no one else. . .
Early line: Texas +3.5 vs. Florida on January 8.
1. Texas -13 at KU
There is, of course, no way that KU can win this game. First, it is being played a year late. Last year the Jayhawks were clearly the superior team and were unlucky that UT was not on the schedule.
This year, not only is UT unarguably the better team, there is BCS money involved. Don’t think for a minute that the Big 12 won’t send an officiating crew that understands that if Texas Tech wins out, the conference’s only chance of securing two helpings of BCS cash is for UT to also win out. Don’t be surprised if the conference pulls out all stops to clear UT’s path to a BCS bowl, including—yes, the nuclear option--assigning Freeman Johns, III to the game.
Of course, the officials only matter if KU can manage to keep the game close—and the Jayhawks have done nothing all season to suggest that it will be. But, this is college football, so anything (almost) is possible. If Iowa can take out Penn St. . .
But assuming, for the sake of the following poll that the game is close, and assuming that KU makes a play that would appear to secure a Jayhawk victory. Which of the following will occur:
a. Offensive pass interference is called against Dez Briscoe, negating TD Todd’s quarterback sneak for a touchdown.
b. Defensive pass interference is called against KU on a desperation fourth down pass by Colt McCoy that is swatted into the stands by Russell Brorsen.
c. UT is awarded a first down on a fourth and one handoff that is fumbled and recovered by Mike Rivera three yards behind the line of scrimmage.
d. Trailing by two with three seconds remaining on the clock, UT’s desperation 58 yard field goal attempt is called good despite being blocked and coming to rest at the 20 yard line.
e. All of the above.
Or “f”: the game will not close enough to require creative officiating.
Unfortunately, the Jayhawks’ blocking and tackling and other fundamentals, coupled with lesser talent, makes “f” all too likely in the absence of a sudden and unlikely epiphany. Or a serious cold front accompanied by precipitation.
2. Mizzou -28 at Iowa St
There is no doubt that Mizzou will cover this spread at some point during the game. The question is whether they will allow Iowa St back within the spread as they did last Saturday with k-state.
Just a hunch:
3. Texas A&M +8 at Baylor
Baylor is slowly learning how to win. The first step is becoming proficient at covering the spread.
4. Nebraska -6.5 at k-state
Next to the definition of “mediocrity” in Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary is a photo of a Nebraska football helmet.
Next to “head case” is Willie the Wildcat.
5. Okie St -17 at Colorado
At least there is one easy pick this week.
6. Northwestern +3.5 at Michigan
Little by little, the Wolverines are making progress. Kind of like Baylor, only without the decades of futility.
7. Ohio St -9.5 at Illinois
Payback is a bitch.
8. Notre Dame -3.5 at Navy
Charlie Weis: “Where are we going? Why is it so hot in November? And what’s with the handbasket?”
9. Vanderbilt +4 at Kentucky
It wasn’t that long ago that Vanderbilt was looking like the heir apparent to KU’s rags to riches story in 2007.
Yet it seems like a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.
10. Mississippi St +21.5 at Alabama
Alabama is the most resourceful team in the country. They will find way to win—but not necessarily easily.
11. South Carolina +22 at Florida
South Carolina has the better coach by a little bit. Florida has the better players. By a lot. Maybe 21 points worth.
12. Utah St +14 at La Tech
When in doubt, find a Utah St game to pick.
13. Utah -30 at San Diego St
San Diego St almost took out Notre Dame in South Bend.
14. UCLA -7 at Washington
How bad is UCLA? Not bad enough to lose to Washington. Or win by fewer than 7 points. . .
15. Southern Cal -23 at Stanford
The best game the BCS could put together is USC vs. Oklahoma. Reason 143 why the BCS SUCKS.