Saturday, September 27, 2008

Down goes USC: Game Twenty-Four

So the undefeated USC Trojans are no more. Oregon State defeated them 27-21 on Thursday night at Reser Field. So exactly, what impact does it have on the Trojans and their quest to win a national championship? Obviously, it's a big blow, but I don't think its a huge blow. Losing in September should give the Trojans a chance to work their way back up the rankings and into a BCS title shot slot, should they win the rest of their games. I expect they will fall to the 8-12 range this week, but over the course of the next several weeks as others lose, they will have the opportunity to move back up and losing early will help them.

Here is a current list of undefeateds and their possibilities....

ACC - Wake Forest. The Demon Deacs are the only team in the ACC that can run the table on the season. Realistically, I think a team like this is one of the biggest threats to USC getting one of the two BCS slots, because they have a realistic shot at going undefeated and not being ignored in the BCS process.

Big 12 - Missouri, Nebraska, Colorado, Texas Tech, Texas, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma - Still a lot of teams that haven't been beaten. But there is really only one possibility here, because of the scheduling and the conference championship game. Missouri and Oklahoma are viewed as the biggest threats and might have arguments to be ahead of USC if they lose once, but I think realistically if any of these teams go undefeated, and I think both Missouri and Oklahoma are threats to do that, that USC could not get above them in the rankings.

Big East - South Florida, Connecticut - Again because of the schedule both of these teams will not go undefeated. The Bulls play a tough game tonight at NC State, Trojans should root for the Pack. And this situation could become similar to Wake Forest's, but I could see the BCS ignoring an undefeated Connecticut if we got to that.

Big Ten - Northwestern, Minnesota, Penn State, Wisconsin - I did not do the homework necessary to determine if its possible for two of these teams to go undefeated. I think two of them are likely to lose today. Penn State and Wisconsin seem to be the type of team that one loss will kill in this system. They both would end up below USC in that scenario, but if they go unbeaten, they'll play for the championship.

SEC - Vanderbilt, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, Alabama, LSU - Very similar situation to the Big 12. Where there are two maybe three teams here that could be contenders to USC even with one loss. One of those teams will get it tonight. But if any of these squads ends up unbeaten, they're guaranteed to be ahead of USC. Incidentally, Vandy and Wake play near the end of the season.

The rest - Boise State, Utah, BYU, TCU, Tulsa, Ball State - I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that if TCU runs the table they will play for the BCS championship. My rational is this. They play at Oklahoma tonight, and they play both Utah and BYU, which have started the season with solid resumes before the completion. Otherwise, I think these teams are extreme long shots to get the opportunity to play for the championship. Tulsa and Ball State have virtually no chance.

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