College Football Recap- Week 10

Briefly, my thoughts on last week’s action:

I’m not quite ready to get into a full-blown BCS debate quite yet, although I think most of us can agree that if LSU wins out, it would be a crime not to see them there. This tough Tiger team has battled back time after time, coming back to beat Florida and Auburn earlier in the season only to escape once more last weekend against a very tough Alabama squad. The defense certainly doesn’t look as strong as it did earlier this season, but it came up huge when called upon to force a fumble deep in Alabama territory to set up the winning touchdown. With Early Doucet back to full health and this team playing with such determination right now, I don’t see a better one loss team out there. And don’t forget that their only loss came on the road and in triple overtime.

However, tough games remain for the Tigers, who still face Arkansas as well as the champion of the SEC East, which is totally up for grabs between Georgia, Tennessee and Florida. If they slip up, that opens the door for a few other teams. Oregon got an impressive win against an undefeated (but probably overrated) Arizona State team and moved into the third slot in the BCS standings. However, I can’t quite shake the feeling that the winner of the Big 12 will make a push for that slot as well. Honestly, if the surprising Kansas Jayhawks were to win out and finish the season undefeated (they’ll still have to beat Missouri and Oklahoma, which I can’t imagine happening), how could they possibly be left out? If all of these teams falter, don’t forget about West Virginia, who seems to be really heating up right now.

As far as Ohio State is concerned, I’m finally ready to admit that they’re much, much better than I thought. I analyzed my reasoning to the contrary up to this point, and realized the very simple mistake that I and a lot of others made: No one believed that Todd Boeckman could step into the quarterback slot as a freshman and play as well as he has. We all knew the defense would be among the nation’s best and that tailback Chris Wells had a lot of potential, but who would ever have believed that Boeckman could be so dominant? He’s sixth in the nation in passing efficiency, completing 66% of his passes in throwing for 23 touchdowns and only 8 interceptions. I suppose you could still argue that he hasn’t played anyone that tough, but the Buckeyes haven’t really had a close game either. Some experts are even saying that Boeckman should be high in the running for the Heisman! Now that’s just amazing.

Might I mention that Connecticut is winning the Big East and is a one-point loss to Virginia away from being undefeated? That’s equally amazing.

GAMES TO WATCH THIS WEEK:

#14 Michigan at Wisconsin, 11:00 CST, ABC: Wow, the Wolverines really showed what they were made of last week, scoring two touchdowns in the final five minutes to get a must-win game at Michigan State. They’ll go on the road again this week to face an improving Badger squad, but I can’t imagine they’ll rob us all of the right to watch another Ohio State matchup with giant implications. Wisconsin tailback P.J. Hill’s status is also a concern.

Arkansas at #21 Tennessee, 11:30 CST: Somebody really needs to pick up these SEC games, it’s ridiculous that they aren’t nationally televised! Anyway, the Vols are still in the running to win the SEC East, and can earn the right to control their own destiny if they can knock off the feisty Razorbacks and can get a little help from Auburn, who faces Georgia. They’ll have to step up on defense, which has been a soft spot all season, to stop all-world running back Darren McFadden.

#16 Auburn at #13 Georgia, 2:30 CST, CBS: This game has huge implications as both squads are still battling to win their respective divisions of the SEC and keep BCS bowl hopes alive. Either way, both teams are hot and, somewhat amazingly, both have wins over Florida. To me, it looks like a total tossup, as Auburn’s stout defense tries to stop a dynamic Bulldog offense while Georgia’s below average defense should hold its own against the relatively unproductive Tiger offense.

#23 Illinois at #1 Ohio State, 2:30 CST, ABC: Nobody would have predicted the Illini to be the third best team in the Big Ten, but with wins over Penn State and Wisconsin, that certainly seems to be the case. They’ll have their hands full this time on the road against the best team in the land, and I imagine they’ll struggle mightily on offense, but they did give the Buckeyes a run for their money last season.

#17 Florida at South Carolina, 6:30 CST, ESPN: The Ole Ball Coach gets his old squad and alma mater at home this year in a virtual must-win game for both teams. The Gamecocks were probably a bit overrated earlier in the season, but certainly have the firepower to pull the upset despite their recent woes. I still think Florida is the best three-loss team in the country though, and have a lot to prove still this season. Tim Tebow may be too much for South Carolina in this one.

#11 USC at #19 California, 7:00 CST, ABC: This game certainly lost a lot of luster. Five weeks ago, these were the #1 and #2 teams in the country, but they’ve lost five games between them since then. USC has been banged up all year, and would need some serious help to get into the Rose Bowl even if they win here (Oregon would have to lose both of its next two games at UCLA and against Oregon State). Cal, however, would clinch a berth with only one Oregon loss if they can win here, and this is the game the Bears have been waiting for all season.

#6 Kansas at Oklahoma State, 7:00 CST, ABC: Undefeated Kansas attempts to continue its surprising run, but they may get a bit more than they bargained for with this matchup. The Cowboys have everything to gain here, and have been on fire since Mike Gundy’s rant,  beating Nebraska and Kansas State before losing narrowly to Texas.
 TOP 25 OF THE MATTY:

  1. Ohio State (10-0)
  2. LSU (9-1)
  3. Oklahoma (8-1)
  4. Oregon (8-1)
  5. West Virginia (7-1)
  6. Kansas (9-0)
  7. Missouri (8-1)
  8. Boston College (8-1)
  9. Hawaii (8-0)
  10. Virginia Tech (7-2)
  11. USC (7-2)
  12. Arizona State (8-1)
  13. Georgia (7-2)
  14. Michigan (8-2)
  15. Connecticut (8-1)
  16. Auburn (7-3)
  17. Florida (6-3)
  18. Texas (8-2)
  19. California (6-3)
  20. Alabama (6-3)
  21. Tennessee (6-3)
  22. Boise State (8-1)
  23. Illinois (7-3)
  24. Cincinnati (7-2)
  25. South Florida (6-3)

HEISMAN WATCH:

  1. Tim Tebow, Florida
  2. Darren McFadden, Arkansas
  3. Dennis Dixon, Oregon
  4. Mike Hart, Michigan
  5. Matt Ryan, Boston College
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