FSU is 4-0 in the Atlantic Division. N.C. State(2-1) and Maryland(1-1) are still on the schedule for the 'Noles as is a dangerous Clemson(1-2) team. The 'Noles can probably afford a single loss and still make the ACC title game. The big one looks like a week from Thursday when we travel to Raleigh, N.C. and take on the 'Pack. A win there all but seals up the ACC for FSU.
The Coastal Division is wide open with Virginia Tech(3-0) pulling their normal routine (lose to everyone non-conference, win in conference). Georgia Tech(3-1), Miami(2-1), and North Carolina(2-1) have each been up and down for much of the season, but remain firmly in the hunt to get to the title game. It looks like a two loss team might come out of this side, the edge right now goes to VT.
The only program with an outside chance at a National Title is Florida State. It would take carnage from now to the end of the season, but FSU could be sitting at 12-1 with only a road loss to a top 10 team on their resume.
Both sides are an absolute bloodbath for different reasons. We start with the SEC West where it appears that all the best teams are this year. Auburn(7-0, 4-0), LSU(7-0, 4-0), Alabama(6-1, 3-1), Mississippi State(5-2, 2-2), and Arkansas(4-2, 1-2) are all still in the hunt. The battle of the "Tigers" is this week, the winner will be in command of the division. Alabama has a loss, but still control their destiny as they have games with both Auburn and LSU coming up. Dan Mullen has done a brilliant job in Starkville, they appear to be too offensively challenged to win the SEC. Arkansas can score points, but they have to learn to stop somebody.
The SEC East has been getting drummed by the West this year. South Carolina(4-2, 2-2) was a play away from essentially closing this thing out; but alas they lost to Kentucky(4-3, 1-3) and now have work to do. Florida(4-3, 2-3) and Georgia(3-4, 2-3) have been two of the more disappointing teams in the country, but still find themselves with a chance to get to Atlanta. Hard to believe that Tennessee can't find a win at this time against this average group, but they can't.
LSU, Auburn, and Alabama are all firmly in the National Championship picture. They all have to play each other and the winner of the SEC is likely to come from those three teams. Obviously LSU and Auburn will be in the Title game if they are unbeaten, but each will be tough to pass over if they have just one loss. It remains likely that we will see a SEC team in the big one this year.
Michigan State(7-0, 3-0) is the story in the Big 10, they avoid Ohio State(6-1, 2-1) this year and have already taken care of Wisconsin(6-1, 2-1). A huge game with Iowa(5-1, 2-0) seems to be the toughest test remaining. Purdue is unbeaten in conference play(4-2, 2-0), but are expected to fall off as they usually do down the stretch.
Tim Brewster has been canned at Minnesota already(1-6, 0-3) and things are not much better in Happy Valley where Penn State(3-3, 0-2) is really struggling. It is clear that Joe Paterno is not doing anything to help the program at this point, it is rumored that he is essentially doing nothing because of health concerns. Keep an eye on Northwestern(5-1, 1-1), all they do is win games and might play the role of spoiler down the stretch.
RichRod is on the brink of disaster at Michigan(5-2, 1-2) after two straight losses he really needs a solid finish to the season.
Michigan State would be tough to pass up for the National Title game, but their "M.O." is to choke and we would expect them to slip up along the way. OSU is a always a threat to backdoor their way to the big game, we hope we don't have to watch them get throttled again in the championship game.
It is all about Oklahoma(6-0, 2-0), Missouri(6-0, 2-0) and Oklahoma State(6-0, 2-0) at this point. The Sooner's appear to have everything under control if they beat the in-state Cowboys and win the B12 Championship game. It is hard to know just how good MU and OSU are......but we will find out over the next 3-4 weeks.
Texas has been a disappointment, it is almost unfathomable for them to lose to a bad UCLA team at home. Nebraska(5-1, 1-1) was "back", well until last week when they laid an egg at home vs. the Longhorn's. Kansas State(5-1, 2-1)) has racked up nonsense wins thus far and been humiliated by NU, no one does it better than Bill Snyder. Kansas, Iowa State, and Texas A&M are all very bad teams.
OU, OSU, and MU have legit National Title hopes at this time, but really only OU is expected to be a threat. The win over FSU looks better every week and that could have a one loss Sooner team still in the picture at the end of the day.
Oregon(6-0, 3-0) looks the in charge out west, however they still have games with USC(5-2, 2-2), Oregon State(3-3, 2-1), and Arizona(5-1, 2-1). The Beaver's are the Pac 10's version of Virginia Tech. They start VERY slow, but seem to come on down the stretch. The loss to Washington will really hurt this year. Stanford(5-1, 2-1) is everyone's darling right now, but the Cardinal simply are not talented enough to be in the national picture.
The Duck's look like the only National Title contender at this time and they probably control their own destiny because of the amount of points they are scoring.
As bad as the ACC is......and let's be clear it is "not good", this conference is significantly worse. They beat no one non-conference and don't have a team that is even in the National Title hunt. West Virginia(5-1, 1-0) is the class of the league again and of course they are doing it with Florida talent. None of the other seven teams are in the top 40 in the country, perhaps top 50.
NON BCS Teams
We are left with three at this time. Two from the Mountain West(TCU 7-0 and Utah 6-0) and one from the WAC(Boise State 6-0). TCU and Utah will face each other which will eliminate one from the MWC. Boise will not lose and they stand the best chance of making the Title game. Still, they probably need VT to at least make the ACC Championship game and that is far from certain at this point.
Mid-Season Fearless Prediction
National Title: Oklahoma vs. Alabama
Sleeper: Michigan State
Heisman: Cam Newton, Auburn
FSU Bowl: BCS, Orange Bowl vs. WVU
Biggest Surprise Team: Oklahoma State
Biggest Disappointment: Florida/Georgia
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