The BCS Landscape

Nine weeks of college football have been played, let's take a look at the BCS landscape focusing on a teams record vs. expectations, coaches on the hot seat, and teams still in the National Title hunt.

ATLANTIC COAST CONFERENCE

Atlantic

Florida State(6-2, 4-1): Lost control of destiny with loss on Thursday night. Have exceeded expectations, particularly defensively. Will most likely need to win out in-conference to make ACC Title game.

North Carolina State(6-2, 3-1): They have four remaining games, three on the road against quality opponents. This is what 'Pack fans expected when they hired Tom O'Brien.

Maryland(6-2, 3-1): The Terrapins have both NCSU and FSU left on their schedule, both are at home. Still very much unproven, we will know more after this weekend's visit to the 'Canes.

Clemson(4-4, 2-3), Boston College(3-5, 1-4), and Wake Forest(2-6, 1-4) will be playing the role of spoiler and trying to qualify for a bowl. WF and BC are in a lot of trouble in that regard.

Coastal

Virginia Tech(6-2, 4-0): This is gift wrapped for VT at this point. They can afford one loss, likely two, and make the title game. They continue to torture the ACC by losing to non-conference games(this year James Madison and Boise State), but winning in-conference.

Georgia Tech(5-3, 3-2), Miami(5-3, 3-2), and North Carolina(5-3, 2-2) figure to be bowl eligible and are jockeying for the low hanging fruit of the ACC bowl tie ins. Each has had a disappointing season thus far.

Virginia(4-4, 1-3) and Duke(2-6, 0-4) do not figure to be bowl eligible.

Coaches on Hot Seat: Randy Shannon, Butch Davis, Dabo Swinney.

ACC Title Game Prediction: Florida State(10-2) vs. Virginia Tech(9-3)

SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE

East

The big one in the East figures to be South Carolina(6-2, 4-2) against Florida(5-3, 3-3) next weekend in Gainesville. The winner is likely to play for the SEC Championship. It was simply a huge loss for the Gamecocks vs. Kentucky(4-5, 1-5); this race would be over if they did not choke down the stretch. Georgia(4-5, 3-4) is fighting to get to bowl eligibility and likely will need to beat GT to get that bid. Tennessee(2-6, 0-5) and Vanderbilt(2-6, 1-4) will need to win out.

Auburn(9-0, 6-0) and Alabama(7-1, 4-1) could have one of the biggest "Iron Bowls" in history when the two meet to finish the season. In order for that to happen, the Tide will need to take care of LSU(7-1, 4-1) this weekend. If the Tiger's win, Auburn is headed to Atlanta regardless of outcome with 'Bama. Mississippi State(7-2, 3-2) is bowl eligible and Dan Mullen has done an outstanding job in year two. It is a tough finish, but if they can win the "Egg Bowl" over Ole Miss(3-5, 1-4) it will be a huge season for the Bulldogs. Arkansas(6-2, 3-2) is one of the most dangerous teams in the country, but still have three games vs. top 20 teams.

Coaches on the Hot Seat: Surprisingly none. Mark Richt's will be real warm with losses to Auburn and Georgia Tech.

SEC Championship Game: South Carolina(9-3) vs. Alabama(11-1)

BIG 12 CONFERENCE

In the North Nebraska(7-1, 3-1) has the edge after a big win over Missouri(7-1, 3-1) last week. However the 'Huskers will have to win out as the Tigers have a manageable back end to the schedule. Kansas State(5-3, 2-3) should go bowling and Iowa State(5-4, 3-2) has a chance. Kansas(2-6, 0-4) has been disappointing in Turner Gill's first season at the helm. The Dan Hawkins era is over at Colorado(3-5, 0-4).

In the South it is wide open, but the smart money would be on Oklahoma(7-1, 3-1). Baylor(7-2, 4-1) is one of the great stories in college football, but they figure to come up short vs. the Sooner's. OU is not just dealing with Baylor however, Oklahoma State(7-1, 3-1) is right there and the annual "Bedlam" game could be for the right to go to the Big 12 Title game. Texas A&M(5-3, 2-2) has been better, but will need to close strong for Mike Sherman to be retained. Texas(4-4, 2-3) has really struggled this year particularly at home. They will be in their worst bowl game in a long time. Tommy Tuberville's Texas Tech(4-4, 2-4) could also be bowl eligible.

Coaches on Hot Seat: Dan Mullen, Mike Sherman.

Big 12 Title Game Prediction: Old School. Nebraska(11-1) vs. Oklahoma(11-1)

BIG 10 CONFERENCE

Completely up in the air right now with Michigan State(8-1, 4-1), Ohio State(8-1, 4-1), Wisconsin(7-1, 3-1), and Iowa(6-2, 3-1) each somewhat controlling their own destiny to the Rose Bowl. Only OSU could have National Championship aspirations, but Miami is hurting their chances as is too many other potential one-loss teams that have a Championship Game. Illinois(5-3, 3-2) has been playing much better this year, probably enough thus far to give the Zooker another year. Northwestern(6-2, 2-2) is a rock solid program under Pat Fitzgerald, they will be bowling as likely will Penn State(5-3, 2-2) after their big win over Michigan(5-3, 1-3). The Wolverine's are sinking again in November, not a good sign. Purdue(4-4, 2-2), Indiana(4-4, 0-4), and Minnesota(1-8, 0-5) figure to be home for the Holiday's.

Coaches on Hot Seat: Rich Rodriguez, Joe Paterno(retire), Ron Zook(needs to finish)

Big 10 Champ: Wisconsin.

PAC 10 CONFERENCE

Oregon(8-0, 5-0) is lighting up the scoreboard and only Arizona(7-1, 4-1) and Oregon State(4-3, 3-1) stand in their way from a Rose Bowl berth(or perhaps BCS Title game. Arizona is the case for giving the Head Coach enough time to change the program, Mike Stoops has certainly done that. Stanford(7-1, 4-1) is a prime candidate for an at large BCS berth if they win out. Arizona State(4-4, 2-3) and dual personality California(4-4, 2-3) are fighting to get bowl eligible. Washington(3-5, 2-3), UCLA(3-5, 1-4), and Washington State(1-8, 0-6) almost certainly will not be bowling. USC(5-3, 2-3) can't play in a bowl due to NCAA sanctions.

Coaches on the Hot Seat: Paul Wulff, Dennis Erickson, Rick Neuheisel(getting warm)

Pac 10 Champ: Oregon.

BIG EAST

Pittsburgh(5-3, 3-0) and Syracuse(6-2, 3-1) have jumped out to an early lead, but everyone remains in the hunt. There are going to be a lot 7-5, 6-6, 5-7 type teams from the Big East. Rutgers(4-3, 1-1), West Virginia(5-3, 1-2), South Florida(4-3, 1-2), Connecticut(4-4, 1-2), Louisville(4-4, 1-2), and Cincinnati(3-5, 1-2) all have the opportunity to be bowl eligible.

Coaches on Hot Seat: Bill Stewart

Winner: Pittsbugh.

National Championship Game: Oregon(12-0) vs. Alabama(12-1)

Rose Bowl: Wisconsin vs. Stanford

Orange Bowl: Florida State vs. Pittsburgh

Sugar Bowl: Auburn vs. Boise State

Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma vs. TCU


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