PiRate Top 25 For October 11, 2005
1. Texas 5-0 131.2
2. Southern Cal 5-0 130.8
3. Virginia Tech 6-0 125.9
4. Georgia 5-0 123.7
5. Florida St. 5-0 120.9
6. Alabama 5-0 119.5
7. Penn State 6-0 119.2
8. UCLA 5-0 118.6
9. Miami (Fl) 4-1 117.4
10. Minnesota 5-1 117.2
11. Florida 5-1 116.9
12. Colorado 4-1 116.7
13. Auburn 4-1 116.5
14. LSU 3-1 116.3
15. Notre Dame 4-1 115.7
16. California 5-1 115.5
17. Texas Tech 5-0 115.0
18. Michigan St. 4-1 114.9
19. Oregon 5-1 114.7
20. Wisconsin 5-1 114.2
21. Ohio State 3-2 114.1
22. Boston Coll. 5-1 113.7
23. Louisville 4-1 113.5
24. West Virginia 5-1 112.6
25. TCU 5-1 112.4
PiRate Ratings For The SEC
South Carolina 101.2
L S U 116.3
Mississippi St. 99.0
Ole Miss 98.0
It doesn't look promising for Vandy to get to 6-5 according to these ratings. South Carolina is pulling too far ahead and has another 4 points for their home field advantage. It could be 1984 all over again. The long science fiction book of Commodore near misses resulting in 5-6 seasons (such as 1999 against Kentucky, 1991 against LSU, and 1973 against Tennessee) could have a new chapter--the blocked field goal. There's no truth to the rumor that Dudley Field could be renamed for a chewing gum magnate. And, the last time I checked, Steve Bartman does not have Vanderbilt season tickets.
Trivia Question: Vanderbilt currently holds the mark for the longest winning season drought among schools that have played I-A ball continually since 1980. Which team has the second longest sub-.500 streak? The Answer is at the end of this article.
An Early Look at Bowl Possibilities
(if the season ended today)
ACC: Seven teams look to be in the hunt for six guaranteed bowl bids. If Florida State and Virginia Tech run the table, one of the at-large BCS bids could go to the loser in the ACC Championship Game. Miami would then get the Gator Bowl. Boston College would be in line for the Peach Bowl, while Georgia Tech, North Carolina State, and Maryland or North Carolina would split the Champs Sports, Meineke Car Care, and MPC Computers bowls.
Big East: This low-calorie remnant was able through politics to retain its automatic BCS bid. Since Louisville may not win the league title, the possible qualifier could be a 17-point underdog to the next weakest BCS team. For the sake of argument, let's say West Virginia wins the league title. South Florida might be the logical choice for the Gator Bowl. Louisville would go to the Insight Bowl, and Connecticut would be in line for the Meineke Car Care Bowl. If Notre Dame goes less than 9-2, then the Irish might get the Gator and bump Connecticut into an at-large team looking for a place to play.
Big 10: Seven bowl bids will go to seven bowl eligible teams. Purdue, Indiana, and Northwestern could fight for six wins and an extra qualifier. If the season ended today, Penn State would get the BCS bowl. Minnesota would be in line for the Capital One Bowl. Wisconsin would be the choice of the Outback Bowl. Michigan State would grab the Alamo bid. Iowa would head to El Paso and the Sun Bowl. That would drop the big two, Ohio State and Michigan to the Music City and Motor City Bowls.
Big 12: This league has eight guaranteed bowl spots, but it looks like they could come up one shy this year. Texas sure looks like a near lock for the Rose Bowl, but the way upsets have been sprouting up each week, that's lock is about as strong as a suitcase lock. Texas Tech might be the choice of the Cotton Bowl this year. That would send Colorado to the Holiday Bowl; Nebraska to the Alamo Bowl; and Texas A&M to the Champs Sports Bowl. Baylor appears to be headed to a six or seven win season, giving the Bears a good shot at the Houston Bowl. The Independence Bowl would be stuck with Oklahoma if they can get to 6-5. All the rest of the teams could squeak out a 6-5 season, but it's not a cinch. The Ft. Worth Bowl could be forced to look for an at-large team.
Conference USA: This league now has five bowl bids. UTEP is the favorite today for the Liberty Bowl. UAB, Tulsa, Houston, and Southern Miss. should all be bowl eligible. They would divide the bids to the GMAC, Hawaii, Ft. Worth, and New Orleans Bowl. Keep an eye on Central Florida. They could be on the verge of a miraculous turnaround from 0-11 to bowl eligibility. That would look good on George O'Leary's resume.
MAC: Once again, this conference could benefit from the woes of other leagues, who cannot fill their slots. Only two bids are guaranteed, the Motor City and GMAC. Those bids should go to Toledo and Bowling Green. Akron, Miami (O), Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, and Northern Illinois all have an excellent chance to become bowl eligible. There's a good chance that two extra bids will be awarded to the MAC.
Mountain West: The MWC lost their tie-in to the Liberty Bowl but picked up one to the new Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego. TCU is in good shape for the Las Vegas Bowl. Utah and Colorado State will garner bids to the Emerald and Poinsettia Bowls. Wyoming should have a 7-4 record and will look good as an at-large filler for any bowl west of the Mississippi River.
Pac-10: Six Bowl guarantees should be all filled unless this league gets two BCS bids. IN that event, Notre Dame will have not gotten their required wins, meaning there would be one extra at-large team from the Big East/Notre Dame combo. Give Southern Cal the Rose Bowl bid for now. That would put UCLA in the Holiday Bowl; Oregon in the Sun Bowl; Cal in the Insight Bowl; and Arizona State in the Las Vegas Bowl. The Emerald Bowl would take the 6-5 team that would come from Oregon State, Washington St., or Stanford. In the event none of these makes it to 6-5, then Wyoming will be there to take the at-large bid.
SEC: It's beginning to look like this league will come up two teams short and definitely at least one team short. Georgia and Alabama are both in contention for BCA Bowls. Whichever doesn't make it will be sent to the Capital One Bowl. LSU would be the choice of the Cotton Bowl. Florida would then get the Outback Bowl bid. Auburn would drop to the Peach, while Tennessee would have to settle for the Independence. The Music City and Houston Bowls would have to search for an at-large opponent, as it looks like South Carolina, Arkansas, and Vanderbilt could all come up one win short.
Sunbelt: The New Orleans Bowl (which has been moved to Lafayette, LA) gets the champion. Today, that team would be Louisiana-Monroe. Arkansas State, MTSU, and Troy all have shots at 6-5 seasons giving them slight chances to fill an at-large spot.
WAC: Only two bowl spots are guaranteed, but there is talk that the Liberty Bowl could take a WAC team this year (The Liberty Bowl currently has only one conference agreement). Until then, figure on Fresno State for the MPC Computers Bowl and Boise State for the Hawaii Bowl. Possibilities for a third bid are Nevada and Louisiana Tech. It looks like Hawaii will not win enough games this year to get their home-state bowl bid.
Independents: Notre Dame will definitely play a game after December 25. Navy has a decent shot.
My recommendation to the Music City Bowl if there are only six bowl eligible SEC teams: Get Ohio State or Michigan from the Big 10 and sign the best at-large team you can get. Inviting Tennessee will not be much different from inviting Vandy. No hotel rooms will be taken. Let the Vols go to another bowl and pursue Wyoming if they are available. The people in that conservative state enjoy country music, would come here in droves, and have a blast.
Trivia Question Answer: The second longest record of futility currently belongs to Temple. The Owls last had a winning season in 1990 when they went 7-4, defeating Wisconsin, Virginia Tech, Pittsburgh, and Boston College.