Howell Pieser shares this weeks PiRate top 25.
1. Texas 7-0 132.1
2. USC 7-0 131.1
3. Virginia Tech 7-0 125.8
4. U C L A 7-0 121.5
5. Georgia 7-0 120.7
6. Alabama 7-0 120.4
7. Miami (Fla.) 5-1 118.6
8. L S U 5-1 118.3
9. Oregon 7-1 117.1
10. Penn State 7-1 116.7
11. Auburn 5-2 116.4
12. Notre Dame 5-2 115.8
13. Wisconsin 7-1 115.2
14. Florida State 6-1 115.1
15. Ohio State 5-2 115.0
16. Texas Tech 6-1 114.7
17. Florida 5-2 114.6
18. Minnesota 5-2 114.0
19. Boston College 6-1 113.5
20. Fresno State 5-1 113.3
21. Michigan 5-3 113.1
22. Colorado 5-2 112.9
23. West Virginia 6-1 112.5
24. T C U 7-1 112.2
25. Northwestern 5-2 112.0
SEC PiRate Ratings
South Carolina 101.5
L S U 118.3
Ole Miss 98.6
Mississippi St. 98.0
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If the rest of the schedule were played today, Vanderbilt would be about a 21-point underdog at Florida and about a 17-point underdog at Tennessee. They would be favored over Kentucky by about eight points. These spreads consider no other intangibles besides home field advantage and only apply if the games were today. The chances of winning at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, which hasn't been done since the year President Truman succeeded FDR upon his death, or at Neyland Stadium, where Vandy has won twice in the last 65 years, are infinitesimal. Both the Gators and Vols are not the Behemoths they were five years ago, but they are much too talented for Vanderbilt to have any realistic chance of winning either game on enemy turf short some fairly good-sized miracle.
Has a team won four games to start the season and then lost their last seven? Actually, a team went one better, or should I say one worse. In 1974, Tulane, coming off a nine-win season, bolted out of the gate with five straight wins to start the year. The back end of the schedule was loaded with the toughest opponents, and the Green Wave proceeded to lose six in a row. That year, Tulane had to reschedule their football game with Ole Miss due to Hurricane Carmen, and they ended up playing the Rebels at the end of the season instead of the beginning of the season. That was the weakest Ole Miss team in more than 30 years, and the Green Wave would have probably
handled the Johnny Rebs if they played them at the beginning of the season.
Weekly Look at the Conferences
Can any ACC team beat Virginia Tech? It looks less and less possible with each passing week. Miami still must venture to Blacksburg in November, but the Hurricanes usually get downgraded to a tropical depression when they play at Lane Stadium. Florida State should play them in the inaugural ACC Championship Game. The Hokies should win both games. Four ACC teams may now come up one win short and finish at 5-6. North Carolina, North Carolina State, Maryland, and Virginia need an upset to get to 6-5. The Cavaliers have the best shot if they can take out Georgia Tech in Charlottesville.
BCS: Virginia Tech (This year's Auburn?)
Peach: Florida State
Champs Sports: Boston College
Meineke Car Care: Georgia Tech
MPC Computers: Clemson (love that blue field)
Bowl eligible at-large candidates: possibly one of the likely 5-6 teams if they pull off an upset
This league should have had their automatic BCS bowl status eliminated last year. When Pittsburgh played in the Fiesta Bowl, they were much weaker than the champions of the WAC, Mountain West, MAC, and C-USA. The same can be said this year. As it looks today, West Virginia should represent the league as the final BCS team selected. TCU, UTEP, Toledo, and Fresno State are more deserving. Connecticut and Pitt have tough schedules to finish out the season, and both could end up 5-6. South Florida, Rutgers, and Louisville should join the Mountaineers as bowl teams. Should USF run the table, they will get the automatic bid. If Rutgers wins out and South Florida beats West Virginia, then they end in a three-way tie. WVU would probably sneak in with the best BCS rating of the three.
BCS: West Virginia
Meineke Car Care: South Florida
Oh what a muddled race we have here! Northwestern, Ohio State, Penn State, and Wisconsin have one conference loss each. Iowa, Michigan, and Minnesota are still in the title hunt with two losses apiece. A 6-2 record is going to win this conference, and I think there will be at least two teams if not more finishing with that mark. Eight teams should be bowl
eligible, and since the Big 10 gets seven guaranteed bids, number eight will have to hope for an at-large bid. There will be a few available, so expect eight teams to go bowling.
Capital One: Penn State
Outback: Ohio State
Music City: Northwestern
Motor City: Iowa
At-large: Michigan State
The race in the North changes weekly. Colorado, Nebraska, and Missouri have traded places as the most powerful team in the division. Kansas State has three league losses, but the Wildcats could run the table and win the division crown at 5-3. Remember, Colorado won this division last year with a 4-4 record. Texas must only bring their A-game for the big rivalry contest
against the Aggies in order to breeze west to Pasadena. The Longhorns are now firmly entrenched in first place in the PiRate ratings, and the BCS computers agree as of this week.
BCS: Texas (everything's coming up Roses)
Cotton: Texas Tech (just misses out on at-large BCS)
Champs Sports: Missouri
Houston: Texas A&M
Ft. Worth: Kansas State
At-large candidate: Iowa State
Just misses: Baylor
The power of the league rests in the West Division where the top three teams reside. UTEP, Houston, and Tulsa should grab three of the league's five bowl bids. The East has a bunch of 6-5 and 5-6 teams. 6-2 will win the division outright this year. Give Southern Mississippi a slight edge.
Liberty: U T E P
GMAC: Southern Miss.
Ft. Worth: Tulsa
New Orleans: Memphis (game to be played in Lafayette, LA)
At-large candidate: Central Florida
Probable 5-6: UAB, East Carolina
Bowling Green not only lost to Western Michigan, they were blown off the field! The Falcons still lead the East Division with a 3-1 record, but they must conclude the regular season with games at Miami (O) and Toledo. Two losses will give the division title to the Red Hawks. Central Michigan and Northern Illinois can still take down Toledo with upset wins, but the Rockets look too strong. They should run the table and win the conference title game as well.
Motor City: Toledo
GMAC: Miami (O)
Bowl-eligible: Bowling Green, Akron, Northern Illinois, Eastern Michigan, and Western Michigan (all 6-5)
TCU should win out and finish with just one regular season loss for the third time in the last six years. Colorado State could still cop the crown with a win in Ft. Worth, but I don't see that happening. The Utah-Brigham Young game should make that winner 6-5. Wyoming still clings to hopes of finishing 6-5, while New Mexico is making their annual charge to the finish. Pencil the Lobos in for
Las Vegas: TCU (Horned Frogs would look attractive getting a release to the Liberty Bowl to take on one-loss UTEP)
Emerald: New Mexico
Poinsettia: Utah/BYU winner
Bowl Eligible: Colorado State & Wyoming
This league has three of the top 10 teams. All three should register double-digit regular season wins. Southern California will play UCLA at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum on December 3. The Winner should advance to the Rose Bowl (or possibly Virginia Tech if UCLA has some close games). The Loser should get a BCS at-large bid. Oregon at 10-1 would have to settle for San Diego. Stanford made Dirk Koetter's job security a little shaky by upsetting Arizona State. Could the Cardinal win two more games? It's possible, but not probable with UCLA, USC, Oregon State (on the road), California, and Notre Dame remaining to be played.
BCS: Southern California
BCS At-Large: U C L A
Insight: Oregon State
Las Vegas: Arizona State
Emerald: OOPS! We must find someone else, since there are no eligible
Teams left to pick. Navy filled in last year and made history with a 24-play touchdown drive that took close to 15 minutes off the clock.
Georgia's chances for a possible trip to Pasadena were greatly injured along with D.J. Shockley's knee. The Bulldogs may very well lose this week. Auburn also poses a problem if Shockley cannot play close to 100% when he returns. That means Florida has a legitimate chance to come from two games back to win the East Division title. If Urban Meyer's troops can be the life of the cocktail party, they should finish 6-2. South Carolina needs two more wins to become the seventh bowl-eligible team. Arkansas will be a tough, but winnable road game. It may come down to the rivalry match with Clemson. I'd say the chances that Steve Spurrier's fuming poultry win six games are less than 50-50 as of today. In the West, LSU is coming on strong. I think they will wash the Tide out to sea and run the table.
BCS: L S U
Capital One: Florida
Music City: Must go searching for an at-large team
Houston: Can we go searching with you folks in Nashville?
Only the league champ will get a bowl bid this year. There will be multiple bowl-eligible teams available, but there are too many other teams in line ahead of this group. Louisiana-Monroe leads the league at 3-0, but North Texas is still alive with one conference loss. While Troy and Arkansas State have one loss apiece, both came against UL-M, so the Indians would have to lose twice for either ASU or Troy to win out and take the title.
New Orleans: Louisiana-Monroe/North Texas winner (game in Denton 11/19)
Four teams should end up bowl-eligible, but only two bowl bids are guaranteed. Fresno State is the class of the league this year, while Boise State should get the other bid to guarantee a sell out for the Blue Field on December 28. Nevada and Louisiana Tech should get some at-large consideration.
MPC Computers: Boise State
Hawaii: Fresno State
Notre Dame's chances for winning out and qualifying for a quasi-automatic BCS bowl bid are about 80-20 in their favor. Navy should win seven games and fill one of the at-large slots.
BCS: Notre Dame
Possible At-large: Navy
It looks like five bowls will have to choose at-large teams. The Poinsettia and Liberty Bowls planned on having at-large teams, as they only picked one conference affiliate. The Emerald, Houston, and Music City Bowls hoped for a guaranteed team.
The Music City Bowl would be wise to grab Navy as soon as they are bowl eligible. Navy vs. Northwestern would be a great match up. Wyoming may still be available, but they will now more than likely be a less attractive 6-5. Here's a wild idea: let's say the Music City Bowl must look for an at-large team, while the Big 10 has one extra available team. Why not have an all Big-10 bowl. Imagine if Ohio State and Michigan fall to 7-4/6-5 records. How would a rematch in Nashville look to bowl officials? It's happened before. Nebraska once played Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl. Florida played Florida State for the National Title in the Sugar Bowl. Ole Miss played LSU and Alabama in Sugar Bowls. Auburn played Ole Miss and Vanderbilt in Gator Bowls.
If 12-0 Southern Cal plays 12-0 Texas in the Rose Bowl, where will this game rank in modern day college football history? I'd put this game in the top 10 games since 1945.
In order, here are the dozen most anticipated college games of modern history that also lived up to the hype.
12. 1988: Notre Dame 31 Miami 30 A ref's blown td/fumble call cost the Canes a chance at winning three straight titles
11. 1968: Yale 29 Harvard 29 Both teams were 8-0. Harvard scored two touchdowns with two-point conversions in the final minute to come from 16 points back.
10. 1959: LSU 7 Ole Miss 3 Billy Cannon's long punt return on this Halloween night won this battle of unbeatens. The Rebels got their revenge in the Sugar Bowl 21-0.
9. 1979 Sugar Bowl: Alabama 14 Penn State 7 The Tide defense holds Penn State in one of the greatest goal line stands ever.
8. 1973: Ohio State 10 Michigan 10. Both teams came in undefeated and untied. The Buckeyes scored their 10 points in the first half, while the Wolverines scored theirs in the second half.
7. 1973 Sugar Bowl: Notre Dame 24 Alabama 23 Tom Clements long bomb pass completion when the Irish were pinned in at their own one yard line sealed the National Title in this battle of unbeatens
6. 1967: Southern California 21 UCLA 20 The Bruins were #1 and The Trojans were #2. O.J. Simpson's long run at the end of the game scored the decisive touchdown, as USC won the National Title.
5. 2003 Fiesta Bowl: Ohio State 31 Miami 24 2ot The first BCS Title game to go to overtime
4. 1966: Notre Dame 10 Michigan State 10 This big epic game of unbeaten and top-ranked opponents set the table for two more great "games of the century" a few years later.
3. 1946: Army vs. Notre Dame at Yankee Stadium. The number one Cadets and number two Irish played to a scoreless tie in the days before there were competent field goal kickers.
2. 1969: Texas 15 Arkansas 14 The Longhorns were down 14-0 and made a monumental comeback on a huge 4th down gamble. Coach Darrell Royal called for a play-action long bomb on 4th and inches, and it worked. This one was so important, it was moved from October to December. Both teams came in 9-0, and President Nixon attended the game to award the National Championship trophy to the victor
1. 1971: Nebraska 35 Oklahoma 31 This one is in a class by itself for now. Oklahoma's wishbone offense could not be stopped. The Sooners rushed for nearly 500 yards per game, while quarterback Jack Mildren could throw deep with accuracy. Nebraska was the collegiate equivalent of Vince Lombardi's Green Bay Packers. Quarterback Jerry Tagge, a Green Bay resident, wasn't
the typical Cornhusker signal-caller. He could throw the ball as well as any passer in the nation. The Cornhuskers had all conference talent at almost every position on offense and defense.
So, where would the USC-Texas game rate if they met in the Rose Bowl and played a nail-biter? Somewhere between number four and number two. If the game went to multiple overtimes, it could gain 1B status.