Complaints about the BCS are being heard across the country, which can only mean one thing: college football is entering the stretch run. Several questions will be answered as the season draws to a close, but many will also emerge. It is gearing up to be a tight race to the finish, one no one will be able to predict.
Are the Florida Gators still unbeatable?
Many predicted this University of Florida team could be the best in history. Although they are undefeated, they have not looked as dominant as some believed they would be. They defeated the Tennessee Volunteers by only 10 points after the Volunteers’ Head Coach Lane Kiffin angered the Gators and their fans with his offseason remarks.
Florida narrowly survived against the Arkansas Razorbacks, needing a Caleb Sturgis 27-yard field goal with nine seconds left to remain undefeated. This past weekend, the Gators led 16-13 against the lowly Mississippi State University Bulldogs entering the fourth quarter. While the orange and blue would go on to win 29-19, it was a sloppy win with Tim Tebow throwing two interceptions that were returned for touchdowns.
Florida is unbeaten, but teams have shown there are chinks in their armor.
Does anyone want to win the Heisman Trophy?
The Heisman Trophy is one of the most prestigious awards in all of sports. Eight weeks into the season, no one has emerged as a clear front-runner. The expected three-man race between Sam Bradford, Colt McCoy and Tim Tebow never materialized.
Bradford hurt his right shoulder in two separate games and is out for the season. McCoy and Tebow are still serious contenders, but they have not put up the stats they were expected to have. The University of Alabama Crimson Tide running back Mark Ingram and Notre Dame Fighting Irish quarterback Jimmy Clausen are the current favorites. That said, however, Ingram failed to reach 100 rushing yards last week and Clausen plays for a two-loss Notre Dame team.
Despite all of the games that have been played this season, there hasn’t been that spectacular Heisman moment people expect every year.
Which team will crash the BCS party?
The Utah Utes crashed into one of the top bowls in 2004 and 2008, defeating the Pittsburgh Panthers and Alabama. The Boise State University Broncos did it in 2006, defeating the Oklahoma Sooners thanks to a couple of trick plays.
This year, the Texas Christian University Horned Frogs and Boise State are the teams with the best shot of playing in a BCS bowl.
TCU is ranked No. 6 in the current BCS standings. They passed their first test this past Saturday, when they went on the road and thumped the BYU Cougars 38-7. Their season could come down to a Nov. 14 home game against No. 19 Utah.
Boise State is ranked No. 7 in the BCS standings, but their strength of schedule hurts them significantly. Their win over Oregon to start the season was impressive, but that will be the only ranked team they will play all year. Being in a weak conference severely hurts their chances of crashing the party; TCU will have to lose in order for that to happen.
How long can the University of Iowa and the University of Cincinnati stay undefeated?
At the start of the season, the University of Iowa Hawkeyes were not considered a serious threat to win their conference. A win over the Penn State Nittany Lions in Happy Valley changed that and catapulted them onto the national scene. Their eight wins have been ugly, but who cares about style points when you’re undefeated?
They should be 10-0 heading into a pivotal showdown with the Ohio State Buckeyes. The game will be played in the Horseshoe and could determine the Big Ten title, a Rose Bowl berth and maybe even more.
The Big East is a conference more known for its basketball than its football. But the Univercity of Cincinnati Bearcats boast a 7-0 record and a top 10 national ranking. They did not skip a beat this past Saturday, trampling the Louisville Cardinals 41-10 despite being without star quarterback Tony Pike. Pike will likely sit out against the woeful Syracuse Orange this weekend, but should be ready for two important Big East clashes against West Virginia University and Pittsburgh.
Which one-loss team has the best chance to reach the BCS National Championship Game?
As usual, the University of Southern California Trojans lost to an inferior Pac-10 opponent. This time it was the University Washington Huskies, coached by former USC offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian. They have slowly made their way back up the rankings, coming in at No. 5 in the BCS standings. They have impressive wins over Ohio State, the California University Golden Bears and Notre Dame on their resume. A win this Saturday over No. 10 University of Oregon in hostile Autzen Stadium would help them all but solidify their Rose Bowl birth.
The Louisiana State University Tigers are ranked No. 9, but their schedule provides them with a great opportunity to jump right back into the picture. They have two important November games, one against No. 2 Alabama and the other against the No. 24 Mississippi Rebels. If they win those two and defeat Arkansas in the season finale, they will earn a spot in the SEC Championship game.
LSU’s likely opponent would be Florida, meaning a win could propel them to the BCS National Championship Game. LSU must beat four tough teams but if they can do it, they could be one of the teams playing on Jan. 7.