For the first time in 4 weeks, not much changed at the top of the rankings. Oregon was impressive again, this time in a hostile LA Coliseum, putting 53 on the board against an overlooked but tough USC team. Auburn was equally impressive knocking off Ole Miss 51-31. The main shake ups came with the real Michigan State finally rearing it’s ugly head and Missouri’s defense proving useless against Nebraska RB, Roy Helu Jr. who rushed for a school record 307 yards. Both teams showed, once again, neither are ready to make that next leap into the realm of the elite in college football.
Michigan State find themselves 7-0 for the first time in 44 years and dreaming of previously unreachable heights after manhandling Illinois 26-6 at Spartan Stadium Saturday. With Ohio State’s collapse in Madison that same night the #7 Spartans are not only in the driver’s seat to a Big Ten Championship, they actually have a legitimate shot at the BCS Championship Game. Here’s what would need to happen:
1. Take care of their own business. Obviously, the Spartans must win all 5 of their remaining games. State comes to Evanston this weekend to take on a scrappy Northwestern squad, but they should be able to handle the Wildcats with relative ease. The real test comes the week after as they travel to Iowa City to battle the #13 Hawkeyes. If they can get past Iowa (admittedly, not an easy task) their road to an undefeated season is paved with extremely winnable home games versus Minnesota and Purdue and a finale at very mediocre Penn State.
2. Sit back and wait for the computers to screw over the little guys. While perennial Cinderellas Boise State and TCU are currently ahead of State in the BCS rankings, their strength of schedules simply won’t compare with Spartan victories over Top 25 teams Notre Dame, Wisconsin, Michigan and Iowa. Maybe that’s unfair, but that’s just the way it is until the powers that be relent and adopt a long-awaited playoff system (but that’s the subject of another post).
3. Let parity (and anarchy) reign! Seeing the #1 team in the nation lose in each of the last two weeks is more than enough evidence in support of the Spartans hopes. No one is a clear, dominating presence on the college football landscape a this point and every team in front of State in the rankings has much more difficult hurdles to get over than the Green & White. We know one contender will be eliminated next week as LSU faces Auburn. Even if LSU wins on the road, they still have to face Alabama, Arkansas and have the SEC Championship game to deal with. Sorry LSU—not gonna happen. Auburn should beat LSU at home but they would still have to go to Alabama and then face the conference championship game—no way that’s going to work for the War Eagle. The very overrated Oklahoma goes to very underrated #11 Missouri this weekend and still has to travel to in-state rival #14 Oklahoma State. Oregon still has to travel to face an overlooked USC team, then home vs. #18 Arizona and finish the season with their Civil War game versus Oregon State in the Beaver Dam. Even if one of these teams runs through their daunting gauntlets, there’s still another spot in the title game waiting for State.
With a relatively easy path to an undefeated season when compared to the other contenders, the BSC system working against the two non-BCS schools in the mix, and only needing to slide into one of two slots in the BSC Championship Game — you read if here first — the Michigan State Spartans will vie for the national title on January 10th in Glendale, Arizona.
Another week, another #1 falls (well, #2 in my rankings last week). Despite Terrelle Pryor’s desperate pleas to the contrary, Saturday’s loss to Wisconsin does define him and his Ohio State Buckeyes: both are highly overrated and crumble in every big game. Pryor completed only 50% of his passes for a meager 156 yards in their 31-18 loss to the Badgers while rushing for an underwhelming 56 yards. Once again, he and The Sweater Vest couldn’t get it done when the spotlight shone brightest.