by Max - 11/15/2006
Everything has fallen into place and the Big Ten will get its dream match-up this coming Saturday, when the Michigan Wolverines travel to Columbus to take on the Ohio State Buckeyes. These are two of the four unbeaten teams left in Division-IA and the winner will earn a bid to the BCS Title Game in Glendale, Arizona. These are the top two teams in the polls, computers, and Harris Rankings - all of which comprise the current BCS standings. The Buckeyes will enter this game around a touchdown favorite and have looked more impressive then Michigan from start to finish. This number also reflects Coach Jim Tressel's recent success against Coach Lloyd Carr. The Buckeye coach has beaten Michigan four times in five tries and is a far cry from what John Copper was when coaching at the Horseshoe.
That being said, lets take a look at the top seven teams in the BCS standing and their likelihood of making it to the championship game on Jan. 8. Teams are evaluated based on the current BSC standing after the completion of games on Nov. 11.
1) Ohio State Buckeyes - My pre-season choice to win it all has done nothing to disappoint me up to this point. They have played in hostile environments such as Austin and Iowa City and came away with impressive blowout victories. A win at home and they will be assured a spot in the championship game. A loss to Michigan and there is still a possibility they could get into the BCS Title Game, but the higher percentage play would be a trip to the Rose Bowl. The other conferences would frown upon a rematch title game where both teams come from the same conference.
2) Michigan Wolverines - The season started with Lloyd Carr under fire but an early season win in South Bend gave this team validation and they have yet to give that up. A win in Columbus would mark a 12-0 record and a trip to Glendale. A loss in Columbus and it is highly likely that they would represent the Big Ten in the Rose Bowl for the third time in four years. They only chance they would have to get back into the title game is if both Notre Dame and themselves finished with 11-1 records and everyone else from the PAC-10 and SEC had two losses. They would be hard pressed to choose Notre Dame over Michigan considering what the Wolvernines did to the Irish in South Bend in September.
3) Southern Cal Trojans - The Trojans are in the best shape in the standings considering the two teams ahead of them play each other this week. They will be able to hold Florida off in the standings considering the three games left on their schedule come against formidable opponents. If they can complete this trifecta they will receive an invite to Glendale. The problem is that any one of these three teams (California, Notre Dame, UCLA) can knock them off giving them a second loss. The one thing holding them back may be that they suffered a bad loss to Oregon State, but that would be forgotten quickly by beating California and Notre Dame.
4) Florida Gators - Everyone seems to be piling on the Gators this week for their close call at the Swamp against former Coach Steve Spurrier. That being said, a win is a win and if Florida can win out they will have finished 12-1 in what many people believe is the toughest conference in the nation. They do need some help in order to get to the title game. Playing Western Carolina and Florida State should drop them well below USC in the computers and thus they would not be able to catch them if both finished with only one loss. The Sugar Bowl will likely be calling their name.
5) Notre Dame Irish - The team everyone loves or hates continues to pull out victories after an early season hiccup against Michigan. The Irish are all but assured a BSC Bowl Game but the path to the Championship does not look that promising. They will have a hard time moving past No. 4 in the standings and thus will need the human factor to play a role if they have visions of Arizona. Another factor working against them is that both Michigan and Ohio State pounded Notre Dame within the last year.
6) Rutgers Scarlet Knights - Rutgers is one of the three unbeaten teams playing in the BCS conferences and after this week will likely be one of the two teams left. This team will likely be a double-digit underdog against West Virginia, so more then likely they will be left out of the discussion and fall from the Top Ten. If they would happen to pull the upset, they would have a case to represent in Glendale but it still probably will not happen. They scheduled too weak in the nonconference portion on the season and have had too long of a road to climb through the standings. The best they can hope for is a split National Title, winning the AP Poll.
7) Arkansas Razorbacks - The Hogs have recorded numerous impressive wins and should clinch the SEC West with a victory against Mississippi State this weekend. They have the ability to move up in the standings since they still have LSU and Florida on the schedule. If they can finish the season 12-1, they could jump to the top if USC and Notre Dame each suffer another loss. They would have no case to jump USC if both finish with just one loss considering the pounding that took place in Fayetteville to open the season.
These are the seven teams competing for a shot at the National Championship. All have valid reasons, but only the top three teams control their own destiny. The bottom four teams need help and in the case of Rutgers, that still may not be enough.
Doc's has had a tremendous year in college football and wants you to jump aboard. This week we will be going with our, "Senior Day Game of the Year" that features a home team that will go out in style. To receive this play sign-up for one of our many football packages.
Free Pick for Sat: Take Auburn -3 over Alabama