Sunday, October 12, 2003

Threedom is Freedom

Yes, after losses to Syracuse for two straight years, including a triple-overtime debacle, we smacked the Orangemen to the tune of 51-7 (mixed metaphors? what mixes metaphors?), boosting us to #3 in the ESPN rankings. I wonder what happened last time we shut out JMU and whupped Syracuse at Lane Stadium? Now, Miami, Pitt, West Virginia, and UVA all have the potential to upset us (sorry, Temple). All of those games except Miami are on the road. HokiePundit will be at each and every one of them. In other football news...

The NCAA Division I-A teams ranked in the ESPN poll as #3, #5, #6, #7, #8, #13, #14, #16, #21, and #24 all lost yesterday, mostly to unranked teams. Sorry Ohio State, FSU, LSU, Nebraska, Arkansas, Minnesota, Pitt, Kansas State, and UVA.

It seems that we're now left with only five undefeated teams, being Oklahoma, Miami, Virginia Tech, Texas Christian, and Northern Illinois. Each of those teams except TCU has knocked off a then-ranked opponent, which has played a fairly weak schedule so far. Looking at the non-Hokie teams' schedules, here are what I predict to be their make-or-break game:

Oklahoma: I'm not sure. I'm going to go with Texas A&M, simply because you can never count them out. They've been spotty this season, but then, so have other teams that've knocked off the top dogs so far. The fact that an aTm win would help Virginia Tech in the BCS calculations makes zero difference whatsoever...

Miami: Ooh! Ooh! They're so special that I'm going to give them two games, facing Virginia Tech and then Pittsburgh. The thing for Miami is that I don't think they have enough to do both, especially with Tennessee in the middle. If they beat Tech, Tennessee and Pitt will probably cream them. If they lose to us and get pumped, they might have a chance to beat those two, but are still out of the race.

Texas Christian: Louisville has got to be it. I would say that all the teams they're facing are weak and that all the teams they will play are weak, but then, it's Conference USA. Unless there's a whole lot o' losing going on at the top, they stand no chance at BCS-dom.

Northern Illinois: They, too, are a MAC team with a weak schedule, but you have to give them credit for beating Maryland and 'Bama. Toledo knocked off Pitt and Marshall this year, and I think they're the only major hump to an undefeated regular season for NIU. Of course, they're still going to have a tough time getting ranked in the BCS unless a lot more teams lose.

I think we've been spoiled these last many years, with undefeated teams winning the national title. There will only be a maximum of four such teams at the end of the season, and NIU and TCU may well get destroyed by big-name teams. As much as it sounds like tooting my own horn, I'm going to with Oklahoma-Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl. I do have to admit that a scenario where Virginia Tech barely beats Miami, Miami whups its remaining opponents, and the other top teams all stumble in those weeks intrigues me, as a VT-Miami Sugar Bowl would be the perfect cap to this whole Big East-ACC mess.

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