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Sports Then and Now




College Football Week 8 Review: Undefeated and Unloved

Posted on October 25, 2009 by Dean Hybl
Boise State is one of several unbeaten teams ready to pounce if the "Big Three" stumble.

Boise State is one of several unbeaten teams ready to pounce if the "Big Three" stumble.

There is still more than a month left in the college football regular season, but it is now pretty clear that if Florida, Alabama and Texas all win out through the regular season, the BCS Championship Game will feature the winner of the SEC title game against the Longhorns. Of course, given that neither Florida or Alabama looked great yesterday and that Texas has looked vulnerable at times, there is still a pretty decent chance that at least one of those three teams could end up with a loss. If that happens, the scrum for a spot in the BCS title game could be pretty rough.

In today’s Sports Then and Now College Football Weekly Review, let’s look at the undefeated teams that are currently on the outside looking in, but who with an upset or two could be making a case for inclusion in the BCS Championship Game.

Boise State: Remember them? After making a huge national splash with a dominating victory over Oregon in the first game of the season, the team with the blue turf has slid back into national anonymity while methodically piling up points and victories. Currently 7-0, the Broncos have out-scored their opponents 283 to 102. Their 54-9 win at Hawaii was the fourth time they have scored 48 or more points so far this season.

 Currently holding at the number four slot in the BCS standings, the Broncos seem poised to be the first team to move up if any of the big three fall. However, they also have unquestionably the weakest schedule of any of the remaining unbeaten teams. Of their six remaining opponents, only Idaho (6-2) and Nevada (4-3) have winning records.

I think if the SEC Champion isn’t undefeated and if Texas loses there will be a lot of pressure to put an undefeated Boise State team into the BCS title game, but I just don’t know that they have done enough to illustrate that they are one of the two best teams in college football.

Cincinnati: Even with a backup quarterback leading the way, the Bearcats continued their march toward perfection with a 41-10 win over Louisville. The Bearcats are proving this year that their run to the Orange Bowl a year ago was no fluke.

Though they have defeated only one ranked opponent (South Florida), they do have big wins at Oregon State, at Rutgers and against Fresno State. With the heart of their conference schedule still to come, including a home game against West Virginia and regular season finale at Pittsburgh, it could be tough for the Bearcats to complete the season without a blemish.

However, if they do, I believe their schedule would warrant a jump over Boise State if a spot in the BCS title game was available.

Iowa: Smoke, mirrors and answered prayers. That seems to be what Iowa is using to hold on to their undefeated dreams.

Iowa kept their undefeated season alive with a score on the last play against Michigan State.

Iowa kept their undefeated season alive with a score on the last play against Michigan State.

The last second comeback win over Michigan State was a huge win for the Hawkeyes, but it illustrated that while they are a very good team, it is tough to really put them at the elite level.

Yes the Hawkeyes have an impressive victory on the road over a very good Penn State team and defeated a pretty good Arizona team at home, but they also needed a last second miracle to defeat I-AA Northern Iowa and struggled against a below average team from Arkansas State.

Iowa will need to be careful the next two weeks against Indiana and Northwestern, but should be 10-0 when they travel to Columbus to face Ohio State. If they can somehow get out of the Horseshoe with a victory and then finish undefeated against Minnesota, there will be a lot of Big Ten power-brokers putting pressure on the BCS to give the Hawkeyes a spot in the title game.

I think I’d rather see a rematch with Northern Iowa, but a 12-0 Iowa team will be hard to keep out of the mix if there is juggling at the top of the BCS rankings.

TCU: The team with the best nickname in college football became the media darlings after their impressive 38-7 win at BYU. Though currently eighth in the BCS standings (behind one-loss USC), many are calling for TCU to leap frog all the way to number four.

I don’t think I would go that far, but I do think that overall their performance, based on their level of opposition, so far has been more impressive than Boise State and certainly comparable to Cincinnati and Iowa.

TCU still has a major obstacle to overcome on November 14 when they host Utah. But their challenges aren’t over there as the very next week they will play at Wyoming in what could be a “trap” game if they do get by Utah.

Even if they finish undefeated, I think TCU would have a very hard time jumping an undefeated team from the Big East or Big Ten. They also might have a tough time getting placed ahead of either Alabama or Texas if they each end up as conference champions, but have one loss.

Remember Us?

Before the college football season was even one day old, it looked as if the season was over for the Oregon Ducks. Not only did the team look lethargic in a 19-8 loss at Boise State, but they lost their best player due to an unfortunate post-game incident that brought unwanted negative attention to the Ducks.

The general consensus after that game was that Oregon could be in for a very long season.

However, slowly, but surely, they have quietly gotten back to where many people thought they could be before the season began.

They edged Purdue and Utah and then annihilated a California squad that many thought would be the class of the Pac-10. The Ducks now sit as the only undefeated team in the conference and can shockingly get themselves back in the BCS picture this week when they host seventh ranked USC.

Head coach Chip Kelly has done a remarkable job keeping his team together and getting them to the point that they control their own destiny in the Pac-10. In addition to USC the Ducks have some other tough games, but given the way the season started, to be 6-1 and ranked 11th in the country is really amazing.

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