Old School – Top 10 Contenders to the BCS Title – Week 9

Welcome to “Old School.” My name is Aaron, but many people call me Blue. Which is why my Twitter name is @pplcallmeblue. This is a column for the college sports fan. Well, the college football and basketball fan. I probably won’t write about college volleyball or soccer, or even baseball.

If you haven’t been reading, every Friday afternoon or Saturday morning I give my thoughts on what’s happening in college football and rank the contenders for the BCS title. I guess you could call it a half-column, half-ranking or something. Once college basketball begins (which is pretty soon), I will post something every Wednesday afternoon for the upcoming basketball week.

So for those of you who have been reading each week, welcome back, and for those of you reading for the first time, where have you been?

I missed last week because of more moving duties here at Sports Spectrum. But we are finally done. No more U-Hauls!

Something I want to talk about this week is the lack of respect being shown to the University of Houston.

The Cougars are 8-0 and are ranked 13th in the BCS standings. The Harris poll and the USA Today poll have them ranked 14th. The one component that is helping them is the computers, where Houston and Oregon are both 13th!

I guess no one saw Case Keenum throw for nine touchdowns last week against Rice! Nine! That’s 63 points!

Now I know what you are likely thinking or are about to say. Houston plays in Conference USA, they have a pass-happy offense, which skews statistics, and the Cougars have yet to play a ranked opponent.

So why should they be ranked higher?

Let me explain.

These are the current one-loss schools ranked ahead of Houston: No. 12 Virginia Tech; No. 11 Clemson; No. 10 Nebraska; No. 9 South Carolina; No. 8 Oregon; No. 7 Arkansas and No. 6 Oklahoma.

I can make a case that the Cougars should be ranked ahead of all of these teams.

First, No. 12 Virginia Tech, No. 11 Clemson, No. 10 Nebraska and No. 7 Arkansas have all been blown out of their losses this year. Virginia Tech lost by 20 to Clemson and only managed to score three points. Clemson lost by 14 to Georgia Tech and gave up 385 yards rushing. Arkansas lost by 24 to Alabama. Nebraska lost by 31 points to Wisconsin.

Do you really think that Houston couldn’t hang with or beat these teams?

Let’s move on to No. 9 South Carolina.

The Gamecocks only loss came to No. 23 Auburn, a team that still has the “play like a champion mentality.” It was only a three-point loss.

However, since then, the “other” USC has been scraping by in their wins, they have seen their starting quarterback kicked off the team and their starting tailback injured for the season. Their win last week doesn’t inspire much confidence as the offense only eked out 14 points.

Houston’s offense is eking out 52 points each game!

And there is one common opponent between Houston and South Carolina – East Carolina. South Carolina beat the Pirates 56-37, Houston sank their ship, beating them 56-3!

Now let’s get to No. 6 Oklahoma. Didn’t the Sooners just tank one at home to a pass-happy offense in Texas Tech? Houston is number one in the nation in points scored and in passing yards.

I know. You’re thinking Houston doesn’t have a great defense and couldn’t stop Oklahoma, right? Texas Tech doesn’t have a great defense either. They gave up 38 points in that game and gave up 41 points the next week. So, your point is invalid.

By now you are probably saying, “But wait a second! What about No. 8 Oregon!”

The computers rank Houston and Oregon at 13th. Remember, this is the same Oregon program that lost to Boise State three straight years, then when they decided not to play them anymore they ended up in the national championship game. Guess teams like Houston and Boise State strike more fear than people will admit. Since computers will one day rule the world (according to Hollywood), we need an equalizer.

Cougars eat ducks.

After all of this, I know you will probably ask, “But what about the eye test? There’s no way that you can watch all of these teams and say that Houston is better than them? The eye in the sky does not lie!”

Eye test, huh?

Have you even watched a Houston game this year?

Let’s get to the rankings shall we?

Clemson - What Clemson faithful hoped would become a magical season leading to a BCS title came crashing back to reality last Saturday as Georgia Tech ran all over the Tiger defense (385 yards rushing).

Kansas State - The Wildcats didn’t put up much of a fight last week as the Sooners put up 35 unanswered points in the second half of Saturday’s game. Kansas State did get a nice ESPN Tom Rinaldi story comparing head coach Bill Snyder to Gepetto from Pinocchio, so that’s something Wildcat fans can hold on to for this season.

One-loss teams with the best chance of getting back into the mix

South Carolina - The Gamecocks have the best loss of any of the one-loss teams. They lost by a field goal to No. 22 (BCS ranking) Auburn. But, they’ve only played one game since running back sensation Marcus Lattimore was injured, and they beat the hapless Volunteers from Tennessee in an ugly one, 14-3. I think the hammer will drop down Saturday at Arkansas.

Oregon - Oregon has the next best loss here. LSU beat them handily the first game of the season, 40-27, but LSU is currently the number one ranked team with a bunch of strong victories.

Penn State - Penn State never had a chance in their loss against Alabama on September 10, but they managed to make the score look close at 27-11. And since that game, all the “Fighting JoePa’s” have done is win. They are undefeated in the Big Ten Leaders division and control their destiny to get to the first ever Big Ten Championship game.

Arkansas – Arkansas’ lone loss was at the hand of BCS ranked No. 2 Alabama. But the Razorbacks took quite the beating, 38-14.

Oklahoma - The Sooners one loss was close, but their opponent was not even a BCS ranked team. Texas Tech (5-3, 2-3 Big 12) won on the road in Norman, 41-38, but followed that big win the next week with a terrible effort at home against Iowa State, losing 41-7. Any way you look at it, Oklahoma’s one loss was an inexcusable one when trying to make it to a BCS title game.

Houston - I’m not quite ready to let teams with one loss get back into contention. As long as there are undefeated teams, I think they should be ranked ahead. Yes, even little ol’ Houston from Conference USA.

Oklahoma State - Kansas State will get to finish their tour of Oklahoma by facing the undefeated Cowboys. Oklahoma blasted Kansas State last week, and I expect more of the same from Oklahoma State.

Boise State – Broncos fans had a good day last Saturday. Two more unbeaten teams (Clemson, Kansas State) went down. Though I’m sure the state of Idaho threw their potatoes at the television screen when USC running back Curtis McNeal fumbled in triple overtime, sealing a Cardinal win.

Stanford - Andrew Luck was phenomenal in the triple overtime game verses USC. Despite being down in the game, and being down in overtime, he showed poise, confidence and leadership.

Alabama – The Crimson Tide has only allowed 6.9 points per game (first in the nation). But outside of maybe Arkansas, they have not faced great offensive teams in collecting this gaudy statistic. In fact, their best win to date was against 8-1 Penn State, which only scores 21.8 points per game (102nd in the nation).

LSU - The Tigers defense is second in the nation to Saturday’s opponent Alabama. LSU gives up only 11.5 points per game. Touchdowns figure to be at a premium Saturday. This should be a real slobber-knocker.

Uncommon Challenge