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November 4, 2008 First off, if you are reading this and you have not voted, go vote right now! Doing your civic duty and ensuring we have the highest voter turnout possible in America ensures the will of the country will be done. I do not care if you support McCain, Obama, or William Shatner as your president. Just go vote. For the rest of us, let's jump in to the week that was.

The story was all but written. Colt McCoy and company lead a Heisman-defining drive down the field after the Longhorn defense stiffened to stop Texas Tech completely for zero points in the second half. Someone forgot to tell this Red Raider team about the coronation, as Texas Tech simply responded with a more impressive drive to win with one second left. Michael Crabtree made two talented Longhorn defensive backs look silly, and suddenly there's a new Big XII team atop the roost. Of course Tech must survive their own gauntlet, but a home date with Oklahoma State followed by the bye week and then Oklahoma in Norman is significantly easier than what Texas just faced in 4 weeks. Enjoy the top while it lasts Texas Tech.

While the Red Raiders are the unexpected face in the top echelon, it appears 2006 national champion Florida is back in the mix as a contender with Texas for best one loss team. To say the Gators pounded a national-title caliber Georgia team would be an understatement. The Party in Jacksonville became the slaughter of 2008, eclipsing even the disappointing USC-OSU game from September. While Georgia laments a lost season to some degree, Florida now turns its attention to clinching a division title next weekend and perhaps playing for more than they could have imaginged following the loss to Mississippi. The Gators are back, and it's nice to see a power from the past 3-4 years step up and challenge the unexpected trio of Alabama, Penn State, and Texas Tech.

One popular saying is that all good things must come to an end. It's a maxim that rings true in sports and in life. While Michigan fans certainly would not trade their shiny new RichRod for the Lloyd Carr days (yet), it is never easy to swallow a first losing season in 40 years and no bowl for the first time in 33 years. Even last season, Michigan made a statement on behalf of the Big Ten by beating a solid Florida squad in the Capital One Bowl. Given how bad the Wolverines have been, the conference is probably thankful the Wolverines are taking a year off. On the bright side, Rodriguez will now have a lot of extra time to build up his program from the roots and instill his system, probably leading to a major improvement in 2009. Remember, almost all college coaches get a ton better in their second season. Michigan fans can point all the way to their rival and Jim Tressel to see that phenomenon (7-5 in 2001, 14-0 in 2002). Doubling the win total will not win a national title for the Big Blue, but it will get them back to respectability.

The big names just keep on falling, as Clemson and Tommy Bowden have started a landslide of big-name coaches headed elsewhere in 2009. This week's victim is Phillip Fulmer, who has been a part of the Volunteer program for 30 years. Fulmer did win the first BCS national championship, but never regained that form in being a middling SEC team recently. For the first time perhaps ever, the Volunteers are not the best team in the state thanks to Vanderbilt. With the Titans having a legendary start in the pro ranks and Vanderbilt nationally ranked, the time appears right for Fulmer to hand the reins to someone else. Perhaps this relationship can end on amicable terms, but likely only if Tennessee turns it around to beat Vandy and win a bowl game.

In BCS Buster news, Tulsa disappeared off the radar after a crushing loss. This leaves Boise State, Utah, and TCU in the mix for the at-large berth. Utah and TCU clash on Thursday night this week, so another team will be eliminated and that will simplify the picture a lot. No offense to Ball State, but the Cardinals are not in the mix unless a lot of crazy things happen down the stretch.

Irony struck the Big Ten this weekend. With the two likely BCS candidates out on a bye week, the little nine had the national spotlight at noon, filling up three channels on my dial. Go figure that all three games end up being instant classics. Purdue overcame Michigan on a crazy hook and lateral play with time running out. The only points of the second half between Northwestern and Minnesota came with 20 seconds left as Northwestern returned an interception for a touchdown to beat the Gophers. Then Michigan State kicked a field goal as time expired to gain the first lead of the day and a winning one-point margin against Wisconsin. Putting aside the lack of wisdom from Minnesota (in continuing to throw down the field when a knee gets them to overtime at home) and Wisconsin (calling timeout when MSU was rushing the field goal until on the field with ten seconds left and letting the Spartans have a composed shot at the game winning field goal), it was the best football this conference has seen all season. Go figure.

One last thing before we jump into the BCS projections for this week. A lot of people are blowing around a lot of air this week on whether Texas Tech deserves to be above Penn State in the BCS Standings or whether Texas, Oklahoma, or Florida is the best one-loss team. That is their job, but three words for the wise: IT. DOESN'T. MATTER. November is when once dominant teams have their off week and when the biggest upsets occur. It happens every season, and there's no point losing sleep over PSU in the tree slot this week. Save your debating voice for December. I'm Dave Fitzgerald and I approved this message. (Couldn't help it, there's been no other commercials on for weeks)

BCS Projections October 27, 2008
BCS Championship in Miami - Penn State vs. Florida
Fiesta Bowl - Texas Tech vs. West Virginia
Sugar Bowl - Alabama vs. Texas
Orange Bowl - Georgia Tech vs. Boise State
Rose Bowl - USC vs. Ohio State

There are SIX matchups between ranked teams this weekend, so it is hard to cull a top three games. Still, we must go on. The third game of the week is TCU at Utah on Thursday night. Given the three-team depth of the MWC, TCU may be able to overcome that Oklahoma loss and still end up in the BCS by beating Utah after the BYU beatdown. This is literally the next to last game for the Horned Frogs, so a win here could have them sitting in the clubhouse waiting for a Boise State stumble. QB Andy Dalton has been an admirable leader of the TCU offense, but the Horned Frogs get it done with rushing and defense. Utah has not faced a defense nearly this good all season, and QB Brian Johnson will be sorely tested by the good coverage TCU can put out on the field. The Utes are playing at home, but TCU is actually more battle-tested at this point. The defense will smother the Utes, as TCU wins by 10.

The second game of the week matches the new kids on the Big XII leaderboard block, as Oklahoma State visits Texas Tech. Despite the big win against Texas, the one knock on Texas Tech is that their defense is not up to snuff. Still, it may not matter with QB Graham Harrell passing for over 400 yards per game to receivers such as Michael Crabtree and Detron Lewis. Oklahoma State survived a road game at Missouri and almost knocked off the Longhorns in Austin, so the hostile crowd in Lubbock will be nothing new for OSU. The Cowboys have a much more balanced attack, led by RB Kendall Hunter. Texas Tech comes in on top of the world, and is probably hoping for a shootout this week. Oklahoma State will be happy if the game is played in the 20's. It only seems fitting that the topsy-turvy Big XII have yet another top dog this season, so I'll guess Cowboys by 4.

The top game of the week mantle returns to the SEC, as this week's battle between Alabama and LSU in Baton Rouge could decide the SEC West. The Crimson Tide comes in with the highest luxury ever afforded an SEC team, a two game division lead in early November. Alabama has stepped up and played big in the largest games of the season, so expect QB John Parker Wilson and RB Glen Coffee to race out to an early lead. The key will be how the Tigers respond to the certain early surge. LSU still has a solid defense, but they have been exposed twice for 50+ points by the powers of the SEC East. QB Jarrett Lee does not have the offense to win that sort of shootout, so LSU falls behind early and gets embarassed in front of the home crowd. Alabama wins by 20.

2008 GOTW Record: 16-14
Last Week: 1-2

Fitz Top 10 - Week 10
1. Penn State (9-0)
2. Texas Tech (9-0)
3. Alabama (9-0)
4. Florida (7-1)
5. Texas (8-1)
6. Oklahoma (8-1)
7. USC (7-1)
8. Utah (9-0)
9. Boise State (8-0)
10. Oklahoma State (8-1)

Just Missed: Ohio State, TCU, Ball State, LSU, Georgia

Again, go out and vote if you have not and you read this on Tuesday. Our nation will elect new leaders in 2008, and then college football will take the national spotlight away for the crazy run through November. Tons of great football on the schedule this week, so get out there and enjoy it!

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