Although only one undefeated team, Texas Tech, lost this weekend, the road to the Rose Bowl became clear for all teams still involved. USC and Texas have distanced themselves from the pack, each claiming huge road wins over Notre Dame and Ohio State in recent weeks and generally dominating their competition. Texas has not been truly challenged since early September, and their schedule is the most favorable for taking a return trip to Pasadena this year. USC obviously only has to win out to make it in the game, and this does not seem too difficult until UCLA comes to town.
Virginia Tech is the only team to feel really bad for, but only if they win out and do not make the title game. Boston College, Miami, and an ACC title game against Florida State (more than likely) will give them a challenge. Marcus Vick is really maturing into a leader and a great quarterback, so anything is possible if Beamerball keeps capitalizing on special teams mistakes. I do not see the Hokies winning out, but they have a compelling argument if they do.
The SEC teams which are still undefeated are less than impressive. Georgia was looking good, but they barely squeaked by Arkansas after losing quarterback D.J. Shockley to injury and I'm guessing they will falter in the SEC title game, if not before then. Alabama has won the last two weeks on last-second field goals, and they have been lucky to not lose both of those games. LSU and Auburn remain on the schedule as well as Georgia in the SEC title game (assuming UGA doesn't lose two of their last three conference games), and I actually doubt they will even make the SEC title game after a loss to either Tiger team. The SEC teams are good, but definitely a step below the current top three.
The final undefeated is UCLA, and they have gotten the job done so far. They still have to play USC though, and they will need some serious help to jump Texas or Virginia Tech even if they win. UCLA, we'll talk again in December if you are still undefeated.
The first game of the week comes to us from Blacksburg where Boston College visits Virginia Tech on Thursday night. Boston College has a lone blemish on their record and needs to win to stay in the hunt for a division title now that Florida State must only lose once more for BC to control the division. Virginia Tech could all but ensure Florida State wins their division with a victory here, and I suspect the home field advantage on a weeknight on national television will motivate the Hokies to an important victory. Virginia Tech by 10.
Although there are important games in the Big Ten this weekend, I choose to focus on a different midwestern conference for my second game of the week: Toledo at Central Michigan. After Bowling Green got smashed last weekend, Toledo remains the only undefeated in conference play and appears to be a favorite for the MAC title. They must hold off Central Michigan as they are the only threatening team left to beat in their division (the Rockets beat Northern Illinois earlier). Road games against the Chippewas are never easy, as Ohio University could attest to. I'll take Central Michigan by 14, which will open up this division for an exciting final few weeks of conference play.
Finally, we have The World's Largest Cocktail Party, Georgia against Florida. Georgia would clinch an outright Eastern Division title by giving Florida a third loss, as every other team in the division already has three conference losses. With QB D.J. Shockley not leading the team this week, Florida will seek to take advantage. Even with a full week of practice, I suspect Georgia, after seeing how weak they looked against hapless Arkansas, will struggle this week. With Shockley, I would say Georgia would be dancing to a division title, but I think they leave the ranks of the unbeatens this week. Florida rejoins the division race with a three point victory.
Top 3 Games of the Week Record to date: 12-12 (2-1 last week)
Fitzy's Top 10 - Week 9
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