cream of the college football crop rose to the top last
week. Oklahoma has proven itself the clear No. 1 at this
juncture, romping over a very talented Texas squad. Miami
and Virginia Tech, both of the Big East, are legit national
title contenders. TCU and Northern Illinois will each
likely stumble before all is said and done.
In short, the season is shaping up to be a most fascinating
As you peruse my rankings below, please keep two things
in mind regarding my philosophy: 1) Win-loss record,
among Division I teams, is always my first criteria.
If a conference isn't Division I-caliber, it should be
ousted. But until it is, it gets the same consideration
as the more prominent leagues. For instance, I believe
USC is a stronger team than TCU or Northern Illinois.
But the latter two are unbeaten while the Trojans have
a loss. Thus, TCU and NIU are ranked ahead of USC; 2)
The first tiebreaker between two teams with the same
number of losses is always head-to-head. For example,
Georgia may indeed be a better team than LSU, but the
Tigers remain ranked ahead of the Bulldogs because they
beat the 'Dawgs straight-up.
Bob's Top 10
of Texas leaves little room for arguing against Sooners'
claim at being the best team in the land.
||I don't know about you, but
I'm really looking forward to the Hurricanes-Virginia
Tech showdown later on this season.
||VIRGINIA TECH (6-0)
||Not many mention this program
when discussing the elite, but it has been among
the very best for close to a decade now.
||The Horned Frogs may not be
on the same level with, say, the Pac-10... but none
of the Pac-10 teams sport a perfect record.
||NORTHERN ILLINOIS (6-0)
||This team is unbeaten. Not
to rank it ahead of all 1-loss teams is to say it
never had even a mathematical chance of playing for
a national title.
||Would be ranked ahead of everyone
except Oklahoma had Trojans won in overtime at California
instead of coming up short.
||FLORIDA STATE (5-1)
||Even though the Seminoles
lost to Miami, they proved in that game that they
are again among the country's finest teams.
||Stumble against Florida not
withstanding, this team did handle Georgia and has
whipped everyone else convincingly.
||Only a fourth-quarter gag
away from perfect; deserves ranking because of quality
of conqueror compared to other once-beatens in Big-10.
||I wasn't sure just how good
this team is until I learned of its dominating performance
at Tennessee last week.
|Also considered: Arkansas (4-1), Houston
(5-1), Michigan State (6-1), Missouri (5-1), Oregon
State (5-1), Utah (5-1), Washington State (5-1),
2003 PREDICTION RECORDS:
Straight-Up -- 32-20 (62%)
Against-The-Spread -- 24-28 (46%)
LAST WEEK: 5-2 Straight-Up, 5-2 Against-The-Spread
Week 8 Schedule (the top games of the week)
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 17
Louisville 38, Tulane (+14) 28 -- The Green Wave has
played everyone tough save for being dismantled by
Texas a few weeks back. The Cardinals are potent offensively,
but average-at-best on D.
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 18
No. 1 Oklahoma 42, Missouri (+26 1/2) 20 -- My
concern would be a letdown for Mizzou after whipping
but how can you not be up to face the nation's No.
1 team? The Sooners have scored 50+ points four straight
games. They'll "settle" for 42 in this one.
No. 6 USC 17, at Notre Dame (+9 1/2) 14 -- The Trojans
have a better team this season -- few are likely to argue
that point. But in this rivalry, the records can usually
be thrown out the classroom window... and besides, the
Irish are coming off an inspired upset at Pitt which
may spur them to salvage a bowl bid.
Michigan State (+6 1/2) 28, at No. 9 Minnesota 25 --
The Gophers convinced me they were for real, even if
they did choke bigtime against Michigan. But the Spartans
are on an incredible roll, and Minnesota might be a little
flat after the fiasco against the Wolverines.
Ohio State (-4 1/2) 24, Iowa 18 -- The Buckeyes certainly
aren't the same club that won the national title a year
ago, but they're still solid on both sides of the ball
and next to impossible to beat at Columbus.
Purdue (+4) 24, Wisconsin 20 -- Very close call here,
but I'm predicting the Badgers will suffer a bit of a
letdown after the hard-fought triumph over Ohio State,
and Purdue is a talented team with less pressure on it
on the road.
Oklahoma State (-6) 35, Texas Tech 24 -- Tech has owned
this series in recent years, so the Cowboys will be sufficiently
motivated... and they have the better defense.
Utah (-2 1/2) 31, at UNLV 17 -- The Utes are balanced
and accustomed to tough competition. In fact, the same
can be said for the Rebels, who own a victory over Wisconsin
this season... but Utah is the pick here nonetheless.