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BCS (Bob's College Summary)
By Bob Cunningham
October 14, 2003
 

The 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 one.

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

1. OKLAHOMA (6-0) Annihilation of Texas leaves little room for arguing against Sooners' claim at being the best team in the land.
2. MIAMI (6-0) I don't know about you, but I'm really looking forward to the Hurricanes-Virginia Tech showdown later on this season.
3. 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.
4. TCU (6-0) 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.
5. 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.
6. USC (5-1) Would be ranked ahead of everyone except Oklahoma had Trojans won in overtime at California instead of coming up short.
7. 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.
8. LSU (5-1) Stumble against Florida not withstanding, this team did handle Georgia and has whipped everyone else convincingly.
9. MINNESOTA (6-1) Only a fourth-quarter gag away from perfect; deserves ranking because of quality of conqueror compared to other once-beatens in Big-10.
10. GEORGIA (5-1) 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), Wisconsin (6-1).

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 Nebraska, 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.