first real BCS poll of the season came out this week,
and while there are some obvious differences when compared
to my humble rankings, an obvious pattern emerges --
Oklahoma, Miami and Virginia Tech will each determine
its own destiny.
In my systematically inclined poll, the trick is determining
which of the 1-loss teams deserve to be ranked the highest.
As I struggle with that lofty task -- there were 24 schools
sporting one defeat going into last week's schedule --
it dawned on me that I need to devise a system of sorts.
And so, here's my step-by-step "procedure" for
ranking teams with the same number of defeats, in order
of criteria: 1) head-to-head results (when and where
applicable); 2) overall strength of conference/schedule,
and 3) quality of conqueror (how good is the team that
beat the subject squad?).
Of course, I have to factor in things like locations
of losses (losing at home is, obviously, worse) and less
tangible factors like the general perception of how well
a team is performing. It's far from simple, but it sure
So with all that to digest, please accept my latest
Bob's Top 10
||No easy road
to the Sugar Bowl -- games against Oklahoma State
and Texas Tech still loom, plus the conference championship
||The Canes' regular season
run may be about over -- it's going to be tough for
them to win at Blacksburg next week.
||VIRGINIA TECH (7-0)
||Must be careful not to get
caught looking ahead when it travels to West Virginia
for a Wednesday night clash.
||Playing just well enough to
stay unscathed -- Frogs figure to stumble at least
once over the next four weeks.
||NORTHERN ILLINOIS (7-0)
||Severe tests the next two
weeks, at Bowling Green and at home against Ball
State. Can't believe I'm writing this stuff about
||A scenario for USC to play
in the Sugar Bowl -- VTech beats Miami, then loses
to Virginia in season finale as Troy wins out.
||Talented Tigers still control
own destiny toward trip to BCS bowl -- but SEC's
brutal schedule is a landmine every week.
||Desperately wants another
shot at LSU in SEC Title Game, but Auburn or even
Miss might foil those plans.
||FLORIDA STATE (6-1)
||Among the country's finest
teams? Nah, I probably went overboard last week.
surviving at Virginia does show resiliency.
||WASHINGTON STATE (6-1)
||Like Pac-10 rival USC, Cougars
just an OT road loss from perfect. Must avoid letdown
against Oregon State before meeting Trojans.
|Also considered: The entire Big-10
-- let's see... Purdue beat Wisconsin, which beat
Ohio State, which beat Bowling Green, which beat
Purdue. Iowa lost to Michigan State, which lost to...
Louisiana Tech? At home? I'm definitely confused
2003 PREDICTION RECORDS:
Straight-Up -- 40-20 (67%)
Against-The-Spread -- 29-31 (48%)
LAST WEEK: 8-0 Straight-Up, 5-3 Against-The-Spread
Week 9 Schedule (the top games of the week)
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 22
No. 3 Virginia Tech (-12 1/2) 37, at West Virginia
20 -- Think the Hokies might get caught looking ahead
to next week's showdown with Miami? Think again,
West Virginia was an upset winner at Blacksburg last
season, 21-18, and the Hokies have undoubtedly vowed
revenge ever since.
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 23
Georgia Tech (+2 1/2) 23, Maryland 20 -- Tough to tell
which Yellowjackets team will show, but at home on
national TV, I'll take the slight dogs against the
Terps, who have won five in a row after starting
0-2. Tech had won four straight in this series at home
Maryland's 20-17 win in 2001. Terps rolled last season
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 25
Michigan 31, Purdue (+4 1/2) 28 -- I stop short of picking
the Boilermakers straight-up because, well, it's just
too atraditional a choice. But in the last nine meetings,
Michigan has won seven but is just 3-5-1 against the
spread. Wolverines unbeaten at home this season, Boilermakers
2-0 on the road against decent teams Wake Forest and
Wisconsin. Line opened at 6 1/2 points.
Bowling Green (-4) 35, No. 5 Northern Illinois 27 --
BG beat Purdue this season on the road -- I'm impressed
by that. NIU falls because its conference slate is surprisingly
staunch, and it can't/won't win them all.
Texas A&M (+6) 29, Oklahoma State 26 -- My upset
pick for this week, because the Cowboys were so sky-high
in their 51-49 thriller win over Texas Tech last week
that's there's nowhere to go but down... especially considering
the Pokes' anticipated clash with No. 1 Oklahoma next
No. 7 LSU (-3 1/2) 20, Auburn 13 -- Wouldn't surprise
me if Auburn covered and still lost, because this one
is likely to be close throughout. But LSU is ultra-tough
at home, and unlikely to stumble twice there this season.
Auburn cruised last season at home, 31-7, but LSU won
last meeting at Baton Rouge in 2001.
No. 10 Washington State (-8) 38, Oregon State 20 --
Wazzou's chances of being flat the week prior to squaring
off with USC would be more pronounced if Oregon State
wasn't such a doggone good team. At home, the Cougars
should pull away. Last meeting was at Spokane in 2001,
won by the Cougars, 34-27.