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BCS (Bob's College Summary)
By Bob Cunningham
November 11, 2003
 

Okay, okay... enough of you have chimed in besmirching my very existence on this planet because I believe win-loss record should mean something when ultimately determining who plays for the national championship. I still don't agree with you, but I hear you.

So I'm going to do something unheard of in my line of work, something which is vehemently discouraged by my contemporaries. I'm going to listen to you.

I'm going to compromise.

From now on, my top 10 poll is going to be based strictly on whom I deem deserving of each slot. Win-loss record will still weigh heavily, because I believe it should. But I'm also willing to adjust my thinking somewhat, in recognition that the system I'd really like to see in place... isn't. I'm willing to increase the importance of the polls in relation to the standings, because that's how the current system is centered.

What the hell... I'm here to serve you.

Bob's Top 10

1. OKLAHOMA (10-0) Routed Texas A&M last week, 77-0... and the game wasn't as close as the score indicates. Any doubt which team is No. 1?
2.

TCU (9-0)

I said I'd compromise, but when it comes to an undefeated Division I team... I still believe TCU deserves the shot over USC.
3. USC (8-1) How flawed is the BCS when the Trojans can win out and still possibly drop out of the top 2 and a berth in the Sugar Bowl?
4. LSU (8-1) Maybe this week's contest at Alabama won't be so easy after all. Tide dominated last week, but it was against Mississippi State.
5. OHIO STATE (8-1) Finally, a truly impressive performance against a quality opponent. Buckeyes get home cookin' again this week, hosting Purdue.
6. MICHIGAN (8-2) Talented enough to be contending for Sugar Bowl berth, but close road losses to Oregon and Iowa simply too much to overcome.
7. TEXAS (8-2) Playing awfully well... impressed by following up demolition of Nebraska with an even more eye-popping rout at Oklahoma State.
8. WASH. STATE (8-2) Considering only losses were at Notre Dame in OT and at USC, the Cougars have been quite impressive this season.
9. MIAMI, OHIO (8-1) Who'd have ever thunk that I'd include a Miami in my rankings, and it wouldn't be the Hurricanes from Southern Florida?
10. BOISE STATE (8-1) Life pointless for the Broncos, who regardless of how they fare the rest of the way will again play in hometown Humanitarian Bowl.
Also considered: Florida State, Louisville, Miami, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, Northern Illinois, Pittsburgh, Purdue, Tennessee, Virginia Tech.

2003 PREDICTION RECORDS:
Straight-Up -- 55-28 (66%)
Against-The-Spread -- 41-42 (49%)

LAST WEEK: 3-5 Straight-Up, 3-5 Against-The-Spread

Week 12 Schedule (the top games of the week)

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 12

No. 9 Miami, Ohio 31, Marshall (+13) 23 -- The big question is whether Marshall will be able to go with its second-string QB or be forced to use its third guy. Even so, the Thundering Herd has won four straight and is always tough to beat within the conference. Miami might let down just a touch after whipping Bowling Green, so I'm predicting this one to stay close... with the Herd have a legit shot at the upset if QB Graham Gochneaur plays.

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 13

Maryland (-6) 27, Virginia 17 -- The Terps snapped a nine-game skid in this series with a big home win in 2001, but were smoked on the road a year ago. Between some revenge and the homefield edge, I like Maryland against a Cavaliers team coming off a disheartening loss at NC State last week.

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 15

No. 4 LSU (-6 1/2) 34, at Alabama 14 -- The first instinct is to go with the home underdog in a rivalry game. Bama could salvage some major pride with a win here. But the Tigers, rested off a bye, have been fabulous on the road this season, rolling at Arizona, Mississippi State and South Carolina by an average of more than 35 points. They're just too doggone good.

No. 5 Ohio State (-3) 23, Purdue 13 -- The Buckeyes may be getting stronger as the season hits the stretch drive. At home, they're dominant... and they've also dominated this series, winning seven of the last eight meetings including four at home, covering against the spread each time.

Toledo (+3) 37, No. 8 Northern Illinois 30 -- A mild upset pick. The Rockets are a very good team, averaging 47 points a game while going 4-0 at home (including a victory over Pittsburgh). Also, Toledo has dominated this series, winning the last seven meetings and covering ATS in six of them.

West Virginia (+3*) 28, Pittsburgh 24 -- The Mountaineers have been on a roll for the last month, and it will be a major challenge for the Panthers to get up enough for a tough road game after the emotional home victory over Virginia Tech last week.

Iowa (-6*) 33, Minnesota 20 -- Both teams have injury concerns, and I'm still not a strong believer in the Golden Gophers against top-flight competition, especially on the road. Hawkeyes defense will be too good.

Auburn (+7) 21, at Georgia 16 -- This week's upset special. In part because of a plethora of injuries, the Bulldogs haven't really played well since dismantling Tennessee more than a month ago. It could be argued that, right now, the Tigers are the better team. Certainly, I believe the 7-point spread is far too many.

Nebraska (+1) 22, Kansas State 19 -- A true measure of irresistible force vs. immovable object. K-State has scored at least 34 points in nine of its 11 games, while Nebraska has allowed only 36 points total in its six home games. There's also the issue of a 49-13 Kansas State romp over the Cornhuskers last season. You know me... I'm a defense-first type of guy. This is a great matchup.

* Estimated pointspread. Official spread unavailable.