A light schedule this week, but a heavy impact on who
ultimately gets to have bragging rights as national champs.
Three conference titles will be on the line, and two
of them -- the Big-12 and the SEC finals -- will directly
affect the Sugar Bowl matchup. And the third, the Mid-American
Conference championship game, won't have significant
outside implications but will be fun to watch all the
And in the wild world that is the BCS (the real one,
as opposed to this column), even the Notre Dame-Syracuse
clash will have an impact... because if the Irish wins
it will give USC a small boost in its strength of schedule.
Bob's Top 10
team would the Sooners rather face, USC or LSU?
|Oregon State doesn't figure
to be much of a test, especially in L.A.
||SEC Title Game vs. Georgia
toughest possible matchup for Tigers.
||If LSU gets into Sugar Bowl,
a USC-Michigan Rose Bowl is enticing.
||Coach Mack Brown finally guides
his program into a BCS bowl game.
||USC boosters said to be seeking
out volume discount on UGA t-shirts.
||OHIO STATE (10-2)
||How 'bout a rematch of last
year's title game with Miami, in the Orange?
||Probably headed for the Outback
Bowl, but could still crack BCS list.
||As usual, a desired team by
every major bowl except the "title" bowl.
||FLORIDA STATE (10-2)
||Sources say if USC goes to
the Sugar Bowl, FSU will come up roses.
|Also considered: Boise State, Miami
2003 PREDICTION RECORDS
Straight-Up: 73-35 (68%)
Against-The-Spread: 54-53-1 (51%)
LAST WEEK: 4-4 Straight-Up, 3-5 ATS
The Top Games of the Week
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 4
MAC TITLE GAME
Bowling Green (+7) 31, Miami, Ohio 27 -- Last week, I picked
against the Falcons at home by going with Toledo in an
upset -- and the Rockets took an early lead before getting
whipped. ATS, I lost by a half-point. Bowling Green is
solid and a perfect 6-0 at home. The only truly ugly mark
on its overall record is a 33-10 loss at Miami. Home underdogs
of this quality, with revenge as a factor, are too tempting
for me to ignore. I'll get my MAC upset pick right yet.
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 6
BIG 12 TITLE GAME at Kansas City, Mo.
No. 1 Oklahoma (-13 1/2) 41, Kansas State 17 -- K-State is
a worthy foe, although a rematch with Texas or a renewal
of the rivalry with Nebraska would be more interesting.
Well-rested and focused on the ultimate prize, I can't
foresee OU slipping here. And with no pressure to win (the
Sooners likely would finish no worse than second in the
final BCS poll if they did stumble), it will be another
holiday season feast.
No. 2 USC (-20 1/2) 49, vs. Oregon State 14 -- No big write-up
needed here. The Trojans are simply too good in all facets
to be tripped up in such an important game at home. No way,
no how... for OSU, no chance.
SEC TITLE GAME at Atlanta, Ga.
No. 6 Georgia (+3) 24, No. 3 LSU 20 -- More often than not,
the BCS has gotten lucky over the years not to be faced
with many true controversies... just speculation of potential
problems. The most convenient thing to happen for the system
this week is for either USC or LSU to lose... and the Trojans
ain't gonna lose. Georgia's defense is one of only two
this season to contain the Tigers, holding them to 17 points
in a 17-10 loss at Baton Rouge. The rematch is on a neutral
field, which actually won't be all that neutral being that
it's a dome in Georgia. And it's hard enough to beat a
team of the Dawgs' caliber once, let alone twice in the
Notre Dame (-2) 31, at Syracuse 16 -- The Irish is finishing
on a major high. After last week's surprising 50-point demolition
of Stanford, the Irish is a winner of three in a row and
a victory here will result in a .500 season - awful, of course,
by Notre Dame standards but pretty decent considering the
Irish was 2-6 in late October.
Navy 30, Army (+23) 13 at Philadelphia, Pa. -- The Midshipmen
are, obviously, a lot better than the Black Knights this
season, but all the rivalry cliches are magnified when these
two get together. Navy probably won't be seriously challenged,
but I give the Middies little chance at covering such a huge
Boise State (-10) 51, at Hawai'i 31 -- No more questioning
the Broncos from this analyst. They're explosive, and while
Hawai'i is a pretty strong team in its own right, it doesn't
have the defense to slow BSU even just a little bit. Gentlemen,
start your engines.