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BCS (Bob's College Summary)
By Bob Cunningham
December 2, 2003
 

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 same.

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.

Enjoy!

Bob's Top 10

1. OKLAHOMA (12-0) Question: Which team would the Sooners rather face, USC or LSU?
2.

USC (10-1)

Oregon State doesn't figure to be much of a test, especially in L.A.
3. LSU (11-1) SEC Title Game vs. Georgia toughest possible matchup for Tigers.
4. MICHIGAN (10-2) If LSU gets into Sugar Bowl, a USC-Michigan Rose Bowl is enticing.
5. TEXAS (10-2) Coach Mack Brown finally guides his program into a BCS bowl game.
6. GEORGIA (10-2) USC boosters said to be seeking out volume discount on UGA t-shirts.
7. OHIO STATE (10-2) How 'bout a rematch of last year's title game with Miami, in the Orange?
8. TENNESSEE (10-2) Probably headed for the Outback Bowl, but could still crack BCS list.
9. MIAMI (10-2) As usual, a desired team by every major bowl except the "title" bowl.
10. FLORIDA STATE (10-2) Sources say if USC goes to the Sugar Bowl, FSU will come up roses.
Also considered: Boise State, Miami (Ohio), TCU.

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 same season.

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 spread.

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.