Until Alabama faces LSU, it’s hard to take anyone with one loss as legitimate national title contender, but things are getting quite interesting on the eve of the release of the first BCS rankings, as LSU got back on the horse, running South Carolina’s perfect start, Florida keeps on impressing and the West Virginia-Geno Smith show came to an end in Lubbock against Texas Tech.
There was nothing special about LSU’s offense except for Jeremy Hill, running for 124 yards and two touchdowns. Les Miles knew his quarterback wasn’t going to win him the game. So LSU focused on what they do well – run, and stop the run, which killed the Gamecocks chances, allowing them only 34 rushing yards, with Connor Shaw finishing with a -1. LSU aren’t that good of a team, but still enough for a 23-21 win, which will be interesting to see how it affects the rankings.
And West Virginia? Suddenly, the Geno Smith show came to a halt. Not an actual huge upset, because Texas Tech were going 4-1 going into the game, but no one expected their defense to hold on so well, winning 49-14. Smith didn’t throw an interception, but couldn’t really get into that zone with Tavon Austin, completing only 29 of his 55 passes, while Tech gave Kansas State a few good ideas on how to limit the Mountaineers offense, who simply couldn’t get a stop. When you give up 676 yards, that one interception doesn’t really matter.
Florida, still not playing Georgia or South Carolina, suddenly, coming from behind, take the helm of the SEC East. Undefeated at 6-0, their defensive performances throughout the season and especially against LSU should push them into no.3 or even no.2 in the nation, as Oregon had a week to rest their explosive offense.
Kansas State are still undefeated, heading into their showdown for the Big 12 against West Virginia, looking much less impressive and vulnerable to a good defensive scheme. The Wildcats came through in Ames, never a tough place to play in, beating Iowa State in Farmageddon with another impressive performance from Collin Klein.
Notre Dame keep showing everyone they’re the real deal, and according to sources, the BCS computers love them so far, thanks to their schedule and their defense. They came from behind in the fourth quarter, taking the game into overtime while shutting down Stanford in the second half to come away with a big 20-13 win, which will be interesting to see how high this helps them rise in the rankings.
The most surprising of the undefeated teams are Oregon State, 5-0, having no problems against BYU on the road despite playing with their replacement quarterback, Cody Vaz, who threw for 332 yards and three touchdowns.
Louisville, Rutgers, Cincinnati and Mississippi State all kept on winning, remaining undefeated, but they won’t crack the top 10 and no one views them as serious threats to the top of the pile. The Big East teams will finish off each other, while the Bulldogs still have to play both LSU and Alabama. Ohio State? Undefeated doesn’t mean much when you can’t play in a bowl game or win your conference. NCAA rules.
There are a few roads left leading to the national title game and an undefeated season. In the SEC West, it’s obviously going to be the Alabama visit to LSU. One thing to remember – The Tigers have won their last 22 games at home. In the SEC East, it’s going to be Florida trying to come out of their games against both Georgia and South Carolina unscathed. For both Notre Dame and Oregon, it’s going to be their games against USC that look like the hardest tests left.
In the Big 12, it’s in Kansas State’s hands now. If they do actually lose to West Virginia in Morgantown, one loss Oklahoma, fresh after destroying Texas in the Red River Shootout, will suddenly be looking in a much better position than they did three weeks ago.