College football remains unpredictable
With only a few weeks left in the college football season, no one can be sure who will make it to the BCS National Championship game. The preseason favorite USC Trojans have fallen in the standings, losing to teams like Stanford and Oregon. A previously unknown South Florida team is now ranked second in the nation. Even if you watch college football closely, it is hard to predict what teams will meet in the title game.
In the first couple weeks of the season, all the top teams including USC, LSU, and West Virginia dominated, except for the fifth-ranked Michigan. In the biggest upset in recent college football memory, Michigan fell to Division II Appalachian State.
Then, in the third week of the season, perennial Big East power Louisville fell to a resilient Kentucky team that would also later defeat LSU. Boston College also began its ascent into the BCS contention by beating Georgia Tech.
However, it wasn’t until the fifth and sixth weeks of the season that fans saw some truly remarkable upsets. South Florida, which only started its football program in 1997, upset last year’s Big East winner, fifth-ranked West Virginia, 21–13.
The 10th-ranked Rutgers team fell to Maryland, and second-ranked USC lost a tight game to a weak Stanford team. The fourth-ranked Florida team lost a close game to Auburn, and seventh-ranked Texas was blown out by Kansas State.
From that point in the season, a number of teams occupied the number-two ranking, including USC, LSU, California, South Florida, and Boston College. Even without last year’s Heisman Trophy-winner Troy Smith, Ohio State remained undefeated and climbed up to the number-one ranking.
However, because of their rough schedule, the Ohio State Buckeyes will probably not make the national title game. For the most part, the Buckeyes have played against non-ranked teams with the exception of games against Purdue and Penn State. Saturday’s victory against Wisconsin helps Ohio State, but the Buckeyes still need to face Michigan in what is sure to be an epic rematch.
Although West Virginia seemed to regain its groove after losing to South Florida, the team has one of the toughest schedules ahead. West Virginia still has to play against Louisville, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, and the surprising 13th-ranked University of Connecticut team.
When BC’s Matt Ryan completed a pass to Andre Callender in the last 11 seconds of the game to overtake the eighth-ranked Virginia Tech, I thought Boston College could make it to the BCS National Championship game. However, Florida State’s defense shut down Matt Ryan and his offense this past Saturday.
I am convinced that fifth-ranked Oregon, which had a decisive victory over an undefeated fourth-ranked Arizona State team, will make it to the BCS championship game.
After an embarrassing season last year, Oregon’s quarterback Dennis Dixon stepped up to lead the Ducks’ offense this year.
With the exception of a loss to California, the Ducks have defeated top-ranked teams like Michigan, USC, and now Arizona State. With a relatively light schedule the rest of the season, the Ducks are in a good position to make a run to the championship game.
Since the championship game will be held in New Orleans, it’s only fitting that LSU joins BC in the final game of the regular season. Number-three ranked LSU has played one of the toughest schedules this year, winning against several top-ranked teams including Virginia Tech, Florida, Auburn, and South Carolina.
On Saturday, LSU showed that even former LSU coach Nick Saban’s Alabama couldn’t stop Les Miles’s offensive weapons either.
If Oregon and LSU meet up in the BCS title game, it will be interesting to see which offense will win out. Ultimately, I believe LSU will find a way to rein in the national title in front of the home crowd. Regardless of whoever makes the BCS title game, this season, with its upsets everywhere, has been one of the best college football seasons to watch.