Weekend’s games shakeup college football

The play of quarterback Andy Dalton has made TCU a legit title contender.

Perhaps two of the biggest results of the season occurred Saturday in college football. Many people (myself included) predicted an Alabama win, and a close game between TCU and Utah. The opposite took place thus shaking up the BCS title landscape.

Alabama losing Saturday at LSU knocks them out of the championship picture. TCU absolutely thrashing Utah on the road makes them a legit title contender. Can anyone remember the last time a top five team lost by 40 points at home?

So what exactly do these two results mean? By Alabama losing, it appears as though a one loss SEC team will not be in the national championship. As good as LSU looked on Saturday they need Auburn to lose twice in their two remaining SEC games to even make it to Atlanta for the SEC championship. That’s unlikely.

As for Auburn, if they lose at Alabama in their final regular season game, don’t be surprised if they are jumped by TCU in the BCS standings. And the fact that Auburn’s potential opponent in the SEC championship will be ranked outside of the top 15 doesn’t help either.

Scoring margin doesn’t factor into the BCS computers. After TCU’s big win this weekend, it should be a vital part of it. If TCU wins this game on a late field goal it’s still a very nice win. But to win by 40 on the road with your quarterback having a career day passing has to mean something, right? I’ve never been a fan of non-AQ teams being a part of the national championship, but this team is the real deal.

With that being said here is the case for five teams who have title hopes…

Oregon
The Ducks are on the verge of setting a record for points scored in a season. Scoring 53 points this past week versus Washington actually brought their points per game average down. They have a Heisman candidate at running back in LaMichael James and their quarterback doesn’t make mistakes. What concerns me is that they are giving up over 24 points a game in conference play. But does that even matter when your offense is putting up more than 54 a game? The toughest test remaining is the annual “Civil War” game at Oregon St.
They’ll be in if … All they have to do is win out.

Auburn
TCU’s annihilation of Utah on Saturday may mean the Tigers have to go undefeated for a shot at the BCS crown. A victory over Georgia this week guarantees Auburn a spot in the SEC championship game. Two of the last three national champions from the SEC had at least one loss during the regular season. Auburn at least has that going for them. However, when people look at Auburn they wouldn’t compare them to Florida in 2008. There’s no question Auburn has one of the best players in recent college football history with Cam Newton. Their defense however is average. It took overtime for the Tigers to knock off Clemson at home. They beat an average Mississippi St. team by three and needed a last second field goal to salvage a win over Kentucky.
They’ll be in if … They win out. If they lose at Alabama they need a TCU slip up which isn’t likely.

TCU
This is the best non-AQ team since the birth of the BCS in 1998. The defense has a legitimate six players that could be drafted in April. The offense is led by a fifth year senior who is playing like an elite college quarterback. The win at Utah may be the most impressive win any team has had this year. They may also have the stat of the year. The TCU defense has held eight of its opponents to their season low in scoring this year. If you want to complain about their conference schedule, fine. They can’t help that though. But their non-league schedule included a solid Oregon St. team, and a surprisingly good Baylor team which they beat handily 45-10.
They’ll be in if … They win out and either Oregon or Auburn loses.

Boise St.
The win over Virginia Tech is looking good again as the Hokies appear to be set for a date in the Orange Bowl. The Broncos are led by a veteran squad and have a quarterback in Kellen Moore who will probably wind up in New York City as a Heisman finalist. The TCU triumph over Utah also hurt Boise St. Two teams from non-AQ conferences will not play in the national title game. And it now appears people’s hearts are set on TCU. I like Boise going on the road to play Virginia Tech and the home win against Oregon St. is nice. But you can’t schedule Wyoming and Toledo as your other two non-conference games and expect to receive the same praise of other top teams.
They’ll be in if … They need a lot of help. An Oregon or Auburn loss is a must. A loss by TCU is also needed.

LSU
The Bengal Tigers are on the outside looking in. The defense is one of the best in the country with draft prospects scattered across it. However, the upset of Alabama was caused by the play of the two LSU quarterbacks, Jordan Jefferson and Jarrett Lee. What’s scary about this LSU team is they could win every game they’re a part of if their quarterbacks play as well as they did Saturday. As we’ve seen throughout the season though, that may be too much to ask. The Tigers have an NCAA best four wins over ranked opponents. Their mediocre offense means they have trouble blowing teams out. But the outstanding defense also means they can play with anyone in the country. A win at Arkansas in their last game would add even more glamour to their season. But will it be enough?
They’ll be in if … The best case scenario is Auburn losing to Georgia and Alabama, thus vaulting LSU into SEC championship game. Assuming they win that, I think either Oregon or TCU will have to drop a game as well. As for this week, LSU fans will be pulling hard for Georgia.

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