Road To The BCS - Four On The Floor

Eagles, Buckeyes, Sun Devils and Jayhawks face biggest tests yet

College Football Preview: Week 9

> The Red Zone  |  Tape It Up  |  Strike The Pose  |  Breaking The Code
> B.J.: Exterior Designs  |  Amsinger: Weekly Picks  |  Sorenson: 10 Questions  |   Braff: Coaches With Guts
Trev: No Time To Dog It  |  Ohio State Offense Getting Better   |  Hart: Another Loony Weekend
> Blackburn: Same Lights, New Show In Blacksburg  |  Palm: Road To The BCS
> Caparell: Penn State Knows It's Got To Be Close  |  Crystal Ball: Predictions

Oct. 25, 2007

By Jerry Palm

Special to



Jerry runs the web sites and and a analyst. E-mail here!

  • BCS Standings

  • There are four major undefeated teams left in the chase for the national championship, but few people are totally convinced that these are among the best teams in the country.  Many think that they are the product of soft schedules and the facts back them up.  Not one of those teams' 29 combined wins has come over an opponent that is currently in the rankings, and three wins came over opponents that were ranked at the time.  Three of those four teams will get strong tests this week.


    Just like last week, No. 2 takes the field on Thursday night in a tough road test.  Boston College goes to Blacksburg to take on No. 8 Virginia Tech and the Eagles are an underdog.  The Hokies seem to own Thursday nights.  They are 15-2 on Thursday nights and have won seven straight at home - but - both losses are to Boston College.  This is also a strange game in that it has national championship implications, but is irrelevant in the ACC title chase.  Both teams will control their own destinies in the league, win or lose.




    Top-ranked Ohio State is also on the road, facing No. 25 Penn State.  Happy Valley hasn't been for the Buckeyes, who have lost four of their last five in State College.  The one win came in 2003, when the Nittany Lions finished 3-9.  With the rest of the Big Ten being down this season, Ohio State needs to make a statement when it can, and this is one of those games.  With games remaining at home against slumping Wisconsin and Illinois, before the road trip to Michigan, this might be one of the Buckeyes' last chances to prove themselves before a bowl game.


    Arizona State seems to have flown under everyone's radar.  West coast teams get ignored sometimes because of late starts, but the nation will be watching the No. 4 Sun Devils this week as they host No. 21 California.  The Bears were minutes away from ascending to No. 1 two weeks ago, but late-game mistakes by their quarterbacks have killed comeback attempts and now their national championship and Rose Bowl hopes are dashed.  It will be interesting to see where Cal is mentally this week.  ASU should be fresh and ready to go after a week off.  That's a good thing because this is the first game of a month-long gauntlet that could push the Sun Devils right to the top of the rankings.  After this, they go to Oregon and UCLA before returning home to face USC.


    Kansas has had things the easiest so far among this group, which explains its No. 9 BCS ranking.  The Jayhawks have it the easiest this week as well.  They go to Kyle Field to take on Texas A&M.  The Aggies have been flat since coach Dennis Franchione's pants caught fire a few weeks ago after the newsletter scandal broke, but last week, they steamrolled Nebraska, which is in greater disarray than A&M.  Kansas has a high-powered offense, putting up 46 points per game, which is third in the nation.  However, the Jayhawks have only scored 49 points total in their two road games against Kansas State and Colorado.


    With the strong possibility that at least one one-loss team could play for the title this year, this week's game between No. 5 Oregon and No. 12 USC becomes an elimination game.  The Trojans have struggled through some injuries over the last month, but they looked in top form against Notre Dame last week.  But then again, who hasn't?  Oregon is a goal-line fumble away from being No. 1 and is scoring 47 points per game.  USC is an underdog in a conference game for the first time since 2001.


    It seems like we can't get through a weekend without at least one top five team losing, and as you can see, this weekend may be no exception.