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Week 8 Preview: BCS Standings Cleared Up Nothing

by Dave Congrove
October 19, 2009

The first BCS Standings were released this past Sunday and cleared up absolutely nothing. There are at least a dozen teams that still have a shot at the BCS title game. Florida and Alabama are comparatively entrenched in the top two spots for now, but they're certainly not safe and secure with half of the season still left to be played.

This week, the spotlight shines brightest on the TCU-BYU battle. Those teams are vying to overtake Boise State as the top BCS "outsider" with a shot at a BCS bowl game. Going into the week, the Horned Frogs are 8th in the BCS Standings and the Cougars are 16th. BYU already has 1 loss and a lot of impressing to do after getting blown out at home by a not-so-good Florida State team earlier this season.

Boise State is 4th in the BCS pecking order and faces a struggling Hawaii team. However, a long trip to the 50th state is never easy. The obvious potential stumbling blocks to point to are the trip to Louisiana Tech in 2 weeks, and the home date with Nevada on November 27. But Boise State's toughest remaining opponent may be state rival Idaho on November 14 as the Vandals are off to an unexpected 6-1 start.

Florida and Alabama are an unlikely, but not impossible, matchup for the BCS title game. These schools are almost a lock to compete in the SEC Championship game where one team could knock out the other. The Gators are 2 games ahead of everyone else in the SEC East loss column, but the Tide is only a game ahead of LSU and hosts the Bayou Bengals on November 7. Florida travels to Mississippi State this week as a 4-touchdown computer favorite while 'Bama hosts Tennessee as a 17.77-point pick.

No. 3 Texas takes a journey outside of the Lone Star State for just the second time this season when it visits Missouri. The Tigers have dropped back-to-back games to Nebraska and Oklahoma State after starting 4-0.

No. 5 Cincinnati hosts Big East cellar-dweller Louisville this week and its' remaining tough games are at home, except for the season finale at Pittsburgh.

Iowa stands in 6th place in the BCS Standings. The Hawkeyes are the only undefeated team left in the Big Ten, but face a dangerous opponent this week when they head to East Lansing to take on Michigan State as 2-point computer underdogs.

USC leads the PAC-10 teams in the BCS Standings, but trails Oregon by 1 game in the conference title race. The 7th-ranked Trojans host Oregon State as a 17-point computer choice, but the Beavers are one of three teams that are tied with USC with 2-1 conference records.

Miami rounds out the top ten schools in the BCS Standings. The Hurricanes gained an unlikely reprieve in their bid for a BCS bowl when Virginia Tech was upset at Georgia Tech last week. Those hopes appeared to have been squashed when the Hokies routed Miami 31-7 in Blacksburg. This week, the computer says Miami is less than a TD favorite when it hosts Clemson. The Yellow Jackets are 5.46-point favorites when they travel to Virginia to face the only ACC team that has yet to lose a conference game.

This week's schedule of 56 games begins on Wednesday when Tulsa visits UTEP for a CUSA tussle. The home team has won the last 5 meetings in the series.

Thursday night's game features the last-place teams in each division of the ACC when North Carolina hosts Florida State. Neither school has a conference win and neither has defeated a FBS team since September 19. Who would have thought that would be the case when this game was scheduled for prime time TV? North Carolina is 1-14-1 all-time vs. Florida State with the Tar Heels' only win coming in 2001.

The weekday action finishes Friday with Rutgers at Army. The Scarlet Knights have won the last 5 meetings.

OTHER GAMES TO WATCH
Boston College at Notre Dame
- The Eagles have won 6 straight in the series, and 4 of the last 5 meetings in South Bend.

Penn State at Michigan - The combined capacity of these schools' stadiums is 213,483. Beaver Stadium is ranked as the top stadium for capacity at 107,282. Michigan Stadium is listed 2nd with a capacity of 106,201. Last year, the Nittany Lions broke the Wolverines' 9-game winning streak in the series. Penn State's last win in Ann Arbor was in 1996, a string of 5 games.

A footnote to the commentary on stadium sizes - Ohio Stadium (102,329) at Ohio State, and Neyland Stadium (102,037) are next-in-line for stadium capacities. Penn State, Michigan and Ohio State all reported that average attendance exceeded listed capacity in 2008. The Vols came up short of capacity by an average of 599 fans.

HOW WILL THEY RESPOND?
Virginia Tech, Ohio State, Kansas and Nebraska -
All were knocked from lofty rankings with losses last Saturday. Virginia Tech has a week off to lick its' wounds and prepare for a Thursday night home game with North Carolina next week. Ohio State hosts Minnesota a week after seeing its' 16-game road winning streak against Big Ten schools come crashing to a halt at Purdue. Kansas hosts Oklahoma a week after becoming Colorado's first win of the season over a BCS school, and second altogether. Nebraska hosts a much-improved Iowa State team that is 4-3 under first-year head coach Paul Rhoads.

UNBEATEN TEAMS:
The list is down to 7 teams - Alabama, Boise State, Cincinnati, Florida, Iowa, TCU, and Texas.

WINLESS TEAMS:
6 teams are still searching of their first victory of the season - Ball State, Eastern Michigan, Miami (Ohio), New Mexico, Rice and Western Kentucky.

FBS vs. FCS:
There are no such games this week. The FBS was 1-0 vs. the FCS last week, improving to 80-5 on the year. FBS teams are 455-42 (.915) in such games since 2003.

Here are the results of every FBS loss to the FCS this season:
9/19: Central Arkansas 28, Western Kentucky 7
9/12:
New Hampshire 23, Ball State 16. New Hampshire also has wins at Army in 2008 (28-10), Marshall in 2007 (48-35), and Northwestern in 2006 (34-17)
9/5: Richmond 24, Duke 16; William & Mary 26, Virginia 14
9/3: Villanova 27, Temple 24

This year, 87 FBS play a total of 94 games against FCS foes. Duke, Kansas State, Mississippi, North Carolina, N.C. State, Rutgers and USF each play two FCS teams.

STREAKS:
Florida has 16 straight victories. The Gators visit Mississippi State.

Iowa has 11 straight victories. The Hawkeyes visit Michigan State.

Texas has 10 straight victories. The Longhorns visit Missouri.

TCU has 8 straight victories. The Horned Frogs visit BYU.

Boise State has streaks of 18 consecutive regular season wins, 22 consecutive home wins, 52 consecutive regular season home wins, and 38 straight conference home victories. BSU has never lost at home to a fellow WAC member (32-0). The Broncos' last home loss to a conference foe occurred in 1998 when they were a member of the Big West and fell to Idaho in the final regular season game. The Broncos are 4-1 in their last five matches against BCS conference schools. Boise State visits Hawaii.

Oklahoma has 26 straight home victories. The Sooners visit Kansas.

Utah has 10 straight conference wins, and 13 straight home wins. The Utes host Air Force.

Alabama has 19 straight regular season wins. The Tide hosts Tennessee.

Cincinnati has 12 straight regular season wins. The Bearcats host Louisville.

Western Kentucky has lost 14 straight overall and 19 straight to FBS teams. The Hilltoppers visit Middle Tennessee.

Miami (Ohio) has lost 12 straight overall. The RedHawks host Northern Illinois.

New Mexico has lost 10 straight overall. The Lobos host UNLV.

Ball State has lost 9 straight after winning 12 in-a-row. The Cardinals visit Eastern Michigan.

North Texas has lost 14 straight Sun Belt games. The Mean Green visit Troy.

NEW COACHES:
There are 22 new college football coaches in the FBS ranks this season. 18 have secured their first victory. 5 teams have yet to defeat a FBS school (Ball State, Eastern Michigan, Miami (Ohio), New Mexico and Utah State).

Coaching Changes For 2009 Season
TEAM RECORD COACH THIS WEEK
Army 3-4 Rich Ellerson 10/23, vs. Rutgers
Auburn 5-2 Gene Chizik 10/24, at LSU
Ball State 0-7 Stan Parrish 10/24, at Eastern Michigan
Boston College 5-2 Frank Spaziani 10/24, at Notre Dame
Bowling Green 3-4 Dave Clawson 10/24, vs. Central Michigan
*-Clemson 3-3 Dabo Swinney 10/24, at Miami (Fla.)
Eastern Michigan 0-6 Ron English 10/24, vs. Ball State
Iowa State 4-3 Paul Rhoads 10/24, at Nebraska
Kansas State 4-3 Bill Snyder 10/24, vs. Colorado
Miami (O.) 0-7 Michael Haywood 10/24, vs. Northern Illinois
Mississippi State 3-4 Dan Mullen 10/24, vs. Florida
New Mexico 0-6 Mike Locksley 10/24, vs. UNLV
New Mexico State 3-4 DeWayne Walker 10/24, vs. Fresno State
Oregon 5-1 Chip Kelly 10/24, at Washington
Purdue 2-5 Danny Hope 10/24, vs. Illinois
San Diego State 2-4 Brady Hoke 10/24, at Colorado State
Syracuse 2-4 Doug Marrone 10/24, vs. Akron
Tennessee 3-3 Lane Kiffin 10/24, at Alabama
Toledo 4-3 Tim Beckman 10/24, vs. Temple
Utah State 1-5 Gary Andersen 10/24, vs. Louisiana Tech
Washington 3-4 Steve Sarkisian 10/24, vs. Oregon
Wyoming 4-3 Dave Christensen Idle
*-Dabo Swinney took over halfway through last season when Tommy Bowden stepped down after a 3-3 start. Swinney was 4-3 over the last 7 games of the season.