Al’s Predictions for Week 10 in College Football

Sorry, Austin, no BCS championship game for you.

Sorry, Austin, no BCS championship game for you.

Okay, baseball season’s over. College basketball is still in the exhibition stage. So, let’s get back to the sport that’s really exciting in early November for everyone—college football (no, State fans, we’re not talking about men’s soccer). Fresh off my successful prediction of the USC upset and even though my other upset predictions didn’t happen, I’m ready to predict the outcome of this week’s Top 25 games. This time, I’m including the Thursday night game. The same rules and stipulations from last week apply this week.

Thursday’s game

No. 23 Virginia Tech at East Carolina: What is it with ACC teams and Thursday night games? First Georgia Tech played two Thursday night games in a row, then UNC did it and now it’s Virginia Tech’s turn. Is it because the ACC is so mediocre that they honor them with a game on a mediocre night? Or is it done to highlight how truly splendiferous the ACC is at playing lackluster football? Anyway, now that Virginia Tech has gotten its loss to a ranked team and its loss to a lame team under its belt, it’s time for them to start taking opponents apart in their quest to lose yet another embarrassing game in the ACC BCS bowl. East Carolina is not as bad as they look, but you can’t argue with history. Virginia Tech wins this one.

Friday’s game

No. 7 Boise State at Louisiana Tech. I’m sure the BCS would love to see an upset here because then they won’t have to listen to people who really know something about football complain how Boise State should have been in National Championship BCS game, mainly because a loss would catapult them out of the Top 25. However, complain they will, because I see no upset here. Louisiana State couldn’t even beat Idaho. By the way, let me be one of the first ones to say it. As long as Florida, Ohio State, Texas, Alabama and USC all have football teams, Boise State will never have the chance to taste the national championship. I’m sorry for it, but it’s a fact of football life. Ca-ching.

Saturday’s games

Vanderbilt at No. 1 Florida. Considering that Georgia Tech basically danced past Vanderbilt last week—and we all know what conference the Yellow Jackets are in—this is a no brainer. Florida fans can’t relax, though, because if they don’t beat Vanderbilt by 35 points or more and Alabama beats LSU, they may be kicked out of the top spot. We now know that the pollsters have “Joe Wilson/Kanye West disruption” aspirations and jumble up the Top 3 for no other reason than to get noticed and talked about.

UCF at No. 2 Texas. University of Central Florida? Seriously, Texas? Are

The quarterback of the team most afraid of OOC play.

The quarterback of the team most afraid of OOC play.

you really so afraid of OOC play that a C-USA team is the best you can come up with?

No. 9 LSU at No. 3 Alabama. This is actually anybody’s game because it’s being played in Tuscaloosa. If it were in Baton Rouge, it would be no contest. However, I’m predicting an upset simply because I think that LSU is playing with more heart than Alabama right now. I’ve watched both teams play three times this season and I’m still not convinced that Alabama is the No. 3 team in the nation. I won’t be surprised if I’m wrong about this, though.

Northwestern at No. 4 Iowa. Dammit, I want Northwestern to upset someone, but I don’t think it’s going to be Iowa. Despite the fact that Iowa has absolutely no business being ranked No. 4 and I would jump for joy if they lost, Northwestern will have been too worn out after giving Penn State half a game last week to pull off the upset.

Connecticut at No. 5 Cincinnati. Connecticut is not as bad as their record makes them look, but Cincinnati’s way better. By the way, Cincinnati fans, see my comments about Boise State above. Continue reading

Want to know who will play for the Football Bowl Subdivision National Championship in January? I can help you out.

I think I can confidently predict that—even if both teams lose a game or two—that Florida and Texas will play for the FBS National Championship in January.

“How is this?” you12319882-800x533 ask. After all, the 2009 football season is only a few weeks old and already “surprise upsets” are the talk of the season. No. 4 Ohio State lost to USC who then lost to Washington. No. 9 Oklahoma State beat Georgia only to lose to Houston the next week. Oklahoma started out at No. 3 and lost to BYU, who moved up to No. 7 and then promptly was blown out last week by unranked Florida State. The latest Top 10 team to fall? No. 4 Mississippi at the hands of South Carolina last night. Seriously? South Carolina, who barely beat N.C. State, beat Ole Miss?

Even when Top 10 teams win, there are still questions. Why didn’t Florida reduce Lane Kiffin’s lackadaisical band of vagabond players to rubble? How did Texas Tech manage to give Texas a game? Why are the only teams being destroyed regularly are the hapless Division I-AA and lower teams playing the Top 10?

These questions lead to other, bigger questions. Why is Ohio State always considered a National Contender only to be embarrassed in post-season bowl games? Why is the Top 10 always so Big 10 heavy? Why has Texas been considered a national contender for the past few years, even when their quarterback was a sophomore and their defensive line looked like a slice of swiss cheese?

So, surely with all this excitement and supposed parity in the conferences, no one would be bold enough to predict the BCS Champion at this point in the season, right?

Wrong. Anyone can figure it out if we throw out the idealistic notion that the football polls are actually based on how good the players and coaches are. Sports commentators are paid big bucks to perpetrate this myth and, toward the end of the season, they even enlist the aid of scary looking laptops running algorithms to compare stats to back up their opinions. But just like that op-ed piece in the Washington Post that uses statistics to back it up, it’s still an opinion. Continue reading