Two BCS Title Game Matchups Revisited
by Dave Congrove
September 7, 2010
Florida State and Oklahoma meet for the first time since the 2000 season BCS title game, while Miami and Ohio State revisit their 2002 season title contest.
Oklahoma won the lowest-scoring BCS championship game in history when it defeated the 'Noles 13-2. Ohio State took one of the BCS's most controversial title wins, 31-24 in double overtime.
All four schools are once again key players on the national stage. Ohio State is ranked 5th in my Congrove Computer Rankings and Miami is 18th. OKlahoma is No. 8 and Florida State is 34th, but is certain to make a huge jump with an upset in Norman.
The top game this week, however, sends 10th-ranked Penn State to No. 4 Alabama.
Another huge battle takes place in Columbia, South Carolina where the 22nd-ranked Gamecocks will face border rival Georgia, the No. 15 team. It's the only one of those four games with a predicted computer margin of less than double digits.
South Carolina is favored by 1.34 over Georgia, while Alabama is a 10.98-point pick over Penn State. Ohio State is favored by 13.48 over Miami, and Oklahoma is forecasted to drop Florida State by 12.72.
The computer was 32-7 last week in games that pitted FBS teams against schools from their own subdivision. It was 37-2 in games that matched FBS schools with FCS teams.
This week's 70-game slate features 25 FBS-FCS matchups, begging the question, "Will anyone be this week's Kansas and Ole Miss?" Both schools lost to FCS teams last weekend as Ole Miss fell 49-48 in double-overtime to Jacksonville State, and Kansas lost 6-3 to North Dakota State. Last year, FCS teams won 5-of-94 contests with FBS schools by claiming three victories in week one, and taking another in week two.
FCS member New Hampshire will be looking to beat a FBS team for the fifth straight season when it visits Pitt. New Hampshire has wins over Ball State in 2009 (23-16), Army in 2008 (28-10), Marshall in 2007 (48-35), and Northwestern in 2006 (34-17).
Auburn at Mississippi State - The computer only favors the Tigers by 2.35 points in this SEC West battle. Auburn won 3-2 when the teams last met in Starkville 2 years ago.
Central Michigan at Temple - This is a preview of the MAC Championship game, if the computer's preseason forecast is correct. The Chippewas have won 3 of the last 4 MAC titles, but find themselves as 0.77-point underdogs in this contest.
BYU at Air Force - The Cougars managed to discard Washington 23-17 with a 2-QB system, but the Falcons may have a more potent offense than the Huskies. Air Force racked up 437 rushing yards in last week's win over FCS member NW State, La. The Falcons will be looking to end a 6-game losing streak to their Mountain West nemesis.
Hawaii at Army - Army ran the ball 55 times against Eastern Michigan while Hawaii threw 49 passes against USC. The homestanding Black Knights are favored by 2.15 points to move to 2-0 on the season.
USF at Florida - The upstarts from Tampa are in their 14th season of playing football. Now, they get their first crack at the boys from Gainesville. The Gators are favored by 15.96, but Florida State was favored by 8.16 when the Bulls went up to Tallahassee last year and stunned the 'Noles a week after FSU's big win at BYU. Could Florida get caught looking ahead to its trip to hated rival Tennessee next week? Given how horribly the Gators played last Saturday against Miami (Ohio), they have no reason to look past anybody right now. Florida fell from 5th to 6th in my rankings after last week's performance, and fell even further in the major voter polls. The sportswriters dropped them from 4th to 8th and the coaches kicked them from 3rd to 6th.
Georgia Tech at Kansas - The Jayhakws lost 6-3 at home to FCS member North Dakota State last week. New head coach Turner Gill will be seeking a little redemption - okay, a lot of redemption - when his team welcomes the potent Ramblin' Wreck running attack to Lawrence. The computer takes Georgia Tech by 15.16.
LSU at Vanderbilt - LSU hasn't lost to their cross-divisional rival since 1990. The Tigers are favored by 19.07 to claim their 7th straight win over the Commodores.
Michigan at Notre Dame - The No. 4 (Notre Dame) and No. 1 (Michigan) winningest teams in the history of college football square-off in South Bend. My power formula sides with the Irish by a scant 2.76 points.
Texas Tech at New Mexico - The Red Raiders are 28.72-point favorites on the road against a Lobos team that was blown out 72-0 at Oregon in the opener. A similar effort this week won't help UNM head coach Mike Locksley's seat cool down.
N.C. State at UCF - An ACC school travels to CUSA territory as a 10.24-point computer underdog. Last week, the ACC's only losses came against then-No. 24 LSU (North Carolina) and top-ranked Boise State (WAC).
Rice at North Texas - This is the computer's only outright upset pick this week against the opening line. The oddsmakers list North Texas as a 1.5-point favorite while the computer takes the Mean Green by 2.15.
Troy at Oklahoma State - The Cowboys hung 65 points on Washington State last week, marking the fifth time that's happened to the Cougars during the Paul Wulff era. Troy should provide a better indicator of how good a team Mike Gundy has. The computer expects the Cowboys to finish 4th in their division with an 8-4 overall record. OSU gets the computer's nod by 10.68 points in this affair.
Oregon at Tennessee - The Ducks were bored by halftime of last week's game as they led New Mexico 59-0 at the intermission of an eventual 72-0 win. The Vols took awhile longer to get going as they only led FCS member UT-Martin 20-0 at the half, but expanded the lead to 43-0 after 3 quarters and won 50-0. This game provides a serious step up in competition for both schools. Oregon is the computer favorite by 15.47.
UAB at SMU - The computer picked UAB 3rd in CUSA's east division and SMU 1st in the west. The Blazers fell from ahead and lost at home to FAU last week while the Mustangs gave a gallant effort in a 35-27 loss at Texas Tech. The Ponies are a 9.50-point selection by the computer this week.
Stanford at UCLA - In the PAC-10 conference opener for both schools, the Cardinal are a 3.49-point road pick to beat the Bruins for the second straight year after losing five in-a-row from 2004-2008. UCLA holds a 45-32-3 advantage in the series.
Wyoming at Texas - The Cowboys head to Austin with heavy hearts after four football players were involved in a car accident Monday morning, killing one and injuring the others. None of the young men had played in Saturday's 28-20 win over Southern Utah. Texas is a 29.27-point computer pick after winning 41-10 last year in Laramie.
Virginia at USC - The Cavaliers were blown out 52-7 by the Trojans in Charlottesville two years ago. Al Groh was the coach at UVa and Pete Carroll, of course, was the coach at USC. Now, it's Mike London vs. Lane Kiffin and the Cavs might actually stand a surprising chance as USC's defense was M.I.A. last week at Hawaii. Still, the computer likes the Trojans by 21.35.
Montana State at Washington State - The Cougars are only favored by 6.37 points against the FCS member Bozeman Bobcats. Washington State won all six previous meetings, but the teams haven't met since 2002.
76 teams are 1-0 after the opening week of action; 41 teams are 0-1; 3 schools are 0-0.
Only 44 of the 120 teams don't have a win under their belt, and that includes the three schools that don't open their season until this week - FIU, Louisiana-Monroe and New Mexico State.
FBS vs. FCS:
There are 25 games this week between FBS and FCS schools. FBS teams went 37-2 (.949) in such games last week and are now 501-44 (.919) since 2003.
Here are the results of every FBS loss to the FCS this season:
9/4: Jacksonville State 49, Mississippi 48 (2 OT's)
9/4: North Dakota State 6, Kansas 3
This year, 85 FBS teams play a total of 90 games against FCS foes. Five schools play two such games - Arizona State, Ball State, San Jose State, Syracuse and Virginia.
Boise State has 15 straight wins, 26 regular season wins, 26 home wins, 56 regular season home wins, and 42 straight conference home victories. BSU has never lost at home to a fellow WAC member (36-0). 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 5-1 in their last six matches against BCS conference schools. (Next: at Wyoming on 9/18.)
Alabama has 15 straight wins overall and 25 straight regular season wins. (Next: vs. Penn State this Saturday).
Oklahoma has 31 straight home victories. (Next: vs. Florida State this Saturday).
Utah has 18 straight home wins. (Next: vs. UNLV this Saturday).
Western Kentucky has lost 21 straight overall and 26 straight to FBS teams. (Next: at Kentucky this Saturday).
Eastern Michigan has lost 13 straight overall. (Next: at Miami, Ohio this Saturday).
Washington State has lost 10 straight. (Next: vs. FCS member Montana State this Saturday).
Colorado State has lost 10 straight. (Next: at Nevada this Saturday).