6 of 7 Unbeatens Hit the Road
Week Offers Just 2 Top 25 BCS Matchups
by Dave Congrove
October 25, 2010
The college football week is light on Top 25 matchups, but intriguing nonetheless as 6 of the 7 remaining undefeated teams hit the road, and two of them are involved in Top 25 matchups (BCS Standings) - No. 6 Missouri at No. 14 Nebraska, and No. 5 Michigan State at No. 18 Iowa.
If you use the CCR Top 120 as the source, we get a 3rd team from the Top 25 testing their ranking on the road as No. 3 Oregon visits No. 23 USC.
Each of those three contests are huge conference battles, in addition to their national title implications.
Missouri is riding high after its 36-27 home win over Oklahoma this past Saturday. The Tigers had lost 7 straight meetings and 19 of the last 20. Conversely, Missouri has won 4 of the last 7 games against Nebraska since snapping a 24-game losing streak to the Cornhuskers in 2003. A Nebraska win puts it back in the lead for the Big 12 North division title. A Missouri win gives it a 2-game lead on every team in the division.
The last three Michigan State-Iowa games have either gone to overtime or been decided by 3 points or less in regulation. Four teams, including the Hawkeyes, enter the weekend with just one conference loss. Among those are Wisconsin (the Spartans have already defeated), Purdue (the Spartans host on November 20), Ohio State (they don't play) and Iowa.
The Trojans are ineligible to compete in any bowl game and, thus, ineligible for the BCS Standings.
The other undefeated teams that will hit the road this week are TCU (at UNLV), Auburn (at Mississippi) and Utah (at Air Force).
The action kicks off on Tuesday night when Boise State will look to improve its home record against WAC foes to a ridiculous 37-0. Louisiana Tech is the opponent.
Thursday sends ACC Atlantic Division leader Florida State (6-1, 4-0) to North Carolina State (5-2, 2-1) which is tied for 2nd in the division with Maryland.
The final prelude to Saturday's full slate takes place on Friday night when a Big East tussle features West Virginia (5-2, 1-1) at disappointing UConn (3-4, 0-2). The Huskies were picked to finish 1st in the conference by many observers, including the Congrove Computer Rankings, but currently find themselves bringing up the rear. The Mountaineers are coming off a 19-14 upset home loss to Syracuse.
Four teams in the top 25 of the BCS Standings are idle - No. 7 Alabama, No. 10 Wisconsin, No. 12 LSU and No. 23 Virginia Tech.
In other games, Big East leader Pitt (4-3, 2-0) hosts a vastly improved Louisville (5-2, 1-1) team under first-year head coach Charlie Strong. The Cardinals skunked Connecticut 26-0 last week to record their first shutout since 2006.
As an indication to how odd this season has been, Baylor visits Texas as the leader of the Big 12 South division. The Bears are 6-2 and already eligible for the postseason while the Longhorns still need two more victories to reach that point. Texas' last two home games have resulted in losses to heavy underdogs UCLA and Iowa State.
South Carolina (5-2, 3-2) can move one step closer to clinching the SEC East with a home win over Tennessee. The Volunteers (2-5, 0-4) are still looking for their first SEC win under Derek Dooley in his inaugural year as head coach.
The SEC feature battle, regardless of records, is Florida and Georgia in Jacksonville. Both teams already have 3 conference losses, but the Bulldogs are on a 3-game winning streak in which they have outscored Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Kentucky by a cumulative 128-45. The Gators limp in on a 3-game losing streak during which they have fallen to Alabama, LSU and Mississippi State by a cumulative 42-74.
Auburn wears the BCS No. 1 target as it travels to Oxford to take on Ole Miss. The Tigers lead the SEC South, but still have a pair of juggernauts chasing their tail in Alabama and LSU. While Auburn holds the tie-breaker over LSU, it needs to avoid any blemishes before visiting Alabama for the Iron Bowl rivalry game on Thanksgiving Day weekend.
The CUSA East leaders will go at it in Orlando when East Carolina (5-2, 4-0) visits UCF (5-2, 3-0). The computer and the oddsmakers list the homestanding Knights as 1-TD favorites.
In the Sun Belt, Western Kentucky is actually favored to win its home game with North Texas. The home folks would love to see that victory as last week's 54-21 triumph over Louisiana-Lafayette, which snapped a 26-game losing streak, happened on the road.
In the WAC, Boise State challengers Nevada and Hawaii will be looking to stay in the conference title race and the Broncos are hoping they do just that to bolster their own resume with the BCS. Nevada (6-1) is currently No. 24 in the BCS Standings as it hosts Utah State. Hawaii is 6-2 and ranked 27th in the Coaches' Poll and 29th in the Harris Poll as it gets set to host Idaho. Boise State hosts the Warriors in its next game (after this weekend's date with La. Tech) and visits Nevada on November 26.
Seven teams are undefeated and none of them play each other this week. In alphabetical order, they are Auburn (SEC), Boise State (WAC), Michigan State (Big Ten), Missouri (Big 12) and Oregon (PAC-10), along with TCU and Utah from the Mountain West.
Western Kentucky ended the nation's longest losing streak at 26 games with its 54-21 win at Louisiana-Lafayette last week. That leaves New Mexico and Akron as the only teams left that are still searching for that elusive first win.
FBS vs. FCS:
Two games this week involve Bowl Subdivision (FBS) schools playing teams from the Championship Subdivision (FCS). Those matchups are VMI at Army and William & Mary at North Carolina.
FBS schools are 75-7 (.915) this season in such games and 539-49 (.917) 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
9/11: Gardner-Webb 38, Akron 37
9/11: Liberty 27, Ball State 23
9/11: South Dakota 41, Minnesota 38
9/11: James Madison 21, Virginia Tech 16
10/2: Cal-Davis 14, San Jose State 13
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 streaks of 20 overall wins, 31 regular season wins, 28 home wins, 58 regular season home wins, 42 straight conference home victories and 16 straight road wins overall. 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 6-1 in their last seven matches against BCS conference schools. (Next: vs. Louisiana Tech this Saturday).
Auburn has 9 straight wins overall. (Next: at Mississippi this Saturday).
Oklahoma has 34 straight home victories. (Next: vs. Colorado this Saturday).
Utah has 21 straight home wins and 8 straight overall. (Next: at Air Force this Saturday).
TCU has 21 straight regular season wins, 19 straight home wins and 8 straight overall. (Next: at UNLV this Saturday).
Washington State has lost 16 straight to FBS schools and 15 straight road games overall. (Next: at Arizona State this Saturday).
Akron has lost 8 straight overall. (Next: at Temple this Saturday).
New Mexico has lost 8 straight overall and 13 straight road games. (Next: at Colorado State this Saturday).