Week 9 Preview: PAC-10 Showdown Tops Schedule
by Dave Congrove
October 26, 2009 (Updated Oct. 28)
USC, which jumped from 7th to 5th in the BCS Standings, will get a chance to prove it belongs there when it visits 10th-ranked Oregon this Saturday. That game slightly overshadows Texas at Oklahoma State, and Florida vs. Georgia as the top battle on this week's slate.
A 55-game schedule kicks off on Tuesday night with East Carolina at Memphis, and heats up Thursday when Virginia Tech hosts North Carolina. The final weeknight game takes place Friday with West Virginia at USF, and the college football week doesn't end until UCF entertains Marshall on Sunday.
On Saturday, Florida takes on Georgia in Jacksonville. The Gators are still at the top of the BCS Standings, but fell behind Texas in the CCR Top 120. This is the first time time the Gators haven't occupied the top spot in my rankings since November 3, 2008 when Penn State held the top spot. A Florida win this weekend, coupled with a South Carolina loss at Tennessee, would clinch the SEC East for the Gators. Florida gets back LB Brandon Spikes, a semifinalist for the Lombardi Award.
Texas is 3rd in the BCS as it faces a challenging date at Oklahoma State. The Longhorns have taken 11 straight from the Cowboys, and 12-of-13 since these teams became members of the Big 12. But Oklahoma State enters this week's game ranked 14th in the BCS and the last two meetings were decided by 4 points or less. What's more, these are the only teams left in the South division race with unblemished conference records. The Cowboys learned Tuesday that star wide receiver Dez Bryant, a top Heisman candidate heading into this season, is suspended by the NCAA for the rest of the year.
The 2nd-ranked team in the BCS, Alabama, is idle.
Iowa rose from 6th to 4th in the BCS after rallying to beat Michigan State on the final play of the game. The Hawkeyes are 8-0 for the first time in history and control their destiny in the race for the Big Ten title. Iowa hosts a disappointing Illinois team this week, but goes on upset alert as the Hawkeyes' worst performances this season have come against their supposedly easiest foes. Iowa will also be without leading rusher, Adam Robinson, who is likely out for the remainder of the regular season after suffering an ankle injury in the win over the Spartans.
Boise State and Cincinnati will try to make on-field statements this week after both schools dropped 3 spots in the BCS Standings, despite huge wins over inferior opponents. Unfortunately, wins this week over San Jose State and Syracuse won't be any more impressive than last week's routs of Hawaii and Louisville. This is the WAC home opener for Boise State which has never lost on the 'smurf turf' to a fellow WAC member (32-0). Cincinnati is expected to start sophomore Zach Collaros, in place of the injured Tony Pike, for the second consecutive week.
Oregon beat USC 24-17 the last time these teams met in Eugene, but the Trojans have taken 4 of the last 5 overall. The Ducks top the PAC-10 in scoring offense though they only rank 6th in yards per game. USC and Oregon rank 1-2 in the conference in scoring defense, and 2-3 in total defense.
TCU, which rose to 6th in the BCS Standings after demolishing BYU last Saturday, hosts UNLV this week.
9th-ranked LSU draws a home date with a Tulane team that has dropped 17 straight to the Bayou Bengals since its' last win in the series in 1982. The Green Wave are 4-45-2 vs. LSU since 1949.
Two of the best teams in CUSA collide when Southern Miss visits Houston. The Cougars are 18th in the BCS Standings and both schools are at the top of their respective divisions.
Two of the week's more interesting games feature a pair of MAC teams in non-conference battles. Temple visits Navy as a mere 6.02-point computer underdog, and Central Michigan gets the computer's nod by a slim 0.51 margin at Boston College.
SOMETHING'S GOTTA GIVE:
Western Kentucky at North Texas - The Hilltoppers have the nation's current longest losing streak at 15 games. WKU has also lost 20 straight to FBS teams, and 8 straight road games. Western Kentucky has lost 10 straight to Sun Belt teams and is 1-10 overall against the conference since beginning its transition to the FBS in 2007. The Mean Green have 8 straight home losses and have 15 straight Sun Belt conference losses.
The list holds at 7 teams - Alabama, Boise State, Cincinnati, Florida, Iowa, TCU, and Texas.
Ball State downed Eastern Michigan to shrink this list to 5 teams - Eastern Michigan, Miami (Ohio), New Mexico, Rice and Western Kentucky.
FBS vs. FCS:
There were no such games this week. FBS teams are 80-5 vs. FCS teams on the year, and 455-42 (.915) 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.
Florida has 17 straight victories. The Gators take on Georgia at Jacksonville.
Iowa has 12 straight victories. The Hawkeyes host Indiana.
Texas has 11 straight victories. The Longhorns visit Oklahoma State.
TCU has 9 straight victories. The Horned Frogs host UNLV.
Boise State has streaks of 19 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 plays its' 2009 WAC home-opener against San Jose State.
Oklahoma has 26 straight home victories. The Sooners host Kansas State.
Utah has 11 straight conference wins, and 14 straight home wins. The Utes host Wyoming.
Alabama has 20 straight regular season wins, and 8 straight overall. The Tide is idle.
Cincinnati has 13 straight regular season wins. The Bearcats visit Syracuse.
Western Kentucky has lost 15 straight overall and 20 straight to FBS teams. The Hilltoppers visit North Texas.
Miami (Ohio) has lost 13 straight overall. The RedHawks host Toledo.
New Mexico has lost 11 straight overall. The Lobos visit San Diego State.
North Texas has lost 15 straight Sun Belt games. The Mean Green host Western Kentucky.
(See Coaching Changes for details)
There are 22 new college football coaches in the FBS ranks this season. 18 have secured their first victory. 3 teams have yet to defeat a FBS school (Eastern Michigan, Miami (Ohio), and New Mexico).
||10/31, vs. Mississippi
||10/31, vs. Ohio
||10/31, vs. Central Michigan
||10/31, vs. Coastal Carolina (FCS)
||10/31, at Arkansas
||10/31, at Texas A&M
||10/31, at Oklahoma
||10/31, vs. Toledo
||10/31, at Kentucky
||10/31, at San Diego State
|New Mexico State
||10/31, at Ohio State
||10/31, vs. USC
||10/31, at Wisconsin
|San Diego State
||10/31, vs. New Mexico
||10/31, vs. Cincinnati
||10/31, vs. South Carolina
||10/31, at Miami, O.
||10/31, at Fresno State
||10/31, at Utah
|*-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.