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Week Ten Preview

by Mike Mitchell and Dave Congrove
October 28, 2008

This week's 50-game schedule, just like last week, begins Tuesday night and ends Sunday.

Buffalo visits Ohio in a MAC contest, and Houston treks to Marshall for a CUSA affair on Tuesday. Then, on Thursday, the action resumes with a Big East tilt pitting USF at Cincinnati. After 46 games on Saturday, the slate concludes with another CUSA confrontation on Sunday when UCF hosts East Carolina.

On Saturday, four of the top eight teams in the BCS Standings will face each other when Texas Tech hosts Texas, and Georgia takes on Florida.

Texas Tech (No. 7, BCS Standings) and top-ranked Texas are the two remaining undefeated teams in the Big 12. The Longhorns are 6-point favorites, but less than a 3-pick choice by the computer (Congrove Computer Rankings). The two teams rank 2nd (Texas Tech) and 9th in total offense, but just 58th (Texas Tech) and 43rd in total defense. The Red Raiders lead the nation in passing yards while Texas ranks 11th. However, Longhorn QB Colt MCCoy is 2nd nationally in pass efficiency while Texas Tech's Graham Harrell ranks 6th.

Texas has won the last five meetings, and eight of the last nine. Texas Tech is 2-3 vs. Texas in the last five games played at Lubbock.

No. 8 Florida and No. 6 Georgia is a rivalry that rarely disappoints. The 42-30 loss by the Gators last year was just their second in the last ten meetings. The teams have split the last four meetings, but Florida has won 8-of-10 and 15 of the last 18. Urban Meyer is 2-1 in the border rivalry known as the "World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party".

Among other top teams in the BCS Standings:
No. 2 Alabama, which has a 2-game lead in the SEC western division, goes out of conference to host Arkansas State
No. 3 Penn State is idle
No. 4 Oklahoma hosts Nebraska as a 3-TD favorite in their rivalry
No. 6 USC may as well be idle as the Trojans host winless Washington
No. 9 Oklahoma State hosts Iowa State (2-6, 0-4 Big 12)
No. 10 Utah visits a New Mexico team that is a very disappointing 4-5

The top games in the ACC put Florida State at Georgia Tech, and Miami at Virginia. The Seminoles are tied with idle Maryland for the Atlantic division lead and the Cavaliers top the Coastal division.

At the start of the year, who would have thought that Duke and Wake Forest would each be 4-3 at this time of the year. Duke was a 26.48-point preseason computer underdog in this game, but the computer margin has dropped to 16.88. Additionally, Wake Forest has average just 10.2 points per game in its' last five outings.

The Big East pits last year's co-champions against each other when West Virginia visits UConn. Meanwhile, Pittsburgh will try to rebound from Saturday's 54-34 home loss to Rutgers when it heads to South Bend for its' first meeting with the Irish since 2005.

Ohio State joins Penn State on the Big Ten sideline this week. Michigan State and Minnesota try to stay in the conference title race when the Spartans hosts Wisconsin and the Golden Gophers entertain Northwestern.

The Big 12 North features the state rivalry game between Kansas and Kansas State in Lawrence. The Jayhawks have won three of the last four.

Tulsa, undefeated and ranked 18th in the BCS Standings, visits Arkansas. Conference USA's Golden Hurricane are favored, and they have the opportunity to impress voters with an emphatic win on the home field of an SEC team, albeit one that is suffering through a 3-5 campaign.

The MAC's Central Michigan can also notch a win at a BCS team. The Chippewas are 2-point underdogs at Indiana, but the computer likes CMU by 4.40.

Undefeated Ball State, the MAC's top team and ranked 16th in the BCS, hosts Northern Illinois on Wednesday.

In the Mountain West, TCU goes to UNLV. The Horned Frogs are the only team in the conference, besides Utah, with a perfect league record. The Rebels have been dangerous as they nearly defeated BYU last week, and lost by a single point to Air Force two weeks ago.

Four teams in the PAC-10 have one conference loss - California, Oregon, Oregon State and USC. At least one of those teams is guaranteed to suffer a second conference defeat this week when the Golden Bears host the Ducks with the oddsmakers favoring Cal and the computer picking Oregon. Meanwhile, Oregon State hosts Arizona State as a consensus 2-touchdown favorite.

In the SEC, Tennessee will fall to 3-6 if it doesn't get the win at South Carolina. The computer likes the Vols by 1.19 to upset the favored Gamecocks. South Carolina becomes bowl eligible with the win.

Troy and Louisiana-Lafayette top the Sun Belt with unblemished conference marks. The Trojans visit Louisiana-Monroe this week, and the Ragin' Cajuns host a resurgent FIU.

In the WAC, Boise State goes to schizophrenic New Mexico State. The Aggies have road wins over UTEP and Nevada, but lost at Idaho last week as the Vandals ended a 22-game losing streak to FBS teams.

The week concludes on Sunday when East Carolina visits UCF. The Pirates entered the week tied with Marshall for the best conference record in CUSA's east division at 2-1. UCF, despite its' 2-5 overall record, is 1-2 in the conference and could climb right back into the division race.

UNBEATEN TEAMS:
8 teams remain undefeated: Alabama, Ball State, Boise State, Penn State, Texas, Texas Tech, Tulsa, and Utah.

Only Hawaii made it through the 2007 regular season unscathed, and the Warriors were blown out 41-10 by Georgia in the Sugar Bowl. It was the first season since 2002 that no team recorded a perfect record.

Boise State was the only team to finish the entire 2006 season undefeated, while Texas did it in 2005. Auburn, USC and Utah all had unblemished records in 2004.

WINLESS TEAMS:
2 teams remain winless - North Texas and Washington.

Last season, FIU beat North Texas in its final regular season game to avoid being the only winless team. FIU was one of two schools to go winless in 2006 (Duke was the other).

WINLESS AGAINST FBS:
6 teams have yet to defeat a FBS school: North Texas, SMU, Syracuse, Washington, Washington State and Western Kentucky.

FBS vs. FCS:
The divisions were re-named late in 2006. 1-A was given the new moniker of Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) while 1-AA was labeled the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS).

There are no games this week matching FBS schools with FCS teams.

FBS teams are 82-2 (.976) against FCS teams this season, and 372-37 (.910) since 2003.

Here are the losses by the FBS so far this season:
Cal Poly 29, San Diego State 27 (Week 1)
New Hampshire 28, Army 10 (Week 2)

This year, 82 different FBS teams will participate in a total of 87 games that will pit the FCS against the FBS. Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Texas Tech and Western Kentucky each play two such games.

ACC teams have more games versus FCS schools than any other conference. Here is the number of FCS games for each conference:

Conference Teams In Conf. Games vs. FCS Avg. Per Team
ACC 12 14 1.167
Big East 8 7 0.875
Big 12 12 10 0.833
Big 10 11 9 0.818
MWC 9 7 0.778
WAC 9 7 0.778
SEC 12 9 0.750
Independents 3 2 0.667
MAC 13 8 0.615
CUSA 12 7 0.583
Sun Belt 9 5 0.555
PAC-10 10 2 0.200
Totals 120 87 0.725

STREAKS:
Penn State has won 10 straight games. The Nittany Lions are idle.

Texas Tech has won 10 straight games. The Red Raiders host Texas.

Texas has won 9 straight games. The Longhorns visit Texas Tech.

Utah has won 9 straight games. The Utes visit New Mexico.

Alabama has won 9 straight games. The Tide hosts Arkansas State.

Tulsa has won 9 straight games. The Golden Hurricane visits Arkansas.

Boise State has won 47 consecutive regular season home games, and the Broncos have a perfect home record against their fellow WAC conference members (30-0). Overall, they have won 36 straight conference home games since losing to Idaho in the final game of the 1998 season in the Big West. Boise State visits New Mexico State.

Oklahoma has won 21 straight home games. The Sooners host Nebraska.

North Texas has lost 9 straight games. The Mean Green visit Western Kentucky.

Washington has lost 9 straight games. The Huskies visit USC.

SMU has dropped 18 straight games to FBS teams, and 7 overall. The Mustangs are idle.

NEW COACHES: The 2007 season featured 24 new head coaches. Nine led their team to a bowl game. This year, there were 18 coaching changes in the offseason, and one more took place when Tommy Bowden stepped down from Clemson on October 13.

Two teams with new coaches have yet to defeat an FBS school - SMU, and Washington State.

Colorado State, Hawaii, Houston, Northern Illinois, SMU, Southern Miss, and Washington State have yet to defeat a team from one of the "big 6" conferences (ACC, Big East, Big 10, Big 12, PAC-10 or SEC).

Coaching Changes For 2008 Season
TEAM RECORD COACH THIS WEEK
Arkansas 3-5 Bobby Petrino 11/1, vs. Tulsa
Baylor 3-5 Art Briles 11/1, vs. Missouri
Colorado State 4-4 Steve Fairchild 11/1, vs. BYU
Duke 4-3 David Cutcliffe 11/1, at Wake Forest
Georgia Tech 6-2 Paul Johnson 11/1, vs. Florida State
Hawaii 4-4 Greg McMackin 11/1, at Utah State
Houston 4-3 Kevin Sumlin 10/28, at Marshall
Michigan 2-6 Rich Rodriguez 11/1, at Purdue
Mississippi 4-4 Houston Nutt 11/1, vs. Auburn
Navy 5-3 Ken Nuimatalolo 11/1, vs. Temple
Nebraska 5-3 Bo Pelini 11/1, at Oklahoma
Northern Illinois 5-3 Jerry Kill 11/5, at Ball State
SMU 1-8 June Jones 11/8, vs. Memphis
Southern Miss 2-6 Larry Fedora 11/1, vs. UAB
Texas A&M 3-5 Mike Sherman 11/1, vs. Colorado
UCLA 3-5 Rick Neuheisel 11/8, vs. Oregon State
Washington State 1-7 Paul Wulff 11/1, at Stanford
West Virginia 5-2 Bill Stewart 11/1, at Connecticut
Midseason Change:
Clemson 0-1 Dabo Swinney 11/1, at Boston College