As we reach the culmination of the college football season there is still one question looming across the College football landscape….Who will play for the National Championship?
At this point we all know the BCS is a flawed system. How do the human polls really judge a team with no biases…you can’t say a computer can accurately rank a team since it can’t judge teams by the eye test. Unfortunately in the last year before a playoff system, we have a good possibility that 3 very good, major conference football teams finish the year with undefeated seasons. Here’s what I think the pros and cons are for each squad….
- Kansas State- the west coast can say what it wants, but I think the most dominant team this year has been K-State.
- Pros-Through 10 games the Wildcats have dominated almost every team on their schedule, winning 8 of those by double digits. The two close games were both played on the road, one against a then top 10 Oklahoma and the other in a true trap game against Big XII conference foe Iowa St. They have the Heisman trophy favorite playing behind center, who has turned the ball over just 3 times. Finally they are a balanced team. Of the three unbeaten squads they are the only one in the top 15 in both scoring offense and scoring defense
- Cons-I think they are infallible at this point. The only thing that can derail K-State is another injury to QB Collin Klein. Without him the team will be as good as dead.
- Outcome- If Klein stays healthy the Cats will take care of business and take their talents to South Beach
- Pros- SPEED SPEED SPEED and hey why not some more SPEED. The highest scoring team in the nation is scary on offense. They can score from anywhere. Now that Chip Kelly’s offense has a true passing element to it, you can no longer load up on the option run. QB Marcus Mariota is one of the highest rated qbs in the country, that as well as a timely defense makes some pundits believe they are the true number one team.
- Cons- They play a weak schedule. Yes they beat up on USC but, Southern Cal’s weakness played right into the Ducks strengths. USC is not only a team that gave up 62 to Oregon, but surprisingly, 39 to Arizona, 28 to Utah and 29 to Syracuse, not a dominant d, and one that is clearly outmanned by a spread offense.
- Outcome-Oregon will have its two toughest tests to finish the season. Stanford a team that can control the ball and keep that offense off the field, and Oregon St, a surprising team who would love nothing less than to knock their biggest rival out of the championship picture. After that they will face one of the LA teams in the PAC 12 Championship. Luckily for the Ducks 2 of these games will be in Autzen Stadium, which has turned into one of the toughest places to play. I think they handle all of these, and will play Kansas St in the Championship game
- Notre Dame
- Pros-Notre Dame has returned some of the shine to the golden dome with some elbow grease, provided by Manti Te’o and the nation’s best scoring defense. Well technically Notre Dame is tied with Alabama, but they gave up less points to a common opponent, Michigan, and has faced a tougher schedule. The only team to score more than 17 points on the Irish was Pitt, and it took 3 extra overtimes to get that much. Brian Kelly has navigated the Irish from what was said to be the toughest schedule in the country in August. Disappointing seasons from Big Ten opponents, as well as uncommon 2 and 3 loss seasons for Oklahoma and USC have tarnished this, however they are the only team of the three, not to schedule teams from a non-BCS conference (Navy and BYU are independents, but are better than many of those BCS conference foes, im looking at you Kansas and Colorado.)
- Cons- The inconsistent play of Everett Golson. At times the kid look unstoppable, see Notre Dame @ Oklahoma. At others, he looks so bad he needs to be pulled, See Notre Dame vs. Purdue, Michigan, Stanford and Pitt. This inconsistent play has left the irish with some close victories that will not pick up any style points from the pollsters.
- Outcome- Luckily for the Irish their toughest remaining game is away from home, where they have played the best. In games away from Notre Dame Stadium the Irish have won by a combined 162-35, with two of those wins coming against then top 10 opponents. Overall, they need some help, look for Irish nation to be rooting for Texas, Stanford, Oregon St and UCLA as the season comes to a close.
After all this here are my predictions for the BCS Bowl Games
Rose Bowl- Notre Dame (At-Large) vs Nebraska (Big 10 Champ)
Orange Bowl- Florida State (ACC Champ) vs Louisville (Big East Champ)
Sugar Bowl- Alabama (SEC Champ)vs Oklahoma (At Large)
Fiesta Bowl- Florida (At Large) vs Clemson (At Large)
National Championship- Oregon (Pac 10 Champ) vs Kansas St (Big 12 Champ
Next week, look for an Irish Fan’s profile on Heisman contending ND Linebacker Manti Te’o plus I’ll have updated BCS bowl projections from here on out.