The BCeStimation is a weekly column that predicts which 10 teams will make it to the Orange Bowl, Sugar Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, Rose Bowl and National Championship game. The name of the column was thought of by me, which means I'm awesome at naming things. Let's carry on.
Before we get started, how about a round of applause for the UCLA Bruins. They did me the favor of exposing Texas and sparing me the embarrassment of picking them for this article any longer. In truth, I should have seen the signs; the defense was playing well, but the offense was struggling to find its identity without Colt McCoy. The running game hasn't come along the way Mac Brown wanted it to, and all of this adds up to an embarrassing home loss to UCLA. I can admit when I'm wrong, and I was very, very wrong about Texas. So this is the BCeStimation's official break up with the Longhorns. All I need to do now is send them a compilation of sassy Beyonce songs that sing about getting off my lawn before the sprinklers turn on.
If you want to see who replaced Texas in this week's article (I'll give you a hint -- it's not Oklahoma), all you have todo is continue reading... because that's how articles work.
As I pointed out last week, the Orange Bowl has a long tradition of blandness and mediocrity to live up to, so I've shuffled some teams around to honor that. The ACC and the Big East continue to be the armpit and crotch of college football. The two leagues combined only have one team that remains unbeaten, and that team is unranked North Carolina State. The other four power conferences average five unbeaten teams each, but these two leagues combine for only one. There is comedy in your everyday life; you just have to look for it.
Why Miami? Because they proved that they're the class of the ACC on Thursday by beating the sburgh out of Pitt (sburgh is probably German for something, but I'm too busy to look it up). Miami's front seven looks like the real deal this year, and they pushed around a Pitt offense that was supposed to be good. Granted, you should never, ever, underestimate the ineptitude of Pitt's head coach Dave Wannstedt -- but Miami completely manhandled Pitt in the trenches. It was fun to watch knowing that Ohio State put up 36 points and 414 yards on these guys, and it could've been much, much worse if Tressel had kept his foot on the gas.
Why West Virginia? Because they've looked like the least embarrassing team in the Big East this year. Note* this is the team that needed a 15 point come-from-behind overtime victory over a putrid Marshall team good God the Big East is awful. Two week's removed from a 14 point win over Maryland, the Mountaineers went into Tiger Stadium at night and played admirably in a loss to LSU. And I know that LSU's current football team only operates in two of the three stages of the game; playing well on defense and special teams while their offense tries to figure out what football is -- but that's all I've got.
Sugar Bowl: Alabama vs. TCU
For the fourth consecutive week, I have Alabama and TCU facing off in the Sugar Bowl. Alabama is on the verge of getting promoted to the National Championship game and TCU flirted with disaster in a way-too-close-for-comfort win over SMU. Things might change if this pattern continues, but for now, I'm sticking with my guns.
Why Alabama? Because Mark Ingram might actually be a monster sent from the underworld to destroy every living thing that crosses him. The Heisman trophy winning running back has been sensational his first two games of the season (he missed the first two games due to a knee injury), averaging over nine yards a carry for 308 yards and four touchdowns. I was so close to getting one of the two losses Alabama needs in order to keep them out of the championship game, but Ryan Mallet channeled the Michigan version of himself and threw a gazillion interceptions in the fourth quarter to blow the game. There's still a whole lot of games on the schedule that Alabama could lose (huge game this week against Florida), so for now they're slotted in the Sugar Bowl.
Why TCU? Because they survived some early struggles against SMU and won the game. Early in the third quarter, Andy Dalton was picked off by the SMU defense and the turnover resulted in a score for the Mustangs. At that point, SMU had a four point lead and all the momentum, but the Horned Frogs woke up and outscored the Mustangs 27-7 through the rest of the game for a 17 point victory. The poor showing did affect TCU as they were leapfrogged (get it?) by Oregon in the AP and Coaches poll. If they play another game like the one they just played against one of the better teams in the Mountain West conference, they'll get knocked out of the BCS picture.
Fiesta Bowl: Nebraska vs. Iowa
The battle of corn, potatoes, WWE wrestling, and wardrobes that are 90% flannel. I know none of that really made sense, but in a weird way, it sums up everything this game would stand for.
Why Nebraska? Because STONE COLD SAID SO!!! Sorry, couldn't resist that one. But Nebraska has been playing good football aside from their miserable performance against South Dakota State this past Saturday. It should be expected that freshman quarteback Taylor Martinez will have a bad game or two as the season goes along, and he most definitely had a bad one one against the Jackrabbits (seriously, that's South Dakota State's team name). But despite his three turnovers, the Cornhuskers still won the game by two touchdowns. Nebraska starts Big 12 play this week and faces an unbeaten Kansas State team. It'll be fun to watch Nebraska's season unfold, but right now, they're the best team in the conference by a pretty substantial margin.
Why Iowa? Because when you look at Iowa's season, aside from the first half against Arizona, they've looked like a top 10 team. The loss of Jewel Hampton (out for the season) is a big one for Iowa, but Adam Robinson is doing a great job of keeping the ground game going and Ricky Stanzi has really cut down on the mistakes that hurt this team so much last year. The secondary and offensive line continue to be a concern, but Iowa has one of the best defensive lines in the country and a favorable Big Ten schedule (Ohio State , Penn State, Michigan and Wisconsin all visit Kinnick stadium).
Rose Bowl: Auburn vs. Boise State
Auburn makes their first appearance in the BCeStimation, and I'm sure that Tiger fans in Alabama are running through the streets in celebration.
Why Auburn? Because the ghost of common sense visited me again and told me to stop giving the Big 12 two BCS invites while the SEC only got one. I know my selection of Auburn is a little shaky considering how well Arkansas played Bama this past weekend and with Florida playing well against Kentucky, you might think others are more deserving. The thing is, I'm really not impressed with Florida. When you think about it, they're in the identical situation that Texas is in -- replacing their all-world quarterback and a ton of talent lost to the NFL. We just all have to wait for their UCLA moment to happen. We'll have to see how Arkansas responds to that tough loss, but Auburn is a good looking team so far and oh hey look their players can fly (35 seconds in)!
Why Boise State? Because God hates me? Probably. If you hadn't heard, Boise State beat Oregon State in rather meh fashion but still remain in the National Championship picture for some reason. Seriously, am I missing something here? They play two... TWO freaking teams from automatic qualifying conferences this year, and that legitimizes them as a title contender by some people in the national media? WHY?! Those people who think Boise is deserving are the same people who rip Ohio State to shreds for having the audacity to schedule two non AQ teams out of conference. Those are the same caliber teams that comprise 83% of Boise State's schedule this year! I feel like I'm taking crazy pills! Just look at all of these exclamation points! Oh, and the two AQ teams that they did play... one of them is probably the third best team in the ACC, and the other one might be the sixth or seventh best team in the Pac 10.
I give up.
National Championship Game: Ohio State vs. Oregon
As I've hinted in previous articles, the line between Oregon and Alabama is super thin. On the field, it's pretty clear that Alabama is the better team. Unfortunately for them, their road to Glendale is tougher than Oregon's, so that's why I keep putting the Ducks ahead of Bama. Don't know how long I'm going to be able to convince myself of this, but for this week...
Why Ohio State? Because a Jim Tressel team just hung 73 points on its opponent. Are you not entertained? The Buckeyes absolutely rolled through their non-conference slate and put up video game type of numbers doing it. Ohio State currently ranks 3rd in the country in points scored. Can anyone ever remember a time in the Jim Tressel era where that was the case? Terrelle Pryor notched six touchdowns (!) in Ohio State's latest win, and currently ranks 13th among quarterbacks in pass efficiency. The Buckeyes enter conference play relatively healthy and with a ton of momentum.
Why Oregon? Because they were able to overcome some struggles in the desert and put Arizona State away. Oregon's defense did give up 31 points to the Sun Devils, but they also clamped down when they needed to and forced seven turnovers in the game. Darron Thomas continues to add a dimension to this offense that wasn't necessarily there last year with Masoli at the helm -- a bona-fide passing attack. When Oregon's running game wasn't working, Chip Kelly put the load on the arm of his young quarterback, and he responded with 260 yards and two touchdowns through the air. The Ducks escaped with a W, but they face a much stiffer test this week in Stanford. Oregon will look to redeem themselves after last year's 51-42 loss to the Cardinals.