Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Countdown Begins

The season started with a blast, when Appalachian State took down mighty Michigan at the Big House. And it has continued in such dramatic fashion, with one upset after another, climaxing with Stanford's stunning win over USC last weekend. So when the first official BCS standings of 2007 come out on Sunday, they will bear little resemblance to the first unofficial standings we started the season with.

As the official standings start to roll out, the Guru's job becomes a bit more different, not to say a little more difficult as well. First, instead of publishing unofficial standings weekly, the Guru will now post projections every Saturday night, in advance of the official announcement Sunday afternoon. Also, the Guru will publish the official standings with color coding, offering important information to help you decipher the myriad of numbers that make up the BCS standings.

And as we started last week, the Guru's List will appear every Friday, like right now:

Gold: LSU will be in the national championship game if it wins out. Bar none. The Tigers shared the penthouse with USC for the first five weeks of the season. Now they have it all to themselves.

Silver: Cal or Ohio State? That's the question. While the Buckeyes are slightly in front, the Golden Bears, with a more difficult schedule and playing in a more difficult league, stand to benefit if they can manage to stay undefeated. Cal will beat out Ohio State should both teams finish unbeaten.

Bronze: South Florida, Boston College, Missouri, Arizona State, Cincinnati, Kansas and Connecticut are the only other unbeaten BCS conference teams. Some of those teams will play one another and knock each other out. And it's really difficult to see any of those teams go undefeated. For now, they're part of the elite "Clean Dozen Minus One."

Noticeably missing from the above list is Hawai'i. Yes, the Warriors remain unbeaten. And yes, after Friday night's game at San Jose State, they'll have to leave Honolulu only once (at Nevada) the rest of the season. But even if Hawai'i goes unbeaten, including a showdown win over Boise State, it might have a hard time getting into the Top 12, thus earning a guaranteed BCS bowl berth. Hawai'i ranks no higher than 30th in any of the computer ratings and as low as 76th (Massey). And human voters remain unimpressed with the Warriors' weak schedule (as low as dead last in Division I-A).

BCS Buster Games for Week 7:

4-Star: Missouri at Oklahoma -- One more loss, the Sooners are really done. But this game is more about Mizzou and whether it's ready to contend for the national championship. There might even be a rematch later, but OU will continue to own the Tigers, for now.

3-Star: LSU at Kentucky -- There are no easy games in the SEC, especially on the road. The Tigers had better not think too far ahead about next week's revenge game against Auburn, or UK might win this cat fight. In the end, though, LSU has too much to lose to let this one slip away.

2-Star: Oregon State at Cal -- A year ago, the Beavers handed USC its first conference loss in nearly three seasons. Can they upend another Pac-10 front-runner? Not in Strawberry Canyon.

1-Star: Louisville at Cincinnati -- The Cardinals' season is very much down the toilet. Now they want to drag down the unbeaten Bearcats with them. It's time to flush.

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