Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Elimination Time!

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The Guru had a ticket for this Saturday's "Little Brown Jug" fight at the Big House. But because of a scheduling conflict, I will have to return home instead to tend to the WLOCP (Florida-Georgia, for those uninitiated). It's just as well after an astrocious exhibition of putting on the University of Michigan Golf Course this afternoon.

But hey, at least I severed the head of a Brutus tee on a 300-yard drive.

The rest of the college football world will be gunning for the top-ranked Buckeyes as well (say, that's what you call a segue!), starting with this weekend's game at Happy Valley. No. 2 Boston College also has a treacherous road game at Virginia Tech. It's possible, if not probable, that Hawai'i would be the only undefeated team left after this weekend. And we haven't even hit Novemeber yet.

With that as the backdrop, I now present you the Week 9 Guru's List:

GOLD -- Ohio State controls its own destiny, as does No. 2 Boston College. If the Eagles beat the Hokies this weekend and run the table, they will maintain their lead on No. 3 LSU, even if the Bayou Tigers win the SEC championship. The reason is simple: If the voters felt an unbeaten BC should be in front of a 1-loss LSU now, then that won't change if BC can get through the meat of its schedule unscathed.

SILVER -- LSU, Oregon and Arizona State. The Tigers will need help now that the pollsters have spoken. Ditto for the two surprising Pac-10 teams. Who'd thought that the top two teams in the Pac-10 at this point of the season would be somebody other than USC and Cal?

BRONZE -- Oklahoma, West Virginia, Virginia Tech and Kansas are all playing for BCS bowl berths, if not necessarily a BCS title game berth. USC is now the most intriguing team, as the Trojans have the potential to return to the Top 5 should they run through the gauntlet (at Oregon, Oregon State, at Cal, at Arizona State, UCLA) undefeated.

This week's BCS Buster Games:

5-Star: Boston College at Virginia Tech (Thursday) -- The real test for BC begins with a visit to Blacksburg, as so far the Golden Eagles have been relatively untested. A victory will cement their standing as the second-ranked team behind Ohio State; a loss will expose the Eagles as pretenders.

4-Star: Ohio State at Penn State -- The Buckeyes also start the toughest portion of their schedule, as they will not face another team currently with a losing record. This game is particularly troublesome for Ohio State as it has lost four of its last five visits to Beaver Stadium and Penn State is 18-1 there over three seasons, and 5-0 this year.

3-Star: USC at Oregon -- The Trojans' slim national title hopes are flickering, and a win at Autzen Stadium is a must. In the Pac-10, this is where the schedule gets exciting, as the top five teams are finally playing each other. And four of those five teams, including those two, all control their own destinies.

2-Star: Cal at Arizona State -- Who would've thought that the Sun Devils would be unbeaten and possibly playing for the national championship, and not Cal? But despite their latest stumbles against UCLA and Oregon State, the Golden Bears are still a formidable force whereas ASU will be playing the other top four teams in the Pac-10 in the next four games.

1-Star: Kansas at Texas A&M -- The Jayhawks have gotten fat on very questionable competition, so this will be their first real test. Kansas has a very favorable Big 12 schedule this year, as it does not face either Oklahoma or Texas, so KU could get into the conference championship game undefeated.

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