Yikes, the Hokie Guru's been busy over the last couple of weeks... he just got admitted to the Georgetown University Executive Master of Policy Management Program... it's a program that is specifically set up for federal government inspector general employees. If you don't know, the federal government inspector general is essentially the internal auditing arm of a federal government agency. For more about the inspector general community, go here. He will never be the Hoya Guru. The Hokie Guru was also in Blacksburg, VA on Saturday.
So... half of the college football season is already over... the Hokie Guru repeats, half of the college football season is already over 🙁
Let's take a look look at the national championship picture... we pretty much have 8 teams that have a shot right now:
1.) Florida - By all accounts, Florida just won their toughest game of the year on the road at LSU. The Gators' remaining home games are againt Arkansas, Georgia, Vanderbilt, Florida International "Duty Free" University, and Florida State... and they have South Carolina and Mississippi State on the road (here's their entire schedule) and don't count out a tough game with the Gamecocks. The Gators do not have to play Mississippi this year.... but will likely face Alabama in the Southeastern Conference (SEC) Championship Game on December 5, 2009 (save that date) basically for the right to play in the national title game.
2.) Texas - How good are the Tejas' Longhorns? The Hokie Guru isn't sure yet because of the soft schedule. We will find out when the Longhorns take on Oklahoma in the best game of the week on Saturday (and we'll talk about that below later on). The Longhorns remaining games are against Oklahoma (in Dallas, TX), on the road against Missouri, Oklahoma State, and Texas A&M... and at home against Kansas and Central Florida... should the Longhorns win on Saturday, the Hokie Guru expects Tejas to run the table and play in the Big 12 Championship game... where Tejas might face a VERY DIFFICULT Nebraska Cornhuskers team.
3.) Alabama - Alabama had the best win of any college football team this year. On September 5, 2009, the Crimson Tide defeated Virginia Tech 34-24 and that win looks better and better as the season goes forward. For example, this week the Associated Press moved the Tide to #2 in their poll and they received five first place votes in the coaches poll. It takes a lof of courage to take on a tough opponent on the first game of the season and it's playing dividends for the Tide now. Now, a word about the Tide's SEC schedule... it might be the toughest in the conference... the Tide still has remaining home games with South Carolina, Tennessee, LSU, and road games with Mississippi State and Auburn... a tough row (if you're talking wheat like we do in North Dakota) to hoe... national champions prove that they can win all of those games... and the Tide will most likely play Florida on December 5, 2009 for the right to get into the national title game... we'll see what happens there.
4.) Virginia Tech - The Virginia Tech Hokies have looked impressive on offense for three straight weeks... the beat down of Miami, the road victory at an improving Duke, and the thrashing of Boston College have put the Hokies back into the national title picture again... a servicable offense, ranked at #54, will get you some wins... and the good thing about the Bowl Championship Series is that you can recover from an early season loss, in this case, to an excellent Alabama team... and maybe look like a national title contender? The Hokies need to win every game on the schedule and get some help from Texas (perhaps a loss to Oklahoma) and Alabama or Florida (who will most likely play each other in the SEC Championship game)... Virginia Tech has a favorable schedule... there's a tough road game against Georgia Tech (we'll talk about that below) and other away games at East Carolina (and the Hokies owe the Pirates for last year), Maryland, and Virginia... and home games against North Carolina and North Carolina State... Hokies need to run the table and get a little help to play in Pasadena for the natonal title.
5.) USC - Like the Hokies above, USC needs a little help to get the national title game... " target="_blank">the Trojans had an early season loss against the Washington Huskies... but can recover if they run the table and see losses from Virginia Tech, Tejas and Alabama or Florida. The Trojans schedule is favorable... like Virginia Tech, they have one tough game on the road (against Oregon)... and road games against Notre Dame and Arizona State... their home games are against Oregon State, Stanford, Arizona, and UCLA. The Hokie Guru expects another Rose Bowl bid for USC.
6.) Iowa - The Hawkeyes are a BIG TIME darkhorese national championship contender (the BCS does not want Iowa to be undefeated and they have a pretty good shot)... the Hawks completely shut down Penn State in week four of the season... and continued their stellar work vs. Michigan last week. The Hawkeyes schedule includes road games vs. Wisconsin (we'll talk about that below later on), Michigan State, and Ohio State (which could deside a birth in the national title game if Iowa is undefeated and wins or who gets the Rose Bowl Birth... this is the game of the week on November 14, 2009) and home games vs. Indiana, Northwestern, and Minnesota... the BCS could have a clear problem if Iowa goes undefeated and you know they will be rooting for Ohio State.
7.) Cincinnati - Of all the teams in the Big East, the undefeated Cincy Bearcats might have the most complete path to the Big East title... the Bearcats absolutely blew out Rutgers and had big wins vs. Fresno State and Oregon State (you can see the full schedule here). The Bearcats have road games against South Florida (we'll talk about that huge game below), Syracuse, and Pittsburgh... and home games against Louisville, Connecticut, West Virginia, and Illinois. You can bet that there will be teams in the Big East that will watch the tape from last year's Orange Bowl game that Cincy had with Virginia Tech (who shut down the Bearcat offense, the strength of Cincy's team). When you have most of your tough games at home, you have a chance to run the table... again, you can bet that the BCS folks are cheering for a Bearcat loss on Saturday, October 17 vs. South Florida or a Bearcat loss vs. Pittsburgh on December 5, 2009... because the BCS is going to have a problem with an undefeated Cincy team... and an even bigger problem if both Iowa and Cincy are undefeated.
8.) Boise State - Boise State, my smurfs, the Hokie Guru loves ya... you're one of his favs... but your gonna be on the outside looking in (maybe with Cincy and Iowa as your company)... and yes, it's not fair... if we have five undefeated teams at the end of the year, then just maybe, we will have a national playoff in future years.... and you're gonna be a big reason for that... but first, the Broncoes need to worry about Idaho.
Week 6 Viewer's Guide and Picks!!
This is an early edition because we have a Thursday night matchup this week that has national title implications.
1.) #8 Cincinnati at #21 South Florida (Thursday, October 15, 7:30 PM EST on ESPN) - The Big East game of the year... and this might end up being one of the more highly rated ESPN Thurday night telecasts. In one corner, we have Cincy who has one of the best offenses in the country who will take on the USF Bulls, who have one of the nation's best defenses. Something has to give in this game. You can see that it took the pollsters several weeks to put USF back into the top 25 because the Bulls usually have a midseason swoon where they drop 3-4 games... the Bulls are a young program that are still need to adjust to having big time success (they might be the 2nd or 3rd best team in the State of Florida right now... we'll found out more later this year when they play Miami)... Cincy, on the other hand, has played in the shadow of Ohio State for several years... and probably likes playing under the radar... but Cincy can't hide because it's had two 10 win seasons in a row. This is a really, really big game... and because it's Thurday night at Raymond James (and Cincy has a brand new defense)... and the Hokie Guru has no idea how Cincy will handle USF's George Selvie, he's taking South Florida to win. This might be the year that USF grows up and handles its success (that, and the Bulls' defense is MUCH BETTER).
2.) #20 Oklahoma at #3 Texas (Saturday, October 17, 2009 at 12 PM EST on ABC) - Ahhhh... OU/Tehas week!! This is Saturday's best game. Both teams have crazy, crazy offenses (both are in the top 15). And both teams have defenses that are like ice blocks (both are in the top 10). Whoever can get pressure on the other team's QB will win this game... since both teams have tough defenses, I expect a low scoring affair in the high 20's (this is low for the Big 12 and high for the Big 10 lol) and a Tejas win... but the Hokie Guru is an Oklahoma fan on Saturday.
3.) #4 Virginia Tech at #19 Georgia Tech (Saturday, October 17, 2009 at 6 PM EST on ESPN2) - Battle of the Techs... battle of the engineers... both teams are coming off really big wins... we already talked about Virginia Tech's beat down of Boston College last week... Georgia Tech had a big win last week vs. Florida $tate Univer$ity. Last year, the Hokie Guru would have been very worried about this road game... not as much this year because it appears that Georgia Tech has a swiss cheese defense. Virginia Tech wins this big Atlantic Coast Conference road game. And, well, the Virginia Tech defense is hot. To close the season, the Hokie Guru will be going to the Maryland, North Carolina State, and Virginia games... should be a fun road trip lol.
4.) #11 Iowa at Wisconsin (Saturday, October 17, 2009 at 12 PM EST on ESPN) - A classic Big 10 battle in the trenches... a man's football game... no, this will not be wide open football like you see in the Big 12 conference... whoever establishes the run will win this football game... it will not be raining (or snowing) in Madison, WI on Saturday, so weather will not be a factor. The Hokie Guru expects a boring game will be won by Iowa further pressuring the BCS and a huge Novmeber 14 game looms in Columbus vs. the Buckeyes.
5.) #25 South Carolina at #2 Alabama (Saturday, October 17, 2009 at 7:45 PM EST on ESPN) - Our final preview of the week... we'll see two really awesome defenses... the kind we always see in the SEC... face each other in a great weekend matchup... the kind you love to see on a cold, fall Saturday night. Alabama, however, has a better offense... in fact, a top 20 offense... which will make up the difference in this game... and the Crimson Tide depth will wear down South Carolina and roll to a 4th quarter win.
Have a great time at the game, Govloop... I'm rooting for USF to get over that hump.