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College Football Spotlight

The Big Picture

October 19, 2003|Elliott Teaford

Now the fun starts.

The first bowl championship series rankings are due out Monday, which means the preliminaries are nearly at an end and the weeks ahead feature only meaningful games. Which is to say, the fussin' and feudin' is about to begin in earnest.

Oklahoma, Miami, Virginia Tech, Georgia and USC probably will make up the top five teams in the BCS rankings, just as they are in the Associated Press poll.

There's no sense arguing about the first three, since they are the only unbeaten BCS schools. Georgia struggled a bit to defeat Vanderbilt, but USC hammered Notre Dame.

As we've pointed out repeatedly, the big question is whether Northern Illinois and Texas Christian, two non-BCS schools with flawless records, will be given their due.

Or will they be shut out because of their status as second-class citizens?

Only the top 12 in the BCS rankings at season's end will merit consideration in the major bowl games, which means the No. 12 Huskies, with three victories over BCS schools, and the No. 16 Horned Frogs must finish the regular season without a loss.

Strength of schedule might also work against the schools, with the Huskies' Mid-American Conference on the rise, but not on par with the neighboring Big Ten. The Horned Frogs' Conference USA is better known for its basketball prowess.

Back at the top, Oklahoma could run the table, but either Miami or Virginia Tech will finish with a loss since they play each other in what shapes up as the game of the season Nov. 1 at Blacksburg, Va.

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-- Elliott Teaford

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