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Glad Tidings from BCS

ON COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Alabama is new No. 1 and Texas Tech, which upset previous No. 1 Texas, is No. 2. But don't chisel it in stone.

November 03, 2008|CHRIS DUFRESNE | Dufresne is a Times staff writer.

Saban sympathizers and Leach lovers should make copies of this week's Bowl Championship Series standings, take them to print shops, and have T-shirts produced.

You might never see anything like this again.

You might not see anything like this next week.

Alabama is No. 1 in the BCS and Texas Tech is No. 2.

If the season ended today, according to rules originally scrawled out on a cocktail napkin, these schools would play Jan. 8 in South Florida for the BCS national title.

Is anyone ready for Mike Leach versus Nick Saban?

The Mad Scientist versus the coach who always looks mad?

The season didn't end Sunday, though, so what you're looking at is probably a BCS false front similar to that Western town, Rock Ridge, in Mel Brooks' "Blazing Saddles."

The idea of a BCS title game showcasing Alabama versus Texas Tech is not repugnant, it's just not promising.

It sure does make for a nice photo opportunity, though.

In 1998, we'll never forget walking past storefronts in Manhattan, Kan., and seeing that week's USA Today top 25 coaches' poll blown up and for sale on the backs of T-shirts.

Kansas State, after years of futility, was No. 1.

Historical note: Bill Snyder's team didn't end up No. 1 that year; in fact, it slid all the way to the Alamo Bowl after a crushing Big 12 title-game loss to Texas A&M.

In terms of this year's BCS standings, in other words, it's still the crack of dawn.

Texas Tech's big win over Texas on Saturday night did stir up the BCS soup.

Alabama, with its average of .9747, moved up to No. 1 and Texas Tech, at .9372, is the new No. 2.

They are trailed by Penn State (.9286), Texas (.8531) and Florida (.8268).

What happened to USC, last week's No. 5?

The Trojans posted their third shutout in four games, a 56-0 pasting of Washington (0-8), but the drag was predictable. USC fell to No. 7, mainly because it dropped four spots, to 10th, in the BCS computers.

Maybe Pete Carroll should have kept his starters in?

USC was jumped in the BCS standings by two schools, Texas Tech and Florida, and Texas fell only to No. 4. The Trojans also stayed behind Oklahoma, which dropped from No. 4 to No. 6.

USC's chances of making it to the BCS title game are looking more like that biblical parable about a camel fitting through the eye of a needle.

Texas' loss was helpful, but now the Trojans need Texas Tech to lose, and there appear to be too many one-loss schools out there with potentially better resumes.

USC won't get boxed out by an Alabama-Texas Tech title game, of this we're 37% certain.

Alabama is riding high, like Hannibal on his elephant, but here come the Alps, starting with Louisiana State this week in Baton Rouge. Get past that and Alabama still has Auburn, which has won the last six in the series, and then a possible buzz-kill matchup against Florida in the Southeastern Conference title game.

Texas Tech is 9-0 and deserving of every decimal point that led to No. 2, but defeating Texas was just the start of a gantlet that includes Oklahoma State this week, at Oklahoma on Nov. 22 and the Big 12 title game.

The schools with the best shot of ending up Nos. 1 and 2 in the BCS, it seems from this perilous prediction perch, might be Penn State and Florida.

Penn State is probably assured of one title-game spot if it wins out against Iowa, Indiana and Michigan State, provided either Alabama or Texas Tech loses.

Florida has more upside than all the one-loss schools and seems to be peaking. The Gators have scored 51, 63 and 49 points in their last three wins, two of which were over Louisiana State and Georgia.

Florida figures to be a BCS tsunami if it can get to an SEC title-game matchup against No. 1 Alabama.

--

Weekend wrap

* Strange: Utah moved up two BCS spots, to No. 8, after a 13-10 win over New Mexico. Yet, Boise State moved up only one spot, to No. 10, after a 49-0 win over New Mexico State. With Texas Christian at No. 12, there are now three non-BCS schools that have met the qualification for an automatic BCS bowl bid. Only the highest ranked school, though, would get the bid.

* Futility award: New Mexico State gained 38 yards rushing in 39 attempts in its loss to Boise State. Broncos Coach Chris Petersen on recording a shutout: "Those are really hard to do these days, they really are." Tell that to USC.

* Futility II: Tulane is 0-35 against ranked teams since defeating LSU in 1982.

* Something special: Joe Paterno, in his 43rd year as Penn State coach, has had at least one undefeated team in every decade: 1960s, '70s, '80s and '90s. Can he make it five in his fifth decade?

* Texas Tech's win over Texas was its first against a top-ranked school. The Red Raiders are 9-0 for the first time since 1938. Lonnie "Primo" McCurry, the only living player from that 1938 team, was introduced to the crowd before Saturday's game in Lubbock.

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