Friday, December 13, 2002
Don't count Florida State out yet
By Jack Arute
Special to BCSfootball.com
Comment to Jack Arute.
Wide Right III turned the rankings upside down for yet another week.
Before we look at those standings and what they mean, let me say it would be completely unfair to blame Florida State's loss on kicker Matt Munyon. Florida State didn't exactly give him terrific field position from which to make the game-tying field goal. Anything beyond 40 yards is a crapshoot at best unless you have a cannon for a toe.
With that said, the Seminoles' new ranking of No. 7 does not completely eliminate them from the BCS championship hunt. Why, you ask? Again, the answer can be found in some of the computerized rankings that will eventually play in a role in the BCS standings.
The Dunkel Index, in fact, continues to post Florida State at No. 1 with K-State second and Miami third.
Let's move to the argument about Virginia Tech and Kansas State. The ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll gives Tech the advantage over Bill Snyder's Wildcats. The AP, on the other hand, switches positions. The New York Times computerized index puts Virginia Tech ahead of Miami, Nebraska and Ohio State.
In the ESPN/USA Today Poll, OSU is fifth (sixth in AP). Jeff Sagarin, on the other hand, lists the Buckeyes first. Are you confused yet?
Don't worry, the BCS is coming, but between now and Oct. 23 when the first posting is revealed, we will get some hard answers -- at least as far as K-State is concerned. The Oklahoma Sooners are coming to Manhattan with Josh Heupel and an explosive offense. Jonathan Beasley certainly has the ability with his Wildcat offense to match the Sooners point for point. So the decision-maker Saturday will be as it is in many cases -- the best defense will win the game.
The game is in Manhattan, not New York, but in Dorothy's Kansas. The home-field advantage and the rabid crowd decked out in purple can be intimidating to some, but Bob Stoops and his troops survived the Red River War in Dallas. Survived? If that was survival, then everyone from the Texas tribe forgot to show up. I give K-State a slight advantage in this one, but it would not surprise me if Oklahoma won. It's that close.
Clemson's hopes for a trip to the Orange Bowl rest in other teams' hands. A victory in November over Florida State has much less impact now. Miami is certainly on the rise, and I hope Butch Davis learns his lesson and foregoes future early season cross-continent trips. The Washington game still went a long way towards solidifying Ken Dorsey's game.
That leaves us with Ohio State and Nebraska. The Buckeyes must make their case for a postseason trip to Miami by not only winning the rest of their games, but dominating them as well. The Big Ten is still a difficult conference to march through undefeated.
Eric Crouch, on the other hand, continues to state his Heisman case as well as the Cornhuskers' case for another national championship spot. Nebraska still has two donnybrooks on its schedule: Oklahoma (Oct. 28) and K-State (Nov. 11). Both games are away from the friendly confines of Lincoln. For both games, the Cornhuskers should go back and review their Notre Dame performance. If they hope to play for the Sears Trophy, they must play better than they did within the gaze of ND's Touchdown Jesus.
Virginia Tech has Miami in the Orange Bowl later in the season as well. The key to Tech's repeat national championship appearance rests not with Michael Vick, but rather with its ever-improving defense.
As you can see, there are no sure bets. There's no need yet for fans to send their deposits to Miami hotels or search the Internet for discounted flights to South Florida. It is way too early to determine the national championship contenders.
College football is at its absolute best this season.
Jack's Top 10
|Derek Combs and the Buckeyes are No. 1 in Jeff Sagarin's rankings and in the top six in most.|
1. Nebraska: May be short-lived, but still deserving until November.
2. Virginia Tech: Chosen over K-State based on a coin flip.
3. Kansas State: Lost the coin flip.
4. Oklahoma: Texas is not Bowling Green.
5. Clemson: There's a new Bowden in town.
6. Miami: If only the Hurricanes' flight to Washington had been canceled.
7. Ohio State: Buckeye mania is in full bloom.
8. Florida State: Still has Florida at the end of the season.
9. Florida: Is it OK to tear the goalposts down this week, Steve?
10. TCU: Should be higher, but the Horned Frogs suffer from WAC disease.
Jack Arute writes a column every Monday for BCSfootball.com.
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