Friday, December 13, 2002
Coaches give the Sooners the slip
By Jack Arute
Special to BCSfootball.com
Comment to Jack Arute.
As Oklahoma Sooner fans have a bye week to celebrate their 41-31 victory over the Kansas State Wildcats, I'm sure diehard Little Apple residents will somehow find a way to blame me for their loss. But Oklahoma fans are also entitled to scream about the Coaches Poll's placement of the Sooners behind Clemson in the fourth spot.
Clemson beat Maryland 35-14. Is Maryland is the same category as K-State? I think not. The Sooners should be third in the Coaches Poll. Fear not Sooners fans, the almighty BCS will make its first Y2K appearance next week, and if the projections are correct, Oklahoma will gain that deserved No. 3 ranking.
What will be really interesting is the posting Clemson will receive. If the BCS was released this week, the Tigers would find themselves in sixth position behind Miami and Florida State.
My BCS projection shows the remainder of the Top 10 as No. 7 Florida, No. 8 Oregon, No. 9 Washington, Mississippi State rounding out the Top 10. TCU, by the way, takes its WAC albatross to the 13th spot.
There should be no debate about Nebraska's current No. 1 ranking, but looming on the horizon is the Cornhuskers' Nov. 11 trip to Manhattan, Kan. This will become the game in the Big XII. It is not out of the question that the Wildcats rebound and smack Nebraska with an 'L'.
Virginia Tech, on the other hand, thought it had to be concerned about its meeting this weekend in the Carrier Dome against Syracuse, but at 3-3, the Orangemen have become just another Big East pumpkin. If Virginia Tech brings its C game, and Syracuse plays an A game, then maybe Syracuse could go 4-3.
But as Al Borland always said to Tim Taylor in the old ABC hit, Home Improvement, "I don't think so, Tim."
Clemson awaits its opportunity as well. Florida State is a must-win if Clemson harbors any Orange Bowl aspirations.
That leaves Miami in the proverbial driver's seat. If the Hurricanes beat Va. Tech later this year, they could face a geographic home game. (Remember, Miami plays its home games in the Orange Bowl and the Orange Bowl is played in Pro Player Stadium.)
It looks as if the BCS poobahs have shown wisdom in delaying their initial rankings. Week 10 of this collegiate season has begun to pull the polls back to reality with few marquee matchups that have bowl implications. On this weekend's docket, the first BCS ratings should fairly designate the top teams in the country.
While marquee matchups may be absent this weekend, there are a couple of solid rivalry games. The biggest may be the Battle of Michigan in the Big House. Forget the records. This game is a traditional neighbor vs. neighbor slugfest. It will be Spartan head coach Bobby Williams' first trip to Ann Arbor as the head man.
It will also be the first opportunity for Ryan Van Dyke of MSU and Drew Henson of Michigan to meet each other on the gridiron. Van Dyke is used to being overshadowed by Henson. Since their junior seasons in high school, it has always been Henson and Van Dyke -- never the other way around. Henson was considered the No. 1 quarterback (out of Brighton) and Van Dyke No. 2 (out of Marshall) and while both have been fairly quiet about their impending reunion Saturday, Ryan wants the opportunity to prove that on the college level, he should be No. 1 and Drew No. 2.
The other matchup worth watching is between T.J. Duckett and Michigan's Anthony Thomas. Duckett is the lynchpin to the Spartans' chance this weekend. Thomas, on the other hand, could be "the train" that rolls over the green and white.
Is there a clear-cut advantage for one team over the other? Not necessarily.
Jack's Top 10
|Andre Davis and the Hokies have a favorable schedule.|
1. Nebraska: No reason to change horses in Week 10.
2. Virginia Tech: How 'bout them Hokies? The secret weapon is not Vick, it is Suggs.
3. Oklahoma: Enjoy that roasted Wildcat.
4. Clemson: Don't overlook Carolina waiting for your trip to FSU.
5. Miami: You did beat Florida State.
6. Florida State: You did lose to Miami.
7. Kansas State: Nebraska will give you a chance to jump back soon.
8. Oregon: They have made the Pac-10 fun again.
9. Washington: At a crossroads in their season. Forget about Oregon.
10. Florida: Needs a strong SEC second half as well as a win over FSU.
Michigan: All right already, the Wolverines ARE good. Just not Top 10 material. Get out the marshmallows, I will be in the Big House Saturday.
Jack Arute writes a column every Monday for BCSfootball.com.
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