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Tuesday, October 16, 2001
Hail to the Victors? Maybe
By Brent Musburger
Special to ABC Sports Online
C'mon. Let's check out the Big Ten. How the mighty have fallen. NO team with the Midwestern Big Shoulder Pads has even sniffed the Top 5 this season. The Glory Days of the '90s are gone! The King is dead. Long live the King.
Whoa. Not so fast, my friends of Lee Corso. Something seismic happened this weekend. And your radar may not have picked it up. The Big Ten could still earn a trip to Pasadena and the Rose Bowl presented by AT&T! Michigan is the one team that could make it.
That's what happens when three unbeaten teams (all ranked ahead of Michigan) taste the agony of defeat on the same Saturday. Florida, South Carolina and Washington all fell on their swords. Crash! A double hit for the SEC and a single for the Pac-10. Meanwhile, the Wolverines took care of business against previously unbeaten Purdue.
Now climbing the BCS charts: The best fight song in college football. Memo to the Wolverines: You MUST win the remainder of your games. Crush Iowa, Michigan State, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio State, and keep your fingers crossed.
I will guarantee you that half of the unbeaten teams ranked ahead of you will lose. That's because they play each other.
Listen up, class. Mark your Saturday calendars. Three dates on ABC loom large. Real large. As in monster games.
Oct. 27: Oklahoma at Nebraska
|Larry Foote leads a Michigan defense that is allowing just 52.7 yards rushing per game.|
Nov 10: Oregon at UCLA
Dec. 1: Miami at Virginia Tech
Michigan fans, you have just jumped the losers … if you win. That leaves the three winners plus Florida and Fresno State. You can forget Fresno. The Bulldogs' strength of schedule won't move them into the Top 2. Maybe a BCS bowl, but not beyond. The Gators are another issue. They'll finish ahead of you if they run the table. Won't be easy. Tennessee, Florida State and the SEC title game is a tough, tough gauntlet for the Gators, who looked vulnerable Saturday night against Auburn.
That leaves Michigan taking its chances against the winner of the Miami-Virginia Tech game with the survivor of the UCLA-Oregon game sitting No. 1. King of the Mountain. And strength of schedule moves the Wolverines into second.
Wait a minute! Isn't that the Big Ten and the Pac-10 in the Rose Bowl? That can't happen. Can it? Yes, it can, but I'd lay 10-1 against.
Folks, I've figured out what I like the most about the BCS rankings. I can daydream a column. I can put Michigan back in the chase. I can bring the Big Ten back from the scrap heap. You can, too.
Brent's Top 5
1. Oklahoma: Like I have been saying, you're No. 1 until somebody knocks you off. Besides, the Sooners are better than they were a year ago.
2. UCLA: Strength of schedule, strength of schedule …
3. Miami: The 'Noles are down, I know, but that was still a quality win for the 'Canes.
4. Nebraska: The Sooners are coming .. tra la, tra la.
5. Oregon: The Pac-10 and the Big 12 are the two best conferences this year.
Brent's Heisman Ballot
1. UCLA RB DeShaun Foster: A 300-yard game against a stingy Washington defense convinces me this Bruin running back is the real deal.
2. Miami QB Ken Dorsey: The 'Canes jumped on Florida State because Dorsey hit his open receivers.
3. Florida QB Rex Grossman: A tough loss against Auburn, but Spurrier's right arm is still the top-ranked quarterback in the country.
All right. Time to jump off the Michigan bandwagon. I'm headed for Evanston this Saturday and the Northwestern game against Penn State. You know. JoePa takes another crack at 323. Could happen, but that's a different story. See you at 3:30 Eastern on ABC.
Brent Musburger is a play-by-play announcer for ABC's coverage of college football. He writes a column every week for ABC Sports Online.