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Sunday, September 29
Updated: October 2, 6:54 PM ET
Seminoles stumble, but not out of BCS race

By Brad Edwards
Special to

On Thursday, the Florida State Seminoles became the most recent victim of tough non-conference scheduling that has already jumped up and bitten several national title contenders. Of the preseason Top 10, only Miami, Texas and Oklahoma are still undefeated. And of the seven teams with a loss, only Tennessee has not been beaten out of conference. The Vols, however, still have a date with Miami left on the schedule (Nov. 9).

Big Weeks
Oct. 12 has long been identified as the big day of the season with games such as Oklahoma-Texas, Florida State-Miami and Tennessee-Georgia. But it's starting to look like the following weekend might be just as big for the national championship picture. We enter the month of October with 13 unbeaten teams in Division I-A, and depending how things shake out in the next few weeks, there could be three meetings of those teams on Oct. 19 -- Texas travels to Kansas State, Ohio State is at Wisconsin and Notre Dame goes to Air Force. Needless to say, there will be a significant shakedown between now and when the BCS Rankings officially come out on Oct. 21.

Undefeated Teams By Conference
Big 12 3 Kansas State, Oklahoma, Texas Big East 2 Miami, Virginia Tech Big Ten 2 Ohio State, Wisconsin ACC 1 NC State MAC 1 Bowling Green Mtn West 1 Air Force Pac-10 1 Oregon SEC 1 Georgia Independent 1 Notre Dame

Where's The Love?
Iowa State is off to a fantastic 5-1 start and certainly looks like a contender to win the Big 12 North title and maybe even climb fairly high in the BCS Rankings. But take a quick look at the Cyclones' next six games.

Oct. 12 Texas Tech
Oct. 19 at (3) Oklahoma
Oct. 26 at (2) Texas
Nov. 2 Missouri
Nov. 9 at (16) Kansas State
Nov. 16 at Colorado

There are home dates with two pretty good offensive teams (Texas Tech and Missouri) and a five-week span with road games at Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas State and Colorado. Last I checked, there was legislative protection from cruel and unusual punishment. Already one of the great stories of the year, if Iowa State survives this scheduling quirk coach Dan McCarney and QB Seneca Wallace will become legends in Ames.

Flying High
A pair of Falcons -- Air Force and Bowling Green -- are the only remaining undefeated teams from non-BCS conferences. But how much higher could they possibly fly?

Bowling Green has road games at Northern Illinois, South Florida, Toledo and possibly Marshall for the MAC Championship. Air Force probably has a slightly more difficult list of remaining opponents, but all of the big games are at home. BYU, Notre Dame and Colorado State all come to The Academy.

For those thinking either team has a good chance to crash the BCS party in early January, here's something to ponder. Air Force enters October as the No. 25 team in the coaches poll and Bowling Green is still unranked. At this time last year, Fresno State was ranked 10th and 11th in the two polls and BYU was in the Top 20 of both. These Falcons have a lot of ground to make up.

Air Force certainly has the more realistic chance to become a Top-10 team by the end of the season. It already has a win over a ranked team (California) and has a chance to get two more (Notre Dame and Colorado State). If the Irish are also undefeated at the time of that game, a win would almost certainly propel Air Force into the Top 15.

BCS Projected Top 10
All but one of the seven BCS computers are now reporting, and here is how the BCS Rankings would theoretically stand through games of Sept. 28.

1. Miami
2. Virginia Tech
3. Notre Dame
4. Ohio State
5. Georgia
6. Oklahoma
7. Florida
8. Texas
9. Wisconsin
10. Florida State

Down On The Vols
After a loss to Florida and a lackluster win over Rutgers at home, Tennessee is barely clinging to its spot in the Top 10. But that punishment is nowhere near what some BCS computers have done to the Vols. Tennessee is currently ranked 43rd by Wes Colley, 49th by The New York Times, 57th by Jeff Anderson and Chris Hester, 63rd by Jeff Sagarin and 93rd by Kenneth Massey (although the Massey ratings are another story in themselves at this early stage of the season). The big problem is that Tennessee has lost the only game it's played against a good team. The Volunteers' three wins have come against Wyoming (0-4), Middle Tennessee (0-4) and Rutgers (1-4).

End Of The Line
It's probably safe to say Nebraska is no longer a 2002 national title contender, but it's definitely safe to say the Cornhuskers are no longer ranked in the AP poll. And since the AP poll is part of the BCS formula, I'll stretch the boundaries of this column a little to give you some bonus information.

The Huskers are unranked for the first time since 1981, ending a stretch of 348 straight weeks in the poll -- the longest in history. Morale is not at a high point in Lincoln right now, but here's something for everyone associated with the program to be proud of.

Most Consecutive Weeks Ranked in the AP Poll
348 Nebraska 1981-2002 211 Florida State 1989-2001 208 Florida 1990-present 162 Miami 1985-95 160 Michigan 1969-80 158 Oklahoma 1970-81

And for those who might be curious, the next-longest active streak behind Florida belongs to Michigan at 66.

Brad Edwards is a college football researcher for ESPN. Inside the BCS appears weekly.

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