There are more than a dozen unbeaten teams remaining, three weeks into the season. There are four with a legitimate shot at the BCS title game.
Wait: How can that be? ONLY four?
Bear with me. Here's how it breaks down (in order of likely BCS ranking):
(1) Auburn-Florida-Georgia survivor*
(2) Ohio St-Michigan winner**
(4) West Virginia-Louisville winner****
* - With the SEC teams, it's no gimme that the SEC champ will escape the season unbeaten, given the way the league tends to punish itself round-robin style.
** - Presuming that winner comes out of the rest of the season unbeaten.
*** - USC has four games remaining against ranked teams, but all are at home, and the toughest (Notre Dame) suddenly doesn't look so tough.
**** - WVA has one tough game left (at Louisville) and it's so intriguing, because it's 7 weeks from now (with L'ville QB Brian Brohm expected to return from wrist injury anywhere from 3-6 weeks from now. Want to bet that he's ready for a dramatic return at home vs. WVA with HUGE national title implications?)
The "contender" teams with one loss (LSU, Texas, Notre Dame) are in trouble, because they need a LOT of things to break right to even be in the discussion. Other one-loss teams like Oklahoma and FSU are simply out of the discussion.
And then there are the best of the other currently unbeaten teams:
Virginia Tech: Their opening schedule has been so pathetic that no one will respect them until they actually run the table. Even then, if there are two other unbeatens, there's no way this easy early schedule doesn't come back to haunt them.
Iowa: Call me when they beat Ohio St. AND at Michigan.
Oregon: Home-cookin' was obviously nice vs. Oklahoma, but at AZ St, at Cal, at USC? Yikes.
AZ St/Alabama/BC: Aside from rough remaining scheduls, starting too deep in the polls to make it.
TCU: This will be kind of a shame. They totally dominated the previously unstoppable TX Tech offense and will likely run the table -- they have ZERO chance at the BCS title game, even if they're the only unbeaten team remaining. However, it'll be a nice little reward to get one of the slots in that new 5th BCS bowl game that was created precisely for teams like TCU.
Rutgers: Ahh, if only...
What's the upshot of my "Big Four?" The scenario that we could end up with four unbeaten teams, playing for a split national title.
My updated Top 10:
1. Ohio St.
3. West Virginia
Comments Spin-Off! If you haven't yet, weigh in with your opinion of how I should shape my Top 10. Don't be afraid to offer a little backup for your picks.