We are down to a "Big Four" in college football -- the four teams left with a clear-cut claim on being in the national-title game:
*The winner of next week's TCU@Utah game.
Neither Auburn nor Oregon have the stout defense of a typical national champion. Boise plays an easy schedule. The TCU-Utah winner probably has the strongest claim after next week.
At the very least, yesterday eliminated two teams from the chase: Michigan State and Mizzou, both exposed on the road -- admittedly against very good opponents. Iowa is a Top 20 team that is a couple plays from being unbeaten; Nebraska is a Top 10 team. It is hard to win on the road against great teams -- which is why we should give credit to Oregon for winning at USC (if some, if not as much, to Auburn for winning at Ole Miss).
And why we should give a TON to TCU if they win at Utah next week, which I predict they will. Whoever wins that game, it will be arguably the single-best win by an unbeaten team this season (which is why the game's winner should vault over Boise State, whose entire resume is built on a single "quality" win).
We are only 9 weeks into the season and we are already down to 4* unbeaten contenders.
Here's the thing: Auburn still has to play Alabama. Oregon still has to play at Oregon State. You can hate the BCS, but also enjoy the game of "knockout" that we are watching the past month.
(The only team that seems to get a pass on those "knockout" challenges is Boise. Can you imagine if Boise had to play at Air Force one week then play TCU the next? Or Oklahoma then Nebraska? Or even at Northwestern then at Iowa? At best they'd prove themselves through their resume; at worst, they simply wouldn't make it through without a loss.)
Tentative top of my BlogPoll ballot: (1) Auburn, (2) TCU, (3) Oregon, (4) Boise, (5) Utah.
World Series: Rangers get in the game. Texas got its must-win (hero: Mitch Moreland); and, yet, tonight is another. (Honestly, I didn't watch a minute of the game, because I was watching Oregon-USC. Let's revisit tomorrow if/when the Rangers tie up the Series and send it to a Lee-Lincecum Game 5.)
NFL: Will Brett Favre play? Well, HE says he will. Because, y'know, it's HIS decision, not -- say -- the coach's. This is so typical Favre. I'm sure Brad Childress will start him, if only because Favre just told him to. Wouldn't want to let giving the Vikings the best chance of winning the game get in front of messing up that personal games-started streak.
John Wall Watch: Wow. Two games into his NBA career, he puts up a huge game: 28 points on better-than-50% FG shooting (and 2/3 shooting from 3), 10 FTAs (making 8) and 9 asissts (with only 3 turnovers). Of course, the Wizards lost, but is that really Wall's fault?
(If Derrick Rose -- 39 last night in a Bulls win -- really is the NBA template for Wall, I'll take it.)
New-look Knicks same as the old-look Knicks: Losing, this time in their home opener.
More NBA: So much for Tony Parker heading for the Knicks next summer. (Think Parker is concerned about his long-term economic impact from the lockout?) More than anything, this feels like an odd choice for the Spurs -- George Hill has been looking like a great Parker replacement, in the event he chose to bolt.
Oh, and three words for you: Roy. Helu. Junior. Good gracious, what a game he had.
Happy Halloween. I'm going as a Florida football fan relieved that the team finally won an ugly one, rather than being on the other side.