One theme of the 2011 college football season remained strong this week, no conference champion is a clear favorite (outside of LSU now), and who will appear in conference championships is totally up in the air in most conferences.
Oklahoma State is the favorite here, and with no championship game, just has road games against Texas Tech and Iowa State before bedlam. Oklahoma still might be favored on the road, even without Ryan Broyles, but this game will be the biggest in the series history. K-State almost made this race a big-time mess late last night...
Clemson controls its destiny in the Atlantic division, just having to beat Wake at home and win at NC State. The Coastal has a big match-up this Thursday, where the winner will have an inside track at winning the division.
Sleeper: Wake Forest
Now for the real mess...Michigan State leads the Leaders division, but they look far from safe up top after struggling against Minnesota yesterday. With road trips to Iowa and Northwestern still on the schedule, they control their destiny, but if they slip up, Michigan/Nebraska/Iowa can all jump up and take the division.
The Legends division has Penn State on top at 5-0, but still has to play OSU/Wisconsin/Nebraska. The Nittany Lions need to win 2 of 3 to clinch, but if they lose 2 or more, Ohio State and Wisconsin move back into the mix.
Favorite: Michigan State
Sleeper: Ohio State
The Stanford-Oregon winner will take the North Division, and be favored in the championship game, but who will they face? USC/ASU/UCLA are all tied at 4-2 right now, but USC is not eligible for the division title. ASU has the easier schedule, with Wazzu, Cal, and Arizona (2 at home) while UCLA has road trips to Utah and USC and hosts Colorado. Needless to say, the UCLA upset of ASU yesterday has thrown another wrench in the title chase.
LSU has the inside track, but must win at home against Arkansas. The Hogs have struggles on the road this year, but this game always seems to be close. In the East, UGA has home games against Auburn and Kentucky that can win them their side, but if they lose one, USC can win the East by beating Florida at home.
As usual, we have no idea who will represent the Big East in the BCS at this point. Cincy has the lead at 3-0, and L'Ville has been a surprise and sits in . If Cincy can win 3 of their last 4, they will be in, but even with 2 of 4, they can still win the conference.
Southern Miss has their last true test next week at home vs UCF, and should have no problems on their way to winning the East. The West will be won the day after Thanksgiving, when Houston and Case Keenum travel to Tulsa to take on GJ Kinne and a very good 6-3 Tulsa team (losses are to Boise, Oklahoma, Ok St)
The MAC is a complete mess at this point after NIU's win at Toledo Tuesday night. The East may come down to Ohio-Miami (OH) on 11/22, but Temple and Bowling Green still have a fighters chance. The West is now NIU's to lose, and if they win at BG next week, they should win their side.
Favorite: Northern Illinois
This one is the easiest...whoever wins the TCU @ Boise game next week wins the league.
Favorite: Boise State
Just when you think you have this conference figured out, something happens...The Arkansas St-L-Lafayette winner next week will be the favorite, but it is hard to bet against Western Kentucky right now. The Hilltoppers are 5-1 now, winning 5 in a row including 2 OT games and their last second FG yesterday to beat FIU 10-9.
Favorite: Arkansas St
Sleeper: Western Kentucky
Another conference that is wide-open, even without unbeaten Nevada sitting on top at 3-0. Even Utah State at 1-2, still has a shot at winning the league. Tons of big games are left before any true prediction can be made.
Sleeper: Louisiana Tech
As for the big game last night, LSU winning puts them in a great position to reach the national title game. The fact that this game was so well-played and went to OT gives Bama more of an argument to get a re-match if the cards fall right. Oregon is also in good shape, because if they win out and Oklahoma State loses, they will be in the same boat at Bama with 1 loss to LSU, but they will be a conference champion...
RSM Poll for 11/6
3. Oklahoma St
5. Boise State
9. Michigan St
10. Penn St
12. Kansas St
13. Virginia Tech
15. South Carolina
22. Georgia Tech