College Football Preview and Picks – Week 10 ]]> include($base_url . “/includes/header.htm”); ?>
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By UltimateCapper.com Contributing Writer, Mike Ivcic
A two-pronged rant this week. First, and briefly, I am no longer a fan of any of the four “underdog” undefeated teams – Iowa, TCU, Boise State, and Cincinnati. Last week I picked all four of those teams to win but not cover, and all four managed to score just enough to beat the line (thus the 1-7 record last week against the spread). It puts me behind the eight-ball big time with regards to getting back to .500 against the line, so we’ll see what happens in the coming weeks. I did, however, go a perfect 8-0 straight up last week, which makes that portion of my picks look stellar at 35-13.
And now on to the bigger issue: the BCS. I wrote during baseball season about how adding just one new wrinkle to the playoff system would dramatically enhance the entire postseason. Here, once again, I’m making a case for one small format change. Actually, I would prefer an 8-team playoff and have developed an entire 16-team playoff bracket, but those are pipe dreams. In order to affect some sort of change, it needs to be small and incremental. So, to start, the first thing has absolutely, positively, HAS to change is allowing a team that does not win its conference to play for a national championship. I simply do not understand how a team that isn’t the best team in its own conference could possibly be the best team in the country. Just that one simple rule would eliminate some of the past controversies, such as the Michigan-Florida debate in 2006. Even as a Wolverine fan, I didn’t think Michigan should have been allowed to play Ohio State in a rematch, and thankfully they didn’t. By implementing a rule that a team must win its respective conference, it drops the pool of possible teams eligible for playing in the national championship game to 11, and it’s rare that anyone from the Sun Belt, MAC, or Conference-USA would be good enough to even warrant consideration, making it a little easier for voters and computers to spit out a good matchup.
The next step would be to expand to a four-team playoff feature the best four conference winners, which this season would certainly be an interesting decision. Sure, Texas and either Florida or Alabama, barring a defeat, would be the top two, but what to do about Boise State, TCU, Cincinnati, and Iowa? And what happens with Oregon and Georgia Tech then, both of whom have big wins and are in the top 10? This is why I think eight is a very good number for the playoffs, but four would be just fine right now. The BCS can still be used to determine which four conference winners are the best four teams for the playoffs, but by forcing the team to win its respective conference, it would certainly put more emphasis onto the conference season and, possibly, increase the number of high-profile non-conference games between two top-tier programs, such as the Ohio State-USC game earlier this year.
There are also two final stipulations I would like to include, especially if the playoff system expands to four. First, any team that finishes undefeated for the entire season automatically qualifies for the four-team playoff, provided there are four or less teams that finish undefeated. That would be the bone thrown to minor conference teams like TCU and Boise State this year, both of whom should get in over a 1-loss Oregon or Georgia Tech team if that system was in place this season. Secondly, all games between teams from different levels of college football should be prohibited, and not to burst any bubbles, but FBS and FCS are, in fact, different levels. There are 120 teams in Division I-A football – it shouldn’t be too hard to find four other teams to play from that pool each season outside of the eight conference games already set in stone. Games like Florida vs. Charleston Southern and Michigan vs. Delaware State shouldn’t happen, ever, regardless of how much money the big-time school plays the DI-AA school.
And that officially ends my rant for this week. On to the undefeated list and picks:
Alabama – SEC
1. Navy @ #22 Notre Dame
2. Wake Forest @ #10 Georgia Tech
3. #16 Ohio State @ #11 Penn State
4. #9 LSU @ #3 Alabama
5. Connecticut @ #5 Cincinnati
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