Conference leaders emerge mid-season

After seven weeks of the college football season, the general picture of the conference races and national championship race is becoming clearer and clearer. It has been an interesting year with several teams having surprisingly good seasons after bad expectations to kick off the year.

The current top four teams in the first BCS rankings will have a matchup with another team in the top four. Alabama and LSU will have to face off against each other in early November, while Oklahoma and Oklahoma State will also have to face off, eliminating two teams from the national championship picture. From the looks of it, the winners of the two matchups will face off against each other in the BCS National Championship. I’m predicting that Alabama and Oklahoma State will be the teams that come out unscathed and face off in New Orleans for the crystal football.

Boise State is sitting at the No. 5 spot, and will almost certainly run the table for the fourth time in six years. Boise is favored to win every game—presumably by double digits—remaining on their schedule, a feat that nobody else in the country can make claim to.  From the looks of it Boise won’t be making a splash nationally unless several teams ahead of them stumble against much lesser competition. Despite proving they can beat anyone on the big stage, Boise is going to be left out again and have to play in the Sugar Bowl for their third BCS appearance since 2006.

Boise will be joined in the Sugar Bowl by the LSU Tigers after an 11-1 season with a loss to Alabama. LSU would be completely out of the hunt with a loss to the Crimson Tide, even if Alabama lost a conference game along the way. LSU should be happy still getting a chance to play in front of their home crowd in New Orleans, La., and should be favored to win big. On the other side of the regular season matchups, I’m predicting that Oklahoma will lose their last regular season game to the Cowboys of Oklahoma State. The loss will send the 11-1 Sooners to the Fiesta Bowl for the automatic tie in associated with the Big 12.

Oklahoma will be joined at the Fiesta Bowl by the Oregon Ducks. I’m predicting the Ducks will lose to Stanford in the Pac-12 race, but still run the table the rest of the way and finish in the top 10. With Stanford beating the Ducks at home, they should run the table the rest of the season and land a spot in the Rose Bowl after beating Arizona State in the first Pac-12 championship game.

The winner of the new 12-team Big Ten will face off against the Cardinals in Pasadena, Calif. After beating Michigan this past weekend, the Michigan State Spartans look to have the inside track to winning their Legends division of the Big Ten. Wisconsin is currently sitting at 6-0 and should be favored to run the table through the rest of the season. It looks like the Badgers and the Spartans will face off in the Big Ten Championship game. The Badgers are too balanced on offense, and their huge offensive line should hand them a second win over the Spartans and the Badgers will earn their bid to the Rose Bowl.

In the ACC, Clemson is currently the last undefeated team remaining with a 7-0 record that will be put on the line in a road trip against the Jackets. Clemson should be favored in the matchup, but their defense might be the downfall of their perfect record. The Jackets will be looking to survive in the ACC race and have a good shot of knocking the Tigers out of the national title discussion. Clemson should still win the Atlantic race, and a close race between Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech will determine who comes out of the Coastal division. Clemson has too much talent on both sides of the ball to lose to anyone who comes out of the Coastal and should earn the bid to the Orange Bowl in Miami.

From the Big East, Rutgers, Cincinnati and West Virginia are all sitting at the top of the conference with one out of conference loss each. West Virginia’s potent offense will be too much for the Big East to handle, and the Mountaineers should run the table through the rest of the year. West Virginia should be selected by the Orange Bowl committee to face off against the Tigers in what should be a shootout.

Still, there is much of the season to be played. With six weeks remaining in the regular season we will see if there are any upsets waiting to happen. The picture won’t be clear until the last week of the season, and anything can happen in college football.

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