Status Quo: College Football Update

Josh Ellis

As we approach the halfway mark of the college football season, let’s stop and take a conference-by-conference look at the BCS landscape. Here we go.

AAC: Louisville. Louisville. Louisville. In the extremely weak American Athletic Conference, the Cardinals are really the only team even worth mentioning. Led by Heisman-hopeful Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville is undefeated and with no top-25 opponents left on the schedule, they have a realistic chance of finishing the season that way. Their toughest test will come from conference foe Central Florida, a squad that nearly upset South Carolina. Even if Louisville wins out, they will need some serious help to earn a National Championship game spot given their cupcake-filled schedule. That being said, an AAC championship and a BCS bowl bid are all but guaranteed for Bridgewater and Co.

ACC: The Atlantic Coast Conference is a two-horse race between a pair of legitimate powerhouses: Clemson and Florida State. Let’s start with the Tigers. After opening the season with a statement win over Southeastern Conference (SEC) stalwart Georgia, Clemson has been absolutely obliterating its opponents. The quarterback-wide receiver combo of Tajh Boyd and Sammy Watkins might be the best in all of college football. Florida State, led by freshman sensation and emerging Heisman candidate Jameis Winston, is one of the hottest teams in the country, coming off a 63-0 drubbing of No. 25 Maryland. Winston is positively electric, making jaw-dropping plays week after week. On the other side of the ball, the Seminole defense

allows only 12 points per game, third best in the nation. On October 19, Clemson and Florida State square off in a battle for ACC supremacy. The winner will entrench themselves firmly in the forefront of the National Title debate.

Big 12: With no clear front-runner, the Big 12 is set for a wild finish to the season. Baylor, Oklahoma and Texas Tech all have legitimate cases for calling themselves the best team in the conference. Baylor has the highest scoring offense in all of college football, averaging over 70 points per game, and a superstar running back in Lache Seastrunk, who is averaging an absurd 11 yards per carry. Oklahoma has an impressive win over a top-25 opponent, something neither Baylor or Texas Tech can say. Texas Tech is home to one of the nation’s most prolific passing attacks and a defense that ranks eigth best in the FBS. Luckily for all college football fans, each of these three Big 12 hopefuls will meet this season. If one squad can make it through its matchups unscathed, it will find itself near the very top of the BCS standings with a real shot of playing for a

national championship.

Big Ten: After a narrow escape against a scrappy Northwestern team, the Ohio State Buckeyes sit alone at the top of the Big Ten. With the nation’s longest winning streak of 18 games, a healthy Braxton Miller and running back Carlos Hyde in midseason form, the Buckeyes are a force to be reckoned with. Their next big test does not come until their final game of the season against hated rival Michigan, currently ranked No. 19. Even if the Buckeyes extend their winning streak and finish the season undefeated for a second year in a row, a spot in the championship game is no sure thing given the weakness of the Big Ten. A Rose Bowl berth seems much more realistic.

Pac-12: With two top-five teams, the Pac 12 might just be the best conference in the

country. Oregon and Stanford are juggernauts of the highest order. The Ducks have blown out every team they have faced, winning by an average of over 47 points. QB Marcus Mariota is the Heisman favorite, despite not seeing the field in the fourth quarter of any game this year. He scored seven total touchdowns last week against Colorado. Next week, Oregon faces its toughest matchup so far – an away game against conference rival No. 16 Washington, a team Stanford beat by only three points last week. Stanford might not be as flashy as Oregon but what they may lack in style they make up for in substance. This is a tough, smashmouth football team that will never beat itself. On November 7, Oregon and Stanford collide in a battle with massive championship implications. The winner, if they finish undefeated, is all but

assured a spot in the title game.

SEC: Last and most certainly not least, we come to the conference that has won the past eight National Championships and features the team favored to win it all this year. With seven teams in the top-25, the SEC is once again loaded. Alabama, Texas A&M, LSU, Georgia  and South Carolina have all been in the top-10 at one point this season but losses to a conference foe have knocked some down a few pegs. Making it through the SEC slate is an insanely tough task and there is no question that if Alabama, the current No. 1 team, is able to do it, they will play for the BCS Championship.

Contact Josh Ellis at [email protected]