With Kent State Loss, MAC likely won’t crash BCS

When it comes to mid-major college football teams crashing the BCS bowl party, Boise State is usually the focus of attention. But this time around, Kent State was looking like a serious contender to steal a BCS bowl game spot. If only they could’ve gotten past conference foe Northern Illinois….

Kent State’s hopes were dashed when they lost 44-37 in an overtime thriller to NIU. Because of this loss, you could also say that the Mid-American Conference’s hopes for $8 million were also cut down. Had the Golden Flashes won, they would’ve qualified for a BCS bowl game, thus bringing a collective $8 million to the modest conference. But as it now stands, Northern Illinois is the only shot the MAC has at the BCS, and it’s a long-shot at that.

What are Northern Illinois’ Chances?

For the Huskies to crash the BCS and bring long-awaited prestige to the MAC, they’ll definitely need some luck. We fully expect NIU to pass Michigan, Texas, Kent State and UCLA in the BCS Rankings. However, with Boise State winning against Nevada, we don’t really see a scenario where NIU leapfrogs Boise in the BCS Standings. That said, the Broncos once again represent the non-major conferences’ best shot at a big-time bowl game. But do they deserve it?

Questionable Losses

While it’s always fun to see a non-BCS conference ascend to a huge bowl game, you really have to wonder if any of the aforementioned teams are/were qualified. In Boise State’s case, they lost 17-13 in their opener to a Michigan State team that finished 6-6. The Broncos were also beaten by San Diego State, which ended up finishing 9-3. While neither of these losses came to a bad team, they aren’t going to help a mid-major’s case for getting into a BCS game.

Of course, Northern Illinois and Kent State had major blemishes too long before they met in the MAC Championship. NIU lost 18-17 to an Iowa team that finished a dismal 4-8 on the season. The Golden Flashes were blown out 47-14 by the 2-9, SEC bottom-dwelling Kentucky team. Regardless of all the high points from these two team’s schedules, the sole losses were quite ugly.

In any case, we’ll soon find out if NIU or Boise State will be playing in a major BCS bowl game. Odds are they won’t, but stranger things have happened in college football.

College Football Power Rankings for Oct 24th, 2012

Right now the BCS Rankings are a jumbled mess where a half dozen legitimate title contenders are still undefeated. And there are plenty of other undefeated teams sprinkled throughout the AP Top 25. Of course, chances are that many of these powerhouses will fall by the wayside as we head towards season’s end, but it certainly doesn’t make our job with the power rankings any easier. We’ll give it a try anyways by offering you our take on the top teams.

Also, you can check out the real BCS Rankings below:

1. Alabama
2. Florida
3. Kansas State
4. Oregon
5. Notre Dame
6. LSU
7. Oregon State
8. Oklahoma
9. USC
10. Georgia

Week 9 College Football Power Rankings

1. Alabama (7-0) – No surprise here since the Crimson Tide have garnered 59 of a possible 60 first place votes in the AP poll and are atop the NCAA’s toughest football conference. Plus it’s difficult to overlook Alabama’s impressive 32.7-point margin of victory. However, they’ve still yet to face the most difficult part of their schedule – Mississippi State, LSU and Texas A&M – which combine for a 19-3 record. But even these three shouldn’t stop the Tide on their path towards the BCS title game.

Last Game: 44-13 win over Tennessee
Next Game: vs. Mississippi State (7-0)

2. Oregon (7-0) – Let the annual BCS controversy begin with the Ducks since they are undefeated, yet only fourth in the BCS. However, Oregon will have plenty of chances to improve this standing with future games against USC, Stanford and Oregon State.

Last Game: 43-21 win over Arizona State
Next Game: vs. Colorado (1-6)

3. Florida (7-0) – As it stands now, the computers have Florida facing Alabama in the championship game. And so far, the Gators have done what they need to do to be deserving of this spot. But everything will be put to the test this coming week as Florida squares off against one of their rivals, 10th-ranked Georgia.

Last Game: 44-11 win over South Carolina
Next Game: vs. Georgia (6-1)

4. Kansas State (7-0) – A dominating win last week over West Virginia has moved K-State further up the polls and into serious national title contention. However, things won’t get any easier this week when 9th-ranked Texas Tech comes into town. But assuming the Wildcats can survive the test, they’ll have a clear shot at the Big 12 Championship Game with their toughest games out of the way.

Last Game: 55-14 win over West Virginia
Next Game: vs. Texas Tech

5. Notre Dame (7-0) – Off to their best start in years, Notre Dame has played some excellent football this season. But there are still challenges ahead including a huge road game this week against 6th-ranked Oklahoma. The contest may all come down to how well the Irish’s defensive backs can cover Oklahoma’s speedy receivers.

Last Game: 17-14 win over BYU
Next Game: at Oklahoma (5-1)

6. Oregon State (6-0) – The argument against Oregon State being ranked higher is that they haven’t played anybody significant. However, the Beavers do own victories over some tough teams in Wisconsin and UCLA. Perhaps we will truly see what Oregon State is made of when they face the Ducks later on.

Last Game: 21-7 win over Utah
Next Game: at Washington (3-4)

7. Oklahoma (5-1) – The lone blemish on the Sooners schedule is a close 24-19 loss to Kansas State. Unfortunately in a year where so many teams are unbeaten, this tough loss puts Oklahoma a ways back in the BCS race. But they can jump back into the hunt if they can beat undefeated Notre Dame this Saturday.

Last Game: 52-7 win over Kansas
Next Game: vs. Notre Dame (7-0)

8. LSU (7-1) – Much like Oklahoma, LSU is the victim of an early season loss to a very good team in Florida. But the Tigers have stayed strong and are hoping to climb the BCS ladder. They face the ultimate test against number one-ranked Alabama in a couple of weeks. The Crimson Tide are beating teams by almost 33 points, but at least the Tigers are at home.

Last Game: 24-19 win over Texas A&M
Next Game:  vs. Alabama (Nov. 3rd)

9. Texas Tech (6-1) – The Big 12 is filled with roadblocks, and the Red Raiders hit one of them head-on against Oklahoma (41-20 loss). However, quarterback Seth Doege has been hot in recent wins over West Virginia and TCU. He will no doubt have to stay on fire since Texas Tech has the unenviable task of traveling to Manhattan, Kansas this Saturday.

Last Game: 56-53 (OT) win over TCU
Next Game: at Kansas State (7-0)

10. Ohio State (8-0) – OSU’s overtime win against Purdue wasn’t pretty since it was filled with sloppy mistakes. However, the Buckeyes pulled out the victory and remain unbeaten. Ohio State will have to be much sharper if they want to grab a win in Happy Valley against QB Matt McGloin and the Nittany Lions.

Last Game: 29-22 (OT) win over Purdue
Next Game: at Penn State (5-2)