This weekend will tell BCS tale

Texas and Florida control their title-game fate

December 03, 2009

Notre Dame fired Charlie Weis, Florida State pushed Bobby Bowden down retirement's elevator shaft, a Florida defender needs a public defender after being charged with a SUI (snoozing under the influence) and Tiger Woods ran into a tree and then a lot more.

We're not sure how this week's end could be more exciting than this week's beginning, but here's the setup:

College football's last regular-season stand begins Thursday night with Oregon State at Oregon, with the winner going to the Jan. 1 Rose Bowl.

If last year is the engine light indicator, this could be another recycle campaign of "Go Green."

Playing at home with a chance to earn its first Rose Bowl berth since 1965, Oregon State allowed 694 yards in a 65-38 loss.

Bad news for the Beavers: Jeremiah Masoli, Oregon's quarterback in last year's rout, is still its quarterback.

We move forward to a weekend that could be as boring as every past Woods news conference, or as exciting as his next one.

It hinges on whether Nebraska (9-3), a team that had more turnovers (eight) than points (seven) in a two-point home loss to Iowa State, can shock Texas (12-0) in Saturday's Big 12 championship game at Texas Stadium.

What about No. 1 Florida vs. No. 2 Alabama for the Southeastern title?

We already saw this game last year and Florida won, it still has Tim Tebow and the stakes haven't changed - winner goes to the national title game, loser to the Sugar Bowl.

Florida will be down one Gator, defensive end Carlos Dunlap, suspended after being found sleeping at the wheel, in a car, at an intersection.

Meanwhile, in Dallas, the odds don't favor Nebraska, but they didn't favor Texas in 1996, when the underdog Longhorns used a fourth-down play to stun Nebraska in the first Big 12 title game. It knocked Nebraska out of the national title game Florida ended up winning in the Sugar Bowl.

A Texas victory Saturday will clarify the postseason and could clinch the Heisman Trophy for quarterback Colt McCoy.

A Texas victory means the Florida-Alabama winner in Atlanta will play the Longhorns for the Bowl Championship Series championship Jan. 7 in the Rose Bowl.

It would assure two champions from outside the BCS's six-conference power structure, Texas Christian and Boise State, will snag two of the four at-large BCS picks.

This would be huge, politically, for BCS proponents who claim the system is rickety but not illegal.

Projected BCS bowl lineup if Texas wins:

•BCS: Florida vs. Texas

•Rose: Oregon vs. Ohio State

•Fiesta: Texas Christian vs. Cincinnati

•Orange: Iowa vs. Georgia Tech

•Sugar Bowl: Boise State vs. Alabama

Not a playoff, but not bad?

If Nebraska upsets Texas, well, whoa.

In this scenario, TCU might do what people thought impossible: advance to the BCS title game. Unless, of course, a Cincinnati victory over Pittsburgh allows the Bearcats to jump TCU, which would give the anti-BCS movement reason to start court proceedings.

A Texas loss also might knock Boise State out of a BCS game.

How?

Texas, with one loss, would drop down to claim an at-large pick and Nebraska, as Big 12 champions, would be wed to the Fiesta Bowl.

Alabama (if it loses to Florida) would drop to the Sugar and the final pick would come down to Iowa and Boise State. The Orange Bowl might consider Iowa as BCS bowl reps might feel a responsibility to keep it "in-family" and take a 10-2 Big Ten team.

Boise State has the nation's No. 1-rated passer in Kellen Moore (38 touchdowns, three interceptions) and No. 2 scoring offense at 44.3 ppg.

Iowa has the nation's No. 61-rated passer in Ricky Stanzi (15 touchdowns, 14 interceptions) and the No. 87 scoring offense at 23.1 ppg.

Would Iowa bring more fans to a game than Boise?

OK, but what about the part about having to watch the game?

Ugliest BCS bowl lineup:

•BCS: Alabama-Cincinnati

•Rose: Oregon State-Ohio State

•Orange: Texas-Clemson

•Fiesta: Nebraska-Texas Christian

•Sugar: Iowa-Florida

So, what's the weekend battle cry?

"Go Texas?" or "Go Nebraska?"

cdufresne@tribune.com

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