All season long, Scott Wolf of the LA Daily Press has been voting Boise State No. 1 NCAA college football in the AP Poll until last week when TCU went for a gutsy two point conversion at the end of the game to beat the Broncos 36-35.
The win ended Boise State’s record 65 game home winning streak and gave them only their fourth loss since 2007, all of which have come by 3 points or less. It also ended a reign of publicity, or rather mockery, of Wolf’s lone vote.
LSU is now the unanimous No. 1 NCAA college football team in the nation in the writers poll, the first time everyone has voted the same since 2008 when it was Texas.
The last few years teams like TCU and Boise State have always evoked contrarian thinkers – those who want to go against the SEC grain – saying they deserve a shot at the national title. In Wolf’s case, he really didn’t have any backing for his No. 1 vote all season other than saying Boise State deserved a shot because they consistently beat everyone put in front of them.
NCAA college football fans along the west coast agree to a certain degree just because they feel left out of the east coast bias equation that always seems to favor SEC teams.
So who does the anti-SEC establishment cheer for now? Who is the NCAA college football underdog that will garner support like TCU and Boise State has the last few years? How about the undefeated Houston Cougars.
Houston is currently one of three undefeated teams and have a BCS ranking of No. 11 (.5673 average), a ranking that if held up would get them into a BCS bowl. By being the C-USA champions and in the top-12, Houston would make it as a non-automatic qualifying conference.
Meanwhile, Boise State with their loss looks like they’re going from the BCS mix all the way to the NCAA college football Poinsettia Bowl which is a shame considering unranked Cincinnati from the Big East gets an automatic bid. The Big East doesn’t have one team ranked in the BCS top-25.
As for Houston, they’re not out of the woods yet. In fact, the toughest part of their schedule is about to come. They play SMU this week with pressure of having the ESPN Game Day crew on campus (there aren’t very many marquee games this week) and then have to travel to Tulsa who are tied with the Cougars at 6-0 in the West division.
Should the Cougars get through all of that, they’ll face No. 20 Southern Miss (9-1) in the conference title game.
The bottom line for Houston, just like TCU and Boise State over the years, is that they have handled everything in front of them and have compiled the No. 1 passing and scoring offense in the nation in doing so.
While it might be too outlandish to suggest they should play for the national title if being one of only two undefeated teams in the nation, there will be some excitement of seeing them face off against a team from a major conference. If things all unfold their way, Houston would be facing Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl.
Possible BCS Bowl matchups
BCS Title: LSU vs. Oklahoma StateRose Bowl: Oregon vs. WisconsinFiesta Bowl: Oklahoma vs. HoustonSugar Bowl: Alabama vs. StanfordOrange Bowl: Clemson vs. Cincinnati
Las Vegas Hilton BCS Odds
LSU is the 5-7 favorite followed by Alabama (8-5), Oklahoma State (9-2), Oklahoma (10-1), Oregon (10-1), Arkansas (20-1), Clemson (30-1) and Stanford (60-1).
Judging by the odds, it appears the Hilton crew have a lean towards Oklahoma beating Oklahoma State in two weeks and aren’t ruling out the possibility that Arkansas might beat LSU next week.
They could have extended risk on Alabama keeping the odds low, but outside looking in, it appears they believe we’ll see an LSU-Alabama rematch for the title game. If thinking Houston can somehow get past all the red tape and have all kinds of decisions fall their way the next two weeks, you can get them as part of the FIELD at 1000-1.
Las Vegas Sports Books fare well
Las Vegas sports books had a good week of college football with a tough schedule for players to figure out. The favorites went 28-27-2 over the week with 16 of the underdogs winning outright.
The liability coming into the weekend made it an uphill to climb with the four favorites all covering in Thursday and Friday night games, but one of the 16 upsets on the day found a way a few to eliminate that risk.
Right out the gate Saturday morning, Purdue (+7) and Pittsburgh (+3) winning was a bad decision for most players. Most bettors felt that Boise State (-15) would shine in their first real test of the season since their season opener against Georgia, but instead became one of the biggest upsets of the day.
The Mountain West also provided three other upsets that helped the books with San Diego State (-13 ½) losing to Colorado State, Air Force (-16) losing to Wyoming and UNLV (-7) falling at New Mexico. With Air Force, the books not only beat the small public play, but also sharp money.
Mississippi State (+18½), Washington State (+12) and Colorado (+10 ½) were also good decisions for the house.
Surprisingly, on the most heavily bet game of the day, the public wasn’t on the favorite. Oregon (+3) to the OVER (66) was the most popular combination and it got there quite easily as the Ducks speed overwhelmed Stanford on their home turf.
This week we don’t have a game of the year and it’s hard to even tell what the top matchup is. But there are quite a few in-state rivalry games and others that play for trophies across state lines that should spark some interest.
The books have had their way the last couple of weeks, so it’s time to turn the tables. Stay focused and most of all, be confident when going to the windows. If your indecisive on a game, don’t play it. Just because it’s on TV doesn’t mean it has to be played.