No. 1 clash

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When Boise State lost at Nevada last Friday night, it not only cost them a major bowl, millions in revenue for school and departed conference. It also changed the perception of how many feel about TCU.

In two swift missed chip shots by Boise State kicker Kyle Brotzman, the entire nation is re-analyzing the Horned Frogs as if the two teams in their quest for respect in the BCS grand scheme of things were a package deal.

True, they each stood up for the other when the likes of ESPN’s Mark May downplayed their abilities or Ohio State’s President Gordon Gee questioned who they played.

But really, what does one losing have to do with the other?

They are separate schools in small conferences that both play good football. Now the experts would like to have you believe they don’t belong and that the Boise State loss proves it.

They’d like us all to believe now that one-loss teams from the Big-10 and Pac-10 deserve more respect than an undefeated team from the Mountain West.

From the experts’ point of view, it’s good spin and makes good television. But what else do they have to gain by standing on their pulpits bad mouthing a college football team? Why would they be so adamant against a bunch of impressionable college athletes trying to finish their season undefeated and be told they aren’t good enough and shouldn’t be allowed to prove it on the field?

For Mark May, who went to Pittsburgh, why isn’t he campaigning for justice in the BCS system where his own conference – the Big East – gets an automatic bid with only West Virginia (No. 24) in the top-25 rankings?

That seems like a more righteous cause than spewing reasons why TCU and Boise State don’t belong. Let’s be real, the Big East should have been reanalyzed as an automatic qualifier after heavyweight Miami left the conference and Utah went undefeated and beat the BCS out of Alabama in the 2009 Sugar Bowl.

This year’s Big East representative in the BCS Fiesta Bowl will likely be 7-4 Connecticut, a team who was 3-4 and losing to the likes of Temple, Rutgers and Louisville. Meanwhile, Boise State will be shuffled off to some awful bowl because of their one loss on then No. 18 Nevada’s home field.

Also everyone has gotten away from the real injustice of not having a playoff system like every other sport. Even NASCAR has some sort of playoff system in place. Division 1-AA football just began their own playoffs last week to crown a true champion, but the big boys can’t do it.

Maybe Gordon Gee is right when he said before Boise State’s loss that it’s like murderers’ row every week for these schools and there’s reason to believe they may not be the best teams to be in the big ballgame.

Or, maybe he’s simply right that he doesn’t know enough about college football.

TCU still has an outside chance at making the title game should Auburn lose this week’s SEC title game against South Carolina or Oregon lose the civil war at Oregon State. The experts would have you believe if that either of those teams lost that either No. 4 Stanford or No. 5 Wisconsin would be a more proper choice.

I was actually hoping that Ohio State would somehow pass Wisconsin in the BCS rankings to give us the classic Rose Bowl matchup against TCU, but the Frogs will now look to handle business against Wisconsin.

Side Note: TCU announced that they have accepted an offer to join the Big East conference beginning in 2012, leaving the MWC in bad shape for future BCS considerations.

With Utah, BYU and TCU gone, the MWC may as well just rename themselves the WAC. TCU apparently got tired of playing the game and seeing how one loss buried Boise State’s bowl financial hopes. They figured they better get on board rather than being left out in the future.

Here’s a look at the potential BCS Bowls: BCS Title Game – Auburn vs. Oregon

Rose Bowl – TCU vs. Wisconsin

Sugar Bowl – Ohio State vs. Arkansas

Orange Bowl – Virginia Tech vs. Stanford

Fiesta Bowl – Connecticut vs. Oklahoma

Sports Books Win

Despite the possibility of mounting risk and liability with three straight days of action of college football over the holiday weekend, the sports books were able to beat down the public games enough to have a nice weekend.

Upsets like Ohio losing to Kent State started Friday off nice for the house and was capped by Oregon and Boise State not covering. Oregon had opened as 18½-point favorites, closed at -20 and ultimately won by 19. The -18½ and -19 spreads weren’t there very long so the middle opportunities were very limited.

Saturday’s games turned out just as well for the sports books. Oklahoma and Notre Dame had upset wins late that shifted the balance in favor of the house.

College Basketball Notes

Rising: Notre Dame (7-0): Of all the Big East heavyweights, Notre Dame may get lost in the shuffle. Unranked for now, but that could change after wins against a ranked Georgia squad, stomping Cal and beating Wisconsin.

UNLV (6-0): The Rebels won the 76 Classic in Anaheim beating Virginia Tech, who was ranked two weeks ago and projected by many to compete for the ACC title.

Texas A&M (5-1): Lost 67-65 to Boston College, but followed with wins over Manhattan and then No. 20 Temple 54-51. Should pad their record with three easy wins until big match against Washington in two weeks.

Falling: Washington (3-2). Huskies were previously ranked No. 11, but exposed in losses to Kentucky and Michigan State. The entire Pac 10 is under the microscope looking to prove their collective troubles last year were just an anomaly. Last year’s champ Cal is 1-5 against ranked teams.

Temple (3-2): Ranked No. 20 last week, but losses to Cal and Texas A&M really showed their weakness, which is overall shooting… from anywhere. Still a void from losing last year’s leading scorer Ryan Brooks. Owls play at Maryland and then a home game against Georgetown over the next two weeks.

North Carolina (4-2): Somehow the Tar Heels remained ranked after losing to Vanderbilt and Minnesota two weeks ago, but their struggle at home Sunday against Charleston just shouldn’t happen. They rallied to win 74-69 to avoid being beaten by the Cougars for the second straight year. Ahead are Illinois and Kentucky.

Game of the Week

Wednesday, Dec. 1 (6:30 p.m. PDT)

Mich St (5-1) at Duke (6-0): The No. 1 team in the nation will be tested by the Spartans and then face Butler on Saturday. So far, Duke is shooting 50 percent from the field and 44 from the 3-point line. The Blue Devils are deep on the bench and have five players currently averaging double-digits in points led by Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler at 16 ppg each.

Michigan State’s only loss came due to the hot shooting of Connecticut’s Kemba Walker, but their own trio of stars could give Duke a major scare at Cameron Indoor Arena. Senior guard Kalin Lucas has elevated his game and will have to come up big as he did against Washington with 29 points that including 4-of-5 from beyond the arch. Durrell Summers and Draymond Green have already picked up the slack left by the departed Raymar Morgan. I’ll take Duke to win a high scoring game, 92-83.

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