Well, looks like my strategy worked! After temporarily disposing of the Movement Watch last week for reasons that had everything to do with putting a reverse jinx on the Horned Frogs success - and nothing to do with being out of town for work all week - the watch is reborn, but in a slightly different format. The past couple of years, our goal has been to be undefeated and as highly ranked as possible to guarantee a spot in a BCS game and possibly backdoor our way into the big one. This year our goal was, at least until Saturday, if we aren't going to make the BCS, let's make damned sure Boise doesn't either. But now? Now, as lyle astutely pointed out, we actually have a chance of qualifying as the only 2 loss non AQ BCS participant ever. I won't completely rehash his post, but as a refesher, it basically involves:
- Southern Miss losing, although there is a non-reality based scenario where they win out and we still stay ahead of them
- Houston losing
- The Frogs moving into the Top 16
- The Big East continuing to cannibalize itself
Interestingly enough, now that I've written it out myself, it actually doesn't feel THAT unlikely. Assuming we somehow pull this off, you'd have to think it would spell the death of the BCS as we know it. Can you IMAGINE the backlash out of the SEC when 2 losses or fewer Arkansas, Alabama and LSU don't all get in, but a TCU team that lost to Baylor AND SMU does? Or if K State, OU and OSU all have 2 losses or fewer and one winds up in the Cotton or Alamo Bowls? Seriously, folks should root for it just to see Mike Slive's head explode.
So, in light of all of those things, the movement watch is going to change a little bit. It's basically going to be the "Southern Miss and Houston" watch, with a smattering of potential games where a loss would give us a shot at moving up, and I'll mention those dastardly lurkers as well. So, here goes...
#20 USM @ UAB. Thursday, 7:00PM. Probably on some crap network Craig T supports. On paper, this one appears pretty hopeless. UAB is 2-8 with only wins over lowly Memphis and UCF under their belts. Southern Miss, on the other hand, has steamrolled through their schedule thusfar with only the one hiccup against Marshall. UAB has history on their side as they've taken down the Brett Favre's the past two seasons. Can they make it a third? Doubtful, but it'd be cool.
#11 Houston vs. SMU. Saturday, 2:30PM. Again, probably on some crap network Craig T supports. Aside from the fact that Cougar High is nearly ranked in the top 10 and poised to be the first team from CUSA to bust the BCS, the most shocking thing about this game is that it's going to be the site for Gameday!! Can you imagine Erin Andrews' face the first time she sets foot on the campus of that shit commuter school in the bad part of town? She better tape up her hotel peep holes, or stay far, far out of town. Yikes!! Extra security will surely be the measure of the day. Back in the dark days of September when we lost to them, the rumble among SMU types was that this game would likely be the defacto CUSA West Championship. Now? Eeeeeh, notsomuch. The Ponies clearly used up all their aura in winning us because they have taken QUITE the nose dive since to the tune of 2-3. Apparently JJ McDermott turns into a pumpkin after big wins, although that's an insult to actual pumpkins as they could probably play football more competently than he has this past month. The Ponies likely don't stand a chance against CH but hey, they didn't against us in 2005 - or this year, if we're being honest - and look what happened. And now I've talked far too long about CUSA. Moving on...
Teams Blocking the Path:
#16 Nebraska @ #18 Michigan. Saturday, 11:00AM. ESPN. The good news about this game is that one team will fall behind us. The bad news is also good news in that that sentence is the only thing I'm saying about this game.
#17 Wisconsin @ Illinois. Saturday, 11:00AM. ESPN2. Shaping up to a potentially swell early morning Big Ten double header to set things up nicely before our game against the Rams. Wisconsin is easily the most snake bitten team in the country with their only two losses coming on last second prayers. Illinois, after getting off to the best start in school history, is pretty goshdarn awful right now having lost 4 straight. However, this is usually the point in the season where Ron Zook pulls a rabbit out of his hat and saves his job for another year. Do us a solid here, Zook.
#13 Kansas State vs. #23 Texas. Saturday, 7:00PM. FX. This game probably looked a lot better to the Fox execs before Texas went ahead and injured their entire offensive backfield. Kansas State is hanging strong in the rankings with their only two losses being a detonation against OU and the best game anyone has played against Okie Lite all year. I'm not sure how to feel about this one - on the one hand, if UT wins, K State drops behind us but I can easily see the voters completely blowing the win out of proportion and moving the Horns ahead of us. On the other, a K State win doesn't help us in the rankings but has Texas looking firmly down the barrel of a 6-6 season. Schadenfreude wins, go Cats!
#21 Penn State @ Ohio State. Saturday, 2:30PM. ESPN. I'll take the high road here and run the opposite way from the type of comments most of you would expect us to make about the situation in State College. Ohio State isn't very good, but Penn State, offensively challenged as it is, was clearly not entirely focused on their game last weekend in losing to Nebraska. With all the negativity surrounding the program at present, it's not far fetched to think that, even with a win, the voters may keep Penn State below TCU. However, why take that chance?
#22 Baylor vs. #5 OU. Saturday, 7:00PM. ABC. What should've been an awesome night cap earlier in the year has lost a little luster with OU's loss to sand aggy and Baylor's defense not exactly throwing jar jar many bones. The Bears had a near miss last weekend against a BAAAD Kansas team, only pulling it out with a frantic 4th quarter comeback and missed 2 pt conversion in OT. However, it's pretty fair to assume the Bears may have been overlooking the Jayhawks in anticipation of their biggest home game... ever? this weekend. After losing to Tech - EASILY the most shocking upset of the college football season considering how truly, graphically, comically bad Tech has turned out to be - OU has been on a roll, most recently putting other aggy back in their rightful, .500 place. However, the Sooners have lost starting RB Dom Whaley AND Heisman candidate Ryan Broyles along the way, which makes this game a little tricky to predict. (Look at Baylor's defensive stats). Ok, not so I guess it's not THAT tricky. The Sooners defense is sharp enough to keep Robert Griffin under wraps and a trained dolphin could catch TD passes over that Bears secondary. Seeing as how a Baylor win could make the new BCS rankings dicey for us, it's Boomer Sooner time in Waco for Frogs fans. Besides, were you REALLY going to cheer for Baylor?
So that's that - that's what we've got. Presuming your 33 point favorite TCU Horned Frogs manage to win by 1, it looks like we should for sure gain one spot, and two isn't out of the question. USM is dangerously close behind, but I think, for at least one week, we stay ahead of them even if they roll UAB.