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 The race for #2. 
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The race for No. 2 heats up
By Terry Bowden, Yahoo! Sports
November 25, 2006

Terry Bowden
Yahoo! Sports
• Our experts' picks | Live game broadcasts

It's a weekend full of rivalries and the biggest games of the year for a lot of schools across the country.

But let's focus on the two Saturday games which will factor in the race for the national championship game. Michigan fans will be rooting for Notre Dame and Florida State because USC and Florida losses would all but clinch an Ohio State-Michigan rematch in Arizona (of course, the Irish might still have a chance).

Wins by either the Trojans or Gators would prolong the suspense for one more week.
Notre Dame at USC - 8 ET (ABC) Preview
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Independent
Record: 10-1
#6 AP, #5 BCS at Trojans
Pac-10 champion
Record: 9-1, 7-1
#3 AP & BCS USC

In the best matchup on a weekend full of great ones, Notre Dame and Southern California each have a chance to help themselves possibly play for the national championship. Many people think the Trojans could lock up a place at the big dance with victories over the Irish and UCLA as No. 2 Michigan sits at home idle this weekend and next. Notre Dame probably needs a more impressive victory to have any chance because of a 47-21 home loss to the Wolverines.

The key to the game looks like a classic matchup between an improving defense for USC and an explosive offense at Notre Dame. The Trojans are giving up only 14 points per game and in their last three contests have yielded only 19 points while causing eight turnovers. Notre Dame is averaging 33 points per game.

Although the last month or so has pitted the Irish against competition unworthy of comparison to USC, one only has to look back to last year’s classic, won by the Trojans, to see how interesting this game might become.

If there is an X-factor in this game, it is the Coliseum in Los Angeles. I broadcasted a game there a few weeks back between Oregon and USC, and the atmosphere was electric. No wonder the Trojans have won 32 straight games at home.

Pick: Trojans

Florida at Florida State - 12 ET (ABC) Preview * Fla * FSU, 10 a.m. ET
Florida Gators
SEC East champion
Record: 10-1, 7-1
at Seminoles
5th, ACC Atlantic
Record: 6-5, 3-5
Fla. St.
SportStream Video Terry Bowden chats with Larry Beil
• Florida: * Gator Hotline with Urban Meyer • Florida State: * Bobby Bowden Show

All year long we heard about was how difficult the Florida schedule was and that if the Gators were in the hunt for the national title that their strength of schedule would be too hard for the pollsters to ignore. Well, now that the championship game has come down to Ohio State against a one-loss team all we're hearing about now is that Florida hasn't been impressive enough in their victories.

Maybe I spent too much time coaching in the SEC to be objective, but if you play Tennessee, Alabama, LSU, Auburn, Arkansas and Georgia (not to mention South Carolina and Florida State), you have played as tough a schedule as anyone can possibly play. Of course, the Gators must beat Florida State this weekend and Arkansas in the SEC title game to have an argument. But if they do I, for one, think they will have a great one.

Florida State comes into this game struggling with its confidence on offense, and when you're facing a Florida defense that is ranked fifth in scoring defense that is not a good thing. The FSU defense is good enough to keep the Gators close, but the Seminole offense is going to have to move the ball a little to run the clock and most importantly to avoid turnovers.

If the Seminoles can do that, they might keep the game close into the second half and the Gators might tighten up a little bit. Any big plays by the Gator offense or turnovers by the Seminoles could turn this matchup into a rout.

Pick: Gators


November 25th, 2006, 11:23 am
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I hate USC.

They're good, but overrated. The championship game against OSU will be an OSU/UM type battle. No defense, just offense...and it's going to piss me off. I love seeing defensive battles. Big hits, big catches, turnovers, tough running...not what USC's about. The OSU/UM game pissed me off and I thought we'd see a much better defensive showing from both teams, unfortunately there was none whatsoever.

I'd rather see Florida/OSU.

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November 26th, 2006, 9:51 pm
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What I'd rather see is a USC-Michigan playoff for the right to face Ohio State. USC definilty doesn't deserve it outright after losing to Oregon State.

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November 27th, 2006, 12:04 am
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Looks like USC did what they needed to to push ahead of Michigan. Although I do agree that it isOSU 1 and Mich 2... Michigan had their shot and didnt do it. I think it is only fair to allow another team a try. I know that that is not how the BSC is supposed to work... but I am still up in the air about the BSC.

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November 27th, 2006, 1:56 pm
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steensn wrote:
Looks like USC did what they needed to to push ahead of Michigan. Although I do agree that it isOSU 1 and Mich 2... Michigan had their shot and didnt do it. I think it is only fair to allow another team a try. I know that that is not how the BSC is supposed to work... but I am still up in the air about the BSC.



IMO that's not an entirely fair assessment of the situation... U of M played OSU at their stadium and lost by 3 points... I would love to see this game played at a neutral venue.


November 27th, 2006, 3:22 pm
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wjb21ndtown wrote:
steensn wrote:
Looks like USC did what they needed to to push ahead of Michigan. Although I do agree that it isOSU 1 and Mich 2... Michigan had their shot and didnt do it. I think it is only fair to allow another team a try. I know that that is not how the BSC is supposed to work... but I am still up in the air about the BSC.



IMO that's not an entirely fair assessment of the situation... U of M played OSU at their stadium and lost by 3 points... I would love to see this game played at a neutral venue.


So would I...and throw in non-conference refs while you're at it!

bsand2053 wrote:
What I'd rather see is a USC-Michigan playoff for the right to face Ohio State. USC definilty doesn't deserve it outright after losing to Oregon State


Agreed. I'm of the mind that there should be a playoff in NCAA football anyway.......but that's just me 8)

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November 27th, 2006, 4:06 pm
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TheRealWags wrote:
wjb21ndtown wrote:
steensn wrote:
Looks like USC did what they needed to to push ahead of Michigan. Although I do agree that it isOSU 1 and Mich 2... Michigan had their shot and didnt do it. I think it is only fair to allow another team a try. I know that that is not how the BSC is supposed to work... but I am still up in the air about the BSC.



IMO that's not an entirely fair assessment of the situation... U of M played OSU at their stadium and lost by 3 points... I would love to see this game played at a neutral venue.


So would I...and throw in non-conference refs while you're at it!

bsand2053 wrote:
What I'd rather see is a USC-Michigan playoff for the right to face Ohio State. USC definilty doesn't deserve it outright after losing to Oregon State


Agreed. I'm of the mind that there should be a playoff in NCAA football anyway.......but that's just me 8)


I would like to see a limited playoff scenario of a one game tie-breaker when a situation like this exists... It shouldn't happen every year IMO... But should answer the question as to who is deserving of being #2... That should help to eliminate the national "co-champion"... The two best teams would be playing... The winner of the Non-championship, under no circumstances, would have ANY claim to the national title, period.

The only problem I see with the idea is that it places the burden of one additional game upon the challanger. However, I think that is offset by the amount of time that passes between the final game of the season, and the championship bowl game.


November 27th, 2006, 4:12 pm
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There should be an 8 team playoff, period. Its whats fair, it eliminates the contreversy and every other sport has a playoff why should college football be any different? It should have been in place years ago, we all know that it's more about making money these days then it is about enjoying the sport anyway (trust me folks, college football isnt anything different when it comes to that. All the sports college or pro revolve around money now) and the additional games would create quite the revenue for those involved, im failing to see the downside here. Get it done, put it in place, start it next year.


November 27th, 2006, 6:52 pm
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There'd still be bi***ing in playoff style championship battle. You'd still have those 9 and 10 teams who are 1 loss teams that don't make it and just complain.

As well, those teams that are ranked 7 and 8 who have to play the top 2 teams would complain too.

The whole thing sucks because there's so many D1 schools throughout so many different conferences. I say, let there be a championship series, who cares how many games, and have the conference champs play each other. In the Big 12 for example, make the Big 12 South champ play the Big 12 North champ and the winner can play the MAC or Sun Belt conference champ. It doesn't matter.

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November 27th, 2006, 7:24 pm
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While I would love to see a Div I playoff system, I doubt that it will happen any time soon. There are too many politics (and too much money) involved between the HCs, ADs, NCAA, and the Bowls for them to give up what they have right now.

Most HCs want what is best for their kids (Atleast the honorable ones do). This means the fewer games, the better. Having to play 3-4 playoff games would only take their players out of the classroom for a longer period of time. This isn't good for those student/athletes that have little to no chance of making the NFL. It also doesn't bode well for those that make it and want a successful career after football, or for those that only last a couple of years.

Most ADs and the entire NCAA only care about money. They're getting tons of it now, so why change a good thing? Besides, how else are they going to budget for women's synchronized swimming? Thank you, Title IX. A playoff could conceivably generate more money, but read my bowl comments below. Because of this, ADs might frown upon it, but I would imagine that the NCAA would embrace it.

The Bowls is where the real problem lies. Right now, they have nearly a month to promote the match-ups and get students/alumni to travel for the game. If the Bowls were incorporated into the playoff system, they would only have a week to lure those visitors and generate ticket sales. As a result, most of these games would not sell out and the Bowls would either lose money or offer less to the NCAA for the right to host the game. In addition, if the top 8-16 teams were in a playoff, the usual bowl games would draw less interest from TV and cause even less revenue. In essence, a playoff is not in the best interest of the Bowls and I'd imagine that they would fight it to the end.

If the early playoff games were held at a home stadium, it would definitely sell out, but would further erode the viability of the lesser Bowls, which would then fold. This would lessen the revenue of the smaller programs/conferences and create even more inequity than there already is. In the end, it's damned if you do, damned if you don't.

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December 2nd, 2006, 3:25 pm
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