Last week, I went over how the relatively large number of unbeaten teams (13) wasn't an indicator of how many we might end the season with. Lo and behold, we lost about a quarter of them in just one weekend with Georgia Tech, Illinois and Michigan taking falls. Let's look at how the present ten we have compare to the same point (through seven weeks) over the last five seasons:
- 2006 (7): Ohio State, USC, Michigan, West Virginia, Louisville, Boise State, Rutgers
- 2007 (6): Ohio State, South Florida, Boston College, Arizona State, Kansas, Hawai'i
- 2008 (10): Texas, Alabama, Penn State, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, BYU, Utah, Boise State, Ball State, Tulsa
- 2009 (7): Alabama, Florida, Texas, Cincinnati, Boise State, Iowa, TCU
- 2010 (10): Oregon, Boise State, Oklahoma, TCU, Auburn, LSU, Michigan State, Utah, Oklahoma State, Missouri
- 2011 (10): LSU, Alabama, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Boise State, Oklahoma State, Stanford, Clemson, Kansas State, Houston
Teams listed in order of rank in the AP Poll.
Ten undefeated teams is on the high end of things, but it's the third time in the last four seasons we've had that number after seven weeks. The point from last week bears repeating: having this many undefeated teams is no indicator of BCS chaos at the end of the year. There was about as much controversy in 2007 as in 2008, and it was in 2009 that we actually had three AQ conference champions with undefeated records. BCS controversy is almost inevitable, but you can't predict its exact flavor from this point in the year.
Clemson, Stanford, Wisconsin
Clemson hosts UNC this weekend, and while the Tar Heels aren't world beaters, Everett Withers has molded a fairly competent team. If the Tigers have a bad game, North Carolina is good enough to take advantage of it. Plus, it's the ACC. You never know when the established story line will blow up in your face.
Stanford is hosting Washington on Saturday. The Huskies probably don't have the defense to win this game, but they do have a good and very under-appreciated quarterback in Keith Price. He's fifth in the country in passing efficiency, and his 21-4 TD-INT ratio is identical to the much more heralded Kellen Moore. UW has had a couple magic games under Steve Sarkisian, and if it has another this week, Stanford could fall.
Believe it or not, Wisconsin is finally going on the road for the first time this weekend. It's facing Michigan State, who not only ended Michigan's unbeaten run last week, but gave the Badgers their only regular season loss of 2010. MSU's defense is by far the best Wisconsin will have faced all year, and it ranks up there with some of the best of this season.
JUST TAKE CARE OF BUSINESS
Alabama, LSU, Oklahoma State
Alabama is hosting Tennessee this weekend, and while it is a rivalry game, Bama is a much better team than shorthanded UT. The home team should win this one.
LSU is hosting Auburn this weekend. It's not a real rivalry game, and LSU is the team that will be shorthanded. Still, Auburn isn't well equipped to take advantage of the suspensions, and the purple and gold Tigers are by far the better built team this year.
Oklahoma State is visiting a Missouri team that is better than its 3-3 record would indicate. OSU hasn't been as good on the road, and all three of Mizzou's losses have come away from home. I don't think the Tigers' offense can keep up with the Cowboys, but the visitors can't sleepwalk through this game and win.
DON'T SCREW THIS ONE UP
Boise State, Houston, Kansas State, Oklahoma
As best as I can tell, Boise State is facing a I-A team that runs the flexbone for the first time. We don't have much history to look at for obvious reasons, though as far as unique offenses go, BSU never held Nevada's Pistol under 30 points when Colin Kaepernick was at the helm. AFA is not that great this year though, having been hammered by TCU, Notre Dame and San Diego State already. Boise should cruise.
Houston gets Marshall this weekend, and while the Thundering Herd has been feisty this year, the Cougars should be able to score plenty of points. K-State is facing its hapless in-state rival Kansas, which should allow Collin Klein to go nuts while the stiff Wildcat defense clamps down. Oklahoma is facing a Texas Tech team that's probably not as good as its 4-2 record would indicate, and OU is just about unbeatable at home under Bob Stoops.