Footballifact: South Carolina's Title Hopes, Geno Smith's Heisman Hopes and Ohio State's Undefeated Hopess

Jeff Gross

The Gamecocks are out of the national championship hunt -- but not as far out of it as Colorado. And just how close is Ohio State to going undefeated this year?

Sifting out what the conventional wisdom looks like after the weekend in football. Inspiration, obviously, is right here. (As with all conclusions based on a week of data, grain of salt.)

South Carolina is a national title contender: Pants on Fire
Even after the previous week's loss to LSU, it was possible to see the Gamecocks getting a ticket to Miami if they could win out and get a little help along the way. But that was only if you ignored the fact that South Carolina is a very different team on the road than it is at home -- even its road wins against Vanderbilt and Kentucky were harder than they should have been. And it is very difficult to win a national championship in the SEC if you don't play well on the road. Of the eight SEC teams to win the national title in the BCS era, only two -- 2006 Florida and 2007 LSU -- have lost games on the road. (And 2007 LSU works as a counterexample for almost any trend you can think of.) The demolition of the Gamecocks by Florida might have been the death blow for South Carolina's championship dreams, but it was also just the extension of a pattern that was almost bound to catch up with Steve Spurrier's team at some point.

Colorado is the worst team in the FBS: True
The Buffaloes gave up more than 50 points in a loss for the second consecutive week and added yet another to their long list of undistinguished defeats. In those last two games, Colorado was outscored by a combined 101-23 margin by Arizona State and Southern Cal. Their closest Pac-12 loss of the year was a 28-point loss to UCLA and the Buffalo's closest loss of the season came by two points -- to Sacramento State of the FCS. Even the 35-34 win against Washington State, also a contender for the worst team award, came only after the Cougars led 31-14 early in the fourth quarter. Then again, Washington State actually beat its FCS cupcake.

Northwestern is a B1G title contender: Mostly False
It's technically true that the Wildcats could rebound and win the Up North Conference, but it's looking much harder after the loss to Nebraska this weekend. Northwestern now has two losses on the year and would need a ton of help to get to the championship bout. Michigan would have to lose to Northwestern and once more; the Wildcats would have to defeat Iowa and Nebraska would need at least one and maybe two more losses depending on how the tiebreakers played out in a multi-team tie. Pat Fitzgerald's team can be another solid Northwestern squad, but that's about it for the 2012 season.

The Heisman Trophy is Geno Smith's to lose: Mostly False
More accurately, the Heisman Trophy was Geno Smith's to lose -- and he lost it. Smith's passer rating has barely cleared 100 for two consecutive weeks -- that's not good -- and he's thrown just two touchdowns against two interceptions. Against Kansas State on Saturday, Smith was held below 200 yards passing for the first time of the season, but below 300 yards for the third consecutive game. And West Virginia is coming off of back-to-back blowout losses. Even if Smith had proven that he deserved the award despite the struggles of his team, and he hasn't, realpolitik says he wouldn't get it anyway.

Ohio State is likely to go undefeated: Half True
There are more than enough reasons to wonder whether the Buckeyes can get through the season unscathed, but the near-loss to Purdue might be the clearest one yet. It's the second time in as many weeks that Urban Meyer's team has edged one of the also-rans in the B1G after last week's three-point victory at Indiana, and at least the fourth close call this season. With games at Penn State, at Wisconsin and against Michigan still on the docket, it's not hard to see Ohio State take a loss this year, and the chances that they end the season undefeated can't be too far north of 50-50.

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