Rutgers and BCS Title Game: We Think Not

By Adam Caparell - November 10, 2006


If there’s one thing you’re going to come away from yesterday’s Rutgers-Louisville game is that the Scarlet Knights have one heck of a defense. Their speed and tenacity at pressuring Brian Brohm was the reason Rutgers earned the biggest win in school history.

But the most sorry aspect of this win by Rutgers is that it’s not going to mean much in terms of the BCS for the Scarlet Knights. And that’s a shame.

If Rutgers were able to go undefeated through their 12 game regular season schedule – and that’s a big if with road games left against Cincinnati and West Virginia – they should get the nod to go to the BCS championship game. But in all seriousness, it's just not going to happen.

Are they the best team in the nation? No, not even close. Are they in the same class as some of the best one loss teams. No way. But aren't we supposed to ideall see a matchup of two undefeated teams from two of the six major conferences in the BCS title game?

Unfortunately too much has to happen for Rutgers to move all the way up to No. 3 or 4 in the BCS rankings unless teams start dropping like flies. They’re just too far back in the pack, starting the season unranked, and have been forced to play catch up with the voters.

In other words, their national title hopes have no shot. None whatsoever, unless chaos were to ensue over these final few weeks of the college football season. But let’s hope that happens because the Scarlet Knights are the best story – by far – in college football.

What we’ve seen unfold over nine games is a hard luck program with a good coach and bunch of talented players fight for respect and credibility. They’ve finally seemed to earn some – I’ll be the first to give them their deserved due after doubting them earlier in the year.

Next season, they can work on cracking that BCS barrier, because in 2006, despite what a good many of us are all wishing for – whether you hate the BCS and want to see it ridiculed again or love the underdog angle – the Scarlet Knights aren’t going to sniff Glendale, Ariz.

Predictions:

Florida (-12.5) over South Carolina
We’re still waiting for Steve Spurrier’s big win this year. Will be pull it off at The Swamp? Florida has been struggling big time on offense. Chris Leak hasn’t played well and the running game has been almost non-existent. Urban Meyer is frustrated big time, but let’s be honest. The Gators have just too many play makers for the Gamecocks to contend with, especially on the road. Florida by

Notre Dame (-11) over Air Force
The Irish have shown that they can reasonably defend against an option offense. So there’s no reason why they can’t stop the Air Force attack. Falcon Stadium is a tough place to play, but Brady Quinn has been playing very well and the Irish should continue to roll until that USC game. Irish by two scores.

Tennessee (+5.5) Arkansas
Another test for the Razorbacks. Are they up for the challenge? You don’t go undefeated in SEC play and Arkansas is bound to lose one so I’ll go with this game. The Razorbacks will be starting a relatively inexperienced Casey Dick while Jonathan Compton should get the nod over an injured Erik Ainge for the Vols. Compton played alright last week. Don’t know what to expect from Dick. Arkansas doesn’t usually beat Tennessee. We'll go with the Vols by a field goal.

Wake Forest (+8.5) Florida State
Yes, Wake never beats Florida State, especially in Tallahassee. But things eventually change and if there is ever a year Wake is going to beat the Seminoles, it’s this year. The Demon Deacons aren’t spectacular, especially offensively, but they do have an opportune defense and are facing Xavier Lee who isn’t exactly a seasoned vet. Wake plays every game close and it’ll be more of the same. Wake by a field goal.

USC (-8) over Oregon
I think this will be a close one based on USC’s inability this season to make big time plays on defense. They’re not getting to the quarterback and aren’t forcing turnovers. But their back home and have this game before Cal. But there’s no chance the Trojans are overlooking the Ducks. Dwayne Jarrett and Steve Smith should be healthy and John David Booty has the USC’s pass attack rolling. Dennis Dixon has morphed into more of a runner, which I think bodes better for the Trojans. And they should be fired up with Louisville’s loss yesterday. USC in a squeaker, just like they’ve done all year.

Last Week: 1-4
Season: 35-16

Posted by Adam Caparell at 05:21 PM on November 10, 2006
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