Is parity a good thing in college football?
Not if you are a Power 5 conference locked into a system which has five leagues competing for four spots. Add the looming presence this season of an independent such as Notre Dame and the math equation becomes even more difficult with six teams vying for four spots.
And, just to make matters more interesting, there is the possibility that two of the leagues (Southeastern Conference and Big Ten) could have two contenders for the Final Four slots.
Which is why Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby must be looking at his conference's standings this morning with mixed emotions.
The bad news (from a CFB Playoff viewpoint) is that the Big 12 is down to one unbeaten team and it's not the pre-season favorite, Oklahoma.[membership level="0"] The rest of this article is available to subscribers only - to become a subscriber click here.[/membership] [membership]
West Virginia (5-0, 3-0 in the Conference) is the last team standing (overall record) after Texas knocked off Oklahoma, 48-45, in a wild offensive shootout in Dallas last week.
From a parity standpoint, the Big 12 is as competitive as any conference in the country, with five teams within a game of each other. West Virginia and Texas are both 3-0, while Oklahoma, Texas Tech and Baylor are 2-1.
In the ten team conference, only Kansa and Kansas State, both 0-3, look overmatched.
The Big 12 is the smallest (in membership) of the Power 5 leagues and plays a 9-game round robin schedule.
That might be fair, but it is not the best scenario for the Big 12 to place a team in the Final Four semifinals in the Orange and Cotton Bowls in January.
West Virginia has the edge right now. But starting on Saturday with a road game at Iowa State, the Mountaineers will have to prove themselves every week. After Iowa State, WVA has a home game against Baylor, a road game at Texas, a home game against TCU, a road game at Oklahoma State and a home game against Oklahoma. Not a Cupcake in the bunch.
With multiple one loss or even two loss teams perched at the top, No.1 might have to be settled with a tiebreaker.
That's good for competition, but bad for recognition by the College Football Selection committee which will pick its four playoff teams.
Texas is the hot team de jour with a five-game winning streak after its victory over Oklahoma. But don't label the Longhorns as back among the elite just yet. Let's see how they handle Baylor, which is suddenly a very respectable 4-2, which is a huge turnaround from last year's 1-11 wipe out. Second-year coach Matt Rhule and his staff have done a nice job in putting the program back together from the rubble created during Art Briles reign, in which the football program was riddled with sexual predators.
An Outsider's view of what is happening at Boston College, aka The Heights.
Boston College should have more than enough power to overwhelm Louisville in Saturday's game at Alumni Stadium without using running back AJ Dillon who missed last week's loss at North Carolina State because of a sprained left ankle.
With weather conditions iffy (chilly, wet) it makes more sense to give Dillon another two weeks of rest before the Eagles face Miami on Friday night Oct. 26th. Louisville is 2-4, coming off a 66-31 loss to Georgia Tech. Dillon's back up, Ben Glines, has been more than adequate the past few weeks and BC should be able to handle the Cardinals without Dillon. There are no miracle cures for sprained ankles, only time.
Having said that, if BC does need to win the game. A loss, dropping them to 4-3, could be a season-breaker.
No one can say that Pitt has skated through this season. The Panthers, coming off a mild upset against Syracuse last week, travel to No. 5 Notre Dame on Saturday with a 3-3 record, including losses to No. 10 UCF and No. 8 Penn State in their non-conference schedule.
""Everybody talked before the season about having one of the top schedules in the country,'' said Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi, "maybe the hardest in the country. So you're seeing that live and in color and it's real.''
After ND, the Panthers face Duke, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest and Miami, none of whom are below .500.[/membership]