Mid-Season BCS Bowl Predictions
race for the BCS is on and already a handful of
teams are making noise about playing in the big
money bowls. At this point, a bowl projection
of any kind is absurd by logical standards, especially
when trying to fill slots in non-BCS bowls. In
an effort to avoid such a catastrophe, NationalChamps.net
finds more logic in sticking with the big game
projections only. At the midway point of the season,
here is a brief synopsis along with some predictions.
Bowl - Miami vs. Oklahoma
The site is sticking with our original pick of
preseason favorites. Miami's schedule offers two
stumbling blocks - a trip to Tennessee and a home
date with the Hokies (who, by the way, should
come into this game undefeated, given the rest
of their easy schedule). Teams from the SEC and
the Big 12 pose quite a predicting dilemma with
those conference championship games. Barring two
losses to by the Sooners and a Texas team that
runs the table, the Sooners have the total inside
track to the South Division title. In other words,
Texas needs to root for everyone else besides
Oklahoma. But not playing in the conference title
game does have its rewards. Just ask Nebraska
about last year.
Bowl - Ohio State vs. Washington State
This early Big Ten pick is assuming Ohio State
and Iowa both have a conference loss. Under that
scenario, the team with the best overall record
gets the BCS bid. Since Iowa already has one loss
and doesn't play Ohio State, we are sticking with
the Buckeyes. Some of the folks from Columbus
may be shrieking at the thought of playing a rematch
with the Cougars, but with the Pac Ten being so
even, the WSU/Oregon game in Pullman looks to
be the breadwinner. Here, sticking with the home
team seems to be the best bet. If Ohio State plans
on "ducking" this rematch, it would
be well advised to just stay unbeaten or hope
Oregon pulls out the big win on the road in Pullman.
Believe it or not, Michigan controls their own
destiny since they play both Iowa and Ohio State.
If the Wolverines win out, they are the champions.
Bowl - Florida State vs. Georgia
Most of you are saying not so fast; let's not
forget about the NC State Wolfpack. They have
as much of a claim as FSU. The ACC bid boils down
to this game in Raleigh in late November. If the
Wolfpack win, they are in (even if they falter
along the way to someone like Maryland, Clemson,
or Georgia Tech). The same can be said of FSU
faltering. The SEC is another dilemma. Everyone
is aware of what LSU did to the mix in last year's
Championship Game. This is a tough one
any given day any one of these top SEC teams can
beat another. We are betting that no one from
the SEC goes unscathed, and therefore Georgia
is the leagues only hope. The SEC Championship
Game winner gets in, the loser goes elsewhere,
surfing non-BCS style.
Bowl - Virginia Tech vs. Notre Dame
The Hokies control their own destiny, as a win
over Miami in Coral Gables on December 7th cancels
any worries about being a BCS reject once again.
A loss to Miami means trouble, simply because
the loss comes at season's end. Notre Dame only
needs to win four of their next six to be eligible,
and Rutgers and Navy look like sure victories.
Should the Hokies lose to Miami, the door will
be open to several other at-large teams - Texas,
Iowa State, Kansas State, Iowa, Michigan, Oregon,
LSU, and dare we say Air Force? If the Falcons
get by home games against Notre Dame and Colorado
State, the rest of their schedule is a cakewalk.
Will a 12-0 Air Force team get bypassed for an
Irish team they already beat? Listen, you can
hear the screams from Colorado Springs already.
Iowa State has the toughest remaining schedule,
Michigan and Iowa will match up and eliminate
the loser, and LSU has already lost to Virginia
Tech. The only threat right now for an at-large
bid seems to be a situation where one of the conference
title games spells major upset, which could leave
someone in the mix like Texas or Kansas State
(who have remaining tough schedules of their own,
as well as a duel in Manhattan this upcoming weekend).
The winner of that game, or Oregon, looks to have
an inside track under this scenario.
many games remain and with the parity in college
football today, anything goes. If INSIDE99 knew
the answers, he wouldn't be sitting here typing
this. Fans and universities have to ride it out
and play the cards that are dealt. What a fun
ride it will be
more upsets, twists, and
turns await in 2002, that we guarantee.
25 REASONING - by
- Close victory over Noles makes one wonder. Is
Miami still head and shoulders over everyone else?
Are Canes still good enough to beat almost anyone,
even on a bad day?
2. Oklahoma - I hope nonsense of Texas having
more talent than Oklahoma is over. Oklahoma's
skill position players stepped up, so did OL.
Coaching was clearly difference in Red River shoot-out.
3. Virginia Tech - Untouchables were dynamite,
but Hokies still struggled a bit vs.BC. Tech now
looks to breeze through the rest until meeting
4. Oregon - Not pretty but Ducks won tough road
game in Pasadena
now looking at possible
9-0 record before facing Washington State in pivotal
5. Georgia - After shutting down Clausen-less
Tennessee, Bulldogs look like SEC East is theirs
to take. Winnable games vs. Mississippi, Florida,
and at Auburn remain only challenges left on schedule.
6. Ohio State - Buckeyes took care of San Jose
State but still not looking as good as earlier
this year. Now, reaching the meat of their schedule,
we can see what they're really made of.
7. Washington State - Outside of Oregon no one
looks more solid in this up and down conference.
Get by Arizona schools and Cougars are probably
playing for Pac-10 lead when Ducks come to town
8. Texas - Once again Longhorns fail to win vs.
top 10 team
most frustrating part is coaching
staff didn't give offense any real chance. No
doubt Texas has Ferrari talent, but if Mack Brown
& staff insist on driving like senior citizens,
then expect Kansas State to give Horns more than
they can handle.
9. Florida State - Good news - Florida State coached
and played best game in 2 years. Bad news - still
wasn't enough to beat Miami at their worst. Still,
no shame in losing to #1 ranked team by 1 point
at their house. Take care of Notre Dame and Florida
State could end up with top 6 or 7 ranking and
enough momentum to get by in ACC with BCS Bowl
10. Alabama - After week off, 'Bama looks to bounce
back at home vs. OLE Miss. In doing so they go
into a tough 5 game stretch with momentum. (includes
games at Tennessee, at LSU and a home game vs.
11. Iowa State - So far Cyclones have not only
showed potent offense but good defense, too. Look
for ISU to give Oklahoma all they can handle IF
Sooners show up with a Red River victory hangover.
12. Kansas State - After soundly destroying decent
Oklahoma State team (gave Texas all they could
handle), the Wildcats now host the Texas. Question
on everyone's mind - which Longhorn team shows
up? Either way someone gets blown out
it will be?
13. Iowa - After disposing of Michigan State,
Hawkeyes have some believing they are best n the
Big 10. If not for one bad quarter vs. in-state
rival Iowa State, Hawkeyes are undefeated.
14. Michigan - Another close game, another close
but this time a little controversy.
Still Michigan came out with good victory over
best Penn State team in last two years.
15. Notre Dame - Notre Dame continues to play
wonderful defense, ugly offense and good special
teams. Keep this up vs. big boys like Air Force
and FSU and there's nowhere to go but up, way
16. Air Force - 52 points vs. BYU isn't eye opener
but holding Cougars to 9 points is! If Falcons
can manage to beat undefeated Notre Dame they
could put themselves in position to give the BCS
17. North Carolina State - So far so good. North
Carolina State hasn't played any world-beaters
again results are up to expectations
Expect Wolfpack favored in every game until show
down with Noles. Game at Clemson only problem
for Chuck Amato's kids.
18. Bowling Green - Falcons didn't look spectacular
vs. Central Michigan. Still, undefeated and doesn't
look like anyone in MAC will stop them.
19. Southern Cal - Slow start, but Trojan's offense
stepped-up in solid victory over good California
team. With win Trojans stay alive in Pac-10 title
20. Penn State - Joe Paterno's Lions got short
end of another questionable call that could have
changed result of eventual loss. Penn State is
2 OT losses from being undefeated. Imagine if
college football still had the tie?
21. Tennessee - Ugly loss at Georgia didn't help
already struggling Tennessee team
them some slack without Clausen in close road
game. If Tennessee doesn't show improvement over
next week or two, they wind up another SEC top-25
casualty. Up next - a very good Crimson Tide team.
22. Colorado - Buffs ready
Done messing around?
Colorado has a string of 3 wins
go into Norman 7-2.
23. Boston College - Played #1 Hurricanes tough
over half the time, played the #3 Hokies tough
for 55 minutes
no shame in losing to either.
BC is well coached
10 win season looks attainable.
24. Louisville - Not pretty, but good none the
less. 4-2 Cardinals have more quality wins AND
losses than other on-par teams.
25. Colorado State - Wins over Louisville and
but if Sonny Lubbick's team wants
to stay top 25, CSU needs wins over Utah and BYU
currently undefeated Air Force Halloween night.
TECH DOESN'T REBUILD, THEY RELOAD - written
by TJ Murphy
There’s an old college sports
cliché that goes something like: “Some
teams rebuild, while other teams reload.”
It’s an acknowledgement of coaching and
recruiting that consistently produce quality teams,
despite graduation, injury or early flight of
star players to the NFL. Virginia Tech is in that
did he just say… Virginia Tech? There goes
Yes. Virginia Tech. While it’s
true Virginia Tech has only recently been considered
a legitimate “power”(and some would
still argue they aren’t), what Virginia
Tech has done is reload. It’s the primary
reason for 10 consecutive bowl games. True, Virginia
Tech’s pedigree does not compare yet to
FSU, Florida, or Nebraska. But look around at
the rest - few other teams have produced such
consistency over 10 years?
please. They have a winning record because of
a soft schedule.
OK, perhaps the Hokies built a
program with some soft scheduling. However, what
they did do primarily is build a solid program
that converted quality, often unrecruited high
school players into a selfless, cohesive unit.
Beamer’s teams earned a reputation as a
strong run defense, a strong running game, and
the most fearsome special teams unit in college
football. But their success is more impressive
considering their lack of blue chip recruits.
2002 season opened with many questions, to say
the least. The Hokies were returning 10 players
on both sides. Not only that, but the team suffered
an embarrassing home loss to Syracuse, were then
torched by Pittsburgh the following week, once
again showing vulnerability to the deep ball (as
was the case against FSU in the Gator Bowl, too).
Lost was the entire LB corps (including the heart
and soul of the defense, Ben Taylor and Jake Houseright).
Lost too was the speedy Andre Davis, the man single-handedly
responsible for keeping defenses from crowding
the box. Then Grant Noel (their only experienced
QB) tore his ACL in spring practice and CB Eric
Green followed. Of course, 2002 brought the toughest
out-of-conference schedule in Virginia Tech's
history (3 Top 25 teams) in addition to Syracuse
in the Carrier Dome, and the National Champions
in the Orange Bowl. Secretly, Virginia Tech fans
estimated the number of losses they could endure
without considering the season a disaster. Publicly
they accepted another Gator Bowl as well as a
They should have listened to Beamer.
Didn’t he say the year after Vick was the
best recruiting class he’s ever had? Didn’t
he land the #1 high school player in the country
with Kevin Jones? Why worry?
The defense has been nothing short of spectacular,
exceeding all expectations. The chemistry of this
unit needed no time to gel. Under the steady guidance
of Coordinator Bud Foster, the team is playing
as if all 5-year seniors. Yet, here’s the
most amazing statistic about this defense - only
one of the top 15 tacklers on this team is a senior,
Willie Pile. The DEs are on a tear (Adibi leading
the way with 6 sacks, and Davis and Colas contributing
4.5 each). And the LBs (Mikal Baaqee, Vegas Robinson,
and Brandon Manning) make it easy to cheer for
Ben Taylor in Cleveland, rather than wishing he
was still in Blacksburg. These guys have speed
and power, and now, experience. The deep ball
can still burn this defense, though. It’s
an aggressive run-stopping unit that relies on
man coverage on the corners. Yet with the DEs
living up to expectations, that job becomes easier.
The Hokies have eight interceptions returned for
With six undefeated games, it’s difficult
to complain. However, the offensive results have
been mixed. Jones and Suggs, “untouchable”
in wins against Marshall and Boston College looked
very “touchable” against Texas A&M
and even Western Michigan (the latter from an
obvious lack of focus). The passing game has been
a pleasant surprise. Bryan Randall replaced an
injured Grant Noel against LSU and has not looked
back. He’s not being asked to do much with
his arm as the Hokies are averaging less than
15 attempts per game. He has shown to be a leader
on the field and has not made any mistakes. Elusive
when the pocket breaks down, he’s able to
avoid the rush with a pass or throw. When he does
throw, he completes 65% of his passes, putting
to rest rumors he’s a runner, not a thrower.
Randall completes passes with zip and a touch.
He will no doubt provide a challenge to Marcus
Vick next year for the starting job. While none
of the receivers are going to make Hokie fans
forget Andre Davis, Ernest Wilford is doing his
best to make them forget about the critical 2-point
conversion he dropped against Miami last year.
He’s averaging over 24 yards per catch and
is proving to be a reliable receiver and the primary
Surprisingly, this unit has caused the most heartache
so far. Carter Warley has an injured back and
the Hokies are now relying on a freshman kicker
for PATs and FGs. While the Hokies continue to
terrorize punters (4 blocked kicks so far), they
were absolutely embarrassed by BC (279 return
yards, including an 83-yard punt return). I wouldn’t
have wanted to watch those films with Beamer,
who coaches this unit.
the million dollar question: Can this team go
undefeated until December? The answer is absolutely
yes. Will they? Looking at their schedule, they
have Rutgers and Temple the next two weeks. Look
for the Hokies to test a more open passing game
during these games. Beamer knows the Hokies need
more dimensions if they are going to achieve their
goals, and what better guinea pigs than the Scarlet
Knights and the Owls? After these games, Pitt
comes into Blacksburg. This game is their toughest
until Miami. Pitt has played VT extremely well,
even during the Vick years. However, the game
is in Blacksburg and, if the Hokies are 8-0 at
that point, assume Lane Stadium will be humming.
Syracuse (which always seems to play like the
Pittsburgh Steelers of the 70s when Virginia Tech
comes to the Dome) is absolutely horrid this year,
meaning a rare walk in the park for the Hokies
in Syracuse. West Virginia is still struggling
to adjust to a new system and has to play in Blacksburg.
The Virginia Cavaliers a curious team, exceeding
expectations by beating Clemson and South Carolina,
but they seem to have only a passing game. While
you need to beat the Hokies in the air, if you
don’t have a ground game, it’s not
going to matter much (see Marshall).
With another soft schedule next year, a legitimate
Heisman candidate in Kevin Jones, Marcus Vick
at QB (with experienced Randall as back-up), and
a team full of experienced sophomores and juniors,
the Hokies’ future looks very bright. They
could be preseason #1, depending on how many Canes
bolt for the NFL again. Yes Virginia Tech, there
is a Santa Claus. He brought you Michael Vick
(the gift that keeps on giving). Virginia Tech
can legitimately claim they don’t rebuild,