- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 13, 2008

WHO´S OVERRATED

AIR FORCE

The Falcons are 8-2 and knocking on the door of the polls. As gaudy as that is, Air Force is 7-0 against teams with a losing record, and its best victory is against Houston. That’s the Cougars, not the Texans. Troy Calhoun’s team will land in a well-deserved bowl game, but meetings with BYU and TCU the next two weeks will bring the Falcons back to reality.

WHO’S UNDERRATED

No. 19 LSU

Yes, the Tigers seemed overrated a few weeks ago. But here’s what they have done: Get blown out at Florida, push the nation’s No. 1 team to overtime and get dismissed by Georgia. That’s not exactly terrible. Les Miles’ team obviously isn’t worthy of the top 10, but nearly dealing Alabama its first loss of the season doesn’t warrant falling four spots.

PLOT WORTH WATCHING

HOW HIGH CAN BALL STATE RISE?

It’s time to start paying attention to the possibility of the Cardinals joining Utah and Boise State in the BCS (and in the process leaving only one at-large spot for all the power conferences). Ball State will be midweek warriors the rest of the way, closing with Central Michigan and Western Michigan. Both opponents are dangerous but also could help push the Cardinals a little higher in the polls.

HEISMAN QUICK SIX

A look at the contenders for the Heisman Trophy (last week’s rank in parentheses):

1. QB Graham Harrell, Texas Tech (2): The Big 12’s quarterbacks are officially ridiculous. Harrell turned in a typical 40-for-50, six-touchdown day against Oklahoma State.

2. QB Sam Bradford, Oklahoma (1): Appears there’s another showdown between Heisman candidates looming Nov. 22 when Texas Tech visits Norman.

3. QB Colt McCoy, Texas (3): Don’t forget about the Longhorns’ quarterback, who would probably have won this thing with ease in either of the last two seasons.

4. TB Javon Ringer, Michigan State (6): The 20-touchdown man still has the Spartans in position to claim at least a share of the Big Ten title.

5. QB Armanti Edwards, Appalachian State (NR): To mix things up a bit, how about a guy who has 31 touchdowns (22 passing, nine rushing) against two interceptions?

6. QB Tim Tebow, Florida (NR): Stealthily efficient 2007 winner has thrown for 17 touchdowns against two interceptions for surging Gators.

SATURDAY PLANNER

Six suggested games to devour during an afternoon on the couch:

Notre Dame vs. Navy, noon, Chs. 9, 13: There’s no absurdly long streak to obsess over here anymore. Instead, there is the matter of the Fighting Irish attempting to become bowl eligible against a team with two weeks to prepare.

Ohio State at Illinois, noon, ESPN: Paybacks can be a bear. The Illini dealt the Buckeyes their only regular-season loss last fall. This time around, Terelle Pryor and friends will dump the Zooker to 5-6.

California at Oregon State, 3:30: It’s a classic Oregon State season — start slow, then surge once the frost is on the pumpkin. The Beavers can stay in control of the Pac-10 with a fifth straight win.

North Carolina at Maryland, 3:30, Chs. 7, 2: This could be the most meaningful game of the week. Thus, it’s not a very loaded week.

South Carolina at Florida, 3:30, Chs. 9, 13: The Gators already have the SEC East title in hand, but the Ol’ Ball Coach and the surging Gamecocks could spoil Tim Tebow’s national title push.

Southern California at Stanford, 7, Versus: Wonder whether the Trojans remember the stunning loss to the Cardinal last year? Probably so. Southern Cal needs style points and could pour it on if given a chance.

FIVE FEARLESS FORECASTS

Five predictions for the coming weekend:

1. Michigan isn’t done with its upsets. The Wolverines drilled Minnesota last week, and next up is a visit from Northwestern. Michigan isn’t good but can make the Big Ten look bad if it knocks off a couple seven-win teams in back-to-back weeks.

2. Some one-loss teams will run up the score. There is little to distinguish Texas, Southern Cal, Florida and Penn State. Margin of victory shouldn’t matter, but all those teams would be wise to win convincingly to bolster their national title chances.

3. The ACC will finally start to clear up. The Thursday night game between Virginia Tech and Miami helps. So do the Florida State-Boston College and Maryland-North Carolina tussles. Either way, the league’s title game likely won’t feature a top-10 team.

4. The Big 12 South dominates again. It’s time for that annual comparison between the Big 12’s divisions. The South is 13-3 against the North, with two of the losses suffered by Baylor. This week’s blowouts-to-be: Oklahoma State-Colorado and Texas-Kansas.

5. This will be one of the worst November Saturdays in some time. Look, there just aren’t many meaningful games this weekend. Pay attention to the teams still in the national title picture, but this doesn’t look like a particularly memorable day.

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