Louisville Crashes; BCS Churns
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The outsider team with the inside track to the BCS championship game just got derailed.
Central Florida's upstart Golden Knights tarnished the Cardinals with a last-minute touchdown to cap a wild comeback from a 28-7 deficit and register a 38-35 road victory.
Besides driving a stake through the heart of Louisville's BCS title drive, Central Florida also wrested the driver's seat from the AAC's favorites. Now holding the head-to-head tiebreaker, the Golden Knights would have to lose twice to fall out of the conference lead and return those honors to the Cardinals. Thus, if they hold serve, they'll grab the AAC berth in a BCS bowl.
So for Louisville, this loss isn't just a title killer, it's a revenue buster as well.
While Charlie Strong's über-cruising offense didn't help the cause by committing three costly turnovers -- including a Tennessee-like 'touchback fumble' while trying to stretch for the goal line -- his defensive unit didn't distinguish themselves at all. UCF's Storm Johnson thundered for 109 yards on 18 carries, allowing Brian Bortles to pass efficiently enough to keep the secondary on its heels and claw back into the game.
Bortles threw for two touchdowns, with the second delivering the decisive blow to Louisville's lofty aspirations:
So, the torch is now passed to an actual BCS buster: Fresno State's Bulldogs, standing at 5-0 and already a vanquisher of Boise State. They'll have an interesting challenge at home against Nevada, but with their remaining schedule, an undefeated season is probable.
As to the remaining BCS title contenders, one more will fall today when Clemson and Florida State tangle. The SEC still has its usual suspects waiting to sort themselves out, along with a Missouri club that will only see its injured starting quarterback return if 1-800-FAITH-HEALER works.
Ohio State has Iowa and Penn State at home and Michigan on the road. Chalk says the Buckeyes are now the AQ team most likely to finish undefeated, but recent performances show them to be totally capable of succumbing to either Nebraska or Michigan State in the Big Ten championship game.
And who knew the Big XII's game of the year might boil down to Baylor hosting Texas Tech on Sat 16 Nov?
The Pac-12, with its nine-game conference schedule, is likely to devour its own; a one-loss team there stands an excellent chance of getting a BCS title nod. If either Oregon or UCLA emerges unscathed, they're most likely in. Those two teams are currently odds-on to meet twice, once in Eugene on Sat 26 Oct and then in the conference championsip game in early December.
Some of the hand-wringing over unblemished record vis-à-vis strength of schedule has been alleviated via natural selection. The season's only at its midpoint, but it's already looking like a brace of well-qualified one-loss teams will soon loom over the finish line.
If it happens, that's when anyone who follows college football will be more than ready to wave the BCS a not-so-fond farewell.