1. Ohio State
After a couple of down years, the Big Ten has started to get its act together. Even with Michigan out of the equation, the conference has three really good teams and a fourth, Penn State, which gets an early crack at Alabama.
If Boise State can beat Virginia Tech on Monday, the Broncos figure to keep climbing the polls as the teams ahead of them get knocked off. Ditto for TCU, which hosts Oregon State on Saturday.
So the call here is Ohio State survives the Big Ten and beats TCU in the championship game, 13-10. In the background, you'll hear the one-loss teams from the SEC and Big 12 howling for a playoff. Again.
2. Ohio State
5. Virginia Tech
The Horned Frogs are really, really good and, since they don't have to play an eat-their-young SEC or Big 12 schedule, are a reasonable bet to go undefeated in the regular season. Ohio State again looks like the pick of the litter in the Big Ten, but I have a hunch defending national champion and preseason favorite Alabama will stub its toe at least once, and maybe twice. Nebraska and Virginia Tech could do some damage in their respective leagues, but the Hokies open with Boise State, a huge early roadblock.
1. Boise State
2. Ohio State
If Boise State can beat Virginia Tech in its opener (hardly a given), it has the clearest path to the BCS title game, assuming all of the big boys but one lose a game somewhere along the line. As good as Boise has been in recent years, the pollsters who determine who gets to play for what still won't vote for them unless they have no choice.
Was very impressed by Terrelle Pryor in the Rose Bowl. He was very good down the stretch and proved both he and his Ohio State teammates were serious in beating of hot, determined and talented Oregon in Pasadena.
I can see Alabama losing a game. Just don't ask me which one. But the Tide could still make it to last game. I think there's a chance Oklahoma and Nebraska could both be unbeaten by the time the Big 12 title game rolls around, even though the Sooners have the tougher schedule. Both teams must beat Texas, either at home or in OU's case in neutral Dallas. Iowa gets Wisconsin and Ohio State at home, so who knows? The Hawkeyes do go to Arizona in mid-September. Oregon, despite the loss of QB Jeremiah Masoli to legal issues, might be better than last year. And the Ducks were pretty good then. Hey, anyone can pick Texas-Florida. That being said, it probably will be Boise State-Texas Christian. As a wise person once said, wouldn't that be special? Remember, the SEC has won the last four BCS finales, for those keeping tabs from the Barcalounger.