After five weeks of college football, there are only 20 undefeated teams remaining, and only one of those teams, the Ohio State Buckeyes, has five wins. When the Buckeyes take the field on Saturday against Northwestern, they alone will have the opportunity to become the first bowl eligible team this season. And they’d be able to enjoy the honor for at least five days, because until Louisville plays the following Thursday, Ohio State would be the only bowl eligible team.
There is no doubt that Ohio State, unlike about two-thirds of college football teams, has a goal of something more than bowl eligibility. The Buckeyes possess the nation’s longest winning streak, and are hoping to have another undefeated season. This weekend, they’ll face another undefeated team, the Northwestern Wildcats, in one of three match-ups between teams that haven’t lost a game this season. It’s possible that Ohio State and its fans will not be very excited about becoming bowl eligible, but we are. If the Buckeyes win Saturday, we’ll begin publishing bowl projections every Monday that we compile from all over the web. We’ll also add a weekly prediction of our own.
The three match-ups taking place this weekend between undefeated teams mean that at most, 17 teams will survive the weekend without a defeat. We’ve gone a step further and analyzed the remaining schedules from all 20 undefeated teams, and it is possible that as many as seven teams could make it through the season without a loss. This is a number we’ll update in a few weeks, because I would be amazed if there were seven undefeated teams at the end of the season, but it is a possibilty.
Heading into week six, there are only two candidates, both nicknamed after canines, to bust into the BCS from non-power conferences. Last year, Northern Illinois became the first team from a non-power conference to receive a BCS bowl bid with a loss. in this, the last year of the BCS, it won’t happen.
MY STATEMENT IS FORTHCOMING
There are a few games this weekend where teams will have the opportunity to show they have arrived, that they never left, or fulfil a need to show a little something.
MICHIGAN STATE at IOWA – The winner of this game will significantly improve their post-season outlook. The Spartans have one of the top-rated defenses in the country, something even more exceptional when you consider how much their offense has struggled, and how often the D goes back on the field after three. In my opinion, it’s good enough to carry the Green and White to a Big Ten Championship. They’ll face an Iowa squad that is greatly exceeding low expectations, and getting better every week. Iowa needs the win before it faces a run of Ohio State Northwestern and Wisconsin.
ARIZONA STATE vs. NOTRE DAME in DALLAS – Last week, Oklahoma jumped the gun on the Fighting Irish, scoring two early touchdowns, and winning by 14. Meanwhile, ASU embarrassed USC in Tempe, leading to the firing of Trojan coach Lane Kiffin. Arizona State has a solid defense, too many offensive weapons to prepare for, and a high-octane game plan. Notre Dame will need to stop them all if it wants to remain in the hunt for a BCS bowl game. A win here would be huge, as Notre Dame will likely be favored in its next five games.
ILLINOIS vs. NEBRASKA – Illinois quitely amassed a 3-1 non-conference record, and bowl eligibility is something that is possible. Even though they won their last game, Nebraska, has been reeling since they lost to UCLA a few weeks ago. They need a win to get over it, and if they are not focused, Illinois is dangerous.
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