1) BCS National Championship Game (Jan. 7): Alabama (13-0) vs. Texas (13-0). Despite the fact that this game was set up from week one, there was some buyer's remorse following Texas' improbable win in the Big 12 Championship. The game looks just as good on Jan. 7 as it did in August. Brick's Pick: Roll Tide.
2) Fiesta (Jan. 4): TCU (12-0) vs. Boise State (13-0). Two bowl games featuring two undefeated teams? The nation's top-rated defense against a QB who hasn't tossed a pick? What's not to love? Brick's Pick: Horned Frogs.
3) Sun (Dec. 31): Stanford (8-4) vs. Oklahoma (7-5). Not sure how entertaining it will be watching potential Heisman Trophy winner Toby Gerhart lowering his head and running into Gerald McCoy and the OU defensive line for 60 minutes, but there is not better bowl featuring two teams with a combined nine losses. Brick's Pick: Stoops wins a bowl game.
4) Sugar (Jan. 1): Cincinnati (12-0) vs. Florida (12-1). Notre Dame coach in waiting Brian Kelly borrows Tim Tebow's scripture-laden eye black for his post-game interview, hoping it will distract the Irish faithful from the beatdown Florida delivers. Brick's Pick: Tim Tebow goes out a winner. I'm gonna cry...
5) Chick-fil-A (Dec. 31): Virginia Tech (9-3) vs. Tennessee (7-5). The Brickster has become a fan of sassy Lane Kiffin. Wondering what he's going to say to get in Frank Beamer's Fred Flintstone-sized head. Brick's Pick: Beamer gets the last laugh.
6) Gator (Jan. 1): West Virginia (9-3) vs. Florida State (6-6). So long, Bobby. Brick's Pick: Mountaineers not caught up in the sentimentality.
11) Holiday (Dec. 30): Nebraska (9-4) vs. Arizona (8-4). Nebraska's defense is actually as good as it appeared against Texas. If the Husker's kicker can keep his kickoffs on the field, Arizona will have a tough time reaching their 40. Brick's Picks: It wouldn't be bowl season without a Stoops losing a bowl game.
7) Rose (Jan. 1): Ohio State (10-2) vs. Oregon (10-2).
8) Orange (Jan. 5): Georgia Tech (11-2) vs. Iowa (10-2).
9) Capital One (Jan. 1): Penn State (10-2) vs. LSU (9-3).
10) Champs Sports (Dec. 29): Miami (9-3) vs. Wisconsin (9-3).
Alabama and Florida play on one side of the bracket with Texas and the Huskers on the other. Swap TCU or Boise State for Nebraska, and you're pretty close to something resembling a playoff.
While the SEC Championship game, or Eastern semi-final, promises to deliver some well-coached and hard-hitting football, I would avoid it at all costs. The CDC is warning that prolonged exposure to the the sugary adulation sure to be heaped on Tim Tebow by the CBS crew can actually lead to the onset of diabetes.
Bama's defense will contain the Gators and the Tide offense has gotten better as the year's progressed.
In the other semi-final, Texas QB Colt McCoy might total 175 rushing yards again this week, but it will be yards running around the backfield trying to avoid monstrous tackle Ndamukong Suh and the Nebraska defense. Still, a single touchdown is enough to beat Nebraska on most Saturday's and the Longhorns can find their way into the end zone.
I like Texas to win the Western semi-final and meet Alabama in the national championship game.
Pretender: Pete Carroll
A week after grousing that he would "not forget it" ("it" being Stanford's decision to go for two in a lopsided win over USC), Pete Carroll has QB Matt Barkley toss a 50-yard touchdown pass against UCLA with seconds remaining in a 21-7 game.
Pretender: Rick Neuheisel
A timeout after USC has taken a knee at the end of the game? Really? I think I'm starting to side with Carroll on this one.
Pretender: Oklahoma State
It's Monday afternoon and the Cowboys still haven't gained a first down.
Contenders: Boise State and TCU
You know ... life's not fair. Either team would give the eventual Status Quo champ a game.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go interview for the Notre Dame job.
It no longer matters how many teams are in the Top 11, nor does it matter how many of those teams are undefeated. There are only three spots in the Top 11 this week and two of those three teams will play in the Status Quo Bowl for the mythical national championship.
1. Texas Texas will secure a spot in the game with a win over Texas A&M, a team that seems to win every other game. Last week the Aggies chose to squander that win by defeating Baylor in a battle to avoid last place in Big 12.
2. Alabama/Florida If you're going to play lame teams in late November, you have to be judged accordingly. Florida's soft defense gave up three points to Florida International while Alabama's inept offense managed only 45 points against Chatanooga. Bama ends the regular season at Auburn while the Gators end theirs hosting Florida State, assuming Bobby Bowden remembers there is a game. Then Alabama plays Florida in the SEC championship game for the right to represent the conference in the national championship.
It's been a thrill-packed season where this scenario has been projected since, well, before the season started. Everyone else has been playing for fun.
Because the rest of the Top 11 is a moot point, we take you now to a new segment we call...
WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
1. Oklahoma This time last year, the Sooners were jumping around over a 65-21 stomping of then-No. 2 Texas Tech and eyeing a trip the conference and national championship game.
What a difference a year makes. The only bright spot for an injury-riddled Oklahoma team this season had been the defense. That's past tense, after Texas Tech's sliced and diced the Sooner D for a 41-13 revenge win that has the Sooners sitting at 6-5 with a Bedlam game with Oklahoma State still to come. Where is the Insight Bowl, anyway?
2. Southern Cal Another traditional powerhouse on the national picture sidelines this season. The good news? Losses to Washington and being blown out by Oregon and Stanford spared us the second coming of Tim Tebow in the form of Trojan pretty boy QB Matt Barkley.
3. Les Miles Won a national championship by getting out of the way of Nick Saban's players. Game management of Ole Miss this weekend has Tigers fans shouting Geaux Les. Geaux away.
4. Zac Robinson Oklahoma State's talented QB, still suffering from the after effects of a concussion, sat out Saturday's game against Colorado. He was replaced by his dad, 26-year-old Brandon Weeden.
5.Notre Dame's Charlie Weis and Michigan's Rich Rodriguez
Dear Coaches on the Hot Seat,
Losing your last four (Weis) or five (RichRod) games of the season is a very bad idea.
1. TCU TCU vs Texas. This is the national championship game America wants to see! If you thought Texans were insufferable before ...
The Brickster is jumping on the TCU bandwagon. THe Horned Frogs, coached by future Notre Dame coach Gary Patterson, can play with anyone in the Smack Pack -- and I'd make them favorites over either Alabama or Florida.
2. Texas Colt McCoy ties an NCAA record with 42 career wins. After the game, Longhorn defensive coordinator was heard muttering, "Why did I sign that 'coach-in-waiting' contract? I could have been a future Notre Dame coach."
3. Stanford 50+ point ass-whippings of Oregon and USC? Stanford, coached by future Notre Dame coach Jim Harbaugh, jumps into the Top 11.
4. Alabama Nick Saban is too big for Notre Dame.
5. Florida Urban Meyer actually believes he is God and Tim Tebow is his son. That kind of thinking won't fly at Notre Dame.
6. Notre Dame Charlie Weis is calculating how many Original Recipe buckets he can get at KFC with his buyout money.
7. Boise State Future Notre Dame coach Chris Peterson's Broncs vandalized Idaho 63-25.
8. Tampa Bay Buccaneers You read it here first: Bucs coach Raheem Morris will never be the head coach at Notre Dame.
9. Oklahoma State Other than the story about the hunchback, former Oklahoma State QB and current Poke coach Mike Gundy hasn't heard of Notre Dame.
10. Georgia Tech Wouldn't the triple option look cool in South Bend? Rambling Wreck and future Notre Dame coach Paul Johnson certainly thinks so.
11. Cincinnati Weis needed to beat Pittsburgh. So does Cincinnati and future Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly.
1. Notre Dame Heading into Veterans Day, the Irish decided to take a figurative knee to Navy. No other team in the country has the character to take a loss to honor our service men and women. For that, the Irish are No. 1 this week.
2. Texas The most complete team in the country. Colt McCoy tosses the football 470 yards and his favorite receiver grabs 11 of those passes for an astounding 273 yards. Defense holds Central Florida to a field goal. Wait a minute ... did I say Central Florida? WTF? Why is Texas playing Central Florida in November?
3. TCU Good teams spank bad teams. Case in point, Horned Frogs beat San Diego State 55-12.
4. Alabama The highest-ranked team without an offense.
5. Florida "Have you ever gone 19-0?" Florida Coach Urban Meyer asked following Florida's 27-3 win against Vanderbilt. "It's not ho-hum, I can assure you that. If it's ho-hum for someone, you've got to really reflect to say, 'Where am I headed in this life right now?' If 19-0 in the Southeastern Conference at the University of Florida is ho-hum, then you've got one exciting life, man, you've got a lot of good stuff going for you."
So I'm asking myself ... where am I headed in this life right now?
Meyer wasn't finished: "I don't ever want to take anything away from what those cats have done."
"Cats?" Urban is so, um, urban with his hep cat talk.
Will someone please beat Florida?
6-11. Everyone else in the country. I'm supposed to get excited by a two-point win over Connecticut (Cincinnati) or a one-point win over Tulsa (Houston)? Boise State competes for Friday night exposure with high school teams. LSU seems to be trying to make a name for itself by losing to good teams. While Iowa (told you it would catch up with them), Oregon and Penn State lose to even suckier teams.
The Brickster's Heisman Leaderboard
1. Ndamukong Suh, NT, Nebraska Isn't about time a lineman won the Heisman? Suh is an absolute animal. He does to opposing offenses (and parked cars) what his first name does to the alphabet: Creates absolute chaos.
2. Case Keenum, QB, Houston THIS WEEK: 40-60, 522 yards, 3 TDs. I'd give him the trophy for the 60 attempts alone.
3. Jordan Shipley, WR, Texas THIS WEEK: 11 receptions, 273 yds, 1 TD. He's been doing it for the past two years.
Things we know in November ... The SEC has two good teams in Bama and Florida. LSU is ridiculously overrated ... Houston's Case Keenum is the Heisman frontrunner. Yes, that was a "period" ending that statement. What did Keenum do this weekend? 44-of-54 for a career-high 559 yards and five touchdowns, including the game winner with 21 seconds to go. Houston is 7-1 ... USC, like most teams depending on freshman QBs, is not that good ... The Big 12 has one good team ... and it's time we all get over the major conference mystique: TCU, Houston, Boise State and Cincy are all legit -- more importantly, we've never rolled into November with SEVEN undefeated teams. I don't see anyone beating six of those teams.
1. Texas Finally woke up from its slumber with an impressive win at Oklahoma State. The Brickster has a feeling there are going to be no Texas Tech slip ups this year for the Longhorns.
2. TCU Patterson's teams play defense as well as any "major."
3. Cincinnati Best uniforms in the Smack Pack 11.
4. Houston Still tied for the lead in the Big 12 South.
5. Boise State The Broncs continue to roll.
6. New York Yankees Mariano Rivera could stop any of the remaining teams by himself.
7. Notre Dame If I don't get to Heaven, I'm going to be pissed.
8. Oregon Likely Pac-10 champs, only loss was to Boise State.
9. Alabama Those off weeks are brutal in the Smack Pack.
10. Iowa Seriously? A 28-point fourth quarter rally to beat ... Indiana? Iowa is number four in the BCS poll, which should tell you how lame that poll is. The Hawkeyes have come from behind in EVERY SINGLE GAME to somehow make it to 9-0. A road game at Ohio State should end their fraudulent season.
11. Florida Brandon Spikes eye gouged me. I thought I had the Gators at No. 1 and was just seeing double. When my vision cleared, it became apparent I'd actually ranked them No. 11. Oh well. My bad.
After sitting through another ridiculous weekend of the 2009 college football season, I decided maybe it's time members of the nation's sporting press stopped sniffing at the so-called mid-majors. With Alabama having to block a field goal to stop Lane Kiffin from becoming insufferable, the Brickster doesn't see a dominating team in college football.
1. TCU/Boise State It's time to face facts ... TCU and Boise State are going undefeated.
3. Cincinnati Unlike TCU and Boise State, the Bearcats have a couple of games on their remaining schedule -- West Virginia and Pitt could end the madness.
4. Texas Seven games into its season, the Longhorns finally looked like a highly ranked team this weekend. Just in time, too. The B12 South is decided Saturday in Stillwater.
5. Iowa Hawkeyes season and title hopes hinge on a Nov. 14 game against Ohio State. Brickster likes that Iowa is hanging in there and winning close games. Brickster also thinks hanging in there and winning close games eventually comes back to bite you.
6. USC/Oregon Pac 10 championship game is this weekend.
8. Alabama Regular readers know the worst thing you can do is bore the Brickster. A 12-10 win over Tennessee had me considering lawn work.
9. Florida More boredom. The Gators mailed in a completely uninspired performance against a bad Mississippi State team. I mailed in the 8 spot.
10. Houston Cougars are hating that UTEP game right now.
11. Oklahoma State/Notre Dame Want to impress the Brickster? Beat Texas.
Notre Dame remains in the Top 11 due to a contract all members of the sporting press must sign in blood with a centuries-old secret society. The penalty for failing to include the Irish in your Top 11 is you have to read all of Dan Brown's novels. Oops. I wasn't supposed to share that.