Heisman Watch Week Nine: Te’o, Klein come up big when needed

Collin Klein

A week after staking his claim to the role of Heisman favorite, Klein was able to avoid the classic letdown game against Texas Tech, combining to account for four touchdowns against the Red Raiders in Kansas State’s convincing victory. Leading what will be a team among the top three teams ranked in the country, Klein continues to show of his versatility, rushing for 83 yards to go with his 233 yards passing.

Geno Smith

Geno Smith and West Virginia were off on the weekend, trying desperately to recover from two straight blowout losses that have thrown wrenches in their Big 12 title hopes and Smith’s Heisman hopes. The senior quarterback has still accounted for nearly 2,500 yards passing and 26 touchdowns against just two interceptions. Smith can still recover in this race, and has the games ahead of him to do it.

Kenjon Barner

After scoring 56 points in the first half, at least one Oregon Duck was bound to show up here. This week, it’s Kenjon Barner, the burner who accounted for more than 150 yards in total offense, as well as two rushing touchdowns. For the year, Barner has posted impressive numbers, turning it up in recent weeks, having scored nine touchdowns in the last four weeks to bring his name to the forefront of many Heisman watches.

Manti Te’o

With Notre Dame put to the test Saturday night against Oklahoma, it was Te’o who came up with the big defensive play late that allowed the Irish to claim their first marquee victory of the year. Sure, Notre Dame had run a perfect route through their early season tests, but against Oklahoma they would be faced with a challenge far more difficult than they had seen. But it was Te’o who proved the different.

Te’o’s 11 tackles, two for a loss and a key interception late allowed Notre Dame to keep and extend the lead. It couldn’t have been better for Te’o on a national stage. He’s in this thing for real now.

Braxton Miller

In what many were expecting to be a big test for Ohio State, Braxton Miller came up big, accounting for three touchdowns in his return from a scary injury last weekend against Purdue. Miller threw for 143 yards and a score to go with his 134 yards and two scores on the ground to help the Buckeyes outlast Penn State. Despite their ineligibilty, the Buckeyes remain undefeated, and Miller has a lot to do with that. His Heisman hopes are as strong as they have been as we hit November.

On The Radar:

Montee Ball 

Not a good showing from Ball as Wisconsin’s hot streak snaps. Could Ball fight his way back into the picture for a second time this season?

De’Anthony Thomas

Thomas continues to fill up the stat sheet — did you see his punt return for a touchdown? — but the more his teammate Barner shines, the less to go around. His all-purpose production is unmatched, but is that enough for the Heisman cred?

BCS Implications and Schedule Strength Worksheet Post-Week Nine

Down the stretch of the BCS season, a team’s opponents become an important component of a team’s overall resume to watch.

Not only does it help to define the relative strength of said team, but also has a large effect on that team’s BCS computer performance.

With that in mind, we’ve compiled a look at the BCS’s top teams and their important games — both already played and upcoming — to get a better perspective on which teams’ performances will have implications on the BCS.

Each week we’ll give the rundown for the number of teams that seem to be within striking distance of the top two spots. The third BCS rankings reveal a  “striking distance” that includes a one-loss Oklahoma, suddenly right back in the thick of the BCS race, and with a chance to beat No. 3 Oklahoma St. at season’s end.

Each team is listed with their current BCS rank, record and strength of schedule (according to Jeff Sagarin’s ratings).

Below each BCS contender are their most important opponents, both which they have already played (with those results) and those upcoming.

Their opponents will also be listed with a record and their current Sagarin or BCS ranking depending on which is available. Teams will be listed in order of importance to that team’s BCS performance. Each opponent is also listed with an SOS to give you a better sense of how they might perform in the coming weeks. Games this weekend are bolded.

Oh yeah, and one of them happens to be a game you might have heard was going on this weekend.

BCS No. 1 LSU Tigers (8-0) SOS: 18

Important Games Already Played

  • BCS No. 8 Oregon (7-1) SOS: 45 — Won 40-27
  • BCS No. 22 Auburn (6-3) SOS: 12 — Won 45-10
  • BCS No. 24 West Virginia (6-2) SOS: 74 — Won 47-21
  • Sagarin No. 33 Florida (4-4) SOS: 17 — Won 41-11
  • Sagarin No. 47 Tennessee (3-5) SOS: 3 — Won 38-7

Important Games Remaining

  • BCS No. 2 Alabama (8-0) SOS: 39 — Nov. 5
  • BCS No. 7 Arkansas (7-1) SOS: 71 — Nov. 25
  • SEC Championship Game (Potential)

BCS No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide (8-0) SOS: 39

Important Games Already Played

  • BCS No. 7 Arkansas (7-1) SOS: 71 — Won 38-14
  • BCS No. 16 Penn State (8-1) SOS: 64 — Won 27-11
  • Sagarin No. 33 Florida (4-4) SOS: 17 — Won 38-10
  • Sagarin No. 47 Tennessee (3-5) SOS: 3 — Won 37-6

Important Games Remaining

  • BCS No. 1 LSU (8-0) SOS: 18 — Nov. 5
  • BCS No. 22 Auburn (6-3) SOS: 12 — Nov. 26
  • SEC Championship Game (Potential)

BCS No. 3 Oklahoma State Cowboys (8-0) SOS: 6

Important Games Already Played

  • Sagarin No. 14 Texas A&M (5-3) SOS: 5 — Won 30-29
  • Sagarin No. 16 Missouri (4-4) SOS: 1 — Won 45-24
  • Sagarin No. 20 Tulsa (5-3) SOS: 34 — Won 59-33
  • Sagarin No. 22 Baylor (4-3) SOS: 8 — Won 59-24
  • BCS No. 21 Texas (5-2) SOS: 14 — Won 38-26

Important Games Remaining

  • BCS No. 14 Kansas State (7-1) SOS: 20 — Nov. 5
  • BCS No. 6 Oklahoma Sooners (7-1) SOS: 9 — Dec. 3
  • Sagarin No. 28 Texas Tech (5-3) SOS: 36 — Nov. 12
  • Sagarin No. 31 Iowa State (4-4) SOS: 7 — Nov. 18

BCS No. 4 Stanford Cardinal (8-0) SOS: 53

Important Games Already Played

  • Sagarin No. 23 USC (6-2) SOS: 26 — Won 56-48
  • Sagarin No. 26 Washington (6-2) SOS: 42 — Won 65-21

Important Games Remaining

  • BCS No. 8 Oregon (7-1) SOS: 45 — Nov. 12
  • Sagarin No. 41 Notre Dame (5-3) SOS: 22 — Nov. 26
  • Pac-12 Championship Game (Potential)

BCS No. 5 Boise State Broncos (7-0) SOS: 31

Important Games Already Played

  • BCS No. 18 Georgia (6-2) SOS: 15 — Won 35-21
  • Sagarin No. 20 Tulsa (5-3) SOS: 34 — Won 41-21
  • Sagarin No. 44 Nevada (5-3) SOS: 72 — Won 30-10

Important Games Remaining

  • Sagarin No. 39 TCU (6-2) SOS: 88 — Nov. 12

BCS No. 6 Oklahoma Sooners (7-1) SOS: 9

Important Games Already Played

  • BCS No. 21 Texas (5-2) SOS: 14 — Won 55-17
  • Sagarin No. 16 Missouri (4-4) SOS: 1 — Won 38-28
  • Sagarin No. 28 Texas Tech (5-3) SOS: 36 — Lost 41-38

Important Games Remaining

  • BCS No. 3 Oklahoma State (8-0) SOS: 8 — Dec. 3
  • BCS No. 14 Kansas State (7-1) SOS: 20 — Oct. 29
  • Sagarin No. 14 Texas A&M (5-3) SOS: 5 — Nov. 5
  • Sagarin No. 22 Baylor (4-3) SOS: 8 — Nov. 19
  • Sagarin No. 31 Iowa State (4-4) SOS: 7 — Nov. 26

Third BCS Rankings of 2011: Stanford Leaps Ahead of Boise State While No. 1 LSU, No. 2 Alabama Prepare for Showdown

Stanford jumps to No. 4 on the strength of its victory over USC combined with losses by Clemson and Kansas State, but of course, the conversation turns almost immediately to the top two slots, where LSU and Alabama sit once again with just one week until their showdown in Tuscaloosa.

The Tigers and Crimson Tide remain situated at the top of this week’s standings, now waiting out the days until they get a chance to help clear up the BCS picture, although the chance of a muddled picture at the top at the end of the season grows with every undefeated who falls. Again the question arises — could we see a rematch of the SEC powerhouses in the BCS national title game?

For now, the two lead a pack of impressive BCS teams who made plenty of moves in this week’s standings.

Stanford lands past Boise State on a far better computer average than the Cardinal had been enjoying until this point, mostly from their first quality win of the season over USC. Oklahoma State improves its lead on the teams that come after it, although not by much, and still trail the SEC duo.

Oklahoma rejoins the conversation at No. 6 after topping Kansas State, followed by one-loss squads Arkansas and Oregon. The Razorbacks sneak by Oregon on the strength of their computer support, far better than that of the Ducks.

South Carolina and Nebraska also make impressive jumps into the top 10, as both have bounced back from earlier losses.

Clemson and Kansas State take tumbles after their hopes at undefeated seasons came to an end Saturday, with both dropping six slots.

But enough talk, here’s the third BCS rankings of 2011.

BCS Standings Week Three — October 30

Rank Team BCS Score
1 LSU Tigers .9734
2 Alabama Crimson Tide .9591
3 Oklahoma State Cowboys .9310
4 Stanford Cardinal .8615
5 Boise State Broncos .8522
6 Oklahoma Sooners .7760
7 Arkansas Razorbacks .7033
8 Oregon Ducks .6916
9 South Carolina Gamecocks .6177
10 Nebraska Cornhuskers .6156
11 Clemson Tigers .5961
12 Virginia Tech Hokies .5693
13 Houston Cougars .4698
14 Kansas State Wildcats .4600
15 Michigan Wolverines .4512
16 Penn State Nittany Lions .4022

Some thoughts:

  • BCS Know How’s Projected BCSvs. Actual BCS Rankings
    • Not the worst, not the best. Got 1-6, switched around a few after that. Wasn’t expecting Arkansas’s precipitous rise, was expecting that from Virginia Tech instead…

Harris Interactive Poll Week Nine: Stanford Bolsters Support While Top Five Remain Unchanged


LSU tops the poll once again, while Stanford makes some moves on the strength of its thrilling overtime victory over USC late Saturday night.

Oklahoma is right back in the middle of things in the Harris Poll after blasting Kansas State, while the Wildcats and Clemson take significant falls respectively.

Certainly, next week’s LSU-Alabama game will shake things up a bit. How will things fall into place? You’ll have to stay tuned.

Harris Interactive College Football Poll – October 30

Rank Team Votes Share of Vote
1 LSU Tigers 2853 .992
2 Alabama Crimson Tide 2775 .965
3 Oklahoma State Cowboys 2594 .902
4 Stanford Cardinal 2552 .888
5 Boise State Broncos 2438 .848
6 Oregon Ducks 2266 .788
7 Oklahoma Sooners 2158 .751
8 Arkansas Razorbacks 2015 .701
9 Nebraska Cornhuskers 1918 .667
10 Clemson Tigers 1697 .590
11 South Carolina Gamecocks 1696 .589
12 Virginia Tech Hokies 1594 .554

USA Today Coaches’ Poll Week Nine: Top Five Unchanged as LSU Remains No. 1


Little movement in this week’s Coaches’ Poll at the top, as LSU and Alabama continue to lead the way in preparation for their epic showdown next weekend.

Stanford keeps the No. 3 spot.

USA Today Coaches’ Poll – October 30

Rank Team Votes Share of Vote
1 LSU Tigers 1457 .988
2 Alabama Crimson Tide 1434 .972
3 Stanford Cardinal 1323 .897
4 Oklahoma State Cowboys 1314 .891
5 Boise State Broncos 1237 .837
6 Oregon Ducks 1175 .797
7 Oklahoma Sooners 1117 .757
8 Arkansas Razorbacks 1046 .709
9 Nebraska Cornhuskers 973 .660
10 South Carolina Gamecocks 919 .623
11 Virginia Tech Hokies 871 .591
12 Clemson Tigers 779 .528

Projected BCS Standings: Stanford Claims Spot in Top Four in Third BCS Rankings of 2011

Remember a few weeks ago when we thought we’d have undefeated teams to spare come November?

Well for two straight weeks now, we’ve had two high-profile undefeated teams drop out of the ranks of the spotless, and just in time to ready the nation for the game to end all games, next week’s forever anticipated Alabama-LSU.

The biggest statement of the week might have come from one of the teams to have dropped off that list last week, Oklahoma, but for now the Sooners are still on the outside looking in at the BCS picture.

Beside the dynamic duo of the Tigers and Crimson Tide, however, there remain a few others still in the elite group. Oklahoma State had little trouble verifying its No. 3 BCS ranking from last week, dispensing with Baylor, and Stanford survived a test at USC.

Who’s going to be most rewarded tomorrow? Don’t be surprised if it’s Stanford.

USC, although unranked by the human elements because of its NCAA sanctions, was ranked highly by the computers, the factor the Cardinal had a severe lacking in coming into the weekend. The Trojans were in the top-15 in the computer rankings and that kind of strong victory can do wonders.

The Cardinal will likely jump past Boise State this week, but will still trail the LSU-Alabama-Oklahoma State trio we saw last week at the top of the polls.

The Broncos will be hard pressed to stay ahead of the Cardinal, but with plenty of intrigue to come, anything can happen in the always-crazy BCS.

Plenty of scenarios surround the Alabama-LSU showdown next weekend, but for now, we’ll leave those discussions for the next few days, and just leave you to ponder the BCS rankings due tomorrow.

It might be a confusing few weeks, but we’ll be here to take you through all of it, starting with tomorrow’s releases of the human polls, computer rankings and BCS. Follow along all day tomorrow @BCSKnowHow and right here to stay up to the second with projections, mathematical breakdowns of all of the computers, human polls and everything in between.

Got all that? Hope so.

Here’s what the BCS standing will likely look like when they are released tomorrow at 8:15 p.m. ET on ESPN:

Projected BCS Standings – BCS Week Three (October 30)

Rank Team
1 LSU Tigers
2 Alabama Crimson Tide
3 Oklahoma State Cowboys
4 Stanford Cardinal
5 Boise State Broncos
6 Oklahoma Sooners
7 Oregon Ducks
8 Arkansas Razorbacks
9 Virginia Tech Hokies
10 South Carolina Gamecocks
11 Nebraska Cornhuskers
12 Clemson Tigers

Heisman Watch Week Nine: Luck’s Night Overshadows Competition

Trent Richardson

Richardson and Alabama had the weekend off, but the game of the Crimson Tide’s season, and a game that could do a lot to either hurt or help the tailback’s Heisman hopes, now looms in the not-all-too-distant future.

The LSU-Alabama showdown everyone has been circling since day one of the season will also play a part in deciding the next few weeks of this Heisman race. If Richardson is to excel, his stock could be solidified to the point where he would guarantee a spot in New York, at least. If Richardson comes up short against the Tigers — well, then, his hopes at the trophy might be shot for this year. You might want to tune in.

Landry Jones

For everything Landry Jones lost in his bid to claim a shot at the Heisman Trophy last week in a resume-crashing loss to Texas Tech, his performance against a top-10 ranked Kansas State team certainly did wonders to begin to rebuild his candidacy.

Jones passed for 505 yards and five touchdowns Saturday, bouncing back from Oklahoma’s loss to Texas Tech last week and showing he (and receiver Ryan Broyles) can still dismantle Big 12 offenses from the top down.

Jones’s road to the Heisman Trophy will be a tough one, but his performance Saturday certainly helps maintain his spot in this race. Another couple showings like this — especially against Oklahoma State later this season — and Jones could find himself in the thick of things.

Russell Wilson

Wilson had yet another chance to register a “Heisman moment” by completing a comeback Saturday, but falling short for a second week, Wilson’s candidacy seems to be slipping.

Another solid performance out of Wilson, but with the Badgers hitting kinks at the worst-possible time, Wilson will certainly need more than “solid” to stay in the hunt for the trophy. Wilson threw for 253 yards and three touchdowns, but that might not be enough moving forward.

Wilson and the Badgers still have a fair shot at running the table the rest of the way, and  playing in the inaugural Big Ten Championship game, which would certainly help Wilson’s resume, but for now, his candidacy is on shaky ground.

Andrew Luck

For weeks, all Andrew Luck could hear was the sound of people doubting his Heisman candidacy, and even his NFL consensus No. 1 overall pick status, because of the lack of “quality” opponents the senior had faced.

That talk will probably simmer down after a Saturday night to remember for Luck and a national audience that watched Luck and Stanford take on USC in Los Angeles and play in a triple-overtime game. In leading his team to thrilling victory, Luck showed that he is for real, and that the hype is probably worth the time spent.

Though obviously bolstered by overtime statistic boosting, Luck’s 330 yards and three touchdowns were impressive nonetheless, especially considering the way Luck guided his team through the seven-period affair with the leadership he’s been so heralded as having.

Important games remain, but as we pass the midway point of the season, it’s Luck and then everyone else.

Kellen Moore

Moore had the week off, as Boise State gets a break in the middle of the season before embarking on five consecutive games to close the 2011 season.

Among those games are all-important match ups with TCU, Wyoming and San Diego State, with whom the Broncos will likely battle to claim the Mountain West conference title.

Moore will have the chance to best wow the critics against TCU, but once again he will have to fight against the non-AQ conference and “system quarterback” stigmas that are always seemingly attached to his name. Can statistical performances on par with what he’s been providing give Moore enough in this race? Or will he need Case Keenum-esque numbers from here on out?

We’ll soon find out.

BCS Implications Worksheet Post-Week Nine

Down the stretch of the BCS season, a team’s opponents become an important component of a team’s overall resume to watch.

Not only does it help to define the relative strength of said team, but also has a large effect on that team’s BCS computer performance.

With that in mind, we’ve compiled a look at the BCS’s top teams and their important games — both already played and upcoming — to get a better perspective on which teams’ performances will have implications on the BCS.

Each week we’ll give the rundown for the number of teams that seem to be within striking distance of the top two spots. This week the striking distance looks to go all the way down to the No. 6 Alabama Crimson Tide, who have No. 10 LSU this weekend and then Alabama at the end of the month.

Once again, each team is listed with their current BCS rank, record and strength of schedule (according to Jeff Sagarin’s ratings).

Below each BCS contender are their most important opponents, both which they have already played (with those results) and those upcoming.

Their opponents will also be listed with a record and their current Sagarin or BCS ranking depending on which is available. Teams will be listed in order of importance to that team’s BCS performance. Each opponent is also listed with an SOS to give you a better sense of how they might perform in the coming weeks.

BCS No. 1 Oregon Ducks (8-0) SOS: 42

Important Games Already Played

  • BCS No. 13 Stanford Cardinal (7-1) SOS: 25 — Win 52-31
  • Sagarin No. 31 Arizona State Sun Devils (4-4) SOS: 9 — Win 42-31
  • Sagarin No. 39 UCLA Bruins (3-5) SOS: 4 — Win 60-13
  • Sagarin No. 23 USC (5-3) SOS: 10 — Win 53-32

Important Games Remaining

  • BCS No. 15 Arizona Wildcats (7-1) SOS: 21 — November 26th
  • Sagarin No. 18 Oregon State Beavers (4-3) SOS: 1 — December 4th

BCS No. 2 Auburn Tigers (9-0) SOS: 29

Important Games Already Played

  • BCS No. 10 LSU Tigers (7-1) SOS: 27 — Win 24-17
  • BCS No. 18 Arkansas Razorbacks (6-2) SOS: 52 — Win 65-43
  • BCS No. 19 South Carolina Gamecocks (6-2) SOS: 41 — Win 35-27
  • BCS No. 20 Mississippi State Bulldogs (7-2) SOS: 56 — Win 17-14

Important Games Remaining

  • BCS No. 6 Alabama Crimson Tide (7-1) SOS: 39 — November 26th
  • SEC Championship Game (Possible) — December 4th

BCS No. 3 TCU Horned Frogs (9-0) SOS: 72

Important Games Already Played

  • Sagarin No. 18 Oregon State Beavers (4-3) SOS: 1 — Win 30-21
  • BCS No. 21 Baylor Bears (7-2) SOS: 61 — Win 45-10
  • Sagarin No. 32 Air Force Falcons (5-4) SOS: 28 — Win 38-7
  • Sagarin No. 49 BYU Cougars (3-5) SOS: 12 — Win 31-3

Important Games Remaining

  • BCS No. 5 Utah Utes (7-0) SOS: 98 — November 6th
  • Sagarin No. 37 San Diego State Aztecs (6-2) SOS: 103 — November 13th

BCS No. 4 Boise State Broncos (7-0) SOS: 74

Important Games Already Played

  • BCS No. 22 Virginia Tech (6-2) SOS: 75 — Win 33-30
  • Sagarin No. 18 Oregon State Beavers (4-3) SOS: 1 — Win 37-24

Important Games Remaining

  • BCS No. 23 Nevada Wolfpack (7-1) SOS: 87 — November 26th
  • Sagarin No. 38 Hawaii Warriors (7-2) SOS: 64 — November 6th

BCS No. 5 Utah Utes (8-0) SOS: 98

Important Games Already Played

  • Sagarin No. 27 Iowa State Cyclones (5-4) SOS: 11 — Win 68-27
  • Sagarin No. 32 Air Force Falcons (5-4) SOS: 28 — Win 28-23
  • Sagarin No. 55 Pittsburgh Panthers (5-3) SOS: 50 — Win 27-24

Important Games Remaining

  • BCS No. 3 TCU Horned Frogs (9-0) SOS: 72 — November 6th
  • Sagarin No. 37 San Diego State Aztecs (6-2) SOS: 103 — November 20th
  • Sagarin No. 49 BYU Cougars (3-5) SOS: 12 — November 27th

BCS No. 6 Alabama Crimson Tide (7-1) SOS: 39

Important Games Already Played

  • BCS No. 18 Arkansas Razorbacks (6-2) SOS: 52 — Win 24-20
  • BCS No. 19 South Carolina Gamecocks (6-2) SOS: 41 — Loss 35-21
  • Sagarin No. 36 Florida Gators (5-3) SOS: 19 — Win 31-6
  • Sagarin No. 42 Penn State Nittany Lions (5-3) SOS: 43 — Win 24-3

Important Games Remaining

  • BCS No. 2 Auburn Tigers (9-0) SOS: 29 — November 26th
  • BCS No. 10 LSU Tigers (7-1) SOS: 27 — November 6th
  • BCS No. 20 Mississippi State Bulldogs (7-2) SOS: 56 — November 13th
  • SEC Championship Game (Possible) — December 4th

ACC, Pac-10 and SEC Rundown Week Nine

Atlantic Coast Conference

Conference Leaders: Florida State (6-2, 4-1; Atlantic Division) and Virginia Tech (6-2, 4-0; Coastal Division)

Lurking: North Carolina State (6-2, 3-1; Atlantic Division) and Georgia Tech (5-3, 3-2; Coastal Division)

Game of Last Week: NC State 28 vs. Florida State 24. A last-minute fumble on the goal line during the snap allowed the Wolfpack to grab a slight upset victory over the Seminoles.

Game of Next Week: Georgia Tech vs. Virginia Tech. Almost every ACC game next weekend has conference race implications, although this matchup could all but clinch the Atlantic Division for the Hokies.

Bowl Eligible Teams: Florida State Seminoles, Virginia Tech Hokies, Maryland Terrapins, North Carolina State Wolfpack.

Pac-10

Conference Leader: Oregon (8-0, 5-0)

Lurking: Arizona (7-1, 4-1)

Game of Last Week: Oregon 53 vs. USC 32. Oregon needed a strong showing in Los Angeles against the Trojans to prove their worth after cruising through their early season schedule. They did more than that, dominating the Trojans on both sides, and giving them enough to get the top spot in this week’s BCS standings.

Game of Next Week: Arizona vs. Stanford. The two teams most directly chasing the Ducks will face off in Palo Alto in this primetime showdown.

Bowl Eligible Teams: Oregon Ducks, Arizona Wildcats, Stanford Cardinal.

SEC

Conference Leaders: South Carolina (6-2, 4-2; East Division) and Auburn (9-0, 6-0; West Division)

Lurking: Florida (5-3, 3-3; East Division) and Alabama (7-1, 4-1; West Division)

Game of Last Week: Florida 34 vs. Georgia 31. Despite the unranked nature of the matchup — a first in many years for the “World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party” — the game may go down as one of the rivalry’s greatest as the Gators pulled out the OT victory.

Game of Next Week: Alabama vs. LSU. Two teams who still hope to have a shot at BCS bowls and maybe even at the BCS title game face off in Baton Rouge in a matchup between two top-ten teams.

Bowl Eligible Teams: LSU Tigers, Auburn Tigers, Alabama Crimson Tide, Mississippi State Bulldogs, Arkansas Razorbacks, South Carolina Gamecocks.

Big Ten, Big 12 and Big East Rundown Week Nine

Big Ten

Conference Leader: Michigan State (8-1, 4-1)

Lurking: Ohio State (8-1, 4-1)

Game of Last Week: Iowa 37 vs. Michigan State 6. The Spartans were looking to use a road win at Iowa to propel them to an undefeated season and a Big Ten crown. The Hawkeyes had other ideas — knocking Michigan State out of the BCS title race, and reinserting themselves into the Big Ten race.

Game of Next Week: Illinois vs. Michigan. The Illini’s only two conference losses have come against the cream of the Big Ten crop, can Michigan and Denard Robinson hang with them at home?

Bowl Eligible Teams: Michigan State Spartans, Ohio State Buckeyes, Wisconsin Badgers, Iowa Hawkeyes, Northwestern Wildcats.

Big 12

Conference Leaders: Nebraska (7-1, 3-1; North Division) and Baylor (7-2, 4-1; South Division)

Lurking: Missouri (7-1, 3-1; North Division) and Oklahoma State (7-1, 3-1; South Division)

Game of Last Week: Nebraska 31 vs. Missouri 17. Missouri looked to keep its undefeated season alive against Nebraska after toppling former BCS No. 1 Oklahoma last weekend. The Cornhuskers instead ran all over the Tigers and gave Missouri its first loss.

Game of Next Week: Oklahoma State vs. Baylor. Two surprise contenders for the South Division lead will play the equivalent of a knockout game for a chance at the South crown.

Bowl Eligible Teams: Missouri Tigers, Oklahoma Sooners, Oklahoma State Cowboys, Nebraska Cornhuskers, Baylor Bears.

Big East

Conference Leader: Pittsburgh (5-3, 3-0)

Lurking: Syracuse (6-2, 3-1)

Game of Last Week: Connecticut 16 vs. West Virginia 13. The Huskies needed overtime, but they were finally able to defeat West Virginia — a first in the team’s time in the Big East.

Game of Next Week: Rutgers vs. South Florida. Its hard to stress enough — every team in the Big East can still take the conference title and BCS bid, but if either of these teams want a shot, they’ll have to come out of this matchup with a win.

Bowl Eligible Teams: None yet.