Next week, the official BCS rankings come out. Before all the bloodletting about how can you even think about BCS rankings, I simply bring this up as a matter of conversation.
I will say that, like two years ago, this is a season where there really is NO dominant team - except maybe Alabama. Texas has looked weak at times, as has Oklahoma, Houston, Okie State, and the rest of the big 12. I think those guys waste each other this season. And BYU did everyone a favor by wasting Oklahoma and then getting wasted by Florida State, who got wasted by South Florida and Miami, who was taken out by Virginia Tech, who already lost to Alabama. So they are all flawed. Except for Alabama.
Florida has not looked perfect, and I do not expect them to go through the SEC championship game against Bama. At this point, I would put them as a lock for the SEC.
For the other conferences, Virginia Tech looks good for the ACC, as does South Florida or Cincinnati for the Big East. The Big 10 looks to be a tough conference this year, with Iowa, Michigan, and Ohio State battling it out. I would not be surprised if Minnesota, Wisconsin and Penn State win 8 or 9 each this year as well, taking some of the front runners out. So that is probably a conference where no one come through unscathed.
As it stands in the Pac 10, I think everyone will have at least one loss. The winner will be the one who can bounce back from the loss. It could still be the Bears. The Bears are ranked 11 in the computers to the Ducks 10. Depending on who wins this weekend, the Bears can be in the top 12 again, or out altogether. As far as it goes, SC is currently 7 in the BCS, and Arizona, UCLA and Washington are still ranked in the 20's and 30's. All of them have the opportunity this year to go all the way. Oregon State so far is out of it, losing to Arizona and Cincinnati - two tough teams. These are all games that the Bears could win but are also all tough games.
At this point, there is no clear leader in the Pac 10. UCLA plays Oregon in two weeks in LA. Then, the Bears come into town. That is a tough series for them, but they have looked good. I think the Ducks beat Washington State this week, and go to LA a bit overconfident (see Cal Bears, September 226, 2009). Then, they go to Washington, and then have SC at home. That is a tough road.
In any event, the Pac 10 is wide open. If the Bears do win this weekend, they will be ranked in the top12 of the BCS, going to LA to see what they can do about breaking the LA curse. If they can handle that - I think pretty much everyone will look back at this weekend as a difficult lesson learned. If not - watch for the long knives.