Down the stretch they come, and we can’t wait to see which teams fold like origami under the late-season pressure, and which teams get hot just in time. Here’s a brief look at each conference race, as we even show some love to the smaller schools. We’ll look at half the conference races in this post, and close it out with a second post later in the week.
While it’s true the ACC resembles a pillow fight this season, at least everyone’s pillow has the same amount of feathers. In the Atlantic, NC State, Florida State, and Maryland all have two losses after losing their respective games on Saturday, keeping the Wolfpack in control of their own destiny. Clemson still has an outside chance to repeat last year’s division crown, but with three losses already on the books, the road is rocky.
After their nightmare 0-2 start, Frank Beamer and the Hokies have righted the ship and are undefeated in conference play. They can pretty much wrap up the division if they can take out North Carolina this weekend in Chapel Hill. The Heels are still alive with two conference losses, as Butch Davis has done a commendable job cleaning up the mess that he and his own staff created.
Dave Wannstedt is still getting hated on from all angles, but his Pitt Panthers are undefeated in the conference. Incredibly, each of the other seven teams in the conference have two losses in conference play, creating a glutton of teams jockeying for position and hoping for a favorable tiebreaker scenario. Pitt still has four games left on the schedule, starting with road games at UConn and South Florida.
More tiebreakers could be in effect in the heartland, as the Big Ten race is web of one-loss teams who have all beaten each other. Michigan State, Wisconsin, Ohio State, and Iowa all have one conference loss, with the Badgers able to capture the crown if they can win out. Wisco also has the most favorable schedule, closing out with Indiana, @Michigan, and Northwestern. Another huge game will Nov. 20th in Iowa City, where the Hawkeyes host Ohio State.
Big 12 North
It will take an epic collapse by Nebraska for the Huskers to not win their second straight division title in their Big 12 swan song. They close out the season with Texas A&M and a couple of perennial heavyweights, Colorado and Kansas. Mizzou is mathematically alive, but pretty much saw their hopes fade with the clunker they laid in Lubbock on Saturday night.
Big 12 South
Last year was supposed to be Okie State’s year, but the 2010 Cowboys are now the only one-loss team in the south. They can get to the conference title game if they can close out a schedule that includes road dates against Texas and Kansas, followed by the bedlam game against the Sooners in Stillwater. The Sooners and Texas A&M are both waiting in the wings just a game back, and now all of a sudden the Aggies seem like they could be peaking at the right time.
Conference USA – East
Do you know which C-USA teams are in each division? Neither did I until researching this article. Orlando, Florida, however, wants you to know that Central Florida is undefeated in the league, and only has two narrow losses on the season, which came against bowl eligible NC State and Kansas State. East Carolina is just a game back, but has already lost to the Golden Knights.
Conference USA -West
It’s a much more tight race on the west side, with Houston and SMU both checking in with 4-2 league marks. Tulsa is also in the hunt with a 3-2 mark. Houston defeated SMU earlier this season, and hosts Tulsa on Saturday. Winner of the C-USA title game typically goes to the Liberty Bowl to play a mid-tier SEC team.
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