Saturday morning blitz
1. Here we go again: The debate has already started, even though it’s probably not even necessary.
With Alabama, Florida State, Oregon, Ohio State, Baylor and others undefeated, there has already been much discussion about which teams would play in the BCS championship game if more than two finish the season unbeaten.
This is probably a good time to remind everyone that only twice in the BCS era has have there been more than two undefeated teams at the end of the regular season from an automatic-qualifying conference (ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Big East/American Athletic, Pac-12 and SEC). And only six times since the BCS was implemented in 1998 has there been a title game matching unbeaten teams.
Using advanced metrics, Bill Connelly, who writes the Football Study Hall blog for SBNation and is the author of the book “Study Hall: College Football, Its Stats and Its Stories,” determined there is only about a four percent chance Alabama, Florida State and Oregon will all get through their remaining schedules unbeaten.
So it is far more likely that the debate will end up being which one-loss team (or teams) deserves to play for the national championship.
2. Bowden’s back: Bobby Bowden is returning to campus two years earlier than planned. The NCAA’s all-time wins leader was leery of hanging around the program and wanted coach Jimbo Fisher to have time to establish his own identity and foundation.
“Jimbo’s got control real good, now, and has established himself,” Bowden said. “It’s probably time for me to get back.”
The former Seminoles coach will attend a game at Florida State for the first time since retiring after the 2009 season. Bowden will plant the flaming spear at midfield as part of the pregame ceremonies before the Seminoles take on N.C. State.
“It’s what’s right about the world,” Fisher said. “He made Florida State. He was Florida State. That’s why we have this stadium, the facilities. That’s why we have academics, that’s why we have the school. That’s why we have everything. It’s what’s right for Florida State, and it’s great for college football. I’m extremely excited because he was my hero, too.”
3. The perfect Hurricane? Central Florida’s Storm Johnson (10 TDs) leads the nation in scoring at 10.0 points a game. He transferred from … where else, Miami.
Tracking the Top 25
Saturday’s games ... comments where deserving
No. 1 Alabama (7-0) vs. Tennessee (4-3), 3:30 p.m.
Alabama has allowed 16 points in past five wins after escaping Johnny Manziel.
No. 2 Oregon (7-0) vs. No. 12 UCLA (5-1), 7 p.m.
Nobody does style points better than the stylish Ducks, and after what FSU did to Clemson, they know they need a similar result against the highly ranked Bruins.
No. 3 Florida State (6-0) vs. N.C. State (3-3), 3:30 p.m.
It’s a fact: Pack QB Brandon Mitchell has a higher completion percentage than Jameis Winston.
No. 4 Ohio State (7-0) vs. Penn State (4-2), 8 p.m.
Urban Meyer is 19-0 in Columbus but had better shot at getting to BCS title game at Utah.
No. 5 Missouri (7-0) vs. No. 20 South Carolina (5-2), 7 p.m.
Never won a Big 12 title but could claim the SEC in only its second season.
No. 6 Baylor (6-0) at Kansas (2-4), 7 p.m.
The only FBS team Baylor has beaten that has a winning record is Buffalo. This is final tuneup before season-defining stretch vs. No. 17 Oklahoma, No. 10 Texas Tech, at No. 19 Oklahoma State.
No. 7 Miami (6-0) vs. Wake Forest (4-3), Noon
Canes got biggest win of season Tuesday with NCAA decision, resolution.
No. 8 Stanford (6-1) at Oregon State (6-1), 10:30 p.m.
No. 9 Clemson (6-1) at Maryland (5-2), 3:30 p.m.
Expect Tigers to rebound at College Park like Buck Williams used to.
No. 10 Texas Tech (7-0) at No. 17 Oklahoma (6-1), 3:30 p.m.
Red Raiders will gain BCS cred if they can knock off three ranked teams in four weeks, starting with OU.
No. 11 Auburn (6-1) vs. FAU (2-5), 7:30 p.m.
Auburn’s win against Texas A&M set the stage for another classic season-ending showdown with Alabama.
No. 13 LSU (6-2) vs. Furman (3-4), 7 p.m.
Tigers get a break vs. Furman, then a bye before tackling Alabama.
No. 14 Texas A&M (5-2) vs. Vanderbilt (4-3), 12:21 p.m.
Aggies are 5-0 against everybody except Alabama schools. Alas, Vandy is in Tennessee.
No. 15 Fresno State (6-0) at San Diego State (3-3), 10:30 p.m.
No. 16 Virginia Tech (6-1) vs. Duke (5-2), 3:30 p.m.
Last time Duke beat a team five games better than .500? In 1994, when the No. 23 Blue Devils knocked off No. 13 Virginia (6-1) 28-25.
No. 18 Louisville (6-1) at South Florida (2-4), Noon
Cards lose by three to UCF – which beat Penn State, lost by 3 to then-No. 12 South Carolina and suddenly is ranked – and fall 12 spots in the AP poll. Tough crowd.
No. 19 Oklahoma State (5-1) at Iowa State (1-5), Noon
No. 21 UCF (5-1) vs. UConn (0-6), Noon
No. 23 Northern Illinois (7-0) vs. Eastern Michigan (1-6), 3:30 p.m.
NIU beat two Big Ten teams, on the road, by an average of 17 points.
No. 25 Nebraska (5-1) at Minnesota (5-2), Noon
State of the Big Ten: Nebraska lost by 20. At home. To UCLA.
Number to know
Where Wake Forest nose tackle Nikita Whitlock ranks nationally in sacks. The 5-11, 250-pound senior has 7.
“Hey, I’ve got my own problems. I’ve got enough problems right now. But you’re going to have to play a complete football game. You don’t have a lot of room for error if you’re going to beat Florida State. That’s the biggest thing.”
Clemson coach Dabo Swinney when asked what advice he’d give Dave Doeren about handling Jameis Winston and Florida State.
The Associated Press, Los Angeles Times, Philadelphia Inquirer and Washington Post contributed to this report.
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