Saturday, November 3, 2007

Commentary: Fox Sports surprise? Kansas vs. BC

This season's national championship game could feature some unlikely names


Entering the season's final month, it's time to start speculating on title-game matchups.

A season that has spent the last month on Mr. Toad's Wild Ride returned to what passes for normalcy.

True, two more top 10 teams lost. But Virginia Tech's loss to Boston College's transformative comeback and South Florida's second consecutive defeat didn't exactly move the needle on the shock-o-meter.

The 2007 season moves into the month of November, and two games will help to further define the national championship chase. LSU visits Alabama and Arizona State is at Oregon. The winner of those games will take another baby step toward New Orleans.

The Bowl Championship Series title game on Jan. 7 already has a corporate sponsor (Allstate). Based on potential matchups, here are some working subtitles that should be considered:

The Rose Bowl's Waking Nightmare Game: Ohio State vs. Oregon or Arizona State.

Let's say the Buckeyes and the Sun Devils go undefeated and finish as the top two teams in the BCS rankings. Tradition calls for the champions of the Big Ten and Pac-10 to meet in the Rose Bowl. But instead of staging a national championship game between teams from its preferred conferences, the Granddaddy of Them All again would go begging for a matchup.

Four of the last six seasons the Rose Bowl has not been able to host its traditional game between Pac-10 and Big Ten teams.

The Fox Sports Waking Nightmare Game: Boston College vs. Kansas.

Who? What? You're kidding. If the Eagles and the Jayhawks ruffle each other's feathers in the Big Easy, it will be a title game unlike any other. Two Cinderella stories with players that the general sporting public have never heard of.

The Big East Reunion, All Is Forgiven Game: Boston College vs. West Virginia.

There were lots of hard feelings when Boston College defected to the Atlantic Coast Conference two years ago. If the Eagles face the Mountaineers in New Orleans, they'll be going up against a team from their former league.

The 2003 Flashback Game: LSU vs. Oklahoma.

These two met for the BCS title the last time the game was in New Orleans. Both entered with one loss. LSU won but had to deal with a "split" controversy. USC, No. 3 in the BCS rankings, finished No. 1 in The Associated Press final poll.

The Don't Fool Us Again Flashback Game: LSU vs. Ohio State.

A Southeastern Conference team with speed to spare faces an undefeated Big Ten team. Sound familiar? In January, Florida ran circles around the Buckeyes, who had spent the season on top and had won a conference that is annually overrated.

The Referees Need Armed Guards Game: Oklahoma vs. Oregon.

The Sooners will be happy to reach the national championship game, but they would be giddy about the chance to play the Ducks. Oklahoma's loss at Oregon last season that featured laughable late-game officiating decisions would engender considerable revenge motives.

The NCAA South Regional Final: Ohio State vs. Kansas.

Both schools have had considerable success in basketball. And admit it -- you thought that if the Jayhawks were playing for the national championship, it would be a team coached by Bill Self, not Mark Mangino.


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