Around the Nation Week 4

Want a little straight talk?

Not the kind you’ll get from the political scene … that straight talk express stuff is too canned and practiced.

Not the kind you’ll get from the media types covering the presidential election. With a few exceptions, you know they are for Obama, they think you are too stupid to realize they are for Obama, and their support for Obama may actually help get McCain elected. I like Obama fine but jeez … a little objectivity please.

Now, here is some college football straight talk.

Brent Musberger and Kirk Herbstreit can take off their Ohio State cheerleading skirts.

Ain’t happening again.

The Buckeyes can win the rest of them, win them all by large margins, win them with or without Chris Wells (I refuse to call a grown man Beanie), but they are still not going to the BCS title game. They don’t deserve to go, and the only reason they have gone the past two seasons is because of an easy schedule. The Bucks (and I like Ohio State too) would finish no higher than third in the SEC East or second in the SEC West.

Want more?

The national championship race very likely consists of only eight teams at this point, with two or three potential challengers still in the picture.

The PAC-10 has one contender: USC.

The Big 12 has two contenders: Oklahoma and Missouri. The Texas Longhorns might play themselves into the conversation, but I doubt they will.

The SEC has five contenders: Florida, LSU, Georgia, Alabama, and Auburn.

Auburn probably should not be listed, but we’ll wait until the LSU game this week to evaluate further. Alabama is a darkhorse, but the Tide has a nice mix of youth and experience.

Other than those teams, Penn State and Wisconsin might also merit mention, with the Nittany Lions looking better and better each week.

The Big East and ACC have no true title contenders even though a couple of teams have yet to lose (Wake Forest and Florida State).

The non-BCS conferences also have no shot, even though BYU and East Carolina deserve praise.

A final bit of straight talk?

Forget about any conference being a challenger to the SEC.

The Big 12, while strong at the top, has limited depth.

The PAC-10 just suffered a disastrous weekend with Arizona, Arizona State, Cal, Stanford, Washington, and Washington State all losing to non-conference foes, not to mention BYU pasting UCLA 59-0. Whew!

The ACC and Big East rank above the non-BCS conferences but the gap is comparable to that separating the two from the SEC and Big 12.

Enjoy the games.

Around the Nation

Most of the big action is in the South, but a few national games deserve attention.

The ABC Saturday night game features Georgia at Arizona State. The game lost some luster when the Dogs struggled with South Carolina and State lost to UNLV, but it’s is still a marquee matchup.

Also out West, Boise State plays at Oregon as both teams try to keep BCS bowl hopes alive.

In the Big 12, West Virginia travels to Colorado for an interesting intersectional game and Texas A&M welcomes Miami.

In the Midwest, Notre Dame tries to stay undefeated on the road at Michigan State. Irish head man Charlie Weis suffered a nasty sideline spill last week – best wishes to him.

Around the South

The SEC slate is full of big pairings.

Florida challenges Tennessee on Rocky Top in our SEC Game of the Week. LSU travels to Auburn as the preseason favorites for the West division meet. LSU has been more impressive, but Auburn’s defense is rugged.

Alabama goes to Arkansas in a battle of unbeatens, and yet another undefeated team –Vanderbilt – travels to Ole Miss to play the impressive Rebels.

Mississippi State ventures to Atlanta for a difficult game with the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and their option-running attack.

See you at kickoff!

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