Around the Nation Week 10

A BCS Halloween Fright?

Think those Joe Paterno masks will be popular in Pennsylvania this week?

Like a creature that cannot be eliminated in one of those Halloween horror flicks, old Joe keeps coming back for more.

Just when you think he’s too old, he’s too hobbled, he’s too out of touch, or he’s just too stubborn to change … watch out because those white helmets, plain jerseys, and black shoes will get you every time.

Penn State fans, and all college football fans of the great Joe Paterno, received an early Halloween treat when the Nittany Lions prowled the horseshoe late Saturday night to beat the Ohio State Buckeyes and stay unbeaten on the season.

Joe Pa and State now have a clear path to an undefeated regular season.

Penn State gets this week off before finishing the season with a road game at Iowa and home games with Indiana and Michigan State. The Lions will be heavily favored in all three games, and it would be a shock for them to lose.

The question is whether an undefeated Penn State team will get to the BCS championship game.

The guess here is yes.

The only other undefeated contenders are Texas, Texas Tech, and Alabama and all have challenges ahead.

The Longhorns play at Tech this week, and still have games with Baylor, at Kansas, and with rival Texas A&M.

The Red Raiders face a brutal stretch. In addition to the Longhorns, TT still has OK State at home, a trip to Oklahoma, and a home finale with improving Baylor.

Both would also play a Big 12 title game.

Alabama has no picnic either.

The Tide plays home games with Arkansas State, Miss State, and Auburn, those games sandwiched around the huge road trip to LSU on Nov. 8th. The SEC title game almost certainly would pit the Tide against one of the dynamic duo of Georgia or Florida.

It seems doubtful that Alabama and one of the two Texas teams will win out.

If they do, then the BCS will have quite a monstrous dilemma … what teams go to the title game … sentimental choice Penn State or two (perhaps more deserving) undefeated teams from tougher conferences?

Keep an eye on that scary scenario.

Here are our annual trick or treat ratings for the BCS conference races.

ACC: Trick … for the conference although it is competitive and getting better. A Treat goes to FSU and Virginia.

Big East: Trick … for the league because there is no national power. A Treat for West Virginia since the Mountaineers are the closest thing to a national contender.

Big Ten: Treat … for tradition if nothing else. Special Treat to Penn State.

Big 12: Treat … to the league where games are like pinball scores. Big Treat to Texas, with snacks for Texas Tech, Oklahoma and OK State.

PAC 10: Trick … this league is a one-trick pony. A Treat to USC.

SEC: Treat … these top three teams may be tougher than any. Triple Treats to Alabama, Florida, Georgia. All look mighty strong right now.

Around the Nation

The Big 12 offers a premier pairing when Texas travels to Lubbock to play unbeaten Texas Tech. Winner controls the Big 12 South and is very much in national title picture.

Pitt travels to Notre Dame in a game that might have New Year’s Day bowl implications.

Out West, Cal hosts Oregon. The winner may go to the Rose Bowl if USC makes it to the BCS title game.

Around the South

The annual border battle between Florida and Georgia highlights the SEC schedule.

The winner of that game will represent the SEC East in the conference championship and remains in the national picture too. Watch for The Campus Game SEC Game of the Week on Tuesday.

In the ACC, Atlantic front-runner Florida State visits Georgia Tech, and Miami plays at Coastal Division leader Virginia.

Conference USA features top-rated Tulsa facing Arkansas of the SEC on the road. Houston plays Marshall on Tuesday night, and East Carolina faces off with Central Florida on Sunday.

See you at kickoff!

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