(From BCS Guru)
OK, Mountaineers fans: The Guru knows you're unhappy that West Virginia is relegated to the also-ran part of the Rooting Guide, and you have many righteous reasons to be upset. But here's the reality check: There is just about no way that WVU would make it to the national championship game.
Why? Simple, the computers. Besides Richard Billingsley, whose rankings are almost always the oddballs and tend to favor traditional powers (West Virginia among them), the computers uniformly have the Mountaineers between 10th and 12th. After losing last week, both Boston College and Arizona State still stay well in front of WVU on the computers -- as do all BCS conference teams with no more than one loss.
That makes WVU's quest a near-impossible one. Any team currently in the top 10 with zero or one loss will probably stay in the top 10 even after another defeat. Ohio State, even with a loss to Michigan, most likely will still be ahead of West Virginia in the BCS standings. This is now a mathematical quagmire for the Mountaineers, whose best hope for 2007 appears to be the Big East championship and a BCS bowl berth.
With that, we'll begin the second part of the Rooting Guide:
7. West Virginia (7-1)
Key games: Nov. 8 vs. Louisville; Nov.17 at Cincinnati; Nov. 24 vs. Connecticut
BCS bowl prospect: Controls its own destiny. If West Virginia wins out, it will claim the Big East championship and an automatic berth to a BCS bowl game, possibly the Rose Bowl.
Needs help from: No one, right now -- unless you're still thinking about the national championship, then the Mountaineers need everybody in front of them to lose, some twice.
8. Boston College (8-1)
Key games: Nov. 17 at Clemson; Dec. 1 ACC championship
BCS bowl prospect: National championship out of the window, the Eagles will have to refocus on winning the ACC. Next week's game at Clemson will probably decide who wins the ACC Atlantic. And then it's onto Jacksonville for the ACC title game against the Virginia-Virginia Tech winner.
Needs help from: Wake Forest. A victory by the Demon Deacons over Clemson this week will give the Eagles a little cushion in the division. A 10-3 BC that loses in the ACC title game, though, most likely will not get a BCS at-large bid.
9. Arizona State (8-1)
Key games: Nov. 22 vs. USC; Dec. 1 vs. Arizona
BCS bowl prospect: The Sun Devils might have lost their shot at the national title game, but a Pac-10 championship, with it a Rose Bowl berth, is still very much in play. By winning its remaining three games, ASU will no do worse than Pac-10 co-champ and a Fiesta Bowl berth.
Needs help from: Oregon. A loss by the Ducks will put the Sun Devils back in the driver's seat in the Pac-10 race and their first Rose Bowl appearance since Jake Plummer was their quarterback.
10. Georgia (7-2)
Key games: Nov. 10 vs. Auburn; Nov. 17 vs. Kentucky
BCS bowl prospect: By winning its remaining games, Georgia is all but assured of a BCS at-large berth even if it fails to earn a spot in the SEC championship game. If the Bulldogs finish the regular season 10-2, they'll likely earn a trip to the Sugar Bowl should LSU advances to the BCS title game.
Needs help from: Tennessee. If the Vols remain unbeaten the rest of the way, they will have the tiebreaker edge over Georgia in the SEC East, by virtue of their victory over the Bulldogs.
11. Virginia Tech (8-2)
Key games: Nov. 24 at Virginia; Dec. 1 ACC championship
BCS bowl prospect: A victory over archrival Virginia will earn the Hokies a trip to Jacksonville, most likely against Boston College. An Orange Bowl berth comes with the ACC title.
Needs help from: No one, really. An at-large berth is all but out of the question for any 3-loss team at this point.
12. Michigan (8-2)
Key game: Nov. 17 vs. Ohio State
BCS bowl prospect: Back on Sept. 8, this seems an unlikely spot for the Wolverines. But it's now a one-game season for Michigan, just like it almost always is: Win, a trip to the Rose Bowl and Big Ten title. Lose, nothing (OK, maybe a trip to Orlando, but, in the eyes of Michigan fans, nothing).
Needs help from: No one.
13. Connecticut (8-1)
Key games: Nov. 10 at Cincinnati; Nov. 24 at West Virginia
BCS bowl prospect: This should be basketball season in Storrs by now, but the football Huskies still have all the marbles to play for. Most likely, the Big East title will be decided in Morgantown. A two-loss UConn also might have a shot at a BCS at-large berth.
Needs help from: West Virginia. A Mountaineers loss will put the Huskies in the cat-bird seat, with a two-game lead, in the Big East race.
14. Texas (8-2)
Key game: Nov. 23 at Texas A&M
BCS bowl prospect: Unless Oklahoma implodes, the Longhorns won't win the Big 12 South. That said, a 10-2 Texas is very much in the hunt for an at-large berth.
Needs help from: Oklahoma. Like it or not, 'Horns fans must root for OU in the Big 12 title game. An OU victory gives Texas a shot at a BCS bowl berth. An OU loss means the at-large bid will end up with the Sooners.
15. Florida (6-3)
Key game: Nov. 10 at South Carolina
BCS bowl prospect: Even with three losses, the Gators are not quite dead yet. If fact, it's possible for Florida to earn a BCS bowl berth with an 8-5 record. Here's how ...
Needs help from: Tennessee, Georgia. ... should both Tennessee and Georgia lose one (but not more) of their remaining games, and Florida beats the Ol' Ball Coach, then the Gators win the SEC East even if it falls on its face against Florida Atlantic and Florida State. Considering the remaining schedules for both the Vols and Bulldogs, it's not at all improbable.
16. Hawai'i (8-0)
Key games: Nov. 23 vs. Boise State; Dec. 1 vs. Washington
BCS bowl prospect: Fading but still breathing. It goes without saying that the Warriors need to go undefeated. But besides that, they might have hit their high-water mark two weeks ago at No. 14 and they're now sliding back.
Needs help from: Michigan, Connecticut and Boise State. A Michigan win over Ohio State would be devastating for Hawai'i, for that would get the Big Ten a second BCS berth and keep Hawai'i out of the Top 12, where it needs to be for a guaranteed berth. Likewise, a UConn win at West Virginia might hand the Big East two berths. Finally, Hawai'i needs Boise State to be 10-1 when it comes to the islands -- that will constitute the only game against a ranked team that the Warriors play all season.
17. USC (7-2)
Key games: Nov. 10 at California; Nov. 22 at Arizona State
BCS bowl prospect: The Trojans' run as the Pac-10 champ might be over, but they are very much alive for a sixth straight BCS bowl berth, extending their own record. By finishing 10-2 with a win at ASU will assure USC a BCS bowl berth, maybe even a third straight trip to the Rose Bowl, should Oregon move on to the BCS title game.
Needs help from: Oregon. Well, depends on what you're looking for. If the Ducks lose two of their final three, USC can still win the conference. Since that's not likely, Trojans fans are better off rooting for Oregon to get into the title game so USC can get back to Pasadena.
19. Virginia (8-2)
Key games: Nov. 24 vs. Virginia Tech; Dec. 1 ACC championship
BCS bowl prospect: A win over the Hokies will give the Cavs the division title and a spot in the ACC title game. A win in Jacksonville will earn them an Orange Bowl berth.
Needs help from: No one.
21. Clemson (7-2)
Key games: Nov. 10 vs. Wake Forest; Nov. 17 vs. Boston College
BCS bowl prospect: Believe it or not, the Tigers control the ACC Atlantic race, thanks to Papa Bowden. FSU's victory over BC last week allows Clemson a clear path to the ACC title game, needing just home wins over Wake and BC.
Needs help from: No one.
24. Tennessee (6-3)
Key games: Nov. 10 vs. Arkansas; Nov. 24 at Kentucky
BCS bowl prospect: The Vols are the lowest-ranked team that control their own BCS destiny. Win their remaining four games, including the SEC title game, they will be in the Sugar Bowl. Lose just once, it can all go kaput.
Needs help from: No one and everyone. There are too many tiebreaker scenarios to cover here, so for its own sake, Tennessee had better keep winning games.
25. Kentucky (6-3)
Key games: Nov. 17 at Georgia; Nov. 24 vs. Tennessee
BCS bowl prospect: Kentucky still has a shot to win the SEC East, and it's not necessarily a longshot. It all depends on what happens this weekend's game involving ...
Needs help from: Florida. If the Gators lose at South Carolina, then Kentucky can take the division and play in its first SEC title game by winning their remaining games. If Florida wins, it's all over for the Wildcats.