Nine teams have shot at BCS title game

ROB BRODIE -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 7:37 AM ET

Green Day just might have had it right in summing up this college football season.

Wake me up when September ends ...

Outside of one Saturday filled with showdowns, the opening month of the season offered up little in the way of ground-shaking developments. At least in terms of setting the the table for the rest of the national championship race.

Sure, there are a few surprise unbeaten teams -- step right up, Missouri, Wake Forest and Rutgers -- but expect that happy trio to be exposed as pretenders soon enough.

While Boise State might well run the table, it's fair to assume the boys who call the blue Smurf Turf home aren't going to factor into the biggest picture when all is said and done.

Okay, you ask, where does that leave us as October dawns?

Eliminating the aforementioned quartet, we've got nine unbeatens with legitimate shots at making it to the BCS championship game on Jan. 8. Soon enough, that number should get whittled down to a precious few.

GUARANTEED CUTS

Here's four games guaranteed to cut that total in half: Ohio State-Michigan, USC-Oregon, Auburn-Florida and West Virginia-Louisville. And that's assuming the Ducks and Gators don't get picked off this weekend (they're both underdogs).

Georgia, the only other perfect squad, has Tennessee this weekend, with Florida and Auburn still to come.

The thought here: At least three teams will make it through unscathed, meaning one-loss powers LSU and Notre Dame might need divine intervention to make it to the big game.

The picks for Week 6 (odds supplied by Sportsbook.com):

GAME OF THE WEEK

No. 9 LSU (-1) at No. 5 Florida (Saturday, 3:30 p.m., CBS) -- A showdown between two hot QBs, the Tigers' JaMarcus Russell and Gators' Chris Leak. LSU has nation's No.-1 ranked defence, but Florida will get a lift from return of freshman phenom WR/KR Percy Harvin, a Reggie Bush-type difference maker. Still ... PICK: LSU.

NEXT BEST THINGS

No. 14 Oklahoma (+41/2) vs. No. 7 Texas, at Dallas (Saturday, 3:30 p.m., ABC) -- The Red River Shootout was a Longhorn romp a year ago, but not this time. Sooners RB Adrian Peterson has rushed for at least 128 yards every game this season, but Texas' defence allows only 36.5 ypg on the ground. Something's gotta give here. PICK: TEXAS.

No. 11 Oregon (+5) at No. 16 California -- (Saturday, 8 p.m., ABC regional) -- Pity the poor scoreboard operator in this duel of two fast-break offences. Bears' Nate Longshore is among the nation's hottest QBs, and he'll test Ducks' soft secondary. Can Oregon's Dennis Dixon-led attack keep up the pace? Not quite, though it might come down to who has the ball last. PICK: OREGON.

No. 13 Tennessee (-21/2) at No. 10 Georgia -- (Saturday, 7:45 p.m., Rogers NCAA) -- Defence has saved Bulldogs from embarrassing losses the past two weeks, but Volunteers offer a real step up in class. Tennessee QB Erik Ainge has a monster season in the works, and his mates on defence can outshine the Dawgs. PICK: TENNESSEE.

QUICK PICKS

(STRAIGHT-UP SELECTIONS IN BOLD)

TONIGHT

N.C. State (+101/2) over No. 17 Florida State

TOMORROW

No. 8 Louisville (-33) over Middle Tennessee State

SATURDAY

Bowling Green (+35) over No. 1 Ohio State

No. 2 Auburn (-151/2) over Arkansas

Washington (+201/2) over No. 3 USC

Mississippi State (+24) over No. 4 West Virginia

No. 6 Michigan (-16) over Michigan State

No. 12 Notre Dame (-31 1/2) over Stanford

Wake Forest (+17) over No. 15 Clemson

No. 18 Georgia Tech (-14) over Maryland

Purdue (+11) over No. 19 Iowa

No. 20 Boise State (-36) over Louisiana Tech

Iowa State (+7) over No. 22 Nebraska

Texas Tech (-4) over No. 23 Missouri

Last week -- 15-4 straight up; 7-10-1 ATS.

Season record -- 93-10 straight up; 52-45-2 ATS.

Best bet -- Tennessee (4-1).


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