Suddenly, all the Cards are in Louisville's hands, so to speak.
No matter how hard certain segments of the nation (yes, we mean you, Southeastern Conference) try to discredit the suddenly surging Redbirds.
But the numbers are there for all to read -- and weep, if you're a one-loss team hoping to leap into a shot at the Jan. 8 BCS national championship game in Glendale, Ariz.
With their impressive whipping of West Virginia last Thursday, Louisville vaulted to the No. 3 position in the two human polls that count in the BCS rankings. And with the Cardinals also getting a whole lot of computer love (No. 3 there, too), they're clearly in the driver's seat in the race to see who plays Ohio State or Michigan for all the marbles.
In fact, Louisville's margin in the computers is so wide that even one slightly unimpressive win won't be enough to allow Florida -- or anyone else in the chasing pack, for that matter -- to make it up over the final four weeks of the season.
So for Louisville, the strategy is simple the rest of the way: Just win, baby.
All of which puts the spotlight squarely on the Big East again this week, with the Cardinals facing an unbeaten conference foe for the second straight Thursday. And this one, against the most unlikeliest of opponents -- 8-0 Rutgers, which gets home field for arguably the biggest football game in the state university of New Jersey's history.
Another Louisville win tonight, and the door will be just about shut on Florida, Texas, Auburn and the rest.
Then let the howls of protest about the system really begin.
The picks for Week 11 (odds supplied by Sportsbook.com):
GAME OF THE WEEK
No. 3 Louisville (-61/2) at No. 15 Rutgers (Tonight, 7:30 p.m, Rogers NCAA) -- The Scarlet Knights are a lot of folks' favourite team this week, given the Cardinals' new hold on a BCS title game berth. West Virginia was able to run on Louisville's defence last week and that happens to be Rutgers' main offensive calling card. But in the matchup of QBs, Louisville's Brian Brohm wins hands down. PICK: LOUISVILLE.
NEXT BEST THINGS
No. 13 Tennessee (+51/2) at No. 11 Arkansas (Saturday, 7 p.m., Rogers NCAA) -- It's this simple. If the Volunteers can't stop Darren McFadden and Co. from running Hog wild, they can't win. Both teams have QB issues, with Tennessee's Erik Ainge still banged up and Arkansas having dumped starter Mitch Mustain a week ago. But based on our first thought about this key SEC game ... PICK: ARKANSAS.
No. 21 Oregon (+8) at No. 7 USC (Saturday, 10:15 p.m.) -- In the wake of that Oregon State shocker, an angry bunch of Trojans put the wood to woeful Stanford last week. And with the Ducks and QB Dennis Dixon doing a late-season fade, expect the USC roll to continue before Cal and Notre Dame come calling the next two weeks. PICK: USC.
South Carolina (+131/2) at No. 6 Florida (Saturday, 3:30 p.m., CBS) -- Steve Spurrier returns to Gainesville, but there's no way the Ol' Ball Coach can pick off his former school two years in a row, can he? The Florida defence rules here, but Spurrier will find a way to keep it interesting. PICK: SOUTH CAROLINA.
(STRAIGHT-UP SELECTIONS IN BOLD)
Wyoming (+19) over No. 25 Brigham Young
No. 1 Ohio State (-23) over Northwestern
Indiana (+19) over No. 2 Michigan
No. 4 Texas (-17) over Kansas State
No. 5 Auburn (-121/2) over Georgia
Arizona (+14) over No. 8 California
No. 9 Notre Dame (-111/2) over Air Force
Cincinnati (+181/2) over No. 10 West Virginia
Alabama (+181/2) over No. 12 LSU
San Jose State (+14) over No. 14 Boise State
No. 16 Wisconsin (NL) over Iowa
Texas Tech (+81/2) over No. 17 Oklahoma
Florida State (+81/2) over No. 18 Wake Forest
No. 19 Georgia Tech
(-131/2) over North Carolina
No. 20 Virginia Tech
(-281/2) over Kent State
No. 22 Boston College
(-28) over Duke
No. 23 Maryland (-21/2) over Miami (Fla.)
No. 24 Texas A&M (+1) over Nebraska
Last week -- 14-5 straight up; 8-11 ATS.
Season record -- 173-27 straight up; 96-93-3 ATS.
Best bet -- USC (6-4).