College FB Report Card

The 2007 college football season is a third over in most bastions as schools look to wrap up regular-season campaigns by the Thanksgiving holidays if not before.

Professional Handicappers League member Jimmy Boyd notes certain characteristics have emerged as clubs move toward the defining month of October and bowl talk transforms into more than mere speculation.

Boyd espouses pretty much of a what-you-see-is-what-youre-going-to-get attitude though others look down the road and anticipate a few surprises especially some involving what currently are perceived as upper-echelon Top 25 squads -- though there doesnt appear to be much room for alterations at the very top.

USC, LSU defending national champion Florida and Oklahoma rule the roost one through four in this weeks USA Today poll although the gambling specific BGS ower Ratings have LSU USC & Oklahoma tied up in the 1 spot with Florida a distant 4th.

Most college observers believe the top 4 arent likely to change.

An alaphabet soup BCS Championship isnt etched in stone by any means but it might not be too early for sponsors of the New Orleans national championship game to line up Campbells as a major sponsor in anticipation of a meeting between the Trojans and Tigers.

Ive said this before and Ill say it again Boyd declared.

Its a top-heavy year in college football. The teams at or near the top will remain there all season with very few others making surprise runs.

One encounter garnering media attention this weekend is the Friday night Big East affair between No. 5 West Virginia and No. 18 South Florida. Canadian PHL member Steve Zukiel regards it as the weeks most appealing matchup.

Im very interested Zukiel said. Wow.

Boyd offered similar sentiments.

West Virginia-South Florida is a very big game in the Big East he said. The South Florida Bulls won at Auburn to show they could be for real. They ARE the sleeper pick in the Big East. West Virginia is never quite as good on the road.

This game either will keep South Floridas hopes of a Big East championship alive or it will keep West Virginias hopes of a national title alive.

After the BCS title tilt the Rose Bowl traditionally draws the most interest among holiday bowl offerings.

Observers hardily have maligned the Big Ten largely because of early-season woes in Ann Arbor.

The current USA Today poll however includes five conference teams among its Top 25: Ohio State Wisconsin Purdue Michigan State and Penn State though Michigan State for example has racked up a 4-0 record against teams such as Notre Dame that pack about as much muscle as Spongebob Squarepants!

Five time World Champion Handicapper and Professional Handicappers League Commissioner Brian Gabrielle has four Big Ten teams among the leading 25 and drops Penn State all the way down to 41st.

He has Michigan State 25th and Michigan 52nd in contrast Zukiel still regards UM as a Top 5 team. They still can win the Big 10 championship still smell the roses Zukiel said.

Gabrielle has Ohio State ranked fifth nationally Wisconsin ninth and Purdue 17th.

This The BGS Power Ratings takes everything into account not just the results of one game i.e. Michigan over Penn St but all games against all opponents Gabrielle said.

I know Michigan fans are frustrated and looking for something to grab on to but it doesnt help Michigan that Penn State is not a Top 25 team in The BGS Power Ratings so the win really loses luster.

East Coast PHL handicapper Bill Fishman still gives the Wolverines a shot at a cherished Big Ten championship.

I feel Michigan is still a very talented team and one that should be reckoned with for the Big Ten title Fishman said.

Michigan was my top play this week as a dog win over Penn State.

Im still not a huge fan of the Big Ten but Ohio State is quick and talented on defense.

Boyd believes uncertainty surrounding the Midwest loop traditionally among the countrys strongest could actually prove to be a boon as each game takes on added significance.

Theres no doubt the Big Ten is down. he said.

Michigan did what it needed to do to stay in the hunt by taking care of business at home against the Lions.  That win gets them believing again without a doubt.

Wisconsin or Ohio State appears to have the inside track.

Right now it looks like its going to be a sloppy ride.

I dont see anyone running the table and home field advantage in big matchups will be crucial.

by: Michael Cash - - Email Us

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