Louisville could have benefited from losses by Georgia and Ohio State Saturday, but Tennessee and Northwestern did not deliver.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Joe Cocker never coached college football. But he can tell Charlie Strong, the University of Louisville football team and the Monday Rewind precisely what the Cardinals need to make a charge in the Bowl Championship Series standings – a little help from their friends or even their enemies.
The Cardinals started the season ranked ninth in the writers' and coaches' polls. They've climbed as high as sixth and now they're tucked back at number eight in both human polls. One projection of the current BCS standings forecasts U of L ninth.
They've stopped getting outside assistance. Charlie Strong's 5-0 team needs help, help that the Cardinals appeared they were going to get last weekend, but didn't.
Northwestern had three cracks to get five yards from the Ohio State 38-yard line while driving for the go-ahead touchdown with about four minutes to play Saturday.
The Wildcats couldn't get five yards. They lost, 40-30. And Ohio State stayed undefeated.
Tennessee led Georgia by seven points with less than two minutes to go. All the Volunteers had to do was stop the Bulldogs from going 75 yards.
The Volunteers couldn't stop Georgia. They lost, 34-31, in overtime. And Georgia remained seventh in the coaches' poll.
Chances are that Louisville will not play for the Bowl Championship Series title this season. The Cards' schedule won't allow them to influence the people who need to be influenced. Louisville will need help. Lots and lots of help.
What are the chances the seven teams ranked ahead of Louisville will lose? Time for a roll call:
ALABAMA – 15 percent. The Crimson Tide have won their first five games by an average of nearly 25 per game. That won't continue. Alabama has three chances to stumble – when Louisiana State visits Tuscaloosa, Nov. 9, at Auburn Nov. 30 and the Southeastern Conference championship game. But even a loss won't completely disqualify the Tide. They were beaten in 2011 and 2012 and still won the BCS title.
OREGON – 33 percent. There is a reason the Ducks are getting first-place votes in the writers' and coaches' polls. It's not their uniforms. They've scored at least 55 in all five victories. But Oregon's schedule is about to quack. The Ducks visit Washington Saturday. Beware. They play at Stanford Nov. 7 and then travel to Arizona Nov. 23. Somebody might beat them by scoring 40. They'll need to.
OHIO STATE – 15 percent. The Buckeyes are already halfway to perfection, and the going isn't getting any more difficult. The combined record of their next five opponents is 14-12. It's up to Michigan, which gets Ohio State in Ann Arbor Nov. 30, or somebody from the Legends Division in the Big Ten championship game. Hard to imagine the Buckeyes won't be favored in every game.
CLEMSON – 45 percent. Many people are waiting for Clemson to be Clemson again. You know what that means. Deliver a performance that makes the world cackle. The Tigers have won their first five, but life is about to get crazy. Florida State visits on Oct. 19. Then comes a possible letdown trip to Maryland the following weekend – and I know the Terps just lost to FSU by 2,063. Clemson finishes the season at South Carolina Nov. 30. Maybe Jadeveon Clowney will decide to play by then.
STANFORD – 67 percent. The computer rankings love the Cardinal. The computer rankings cannot love the four-game stretch that David Shaw's team will face starting Oct. 19 – UCLA at home, at Oregon State, Oregon at home and at Southern Cal. If there's not a loss in there, look for Stanford in the BCS final.
FLORIDA STATE – 55 percent. As I just told you, FSU beat unbeaten Maryland by 2,063. Maybe it was 3,063. The Seminoles have a Heisman Trophy candidate at quarterback, and a defense that has limited four of five opponents to 13 points or less. But FSU also has some heavy lifting – at Clemson Oct. 19, unbeaten Miami Nov. 2 and at Florida Nov. 30. Fasten your seat belt and lock your tray table, Jimbo Fisher. It's about to bet bumpy.
GEORGIA – 65 percent. Hat tip to the Bulldogs. They were beaten in Knoxville – until they weren't. But the injuries have been unrelenting, especially on offense. And the schedule is not forgiving, starting with this weekend when unbeaten Missouri visits off an impressive win at Vandy. Survive that and there's still Florida as well as trips to Auburn and Georgia Tech. And the SEC title game.
COMPUTER PRINTOUT -- Four of the six computer rankings used in the BCS formulas are already releasing their numbers. Alabama tops the two human polls, but the Crimson Tide are only ranked first in one computer poll -- Massey.
Who leads the others? Stanford tops two, and Oregon one.
Western Kentucky: Average rating – 71.8. Colley-Matrix 55; Sagarin Elo-Chess 77; Billingsley 89; Massey 66.
RICE BOWL – I'm sure you've heard the news by now. Names of the members of the committee that will pick the four teams that will participate in the new college football playoff system have started to leak.
There is former Nebraska coach Tom Osborne. There is former Wisconsin coach Barry Alvarez. There is former Ole Miss quarterback Archie Manning. And former Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese.
But one name has swallowed all the headlines – former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
She's a bright, engaged and enthusiastic sports fan who serves on the faculty at Stanford. She's also the only woman and African-American whose name has been linked to the committee.
It is Rice's gender, not her race, that inspired former Georgia defensive lineman David Pollack to tell an ESPN audience that a woman did not belong on the committee in response to a question by Chris Fowler.
That pushed Twitter into overdrive Saturday. It also inspired me to ask the question that is posted at the top of the Monday Rewind:
Should Condoleezza Rice be a member of the 2014 college football playoff committee?
For the record, women have served on the NCAA Basketball Tournament Selection Committee. And the tournament has not collapsed yet.
WOODEN AWARD NOMINATIONS – You think you know college basketball? I'm sure that you do. Most fans in this area know college basketball.
So I'm asking you to share your knowledge. I serve on the national board of selectors for the John Wooden Award, which is presented annually to the best player in college basketball.
They've asked for nominations for the top 50 players in the country for the 2013-14 season. So I'm asking you to nominate guys that belong on the list.
The Wooden board made a sensible change this season – freshmen and transfers are eligible for consideration from day one. That means guys like Julius Randle of Kentucky and Andrew Wiggins of Kansas will be on the pre-season list.
So will Russ Smith of Louisville. He's one of the top 50 who is an obvious pick. I'm looking for players that I might be overlooking.
Send your nominations to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to your insights.