Congratulations to the Fighting Irish who finally had an impact on the race for number one in US college football this past weekend. I've questioned Notre Dame's relevance as a gridiron presence in the past but, with their 28-3 beat-down of the freefalling Utes, the Irish actually had a say in the bigger picture.
Too bad for TCU. After the Frogs had beaten previously undefeated Utah a week earlier, TCU jumped ahead of Boise State and into third spot in the rankings. When the Irish manhandled the Utes, however, TCU's strength-of-schedule rating took a hit and their win over the Utes lost some of its lustre. That allowed Boise to re-pass them and take back third place in the rankings.
What I don't get is how both Oregon and Auburn can struggle mightily against mediocre teams and still hold down first and second spots, ahead of both TCU and Boise State, each of which posted much more creditable victories.
Oregon slipped past California, which came into the game with a lacklustre 5-4 record, by a 15-13 score, thanks only to a rare penalty on the Cal placekicker and a subsequent missed field goal;
Auburn led middle-of-the-pack Georgia (5-5 entering the game) by only four points after three quarters before pulling away (slightly) in the fourth to win 49-31;
TCU had its hands full with San Diego State, a team that entered that contest with a strong 7-2 record, but still posted a 40-35 win; and
Boise State put a beatdown on Idaho, another mediocre squad with a 4-5 record coming in, by a 52-14 score.
I know I'm biased but I can't help feeling that the whole system is working to make darn sure the independents (Boise and TCU) don't make it into title contention. Unless something huge happens over the next couple of weeks to force the BCS to drop Auburn or Oregon down, I'm certain that those two teams are going to be squaring off for the title in February.
And if either Auburn or Oregon should, in fact, lose a game, I don't think we'll be waiting long before people start making the argument that one of the teams from the power conferences with only one loss deserves to be put ahead of the Broncos or the Frogs in the race for the national title.
It's a bizarre system. But at least Notre Dame is starting to have an impact.