AUSTIN POWERhighlights why since the Ohio State game, namely Vince Young, I had Texas #1 all year (recall as a matter of anti-hype priniciple I refuse to begin ranking until most teams are set to begin conference play). For the record, that game also is why I had Ohio State ahead of Penn State despite the Nittany Lions' head-to-head win at home.
USC failed to make history. But the Rose Bowl lived up to the hype, as Vince Young's eight-yard touchdown run with 19 seconds to play (left) beat the Trojans 41-38 in a classic BCS title game. Young, who ran for 200 yards, passed for 267 yards and scored three times, guided Texas to its first national title since 1970.
Before the final season rankings, I must stand to account for my five leading questions heading into the bowl games:
1. Is the SEC as strong as I think it is?
Answer: "No, definitely no," with losses by Georgia, Auburn, and South Carolina and closer games than I expected by Florida and Alabama.
2. Is the Big Ten as deep as I think it is?
Answer: "No" with losses by all of Michigan, Iowa, Northwestern, and Minnesota (I expected at least two wins, possibly three wins).
3. Is the Pac Ten as weak as I think it is?
Answer: "Yes," see Oregon/Oklahoma, California/Brigham Young, Arizona St./Rutgers, and even UCLA/Northwestern (on paper should have been a wider margin).
4. Will we finally have the convincing evidence the Big East has no business with a BCS bid?
Answer: Clearly "no" with West Virginia's win over Georgia and Louisville's respectable showing against Va. Tech. Rats.
5. Will I be able to stomach the Paterno vs. Bowden hype?
Answer: "Yes," until the game started.
Now for the final rankings. Note that generally I do not "punish" teams for losing games they should lose according to the rankings, which explains why the rankings for USC and Notre Dame are unchanged this week despite their BCS-game losses. West Virginia and Wisconsin, both of which have been on the bubble for weeks, have finally been included, and Oregon and Miami have been dropped. I have again broken the rankings into tiers--now down from four to three. Let the arguments begin.
Rank. Team (Previous)
1. Texas (1)
2. USC (2)
3. Ohio St. (3)
4. Penn St. (4)
5. LSU (9)
6. Notre Dame (6)
7. Virginia Tech (10)
8. Alabama (11)
9. West Virginia (--)
10. Georgia (8)
11. Wisconsin (--)
12. Auburn (7)