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2010 BCS National Championship Contenders Narrowed Down to Seventeen

It's probably foolhardy to write anything about the 2010 football season, since the universe is folding in upon itself in a recursive occlusion, but, at least for the moment, there is reason to believe the world will not end before Labor Day weekend. (See? Who says I can't be upbeat and life-affirming?)

Accordingly, I paid particular attention when Year2 wrote the following:

If you want to read into things beyond reason, there are some patterns. Each champ from 1999-2002 played a bowl game against an SEC team the prior year. From 2003-08 each BCS champ played a Big Ten team or Notre Dame in its bowl the previous year, and Michigan appeared three times and Iowa twice. That's not terribly useful, but it's interesting.

There may be no better way to dare me into examining a sports-related subject than to begin a sentence with the phrase, "If you want to read into things beyond reason . . ." (Actually, as a two-time graduate of the University of Georgia, I technically require the issuance of a double-'Dawg dare, but I'm willing to forgo the usual formalities in this instance.)

Over the course of the decade immediately preceding the 2009 campaign, every BCS national champion played either an SEC team, a Big Ten team, or Notre Dame in the previous year's bowl game. Ten years of consistent evidence is conclusive proof; this is science, people! (Did someone say something about 19-year cycles? Nope, I didn't hear a thing.) Consequently, we know one of the following teams will win the 2010 national championship:

  • Auburn (won Outback Bowl over a Big Ten team)
  • Cincinnati (lost Sugar Bowl to an SEC team)
  • Clemson (won Music City Bowl over an SEC team)
  • Connecticut (won Bowl over an SEC team)
  • East Carolina (lost Liberty Bowl to an SEC team)
  • Georgia Tech (lost Orange Bowl to a Big Ten team)
  • Iowa State (won Insight Bowl over a Big Ten team)
  • Louisiana State (lost Capital One Bowl to a Big Ten team)
  • Miami (lost Champs Sports Bowl to a Big Ten team)
  • Northwestern (lost Outback Bowl to an SEC team)
  • Oklahoma State (lost Cotton Bowl to an SEC team)
  • Oregon (lost Rose Bowl to a Big Ten team)
  • Penn State (won Capital One Bowl over an SEC team)
  • Texas (lost BCS National Championship Game to an SEC team)
  • Texas A&M (lost Independence Bowl to an SEC team)
  • Texas Tech (won Alamo Bowl over a Big Ten team)
  • Virginia Tech (won Chick-fil-A Bowl over an SEC team)

Don't shoot the messenger; I'm just setting forth the evidence without passion, prejudice, or calling anyone a lying sack of crap. (It's a new policy.) With Auburn, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, and Virginia Tech all in the mix, 2010 could be the year of the engineer.

According to the historical data, there are four national championship contenders in the Big 12 South and Oklahoma ain't one of 'em. Whichever one of that quartet emerges unscathed will represent the division in a possible national title semifinal against the Cyclones in the conference championship game.

Meanwhile, whichever ACC division(s) contain(s) the Hokies, Hurricanes, Tigers, and/or Yellow Jackets has or have a good chance of producing a legitimate contender for the final No. 1 ranking, which may even make possible a sellout at the Atlantic Coast Conference title tilt in Baltimore/Charlotte/Jacksonville/Tampa/Washington, D.C., although that is a bit of a stretch, I will grant you.

The November 27 showdown between the Bearcats and the Huskies threatens to be huge, while the Ducks and the Pirates appear to have the most unimpeded avenues by which to claim custody of the crystal football. The SEC features two realistic aspirants to the No. 1 final ranking, both of which play in the Western Division and neither of which calls Tuscaloosa home. When the Wildcats travel to Happy Valley on November 6, "College GameDay" almost assuredly will be on hand.

Sorry, 'Bama, there will not be a repeat, but, if everything breaks right, it could be an all-purple national championship showdown between East Carolina and Northwestern. Hey, don't rule it out, people.

Go 'Dawgs!