Welcome back to Three Downs & a Punt, where we live by the credo put forth by Joe Theismann: "Nobody in football should be called a genius. A genius is a guy like Norman Einstein."
Before we get started, a quick shoutout to a reader named Lucinda in Frostproof, Fla., who wrote via e-mail, "You are a moron for what you wrote about the 'BCS Busters' two weeks ago. None of those teams are going to beat the higher ranked BCS teams. If Arkansas beats South Carolina I will drive up to North Carolina and kiss you on the mouth."
I'm on the front porch with my ChapStick, Lucinda.
To the plays!
First Down: TCU and Boise need help. Lots of it.
On Saturday evening I re-tweeted a comment from the great Travis Haney, the Charleston Post-Courier's beat writer for the South Carolina Gamecocks and AP Top 25 voter. As LSU celebrated its win over Alabama, he wrote: "LSU should have lost to Tennessee and now they are going to play for the national championship. I heart football."
In an instant I (and I assume Haney) was pounced on by Auburn, TCU, and Boise State fans who declared that LSU couldn't possibly play in the BCS Championship because they weren't even going to play in the SEC title game.
But to borrow a line from a TV pal, "Not so fast, my friend!" History tells us that yes, they can. Not saying they will. But I am saying that it's possible. And so are some of the people that know a helluva lot more about BCS math than I do.
After Saturday's dismantling of Utah, the TCU Horned Frogs are now officially America's BCS-busting darlings, still ranked third in the BCS standings, opening up their lead over Boise State by just a smidgeon. The only teams ranked ahead of the Frogs and Broncos are the fellow undefeated squads of Oregon and Auburn. Both of those AQ schools have tough rows to hoe over the final few weeks of the regular season. Particularly the Tigers, who have Georgia and Alabama, followed by a likely trip to the SEC championship game.
So, naturally the folks in Fort Worth -- and perhaps even in Boise -- would appear to be in a potential position to leapfrog Auburn and Oregon should one or both pick up a loss. Right?
"I don't want to find out," says Mike Belotti, former Oregon head coach and ESPN analyst. "One thing we learned around here was not to take anything for granted when it comes to what you think the rankings may or may not be on Sunday night."
It is a not-so-veiled reference to 2001 and what was perhaps the most ridiculous BCS mess in what is not a small pile of them. It's been nearly a decade now, so a lot of people have forgotten the details, perhaps voluntarily. And all you current college students were somewhere in the realm of the first grade back then, so here's a refresher.
(Heads up: If you're a TCU or Boise supporter, you might want to skip this part.)
For more on how LSU could slip past the likes of TCU and Boise State, you must be an ESPN Insider.