|Alabama quarterback John Parker Wilson|
With the Big 12 Conference set to begin conference play this weekend, let the full-on cannibalism begin. Last Saturday likely gave us an early taste of what October usually delivers in droves: tough conference games that kill the spirit and wound the national championship hopes of the nation's top 10 teams. Top-ranked USC ran into a buzzsaw in Corvallis, losing on the road to Oregon State, 27-21. No. 4 Florida lost a heartbreaker at home to Ole Miss, and No. 8 Wisconsin, favored for the first time ever at Michigan, left the Big House with its first blemish. The tumult pushed the Big 12's finest into four of the top eight spots in the coaches' poll this week. But to assume that the conference's five 4-0 teams will graduate to 5-0 isn't a bet we'd want to take. The top four -- Oklahoma, Missouri, Texas and Texas Tech -- are heavily favored in their games on Saturday, but they all play on the road, and the denizens of Waco, Texas; Lincoln, Neb.; Boulder, Colo.; and Manhattan, Kan.; will be looking for their chances to lead Saturday night's highlight reel.
That's not to say that last weekend wasn't kind to some: namely, now-No. 4 Alabama, which pasted Georgia, 41-30, and went a long way toward being the No. 1 team in the BCS standings when the official version is released in a few weeks. The Tide has beaten two top-10 teams already this year, but it can't look past a home game this Saturday against Kentucky.