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28 Aug 2006

Confessions of a Football Junkie: Ready To Rumble

by Russell Levine

One year after Texas and USC went wire-to-wire atop the polls before meeting in an epic national title game at the Rose Bowl, things promise to be a bit less scripted in college football this season. While both schools are still formidable, they were also hard hit by graduation and early departures to the NFL, making as many as a half-dozen other schools popular preseason choices to play for the title in Glendale, Arizona, on January 8. The seemingly wide-open chase is just one of many changes to the college football landscape this fall.

Don't Call It a Playoff

Go figure. After perhaps its least-controversial season ever, the Bowl Championship Series ushers in the biggest change since its 1998 debut this season with the addition of a fifth game. No longer will the national championship be contested in one of the traditional BCS bowls. Instead, each of the four games -- the Fiesta, Sugar, Orange, and Rose, in that order -- will host a second game once every four years. The new contest, officially dubbed "The BCS National Title Game," will take place one week after the New Year's Day games.

The new game simply expands the number of spots in the BCS to 10 from eight. The same combination of human and computer polls will be used to pick the participants in the title game. The BCS also has a new TV partner, Fox Sports, for the Fiesta, Orange, and Sugar Bowls. ABC will continue to broadcast the Rose Bowl. The Fiesta Bowl also moves to the brand new Arizona Cardinals stadium this season.

It will be at least four years -- long enough for one complete rotation of what's being called the "double hosting" model -- before any systematic changes are made. One might reasonably speculate that the BCS's next iteration would be a "plus-one" format, where two of the winners from the first four BCS games play in a title game the following week.

Up for the Challenge

Instant replay, in a variety of formats, became a regular part of college football over the last two seasons. For 2006, the NCAA has standardized a replay system using an official in the press box to review plays. Also new: Coaches will have one challenge per game, provided they have a time-out remaining. A successful challenge will not result in a charged time-out.

On the Hot Seat

As college coaching salaries have increased dramatically in recent years, so too has the pressure to win. A number of prominent coaches head into the upcoming season feeling the weight of expectations. Popular perception puts Michigan's Lloyd Carr and Tennessee's Phillip Fulmer on the hottest seats entering 2006 after each saw high expectations turn to disappointment in 2005. In reality, both Carr and Fulmer are coaches with deep ties to their schools and national championships on their résumés. Unless the bottom falls out, both are likely safe.

Another coach with a national title ring, Miami's Larry Coker, can't feel quite as comfortable. Coker shook up his staff after last season's embarrassing Peach Bowl rout at the hands of LSU and will be expected to keep Miami in the thick of ACC and national championship contention. Texas A&M, going 16–18 over the last three seasons, no doubt expected better return on the money it invested in luring Dennis Franchione from Alabama. Other coaches who'll be sweating a bit more than usual this fall include Georgia Tech's Chan Gailey, Rich Brooks of Kentucky, and John L. Smith at Michigan State.

Heisman Dark Horses

The front-runners for sports' most celebrated individual award are well known: quarterbacks Brady Quinn of Notre Dame, Troy Smith of Ohio State, Brian Brohm of Louisville, and running back Adrian Peterson of Oklahoma. Just behind those bright lights sit running backs Marshawn Lynch of California, Steve Slaton of West Virginia, and Kenny Irons of Auburn, plus receivers Ted Ginn Jr., of Ohio State and Dwayne Jarrett of USC. Want some true dark horses? Try these five:

  • Calvin Johnson, WR, Georgia Tech
  • Paul Posluszny, LB, Penn State
  • Drew Stanton, QB, Michigan State
  • Tyrell Sutton, RB, Northwestern
  • Garrett Wolfe, RB, Northern Illinois

Hold My Calls, Please

Have a wedding on September 16? Cancel it. Even if it's your own. Instead, make sure you have fresh batteries in the remote, fire up the TiVo, and roll in the extra TV for one of the best one-day slates in recent memory. The lineup includes eight games between teams that are ranked in the preseason polls: Oklahoma at Oregon, LSU at Auburn, Miami at Louisville, Michigan at Notre Dame, Texas Tech at TCU, Clemson at Florida State, Florida at Tennessee, and Nebraska at USC.

Other Can't Miss Games

In honor of the permanent move to a 12-game regular season, here are another dozen games to mark on your calendar. Of special note is the no. 1 vs. no. 2 clash in Austin on the season's second Saturday:

  • California at Tennessee, September 2
  • Ohio State at Texas, September 9
  • Arizona State at California, September 23
  • Ohio State at Iowa, September 30
  • LSU at Florida, October 7
  • Michigan at Penn State, October 14
  • Texas at Nebraska, October 21
  • Georgia at Florida, October 28
  • Virginia Tech at Miami, November 4
  • Oregon at USC, November 11
  • California at USC, November 18
  • Florida at Florida State, November 25

Conference Previews

ACC

ATLANTIC: Boston College, Clemson, Florida St., Maryland, North Carolina St., Wake Forest
COASTAL: Duke, Georgia Tech, Miami, North Carolina, Virginia, Virginia Tech

Player of the Year: Calvin Johnson, WR, Georgia Tech
The Favorite: Florida State
The Sleeper: Clemson
Overrated: North Carolina St.
Game of the Year: Florida St. at Miami, September 4

The ACC might have been the most disappointing conference in the nation last season. Billed as a super-league to rival the SEC after adding Miami, Virginia Tech and Boston College, things fizzled as four-loss Florida State won the Atlantic Division, then stunned the Hokies in the inaugural ACC title game before falling to Penn State in the Orange Bowl.

All the league's traditional powers have question marks. Florida State and Miami still have stout defenses -- although the Hurricanes' was missing in their 40-3 Peach Bowl loss to LSU -- but the offenses remain works in progress. Expect a low-scoring affair when they meet on Labor Day. Virginia Tech is happy to be rid of its Marcus Vick headache, but they still must find a capable replacement at quarterback.

Many are pointing to Clemson, which won its last four games last season, as a sleeper pick in the Atlantic, but quarterback Will Proctor must prove he can replace Charlie Whitehurst under center. Georgia Tech, an inconsistent team in recent seasons, gets a chance to prove it can contend in the Coastal in a season-opening home date against Notre Dame.

Big XII

NORTH: Colorado, Iowa St., Kansas, Kansas St., Nebraska, Missouri
SOUTH: Baylor, Oklahoma, Oklahoma St., Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech

Player of the Year: Adrian Peterson, RB, Oklahoma
The Favorite: Texas
The Sleeper: Nebraska
Overrated: Oklahoma
Game of the Year: Texas vs. Oklahoma, October 7

Call it the downside of a championship. Vince Young's stunning individual effort in the Rose Bowl win over USC not only carried Texas to a national title, it carried the junior to an early entry into the NFL draft. Texas still boasts a championship-caliber roster, but Colt McCoy and Jevan Snead will be the under the ultimate microscope as they attempt to replace Young at quarterback.

The October 7 date against Oklahoma in Dallas once again looms as the conference's game of the year. Oklahoma seemed to be back on the path to national-title contention before starting quarterback Rhett Bomar was dismissed from the team for accepting payment for a no-show job over the summer. That puts even more pressure on running back Adrian Peterson, who looks to regain his Heisman-contending form after an injury-plagued sophomore season.

Texas Tech and its pass-happy attack under innovative coach Mike Leach remains a thorn in the side of the South Division, while Texas A&M must produce or fans will turn on coach Dennis Franchione.

In the North, Nebraska appears headed in the right direction after capping last season with a win over Michigan in the Alamo Bowl. This will be the third year of coach Bill Callahan's West Coast offense, and much is expected of quarterback Zac Taylor. Dominating defense is nothing new at Nebraska, where the Blackshirts still make it tough on opponents. Iowa State looks like the likely challenger to the Cornhuskers for North supremacy, but must overcome a recent history of choking away shots at the Big XII championship game. In Boulder, Colorado turns the page on the tumultuous Gary Barnett era with new coach Dan Hawkins, who faces a rebuilding project. A bowl berth would be an impressive result in his first season.

Big East

Cincinnati, Connecticut, Louisville, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, South Florida, Syracuse, West Virginia
Player of the Year: Pat White, QB, West Virginia
The Favorite: West Virginia
The Sleeper: Louisville
Overrated: South Florida
Game of the Year: West Virginia at Louisville, November 2

What a difference a year makes for the Big East. At this time in 2005, the talk surrounding the conference was whether it still deserved an automatic BCS berth. West Virginia took care of that problem, riding freshman backfield tandem of quarterback Pat White and tailback Steve Slaton to an 11–1 record and a Sugar Bowl win.

The talk this time around is whether West Virginia is a legitimate national-title contender. The Mountaineers' schedule certainly won't preclude a run at an undefeated regular season. The only roadblock would appear to be a road date at Louisville on November 2. West Virginia's biggest problem may be the conference's perceived lack of depth; the Mountaineers will be expected to rout most opponents. Anything less could cause a drop in the polls. Put another way: If West Virginia is one of three unbeatens at season's end, put your money on the Mountaineers being the odd men out of the BCS title game.

If West Virginia stumbles, Louisville, with its own standout backfield of quarterback Brian Brohm and running back Michael Bush, could also emerge as a BCS contender. There appears to be a big dropoff to the next tier of Big East teams, a group that includes Pittsburgh and Rutgers. The Panthers are hoping to rebound from a disappointing first season under Dave Wannstedt, while Rutgers looks to build on last year's surprising bowl season.

Big Ten

Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Northwestern, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, Wisconsin
Player of the Year: Troy Smith, QB, Ohio State
The Favorite: Ohio State
The Sleeper: Iowa
Overrated: Penn State
Game of the Year: Michigan at Ohio State, November 18

After capping 2005 with an offensive thrashing of Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl, Ohio State enters the fall atop both preseason polls. The Buckeyes certainly have the horses on offense, where Troy Smith did a more-than-passable imitation of Vince Young last season and gamebreaker Ted Ginn Jr. is always a threat. The questions are on defense, where Ohio State returns just two starters. Still, the new guys are blue-chippers, so don't expect much drop-off on that side of the ball.

Michigan is coming off its worst season in 21 years and coach Lloyd Carr is feeling the heat. He dismissed both coordinators following a 7–5 campaign. Expect the Wolverine defense to play more aggressively and to scrap the soft zones that led to late collapses in four of their five losses. Chad Henne has a chance to become the school's all-time leading passer in just his third season, but it's the health of undersized back Mike Hart that will be the key determiner of Michigan's offensive success.

If there's anyone that can sneak in a steal the Big Ten from these two, it's an underappreciated Iowa -- being overlooked after a shaky 7–5 season in 2005. Kirk Ferentz is one of the nation's best coaches, and he still has quarterback Drew Tate under center.

Michigan State may need a bowl berth to save coach John L. Smith's job, while Wisconsin (Bret Bielema) and Northwestern (Pat Fitzgerald) break in new coaches this season.

Pac-10

Arizona, Arizona State, California, Oregon, Oregon State, Stanford, UCLA, USC, Washington, Washington State
Player of the Year: Marshawn Lynch, RB, California
The Favorite: USC
The Sleeper: Oregon
Overrated: California
Game of the Year: Arizona State at USC, October 14

Yes, USC lost a ton of talent, including a Heisman Trophy backfield, to the NFL. Guess what? The Trojans are still loaded, but they won't cruise through the Pac-10, a league that deserves much credit for moving to a full round-robin conference schedule this season.

John David Booty gets the first chance to replace Matt Leinart under center at USC, and if he's not up to the task, Mark Sanchez is an equally talented understudy. Either one will throw plenty to Dwayne Jarrett, one of the nation's best receivers. The defense could be better than a year ago, especially in the secondary, where the relatively green unit was a target of opponents in 2005.

Cal has super-back Marshawn Lynch, but the quarterback position is a question mark. A more likely challenger to USC is Oregon, which quietly won 10 games last year and returns the quarterback platoon of Dennis Dixon and Brady Leaf and tailback Jonathan Stewart, plus a rugged defense. Rudy Carpenter won the Arizona State quarterback job in fall camp and will lead an explosive offense. UCLA enjoyed a breakthrough season in 2005, but must replace a talented offensive backfield. Keep an eye on new QB Ben Olson, a one-time top recruit.

SEC

EAST: Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vanderbilt
WEST: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, LSU, Mississippi, Mississippi St.

Player of the Year: Kenny Irons, RB, Auburn
The Favorite: Auburn
The Sleeper: LSU
Overrated: Florida
Game of the Year: LSU at Auburn, September 16

The SEC can again lay claim to the title of nation's toughest conference, with as many as five legitimate league title contenders -- Auburn, LSU, Florida, Tennessee, Georgia -- plus long shots Alabama, Arkansas, and South Carolina. Ten bowl teams is not out of the question. LSU has enough talent to contend for a spot in the BCS title game, but faces road trips to Auburn, Florida, and Tennessee. The schedule sets up much better for Auburn, which gets LSU, Florida, and Georgia at home. The Tigers have a deep and veteran roster (23 seniors) and Heisman-caliber tailback in Kenny Irons. If they go undefeated this season, they won't get left out of the national title game as they did in 2004.

Florida is expected to improve in its second year under Urban Meyer. Quarterback Chris Leak struggled at times with Meyer's complex spread-option, and he'll face a stiff challenge for playing time from freshman Tim Tebow. South Carolina's Steve Spurrier looks to follow up on a surprisingly successful debut season in Columbia.

The coach under the most pressure is easily Tennessee's Phillip Fulmer, who must avoid another disaster on the scale of last year's 5–6 meltdown. He brought back David Cutcliffe to coordinate the offense, which should translate into a better year from quarterback Erik Ainge.

Alabama and Georgia remain in the mix for spots in the SEC title game, while Arkansas appears to be much improved after a couple of solid recruiting classes.

Others

Conference-USA, MAC, Mountain West, Sun Belt, WAC, Independents
Player of the Year: Brady Quinn, QB, Notre Dame
Potential BCS Party Crashers: TCU, Utah, Tulsa, UTEP, Boise State, Northern Illinois
Mid-Major Games of the Year: TCU at Utah, October 5 (MWC) Boise St. at Nevada October 5 (WAC)

In 2006, it seems silly to include Notre Dame with the rest of college football's "others" -- the so-called "mid-major" conferences and Division I-A independents. But that's the price the Irish pay for refusing to join a conference.

While Notre Dame's status as legitimate national title-contender is well documented -- the Irish are No. 2 in the preseason AP poll and tied for third in the coaches' poll -- it still must prove itself on the field. When we last saw the Fighting Irish, they were giving up 617 yards of offense to Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl. The offense is one of the nation's best, with Heisman front-runner Brady Quinn throwing to Jeff Samardzija, and the defense should be improved with nine returning starters. The schedule also sets up nicely for a national-title run, culminating with a date at USC on November 25.

No one will ever confuse Notre Dame with college football's "have-nots." But there is plenty of good news for the mid-majors entering 2006. The fifth BCS bowl has improved access for teams from these conferences. Since 1998, only one team from outside the six automatic-qualifier conferences -- Utah in 2004 -- has gained a berth in a BCS game. Starting this fall, a non-BCS league school that wins its conference and is ranked in the top 12 of the final BCS standings (or in the top 16 and higher than one of the BCS league automatic qualifiers) gains an automatic berth. Got all that? Don't worry. The skinny is that while it's still a long shot, an undefeated season by the likes of TCU, Boise St., or Northern Illinois would likely be rewarded with a BCS berth without much suspense.

BlogPoll Preseason Ballot

This season, I'll again be voting in the BlogPoll, hosted by mgoblog. I'll post my ballot in Junkie each week. Feel free to comment. And yes, I'm aware of some inconsistencies in my own opinions (hello, Cal). Guilty. The ballot and the preview were done at different times. Take the rankings with a grain of salt.

Rank Team Delta
1 Ohio State 25
2 Texas 24
3 Southern Cal 23
4 Auburn 22
5 West Virginia 21
6 Louisiana State 20
7 Notre Dame 19
8 Cal 18
9 Oklahoma 17
10 Florida 16
11 Clemson 15
12 Louisville 14
13 Georgia 13
14 Florida State 12
15 Virginia Tech 11
16 Michigan 10
17 Iowa 9
18 Penn State 8
19 Miami (Florida) 7
20 Nebraska 6
21 Oregon 5
22 Tennessee 4
23 Arizona State 3
24 Texas Tech 2
25 South Carolina 1

Note: This article first appeared in Thursday's edition of the New York Sun.

Posted by: Russell Levine on 28 Aug 2006

21 comments, Last at 01 Sep 2006, 12:58am by BIGDOG

Comments

1
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 08/28/2006 - 11:31am

Out of curiosity, how can Penn State be overrated when you rank them higher than most preseason polls do? The USA Today Coaches Poll puts them at 19 - you've got them at 18. Seems to me you think they're rated just about right.

2
by Duck in MA (not verified) :: Mon, 08/28/2006 - 1:06pm

It should also be noted that Oregon won't be "platooning" QBs this season. Dixon is the starter. Leaf may get a series or two, but Belotti has stated that he's sticking with just one QB (Dixon).

I really don't feel Cal is that overrated this season. USC is "down" (as far down as a program that loaded can be), both Oregon and UCLA were a little lucky last year (Oregon's defense, UCLA's offense turned out much better than expected), so Cal could end the season with 10 wins. The Arizona schools could make some noise, but not enough to really contend, but maybe get an upset or two. What Cal really needs is a decent QB, which is Tedford's specialty - turning lead QBs into gold.

3
by karl (not verified) :: Mon, 08/28/2006 - 1:57pm

Miami at 19? You're out of your mind.

4
by MadPenguin (not verified) :: Mon, 08/28/2006 - 2:12pm

Go Hokies. (sorry, couldn't help myself. If you do see a mature capable qb, point him our way. We're going with run & defense this year. And why do teams like wisconsin and illinois make deals to play games with us and then pay us off so they don't have to?)

5
by Independent George (not verified) :: Mon, 08/28/2006 - 2:40pm

What, no jokes about John David Booty? Come one, doesn't anyone remember Buckaroo Bonzai?

6
by Old James (not verified) :: Mon, 08/28/2006 - 2:58pm

Russell -- I've always liked your stuff, but I've got to question your calling NC State the most overrated ACC team. Every preseason projection I've seen has State rated between 8th and 11th in the conference. How can a team generally accepted to be bad also be overrated?

7
by Sean D. (not verified) :: Mon, 08/28/2006 - 2:59pm

This may be a bit crass, but John David Booty is the reason I wish Reggie Bush were still at USC. I'd watch every game just to see if the announcer created an hilariously funny quote.

8
by Sporran (not verified) :: Mon, 08/28/2006 - 3:07pm

What's with the Deltas? Did you really have Ohio State ranked 26th in your last poll?

9
by Ferg (not verified) :: Mon, 08/28/2006 - 3:17pm

8: It's the first poll, so I think everyone counts as unranked last week.

10
by Sophandros (not verified) :: Mon, 08/28/2006 - 4:12pm

7:

Well, you still have the storyline at Arkansas, where Nutt choose Johnson over Dick to lead the Hogs.

11
by Rocco (not verified) :: Mon, 08/28/2006 - 4:40pm

#7:

Whenever USC would get a big lead and pull Leinart, the joke amongst my friends was that Carroll was making a Booty call.

12
by Andrew (not verified) :: Mon, 08/28/2006 - 5:07pm

UFC is gonna win the c-USA title

13
by Russell Levine :: Tue, 08/29/2006 - 10:48am

I plead guilty to all complaints about the preseason ballot. If it were up to me, blogpoll wouldn't even have a preseason ballot, because it's pretty much throwing darts as it is.

And yes, Delta is a result of everyone being "unranked" last week. Once the first poll comes out next week, that will change.

14
by Pat (not verified) :: Tue, 08/29/2006 - 11:33am

Well, it's not like the poll actually can mean anything until about 4 weeks in, anyway. There's a reason we don't see DVOA rankings until Week 4: we shouldn't see college football polls until at least Week 4 as well.

What's week 1 going to tell us? That Ohio State's better than Northern Illinois? Woo!

I'm still going to call you out on calling Penn State overrated, mind you. A former 11-1 team that is being expected to go 8-4 pretty much can not be considered overrated.

15
by Brad (not verified) :: Tue, 08/29/2006 - 11:39am

Agree with 6, don't know how NCSU can be overated unless they should be last in the ACC. A very difficult thing given that Duke is in the conference.

16
by seamus (not verified) :: Tue, 08/29/2006 - 5:55pm

#2, I agree. Cal is loaded at pretty much every position. At QB, they seem to have four guys who could be strong, and a coach who makes that his specialty. 10-2 seems likely, but the "east coast bias" might keep them out of the top 10.

#7, Booty to Bush might have made the most gigglicious passing combo in football history.

17
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Wed, 08/30/2006 - 11:22am

"If West Virginia is one of three unbeatens at season’s end, put your money on the Mountaineers being the odd men out of the BCS title game."

I think that's an extraordinarily safe bet (BCS unbeatens only). But a more interesting question would be, which teams could with one loss leapfrog an unbeaten West Virginia?

You could theoretically come up with some nominees, but the problem is that WVU is further east than most of them, so they benefit from that bias (you know, that one bias that keeps anybody from questioning their schedule strength, and that keeps screwing the west coast out of things like title game appearances and Heisman trophies). Of course, some of these teams are south of WVU, which obviously means they're faster and therefore better, so maybe that will affect voting. And I apologize, it's been a long day and I can't think of any more idiotic cliches to throw in this paragraph. Sorry.

18
by JKL (not verified) :: Thu, 08/31/2006 - 8:43am

Anyone interested in doing a rotisserie college fantasy league by email? We would draft teams, not individuals. I used to play college fantasy football, and it was fun, but drafting and starting individuals on a weekly basis in head to head matchups was a headache (wild swings in week to week matchups, many more bye weeks than NFL, non-existent info on injury reports or suspensions of specific players until it was too late, drafting guys who had never before started by round 4). Rotisserie style would eliminate much of that, but still be fun to track and compete.

If we had, for example, 10 people, we could each draft 6 BCS schools, and 1 non-BCS school. Then, we could compete roto rankings style. Some potential rotisserie categories:

Individual Categories
Passing (top 3 QB’s)
-pass yards
-pass tds
-td/int ratio
Rushing (top 5, including 1 QB)
-rush yards
-rush tds
Receiving (top 7)
-rec yards
-rec tds
Combined (top 7)
-rush + rec yards
-rush + rec tds
Kicking (top 3 K’s)
-made field goals

Team Categories (top 3 OR all teams, depending on category)
-points allowed/game
-defensive turnovers forced
-defense & special teams tds
-winning percentage
-wins vs top 25

Post here if interested. If there is enough interest by Friday, we could do a quick draft, and since we are picking schools, and not players, it should not take too long. I would think we could track it by email. Just like the rankings, it would be pointless to compile the rankings in categories until about half way through the year for the first time, and by then, you should have an idea of your leaders in each category to track for the rest of the year.

19
by GatorGriff (not verified) :: Thu, 08/31/2006 - 3:32pm

Florida overrated? Sorry Russ, I don’t think so. They have top-10 talent with one of the best defenses in the country…but their schedule is going to kill them. Is there a tougher schedule in the country: Homes games: LSU, South Carolina, Alabama; Away Games: Tennessee, Auburn, Florida St; and the neutral-site game with Georgia. Because of this, I think a realistic goal for Florida is to win the SEC East. Anything less, and I’ll be disappointed, but their schedule does not allow them a chance to compete for the Nat’l Title. However, I don’t think this equates to be overrated.

20
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Thu, 08/31/2006 - 5:08pm

You're absolutely crazy, GatorGriff. Notre Dame has the hardest schedule yet again this year, much as they have every year since 1989. That's the only reason they haven't won a national title since then (well, the fact that they only take Rhodes scholars onto the football team doesn't help things either). Just ask anyone in the media - ND's consistently impossible schedule that annually has USC, Michigan, and (ignore all the rest) is just too hard to overcome, even the Patriots would lose two or three. If you think Florida, or any team for that matter, can have a tougher schedule than Notre Dame, you've just been preparing for the Georgia game a few months early.

21
by BIGDOG (not verified) :: Fri, 09/01/2006 - 12:58am

One might reasonably speculate that the BCS’s next iteration would be a “plus-one� format, where two of the winners from the first four BCS games play in a title game the following week.

With the "plus-one," I don't envision them staying at 4 BCS bowl games. There are 10 BCS teams now, with two different teams in the 5th game. The Powers That Be would pitch a fit if the BCS lost two teams.

More than likely they'd promote a 5th bowl (Citrus/Peach/Outback) to BCS status to stay at 10 teams. I also wouldn't be surprised to see ESPN on ABC on ESPN getting back into the act, and lobbying for an expansion to 6 or 7 BCS bowls.