Pen it in now. Jot it down. Permanent ink. It’s not going to change.
Oklahoma will play Southern California for the national title. It’s set. Plan your trip to Miami.Not Georgia, not Florida, not Wake Forest, not Wisconsin. Not East Carolina or Fresno State, not Boise State or Brigham Young.
Oklahoma and Southern California. No point to play it out. It’s set.
I’m not saying these are the two best teams in the country. They might be, although I doubt it. I still hold that Georgia is more talented and more deep than either could dream of being. But it does not matter.
After everything else has settled.
After conference play and conference championship games, rivalry week and the upsets.
After Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Washington, and Clemson are looking for new head coaches.
After Larry Munson has uttered what may be his final words as Georgia play-by-play announcer.
After Tim Tebow wins his second Heisman Trophy, maybe.
We will have Oklahoma and Southern California, one and two, not necessarily in that order, but both in the BCS National Championship Game. Both playing for all the marbles.
Who is going to beat Oklahoma? Who?
Maybe Missouri, maybe, if the Tigers can reach the conference title game.
Texas is too fragile and unproven in the secondary and too weak at linebacker to stop the Oklahoma assault that has already hung 50 on Chattanooga, Cincinnati, and Washington.
Texas Tech, well, this is possible. The Red Raiders are more talented defensively than any team Mike Leach has ever coached, but they’re not that talented. Not talented enough to go to Norman and slow Oklahoma, that’s for sure.
Besides that, there aren’t really any games that should even cause the Sooners to blink. Bob Stoops is not going to let Colorado happen again. There are not going to be any 27-24 stunners. He’s too good of a coach.
Who is going to beat Southern California? Who?
Talk about an advantageous schedule. California, Oregon, and Arizona State, the three-best teams in the PAC-10 besides the Trojans, all come to the Coliseum.
No PAC-10 team other than Stanford has defeated Southern California in the Coliseum under Pete Carroll. That’s a scary thought. Why should that change now?
California’s defense should be much better than the injured squad that surrendered its most points per game since 2001. Heck, besides its no-show Saturday in what was a 9 A.M. kickoff pacific time at Maryland, the team has been in synch on both sides of the ball.
Oregon has overachieved so far. Can Nathan Costa be ready for a defense with the size, speed, depth, and skill of Southern California the first Saturday in October?
And Arizona State? No way. Dennis Erickson single-handedly coached this team to 10 wins last year. Still, the team was run out of Tempe when Southern California came to town, 44-24.
The only challenging road game is the finale at UCLA. There is no telling what UCLA will show up on any given weekend, whether it will be the team that takes down Tennessee or the laughingstock that goes down 59-0 to Brigham Young.
So mark it in.
Oklahoma and Southern California. Southern California and Oklahoma. Undefeated, one and two. All the way.
Who else will run the table?
Georgia? Too unlikely. Look at the depth in the SEC. Georgia struggled to beat Steve Spurrier’s South Carolina squad, the same South Carolina squad that went down to Vanderbilt nine days earlier.
Florida? Too many questions. How will the defense handle SEC speed? Will Tim Tebow avoid injury? Can Urban Meyer outcoach his colleagues out of halftime?
LSU? Auburn? Alabama? They all have to beat up on each other.
Texas? The defense is too shaky.
Missouri? What defense?
Wisconsin? First, the Badgers have to beat Fresno State. Then they have to take care of Ohio State and Penn State consecutive Saturdays in Madison.
South Florida? Wake Forest? Does it matter if they go undefeated? It does not.
Sure, one of these teams could run the table. One of these teams could jump into the title picture if it does. But it is not likely. It’s almost as unlikely as Southern California or Oklahoma losing any of its remaining games.
They just have too much more talent than any of the teams they’re scheduled to play.
It is not their fault. They are just better.
Looking at the schedules, looking at the rosters, there is only one game for each team that there’s more than a possibility that they’ll lose: January 8 in Miami Gardens, Fla.
Nowhere else can either of these two schools lose. Not this year.
So jot it down in permanent ink. There won’t be any need to change it.
Right or wrong, it is all we are left with.