Tremors from first earthquake of the college football season will reverberate through Saturday’s games and into Sunday’s polling.
The Big 12, Southeastern Conference and Penn State could be the biggest winners from Southern California’s stunning 27-21 loss to Oregon State on Thursday night.
The 12th-ranked Nittany Lions have looked formidable all year, including their 45-14 beat down of the Beavers in the second week. By wrecking the team trashed No. 1, Penn State might get some extra love in the polls, providing it defeats Illinois Saturday.
But teams from the Big 12 and SEC are in a better position to take full advantage.
Entering this week’s games, teams from the two conferences held the next six positions and eight of the next nine after the Trojans in the USA Today coaches poll, which helps determine the Bowl Championship Series standing.
They are all in a position to move up, and one winner can make a major move. Third-ranked Georgia plays host to 10th-ranked Alabama on Saturday.
Fifth-ranked Missouri and ninth-ranked Texas Tech could jump without playing.
Nobody knows how far the Trojans will fall, but Ohio State could be an indicator.
After the Buckeyes lost 35-3 at Southern California two weeks ago they went from fifth to 14th in the USA Today poll.
Will Southern California be punished as severely? After all, the Trojans lost to an unranked team with a 1-2 record entering the game.
Second-ranked Oklahoma, which plays host to TCU, could go to No. 1 with a victory, but so could Georgia, which isn’t far behind in third.
The Bulldogs are breaking out black jerseys for additional motivation Saturday.
The rest of the USA Today top ten: Florida, Missouri, LSU, Texas, Wisconsin, Texas Tech and Alabama.Also, the Harris Poll, also used to determine the final BCS standing, will be released for the first time on Sunday.
The first BCS standing won’t be out until Oct. 19. The teams ranked first and second in the final standing play in the BCS National Championship Game.
As for the Southern California loss, Coach Pete Carroll said the inability to stop 5-6 freshman running back Jacquizz Rodgers, who rushed for 186 yards, was a bitter disappointment.
“I am just beside myself,” Carroll said. “They didn’t hide what they were doing, they just did it and we couldn’t stop it. We couldn’t tackle him.”
Trojans linebacker Brian Cushing said his team and not the heavy underdog may have been the one with too much adrenaline.
“I think we were a little too amped up,” Cushing said. “We were missing tackles and not reading plays right.”