Auburn just made things a lot more interesting in the BCS Top 5.
An early projection of what may or may not happen with the new Top 5 Sunday Night:
5. Missouri (11-1)
What a turnaround Mizzou has had. A new kid on the SEC block last season, they got kicked around. In 2013, the Tigers took home the east division title and will play Auburn in Atlanta next Saturday. If they win, they will argue their case about getting into the title game. That argument might fall on deaf ears.
4. Alabama (11-1)
Alabama lived by the foot of their kicker and died by it Saturday at Auburn. It's tough enough that the Crimson Tide lost to their arch rival, but they also lost a trip to Atlanta for the SEC Championship Game.
Not is all lost. A Missouri win over Auburn and a Michigan State win over Ohio State could roll the tide back into the title game.
3. Ohio State (12-0)
Sorry Buckeye Nation, you might be the odd man out this year.
This is when you wish they would've scrapped this system last year.
Ohio State ran the table during a sanctioned season in 2012 and have finished perfect again in 2013 going into their conference title game against Michigan State next Saturday.
Compared to Auburn, the Tigers' SEC schedule will appeal to the voters than the Buckeyes schedule.
Regardless who wins the SEC title, Ohio State might squeeze into the #2 spot.
2. Auburn (11-1)
Auburn might just be the best one loss team in college football right now. They might jump Ohio State due to the strength of schedule. This is where things would get fun, especially with fans in Columbus who have watched the Buckeyes win 24 straight going into the Big Ten Championship game next week.
1. Florida State (12-0)
Unless the Seminoles find a way to lose to the Duke Blue Devils in the ACC Championship Game, they are a lock to play in the final National Championship game under the BCS system.
Probably the safest team...for now.
If only it was 2014. Then again, one of these teams would be crying foul in the end.
That's why we love college football.
Good news Pittsburgh! The Steelers are no longer in last place in the AFC North! They're in a three way tie with Cleveland and Baltimore for 2nd place.
For as bad as the Steelers have been in 2013, they still have an outside chance to get the second wild card spot in the AFC. Yeah, that's right. The team that started 0-4 and gave up 55 points to the Patriots still has a shot at the playoffs.
The Jets and Dolphins are 5-5 and hold the five and six seeds in the AFC playoffs. The Steelers beat New York and Miami is coming to Heinz Field December 8. The Steelers have the tie breaker against the Jets, but there are a few other 4-6 teams that have beaten the Steelers (Titans, Raiders).
It's not crazy to think that 8-8 could get a team in the playoffs. That being the case, there could be a few teams who finish at .500 in the AFC. Doesn't speak very highly of the conference, but it could be enough to salvage what has been a rocky year in Pittsburgh.
Looking at the schedule today compared to the beginning of the season, an 8-8 or at best, 9-7 season is doable.
The Steelers have two games against the Browns, and one more game each against the Ravens and Bengals. The Dolphins have slowed down since their 3-0 start, and the Packers are plagued by the injury bug, especially with Aaron Rogers, who might be back for matchup at Lambeau on December 22nd. Last years Super Bowl champion is nothing to get excited about and the Browns, well, they are the Browns of course.
It's also possible because of how the Steelers have played over the past two weeks. While many saw the Bills as team far worse than Pittsburgh, but a game against a good Lions team in which the Steelers created turnovers, took advantage of those turnovers and have slighty improved in the redzone. If they play like they did today in every remaining game, they got a shot. No matter how crazy it sounds.
Despite all the bad moments and off the field headlines that include Todd Haley's interaction with fans, the Ian Rapoport story on Roethlisbeger, and Tomlin's press conferences at times resembling a cold open on Saturday Night Live, much of the AFC is just as bad as the Steelers in 2013.
8-8 does not seem crazy at all for the Pittsburgh Steelers. The season has been up and down enough already. So why not?
In the words of Lee Corso, "Not so fast, my friend!"
This post was going to be a lot harsher when it was halftime. Pitt gave a valiant effort, so it won't be as harsh.
Same old song. Same old story. Same old Pitt.
Anyone who follows Pitt football will tell you that this song and dance with the Panthers does get old after a while.
While the Panthers tried to rally after a 27-3 deficit to North Carolina, it just wasn't enough, as they fell to the Tar Heels 34-27.
The program is staying in neutral and that Notre Dame win is nothing more than highlights for a "puff piece" video tribute if they finish 6-6, or worse, 5-7.
Syracuse won't be a pushover in the Carrier Dome next week, and Miami (FL) might be a sequel to the Labor Day loss to Florida State on Thanksgiving weekend.
Again, this post would've been a lot uglier if the Panthers gave in to the Tar Heels and lost in embarrassing fashion.
They did not do that. But, keep in mind, the Orange of Syracuse will be hungry to beat Pitt at home after they got humiliated in Tallahassee 59-3 by (2) Florida State.
Luckily, the Panthers have a chance to get win number six against Syracuse, or lose and be put in a tough spot against Miami (FL).
Pitt still controls their bowl eligibility as they travel north to Syracuse. The window is still open, but it could close very quickly with a loss to the Orange.
Same old Pitt? That's for the 2013 team to decide.
That was thrown around a lot by Pittsburgh Panther fans and the media after the team knocked off Notre Dame 28-21 at Heinz Field Saturday night.
The Panthers did what they had to do. They rattled Irish quarterback Tommy Rees, they forced turnovers and got points off of them to rally and end any hope of a BCS bowl game for Notre Dame.
They won it in front of over 50 recruits who are pondering where they will spend their college careers and created an atmosphere that is only seen a few times a season at Heinz Field.
This is not the first time Pittsburgh has had a "signature win" against a big program in the past three seasons. Problem is, the Panthers never seem to take advantage of those wins as building blocks for the future.
Ever since their 10-3 season in 2009, Pittsburgh has gone 19-17 since 2010 and have played in three straight Compass Bowl's, going 1-2. Through 9 games, Pittsburgh is 5-4 (2-3), and are 6th in the Coastal Division in their inaugural season in the ACC.
The Panthers were always competing for the Big East title at a time when the conference was slowly dissolving, along with Pitt announcing their own departure along with Syracuse. Between 2010 and 2012, there have been some other "signature wins" like the one Saturday against Notre Dame. In the end, they didn't result in anything other than a nice video tribute.
In 2011, Pittsburgh defeated No. 14 South Florida 44-17 at Heinz Field in week 5. Following that, they were blown out 34-10 by Rutgers and had a season of close losses, and finished with an 6-6 record and a Compass Bowl loss to Southern Methodist to finish 6-7 overall.
2012 could've had two "signature wins." The one that almost happened was in South Bend. If not for a missed Kevin Harper field goal, Notre Dame would've missed out on the National Championship Game and it would've been Pittsburgh's biggest win in a decade.
The win came against the No. 13 Virginia Tech Hokies at home. Nobody saw it coming, especially since the Panthers had lost to Youngstown State to start the season and followed that up with a loss to Cincinnati. Another season with a key win, another 6-6 record and they followed it up with another embarrassing performance in the Compass Bowl, this time against Ole Miss.
Pitt comes off as a team that is more content with a victory against a Top 25 opponent while dropping games to teams they should beat easily.
Not the identity a program wants.
In 2013, the Panthers have lost to two of three Top 25 opponent and dropped a game to Navy and Georgia Tech. There's no denying that the schedule will get tougher now that they play in a more competitive conference.
The program has had to endure a hired coach ending up in jail and then Todd Graham picking up and leaving after one season in 2011. With Paul Chryst at the helm, there seems to be stability for the first time since Dave Wannstedt was coaching (that's saying a lot). Soon, there should be a point where victories against Top 25 teams should not be like seeing a leprechaun riding a unicorn at Heinz Field.
Consistency needs to be the word for Pitt. They cannot over-bask in their victory aginst the Irish and find themselves dropping next week's game to North Carolina. If they do, they could find themselves dropping two of their final three games, going 6-6 and in another minor bowl game, possibly staring 6-7 in the face for a third straight year.
The kids who made their recruiting visit Saturday want to beat the big names in college football. The also want to have a chance at the ACC Championship Game and a National Championship.
So does Pitt have a hangover from the Notre Dame win next week, or do they use it as momentum and show those recruits that they are serious?
They need to make students and alum want to come to EVERY home game. Not just the ones where the opponent has a number between 1 and 25 to the left of their school name, while the other ones feature a half empty Heinz Field.
It's time to actually take advantage of those "signature wins." If not, 6-6 is still a possibility in 2013.