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Around the Nation - Week 5
Week Four Review, Bowl  Projections and New Power Poll

Another week in the books, and this past one was the first of many weekends coming up where key conference matchups will start shaping the BCS landscape. Now that most of the out of conference games have been played, prior to releasing the new Power Poll, for my rotating piece of the column this week I will post my first Bowl Projections of the season.

Keep in mind with my projections I followed the bowl tie-ins as best as I could, but in certain spots I project there will not be a team available to fill a specific conference tie-in, so I then input teams from other conferences with the best possible geographic tie-in for those spots (sometimes it wasn't that possible).

I've put the lower case teams where a fill-in was necessary.

2012-13 Bowl Projections

Gildan New Mexico: ARIZONA vs. utah state
Famous Idaho Potato: LOUISIANA TECH vs. NORTHERN ILLINOIS
San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia: BYU vs. NEVADA
Beef O'Brady's St. Petersburg: SOUTH FLORIDA vs. san jose state
New Orleans: SMU vs. WESTERN KENTUCKY
Las Vegas: FRESNO STATE vs. arizona state
Hawaii: SAN DIEGO STATE vs. EAST CAROLINA
Little Caesars Pizza: INDIANA vs. CENTRAL MICHIGAN
Military: iowa state vs. minnesota
Belk: GEORGIA TECH vs. CINCINNATI
Holiday: TCU vs. UCLA
Independence: OLE MISS vs. DUKE
Russell Athletic: MIAMI, FLA vs. RUTGERS
Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas: BAYLOR vs. NORTHWESTERN
Bell Helicopter Armed Forces: texas tech vs. BOISE STATE
Kraft Fight Hunger: NAVY vs. WASHINGTON
Pinstripe: OKLAHOMA STATE vs. UCONN
Alamo: OKLAHOMA vs. STANFORD
Buffalo Wild Wings: WEST VIRGINIA vs. WISCONSIN
Music City: MISSOURI vs. WAKE FOREST
Sun: NC STATE vs. OREGON STATE
Liberty: TULSA vs. TEXAS A&M
Chick-fil-A: TENNESSEE vs. VIRGINIA TECH
TicketCity: HOUSTON vs. ILLINOIS
Gator Bowl: MISSISSIPPI STATE vs. PURDUE
Capital One: LSU vs. MICHIGAN STATE
Outback: FLORIDA vs. NEBRASKA
Cotton: TEXAS vs. SOUTH CAROLINA
BBVA Compass: PITTSBURGH vs. AUBURN
GoDaddy.com: OHIO vs. UL-MONROE
Rose: OREGON vs. MICHIGAN
Orange: LOUISVILLE vs. CLEMSON
Sugar: GEORGIA vs. NOTRE DAME
Fiesta: KANSAS STATE vs. USC
BCS Championship: FLORIDA STATE vs. ALABAMA

Week Four Power Poll (ranking, team, record, last week's PP ranking, next game vs. Power Poll team)

#1 Alabama Crimson Tide (4-0, #1): 10/20 at #23 TENNESSEE
#2 Florida State Seminoles (4-0, #2): 11/24 vs. #9 FLORIDA
#3 Georgia Bulldogs (4-0, #3): 09/29 vs. #23 TENNESSEE
#4 Oregon Ducks (4-0, #5): 11/03 at #13 USC
#5 Kansas State Wildcats (4-0, #9): 10/20 at #15 WEST VIRGINIA
#6 South Carolina Gamecocks (4-0, #7): 10/06 vs. #3 GEORGIA
#7 LSU Tigers (4-0, #4): 10/06 at #9 FLORIDA
#8 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (4-0, #11): 10/13 vs. #11 STANFORD
#9 Florida Gators (4-0, #13): 10/06 vs. #7 LSU
#10 Texas Longhorns (3-0, #12): 10/06 vs. #15 WEST VIRGINIA
#11 Stanford Cardinal (3-0, #15): 10/13 at #8 NOTRE DAME
#12 Clemson Tigers (3-1, #6): 11/24 vs. #6 SOUTH CAROLINA
#13 USC Trojans (3-1, #16): 11/03 vs. #4 OREGON
#14 Oklahoma Sooners (2-1, #8): 10/13 vs. #10 TEXAS
#15 West Virginia Mountaineers (3-0, #10): 09/29 vs. #21 BAYLOR
#16 Ohio State Buckeyes (4-0, #14): 09/29 at #19 MICHIGAN STATE
#17 Louisville Cardinals (4-0, #17): 11/29 at #20 RUTGERS
#18 Purdue Boilermakers (2-1, #20): 10/20 at #16 OHIO STATE
#19 Michigan State Spartans (3-1, #21): 09/29 vs. #16 OHIO STATE
#20 Rutgers Scarlet Knights (4-0, NR): 11/29 vs. #17 LOUISVILLE
#21 Baylor Bears (3-0, #23): 09/29 at #15 WEST VIRGINIA
#22 TCU Horned Frogs (3-0, #22): 10/13 at #21 BAYLOR
#23 Tennessee Volunteers (3-1, #24): 09/29 at #3 GEORGIA
#24 Northwestern Wildcats (4-0, #25): 11/17 2 #19 MICHIGAN STATE
#25 Oregon State Beavers (2-0, NR): 11/10 at #11 STANFORD

Dropped out of Power Poll:
#18 UCLA
#19 Michigan

New addition to Power Poll:
#20 Rutgers
#25 Oregon State

Next Five to keep eye on, in alphabetical order only
A) Arizona State Sun Devils 3-1: NR #12
B) Mississippi State Bulldogs 4-0: NR #32
C) Nevada Wolfpack 3-1: #24 #47
D) Texas Tech Red Raiders 3-0: NR #18
E) UCLA Bruins 3-1: #18 #30

This week is a weak card as far as the top teams being challenged, as we only have three top 25 tilts:
#23 Tennessee at #3 Georgia
#21 Baylor at #15 West Virginia
#16 Ohio State at #19 Michigan State

Top 25 Thoughts

The first 3 have remained static since seeing the opening weekend of games. The top 4 teams have separated themselves from the pack at this point in the season. The next seven squads thru Stanford (# 11) all remain undefeated, and sans Notre Dame are BCS conference members. All seven of will certainly lose at least one game once conference play begins.

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USC
and Oklahoma have picked up a loss, but have done so early enough to get themselves back in the national title race if they can run the table from here on out - USC seems possible, Oklahoma almost a lock to lose at least one more game.

Clemson is the only one loss BCS conference team that is behind the 8 ball as they must run the table, and have Florida State lose twice during ACC play for them to win the Atlantic, play in the ACC Championship, and possible National Title Game berth - VERY UNLIKELY with FSU's schedule and the fact a 1 loss ACC team is highly unlikely to get an invite to play in the Championship Game. However, both could certainly play in a BCS bowl game considering they each have a huge rivalry game to close their season: Clemson vs. South Carolina & Florida State vs. Florida - which is why I currently project both to be involved in the BCS.

The highest ranked Big Ten team that is eligible for postseason play is No. 18 Purdue, who must be considered the favorite to win the Leaders division - they were my selection to win the division in my final preseason projection article.

Rutgers joins the PP this week following back to back impressive road wins over teams ranked at one time or another in the PP, South Florida and Arkansas.

The Big 12 has six ranked teams, led by Kansas State, whose next test vs. a fellow PP team will be a 10/20 trip to Morgantown.

Oregon State only has a pair of wins on the season, but neither was a cupcake as they too beat a pair of previously ranked teams in Wisconsin at home and UCLA in the Rose Bowl - keep an eye on the Civil War this year, one of the better under the radar rivalries in college football.

The bottom eight teams in the PP are very fluid, and would all drop out of the PP with a loss.

  
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