►Last week we questioned if the Virginia Tech Hokies were legitimate contenders for the national championship this year…the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets supplied the answer…a resounding 38-27 answer, in the Hokies’ crib, no less. Other undefeated teams that were eliminated from the national championship picture include the Texas A&M Aggies, TCU Horned Frogs, and Iowa Hawkeyes…

►Who stands to be eliminated from the national championship picture this week? Oregon Ducks, California Golden Bears, Oklahoma Sooners, Texas Longhorns, LSU Tigers, Georgia Bulldogs, Florida Gators, Clemson Tigers, Tennessee Volunteers…Why are some teams with one loss included? Quite simply, if you have one loss and you are still in the top-16 at the midway point of the season, you have a realistic shot at the title game…you can’t be eliminated–yet…the loser of the Red River Shootout will definitely be out, as will the loser of the Oregon-Cal game, even though it would be a first for Oregon (because some voters still hold the OU game against them)…LSU will definitely be out with another loss, although Florida won’t if it’s a close game…if LSU blows the Gators out, it’s a different story…Tennessee’s definitely out, but Georgia could survive if it’s a really close game…Clemson cannot afford another loss…that’s why there should be some sort of playoff system to help sort things out at the season’s end…say you have a few undefeated teams and another five teams who suffered one close loss during the course of a 12-game regular season to another ranked team (13 games for the teams that play in a conference championship game)…it’s ludicrous to rely on polls and computers, at that point, to determine a true national champion.

►Yes, there are other undefeated or 1-loss teams in the top 16 slots of the AP poll that I didn’t mention…but, seriously, why bother? Stanford has absolutely no chance at Notre Dame, Bowling Green is toast at Ohio State, and so on…you get the picture. I suppose Arkansas and Washington could give #2 Auburn and #3 USC some scares this weekend, but the Tigers and Trojans are at home and that should be good enough against the Razorbacks and the Huskies this time around…

►As much as I’d like to see an 8 or 16-team playoff instilled in Division-1 with a format that preserves the tradition of the major bowl games, it still is fascinating to watch how the pecking order of the AP poll plays itself out as the season progresses…I use the AP (sportswriters) poll as my guideline because too many voting aberrations have come to light in recent years with the coaches poll. Not that the AP poll is perfect, by any means, but it’s the best we have…in the coming weeks, we’ll take a look at a few of the best playoff format ideas that have been developed.

►Penn State’s Joe Paterno was recently prompted to speak on the issue of the BCS bowls after learning that Michigan coach Lloyd Carr touched upon it during his press conference, according to Josh Moyer, of Penn State’s Daily Collegian. “I would like to have playoffs. I just think it’s a better way to do it,” Paterno said. Apparently, Paterno explained his decision by referring to the BCS situation two years ago when USC, Oklahoma and Auburn all went undefeated. At the time, Paterno was voting in the coaches poll and decided to vote all three teams as No. 1. Needless to say, those in charge of the poll weren’t too happy. “I got a telephone call from USA Today saying, ‘You can’t do that. It’s gonna foul up the computer.’ And I said, ‘I can’t tell you who’s No. 1,'” Paterno explained. “I got another call from someone else who’s connected to the football poll that said, ‘You’ll have to’ — and I said I’m not gonna do it, so forget about it. So, I no longer vote.” Way to go, Joe! It will be a sad day when that man retires from the college football scene.

►This year’s five BCS bowl game lineup is supposed to make it easier for a non-BCS team to fill one of the 10 slots…TCU had the best shot heading into last week before they were manhandled at home by the BYU Cougars, 31-17. Now it looks like the best bet is the Boise State Broncos, but they have a pitifully weak schedule that could hinder their chances…BSU’s opponents have a combined 5-week record of 21-32…that’s a woeful .396 winning percentage…and it is not going to improve much, if at all, as the season progresses…the Bronco’s “signature” wins, if you can call them such, came over an Oregon State Beavers team that will likely end up 5-7 or 6-6 on the year and the Utah Utes who are projecting to be another .500 team this year…the Broncos face the 1-3 Louisiana Tech Bulldogs this week.

►What significance do the numbers 7, 26, and 51 have to the Mountain West Conference? They are the national rankings of three of the most important TV markets the conference is associated with…#7 Dallas/Fort Worth (TCU Horned Frogs)…#26 San Diego (San Diego State Aztecs)…#51 Las Vegas (UNLV Rebels)…remarkably, none of these markets offer the conference’s new channel “the mtn.” Making matters even worse, the conference’s largest fan bases come from the BYU Cougars and Air Force Falcons, and yet tens of thousands of those teams’ fans live outside of the tiny five state footprint where the mtn. is currently being carried…Question: If the mtn. network airs a game, but nobody can see it, does the mtn. really exist?

►TV markets in the western U.S. that serve huge BYU and Air Force fan bases, as well as the rest of the MWC? #2 Los Angeles market…#6 San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose…#12 Seattle/Tacoma…#15 Phoenix…#19 Sacramento/Stockton/Modesto…#24 Portland…#37 San Antonio…#58 Fresno…rankings provided by digitalsyndicate.tv

►There is huge concern that the failure of CSTV and Comcast to properly launch the mtn. by ensuring that it was carried on DISH, DirecTV, and cable distributors throughout the country for this inaugural football season will have a huge effect on the conference teams’ recruiting efforts. More than 522 student-athletes from California, Washington, Oregon, Arizona, Nevada and Texas are currently found on the rosters of the nine MWC schools…and yet, the mtn. is not available in any of these states…Coaches from several competing conferences, including the WAC, Pac-10, and Big 12, are using this critical problem to recruit against their MWC counterparts…”Son, nobody’s gonna see you play on TV if you’re in that conference…”

►We mentioned last week that Washington State would likely give USC a scare in Pullman…sure enough, although USC prevailed 28-22, the Cougars were in position to launch a “Hail Mary” pass at the close of the game in a bid for the upset…Wazzou still hosts Cal, Oregon and Washington this season…look for them to upset either Cal or Oregon…the Washington game is a bitter rivalry, so anything goes in that one…

QuickSnap Question presented by Lawry’s The Prime Rib, Beverly Hills: What particular stat line drove Penn State Nittany Lions coach Joe Paterno absolutely nuts in the 1989 Holiday Bowl versus Brigham Young? Be quick and be correct. The first email received with the correct answer wins you a complimentary prime rib dinner at Lawry’s The Prime Rib in Beverly Hills. The winner will be announced in next week’s Fourth and inches

►And the winner of last week’s QuickSnap Question is…Mick Wilcox…Mick was the first to correctly answer the question buried deep in college football archives: When did the Nebraska Cornhuskers and Miami Hurricanes meet for the first time, where was the game played, and what was the final score? The correct answer was Miami beat Nebraska 19-7 on November 30, 1951 in Miami. (Note to Mick: We tried to reach you via email to get your snail mail address, but it was returned as undeliverable…please contact us to collect your prize.)

►Heisman’s Dark Horse…Yes, he’s going to remain in this column as long as he keeps performing at his record-breaking pace: Garrett Wolfe, Northern Illinois, the #1 ranked running back in Division 1…Signature game versus Ohio State…272 all-purpose yards–172 of those yards coming on the ground, 1 TD…Season Stats: 127 carries, 1,181 yards, 9.3 ypc, 236.2 ypg, 11 TDs…Last week: 353 yards, 3 TDs vs. Ball St…This week at Miami (Ohio).

►By the way, GW…I defended you on ESPN 1000 AM radio in Chicago last Friday afternoon…can’t recall the talk show yahoo’s name who claimed he was a Ball State graduate…but he said no MAC player deserved to win the Heisman…and then you went out and tattooed his alma mater Cardinals for 353 yards…thank you very much.

►Worth the read…Gene Wojciechowski’s “The Sooner the Better” article in ESPN magazine about Oklahoma running back Adrian Peterson and his repentant father, who will be released from prison this week after eight years…the elder Peterson takes responsibility for his wrong choices that led to drug-dealing and vows to be the best parent he can be from now on…

►Backwards streaks…Colorado Buffaloes are now 0-5…Stanford Cardinal are 0-5. Which team will register a win first? Colorado…it’s really difficult to envision Stanford winning a single game this year.

►Stats Padding Games of the Week: Louisville Cardinals (plus 33) peck the Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders to death…Ohio State Buckeyes (plus 35) mow down the Bowling Green Falcons…Boise State Broncos (plus 35) stampede the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs, and the West Virginia Mountaineers (plus 25) bury the Mississippi State Bulldogs in an avalanche of offensive fireworks.

►Best Games of the Week: Oregon Ducks @ California Golden Bears…Navy Midshipmen @ Air Force Falcons…LSU Tigers @ Florida Gators…Texas Longhorns versus Oklahoma Sooners…Nebraska Cornhuskers @ Iowa State Cyclones…Missouri Tigers @ Texas Tech Red Raiders…Central Michigan Chippewas @ Toledo Rockets…Tennessee Volunteers @ Georgia Bulldogs…Nevada Wolfpack @ Hawaii Warriors…

►Upset specials of the week…North Carolina State Wolfpack over Florida State Seminoles in a Thursday home game on national TV…Iowa State Cyclones over Nebraska Cornhuskers by a whisker…the Cyclones are at home this year and seeking revenge for decades of losses to UN, but especially last year’s 27-20 disappointment in Lincoln.