As USC gets it in gear, yes, title-game talk is possible

Oregon State's BCS computer numbers should continue to dazzle if the Beavers keep winning, but the problem is going to be the polls. Oregon State is still only No. 14 in the USA Today index, with the first Harris poll yet to be released.

That puts Oregon State at No. 12 in the latest simulated standings produced by BCS Guru.

Notre Dame's computer ranking also will take care of itself. If the Irish keep winning they will deserve every bit of No. 2. Notre Dame should get a real test from Miami at Chicago's Soldier Field on Saturday and also has remaining games against Stanford, Oklahoma and USC.

As if the BCS wasn't already a joke?

Hey, it's had us in stitches since 1998.

Q: Your article last week ended with a reference to burning "coaches." …Believe you meant that reference as the tradition to burn "couches." We attended the game with our son and it appears neither happened, although the Baylor coach might feel otherwise.

Kathleen Enright-Reicht

A: Very funny, (West) Virginia. And I must say you were the one and only person to catch the typo I had in last week's Rankman comments on the Mountaineers. Yes, I was referring to couches, not coaches, and I am heartened to hear neither was burned last week in West Virginia's 70-63 win over Baylor.

You could say, without any need for correction, that both defenses definitely got torched.

And while West Virginia has never had a history of burning "coaches," you guys had no problem hanging Bobby Bowden in effigy back in the 1970s. He then left for Florida State and turned out to be a pretty good coach, according to his bio at the College Football Hall of Fame.

Q: I read your columns each week with bemusement, watching you mentally contort yourself trying to explain why LSU is really such a lousy team.

Roger Bowers

Whittier

A: Thanks and welcome to this week's contort report: Anyone with eyeballs who watched LSU play Towson last Saturday night knows there is something wrong with this team right now.

The Tigers might have more fault lines than Whittier.

LSU seemed uninterested in the Towson game, understandably, but that forced Les Miles to play starters deep into a game that should have been finished by walk-ons from Ponchatoula.

That performance came a week after LSU won at Auburn, 12-10.

I am thoroughly bemused that USA Today voting coaches, who seem attached to LSU like a boy to his puppy, refused to drop the Tigers from their No. 3 spot.

Any other team, from any other conference, would have been punished for such a lackluster performance against a 1-AA team.

That said, LSU is only one win at Florida on Saturday from making everything better. But it's clear to me LSU cannot repeat as SEC champion or get back to the BCS title game without an attitude adjustment and improved play from first-year quarterback Zach Mettenberger.

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