I tried to avoid that headline. I really did. But it's the only suitable one I could think of that required less than one minute of thinking, which is all I was willing to devote to it.
As expected, Pitt moved up in the polls, coming in at 8th and 9th in the AP and USA Today polls respectively. This is the first time since 1982 that Pitt cracked the top 10 in November.
What was more surprising was that they only managed to move up one spot in the BCS poll, even while three teams in their vicinity (Oregon, PSU, and LSU) lost. Now, they moved up over Oregon and PSU, but here's where it gets tricky. LSU who was 9th and lost actually moved UP in the poll. Huh? Ohio State moved ahead of Pitt based on their win vs. PSU, which I don't agree with, but can at least SORT OF understand.
I wouldn't get too concerned about the BCS poll because when you come right down to it, it doesn't really matter to Pitt. The only scenario that would have Pitt fans maybe up in arms is if Pitt somehow got in the picture for the National Championship game (Yes, I said National Championship). Barring something preposterous, the winner of the Florida/Alabama SEC championship game will be in the national championship. So without further ado, here's the only scenario I see for Pitt to play for the title:
- Pitt wins out beating a previously undefeated Cincinnati team giving them one excellent win. Yes, it would take a bit of work, not not entirely implausible.
- TCU loses next week to Utah - While it would be an upset, it wouldn't be impossible.
- Boise State loses one of their remaining games (Idaho, at Utah State, Nevada). Boise should win all of these, but not a huge stretch for them to fall to Idaho (7-3) or Nevada (5-3).
- That leaves Texas - this is the one that is least likely to happen: Texas somehow loses one of its remaining three games (at Baylor, at Texas A&M, and at Kansas), then loses again in the Big 12 title game. Texas really would need to lose twice for this to happen because I think voters would give a one-loss Texas team the nod over the rest of the teams above.
If all of that happens, you'd have a slew of one-loss teams including Pitt, Georgia Tech, Boise State, TCU, Iowa, Houston, and either Florida or Alabama (whichever would lose the head-to-head matchup in the SEC championship). The voters could be hesitant to vote the loser of the SEC championship game into the national championship as that would be an immediate rematch of the SEC championship. Out of the rest of the teams, you could make an argument for just about anyone with the exception of probably Houston.
Now, I've provided a somewhat reasonable scenario where Pitt could have a chance to play for the title. The problem is that even if ALL of the above happened, there are still some voters (maybe more than some) who would probably vote a two-loss USC or Ohio State team ahead of Pitt. Not to mention, they STILL would be in a large clump of one-loss teams.
Doesn't look like it will happen - I'd place the odds squarely at 2.7%. Still.