With Boise State's kicker ruining yet another perfect season (yeah, we'll get comments on that one), only one undefeated non-automatic qualifying team is still standing and that's Houston. Don't freak out or anything.
Already Houston is in uncharted waters having won 10 consecutive games. The Cougars have posted four 10-win seasons, and even two 11-win seasons, during their time in the FBS, but never have they been this hot and never have they been this close to the school's first BCS bowl game. Likewise, Conference USA has never been this close to a BCS game.
So, naturally, and apologies for the jinx, this is exactly the time where Houston will falter. Houston's remaining schedule is not easy. The Cougars play an SMU team, that since June Jones arrived, has consistently given them fits. To add to the pressure, ESPN's College Gameday broadcasting from their campus for the first time in school history. Next week, Houston plays Tulsa, which is also undefeated in conference play and is ripe to play spoiler.
And even if Houston gets through the gauntlet to end the regular season, it has to play a red-hot Southern Miss team that has won eight in a row and plays two cake teams to end the regular season.
Rest assured, if Houston gets to a BCS bowl, it will have earned it.
Unfortunately for the rest of the non-AQs Houston might be the last hope to get a non-AQ team into the BCS. A one-loss non-AQ team has never been selected for a BCS game and if it were to happen this year, it's more likely that Southern Miss would get the nod over Boise State. The Broncos need TCU to lose both of its final games — against Colorado State and UNLV, who are 5-13 combined - to win the Mountain West. Southern Miss, on the other hand, is already ranked No. 20 and if Houston stays undefeated, it could vault up the national rankings to be in a position for the BCS.
The champion of Conference USA, the Mid-American Conference, the Mountain West Conference, the Sun Belt Conference, or the Western Athletic Conference will earn an automatic berth in a BCS bowl game if either:
• A. Such team is ranked in the top 12 of the final BCS Standings, or,
• B. Such team is ranked in the top 16 of the final BCS Standings and its ranking in thefinal BCS Standings is higher than that of a champion of a conference that has an annual automatic berth in one of the BCS bowls.
No more than one such team from Conference USA, the Mid-American Conference, the Mountain West Conference, the Sun Belt Conference, and the Western Athletic Conference shall earn an automatic berth in any year. (Note: a second team may be eligible for at-large eligibility as noted below.) If two or more teams from those conferences satisfy the provisions for an automatic berth, then the team with the highest finish in the final BCS Standings will receive the automatic berth, and the remaining team or teams will be considered for at-large selection if it meets the criteria.
Currently, there are no Big East teams ranked in the BCS, opening the door for one-loss Southern Miss to squeak into that top 16 and earn a BCS spot.
But for now, the brass ring belongs to Houston. It controls its own destiny and if it can get out of its own way and not let the pressure or any outside distraction derail it, it will make school and conference history.