Championship week brings the regular season to a close and the Shortlist to the Superdome reads heading into the final weekend as follows:
Missouri, West Virginia, Hawaii, Ohio State and Kansas.
Between the sub .500 finish for the Hurricanes, Sean Taylor's tragic end and Jennifer Love-Hewitt announcing she's engaged, this last week has been an example of the maxim when it rains, it pours. I would be lying if I told you I didn't just want this misbegotten season, and by extension the entire year of 2007, to hurry up and get finished already before anything else goes wrong.
Only one team from the Shortlist last week found things going wrong between the hashes and as a result, closes the door on the SEC's chances of keeping the crystal football within the conference:
1) LSU gets caught looking ahead to the Georgia Dome and wakes up too late to prevent it's championship run from terminating in triple overtime 50-48 against the Arkansas Razorbacks. In a related story, there is no truth to the rumor that Houston Nutt reportedly gave a big thumbs up to the new set of sorority debutants surrounding him upon arrival in Oxford, Mississippi when asked to make a comparison to his previous coaching location. But you could hardly argue with him even if he did in my opinion.
Missouri, West Virginia and Hawaii have one game left each, while Ohio State and Kansas sit and cheer on one last set of upsets that could result in their promotion to prime-time on January 7th. Missouri can make the most forceful statement of the three teams with games this week as an opportunity to avenge their only loss in the Big 12 Title game.
With that said, there are only two teams this week I see losing games and falling off the Shortlist at the finish line:
Missouri and Hawaii.
I know it's hard to beat a team twice in one year, but Bob Stoops remains an icon in the Sooner state because he refuses to allow his team to lose more than two times in any given regular season more often than not. The Sooners are at the two loss threshold now and are still bigger, faster and stronger than the Tigers in the trenches. It should be another hotly contested affair between these two teams, but Mizzou is in for another heartbreak.
Meanwhile, out on the islands, the record setting QB of the Warriors, Colt Brennan, is back and looking no worse for wear. Ty Willingham's Washington Huskies make the trip over the Pacific to the tropical paradise of Hawaii to wrap up what will be a losing year either way when the final whistle blows in Aloha Stadium.
It is an all or nothing proposition for the Warriors, win and a trip to a BCS bowl is assured, which combined with one last weird weekend of upsets would give them a darkhorse shot at petitioning for an unprecedented title game appearance, lose and it could be hello Albuquerque for bowl season.
I'm playing a hunch here to be honest with you, but I think there may just be an ounce too much of Pac-10 pride left in the former national power for them to roll over and play content to the Warriors' Cinderella dreams. I could be wrong though.
Enjoy the final week of games Saturday and I'll be back next week to compare the merits of the teams who survive to find themselves a part of the Shortlist to the Superdome.