Advice to Unbeatens: Win
How much might the outcome of the remaining games shake up the bowl picture? Here are the projected matchups in the four Bowl Championship Series games if Tennessee, UCLA and Kansas State stay unbeaten.
Fiesta: Tennessee- UCLA.
Sugar: Florida State-Kansas State.
But what would happen if the Vols, the Bruins and the Wildcats all lost? In this unlikely—but hardly far-fetched—scenario, Tennessee flops in the SEC tide game, Texas A&M upsets Kansas State for the Big 12 championship and UCLA loses to Miami, in the Dec. 5 playing of their September game that was postponed by Hurricane Georges. That would probably allow Florida State and Texas A&M, who began the season in the Kickoff Classic, to end it in the Fiesta; put Pac-10 champ UCLA in the Rose Bowl; and leave the Orange Bowl with its choice of Tennessee, Ohio State, Notre Dame and Florida to face Syracuse. Tennessee is out: The Vols have already faced Syracuse this season. And while Notre Dame and Ohio State have large followings, the Orange Bowl would select the Gators, who haven't appeared in the game since 1967, when coach Steve Spurrier was Florida's star quarterback. All of which leaves this lineup.
Fiesta: Florida State- Texas A&M.
Sugar: Mississippi State-Kansas State.
Rose: Wisconsin- UCLA
King of Tulane
A Fractured Fairy Tale
By any standard, Tulane's Shaun King has had an extraordinary year. The nation's leader in passing efficiency, he has thrown for 2,902 yards and 33 touchdowns, while rushing for 440 yards and nine TDs. But considering that the 6-foot, 201-pound King broke his left (nonthrowing) wrist in the Green Wave's 42-24 win over Navy on Sept. 26 and has played the last seven games wearing a cast that makes it hard to take a snap, let alone throw, his performance is even more remarkable.
"When I learned the severity of Shaun's injury, I figured he'd have surgery and redshirt," says Tulane coach, Tommy Bowden. "But Shaun never thought about not playing. He has sent a message to the rest of the team about sacrifice and determination."
Behind King, 10-0 Tulane is ranked 11th in the country and probably bound for the Liberty Bowl. The Green Wave clinched the Conference USA title—the school's first league championship since 1949—with a 48-20 victory over Houston last Saturday thanks to King, a senior from St. Petersburg, Fla., who completed 26 of 33 passes for 319 yards and five touchdowns.
King still can't bend his left wrist, and every time he takes a hit on that arm, he feels excruciating pain. Nevertheless, he refuses to take painkillers or to complain. "I got down for a bit when I first found out it was broken, but when the doctors said I couldn't hurt it any more than it already is, I knew I was going to play through it," he says. "We've worked too hard to get to this point to let anything get in our way."