College Football BCS Race: And Then There Were Six
#1 ALABAMA (9-0)
November 10 vs #15 Texas A&M
November 17 vs Western Carolina
November 24 vs Auburn
December 1 SEC Title game (#5 Georgia)
The skinny: Win and they're in, but that's easier said than done. Of the four top undefeated teams, Alabama has arguably the two trickiest tests remaining in Texas A&M this weekend and an SEC title game that should be the Georgia Bulldogs (barring a massive upset by Auburn over Georgia this weekend). The Crimson Tide showed this past weekend against LSU that a "kill spot" does exist on them (secondary not as dynamic as recent years) and A&M and Georgia are two SEC teams that can throw the ball better than LSU.
#2 KANSAS STATE (9-0)
November 10 @ TCU
November 17 @ Baylor
December 1 vs #17 Texas
The skinny: The x-factor in Kansas State's chances is the health of Heisman Trophy favorite quarterback Collin Klein. He left the Oklahoma State game this weekend with an injury of some sort, an injury that was severe enough for the team to hide his helmet from him (usually an indication of a head injury). Bill Snyder was being predictably coy when asked about it on Sunday:
"He's had his helmet off before, maybe they're uncomfortable," Snyder said.
Um, yeah. Maybe. Anyway, Kansas doesn't have any total gimmes the rest of the way, but don't have a game where they'll be less than a 7 to 10 favorite either. The difference for Kansas State, in the end, might be the inability to impress voters in a conference title game. A December 1 neutral site win over, say, Oklahoma would likely carry more weight with voters and computers than a home win over Texas. This is important because....
#3 OREGON (9-0)
November 10 @ Cal
November 17 vs #14 Stanford
November 24 @ #11 Oregon State
December 1 Pac-12 Title game (winner of #18 UCLA/#19 USC)
The skinny:...the Oregon Ducks are likely to pass Kansas State if they win out, given that they will likely have three games (including a possible Pac-12 title game rematch with USC) against top 20 opponents. Out of all the undefeated teams, oddsmakers give Oregon the best chance of knocking off Alabama, with Vegas making the Ducks a potential six point underdog.
#4 NOTRE DAME (9-0)
November 10 @ BC
November 17 vs Wake Forest
November 24 @ #19 USC
The skinny: Of the four undefeated teams, if I had to pick one schedule where the goal is to just stay undefeated, I'd probably pick Notre Dame's. Of the 14 games those four teams have to play, the Irish probably have two of the three or four easiest games, and a trip to reeling USC is the only potential pothole. The unfortunate flip side for Notre Dame is their goals over the next month go beyond merely staying undefeated -- they need to impress voters. And games with BC and Wake Forest, even if they win by fifty, won't get that job done. The Irish need help.
#5 GEORGIA (8-1)
November 10 @ Auburn
November 17 vs Georgia Southern
November 24 vs Georgia Tech
December 1 SEC Title Game (#1 Alabama)
The skinny: For Georgia's purposes, the SEC title game serves as an express pass to the front of the "one-loss team" line. In other words, if the Bulldogs beat Alabama, they would get to the BCS title game if at least two out of Oregon, Kansas State, and/or Notre Dame lose a game. This is assuming that Georgia makes it through Auburn, Georgia Southern, and Georgia Tech the next three weeks, a three game stretch affectionately known as the Gauntlet of Suck.
#6 FLORIDA (8-1)
November 10 vs Louisiana-Lafayette
November 17 vs Jacksonville State
November 24 @ Florida State
The skinny: Ok, imagine this scenario -- Florida runs the table and caps their regular season off by beating Florida State impressively in Tallahassee. That same night, Notre Dame loses to USC on November 24 knocking them down below Florida. We head into December 1 with Florida sitting back idle and ranked fifth behind Alabama, Oregon, Kansas State and Georgia. Now, imagine Kansas State loses to Texas, Oregon loses to UCLA or USC in the Pac-12 title game, and Alabama beats Georgia. Could we see a one loss Florida move all the way up to number two and have an all SEC title game again? Or what if Georgia were to beat Alabama in that scenario? With a slew of one loss teams, could we see a Cocktail Party rematch in the BCS title game, Georgia versus Florida? I know this has like a .04 percent chance of happening, but it's fun to think about.
Oh wait, that's right. Notre Dame is still in the mix. That Florida scenario is NOT fun to think about! Damn, still getting used to this "Irish being relevant" thing again.
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