Week 12 BCS rankings reaction: Who's the next team up?

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

With Stanford knocking off Oregon on Thursday, the top of the BCS is clear. But what happens if Alabama or Florida State lose? Also, the current BCS bowl picture, what the College Football Playoff would look like right now, and Week 12's biggest games.

In the first three BCS standings of the year, the big issue was whether Florida State or Oregon would play for the national championship if they both ended the year undefeated. After Stanford beat the Ducks on Thursday night, the Seminoles are on track to face the Crimson Tide in Pasadena, and there's not a whole lot anyone else can do about it.

Where things could get crazy is if Alabama or FSU loses in the next month. The Noles have an easy path, but the Tide still have to face No. 7 Auburn on the road and possibly the East division champion in the SEC Championship Game.

Either of them losing would open the door for No. 3 Ohio State, No. 4 Stanford or No. 5 Baylor to sneak in. While the Buckeyes are in third now, the computers tend to favor Stanford. Add in that the Cardinal and Bears have much tougher schedules down the stretch, and there's a good chance OSU could be passed in the next couple weeks, even if they end the year undefeated for the second season in a row.

It could be madness at the top. And to think this is the final year of the BCS.

BCS Harris Poll Coaches Poll Computer rankings
Rank Team Avg. Prev. Rank Points % Rank Points % AVG A&H RB CM KM JS PW %
1 Alabama .9958 1 1 2625 1.0000 1 1546 .9974 1 1 1 2 1 2 1 .990
2 Florida State .9619 2 2 2514 .9577 2 1485 .9581 2 2 2 1 2 1 2 .970
3 Ohio State .8926 4 3 2373 .9040 3 1401 .9039 4 4 4 4 6 5 3 .870
4 Stanford .8689 5 5 2240 .8533 5 1307 .8432 3 5 3 3 3 3 4 .910
5 Baylor .8618 6 4 2304 .8777 4 1376 .8877 5 3 6 5 7 4 8 .820
6 Oregon .7665 3 6 1968 .7497 7 1162 .7497 6 6 5 8 5 7 6 .800
7 Auburn .7206 9 9 1843 .7021 9 1069 .6897 7 8 8 6 4 8 5 .770
8 Clemson .7200 7 7 1940 .7390 6 1164 .7510 9 9 7 9 10 13 9 .670
9 Missouri .7118 8 8 1855 .7067 8 1083 .6987 8 7 10 7 8 9 7 .730
10 South Carolina .5584 12 12 1417 .5398 12 830 .5355 10 10 9 12 13 10 12 .600
11 Texas A&M .5473 15 10 1582 .6027 11 898 .5794 13 15 16 13 12 17 14 .460
12 Oklahoma State .4671 14 11 1545 .5886 10 965 .6226 22 14 20 18 NR 22 25 .190
13 UCLA .4548 19 16 1026 .3909 15 641 .4135 11 13 13 17 11 11 11 .560
14 Fresno State .4317 16 13 1124 .4282 14 646 .4168 14 17 17 11 25 12 13 .450
15 Northern Illinois .3505 18 18 825 .3143 21 445 .2871 14 24 12 20 17 6 10 .450
16 Michigan State .3417 17 15 1090 .4152 16 620 .4000 21 18 21 15 22 23 22 .210
17 UCF .3411 21 19 791 .3013 19 468 .3019 16 16 11 14 19 16 16 .420
18 Oklahoma .2926 10 20 732 .2789 17 510 .3290 17 12 15 16 23 NR 23 .270
19 Arizona State .2833 22 22 475 .1810 22 262 .1690 12 11 23 10 9 18 15 .500
20 Louisville .2806 20 14 1104 .4206 13 653 .4213 28 NR 18 NR NR NR NR .000
21 LSU .2757 13 17 919 .3501 18 476 .3071 24 NR 19 NR 16 21 21 .170
22 Wisconsin .2612 24 21 674 .2568 20 460 .2968 18 22 22 NR 18 19 18 .230
23 Miami (FL) .1471 11 23 457 .1741 23 228 .1471 25 21 NR 21 21 NR 24 .120
24 Texas .1092 NR 24 247 .0941 24 176 .1135 25 20 14 24 24 24 NR .120
25 Georgia .0857 NR 25 102 .0389 NR 44 .0284 22 19 24 22 15 25 20 .190


Florida State

As the BCS was unveiled on ESPN, there was talk that Florida State winning out didn't necessarily mean the Seminoles would play for the national title. Tomahawk Nation doesn't think so:

Be aware that talking heads on ESPN and elsewhere will now have to resort to making up storylines about college football down the stretch because the title game is absolutely set if Alabama and FSU continue to win out. You'll hear some say that FSU could get passed up in the BCS if it were to struggle and Ohio State or Baylor play lights out.

Do not listen to a word of that nonsense. If FSU wins all remaining games by a single point, it will play for the title. Period.

Ohio State

Land-Grant Holy Land took a look at the remaining schedules for a couple of the teams near the top of the rankings:

For Ohio State, however, they simply need to keep winning their games, preferably with enough cachet to continue garnering the third place subjective votes they've been getting. Michigan, who's done Ohio State no favors with their play in recent weeks and finds themselves underdogs to lowly Northwestern this week, probably won't be the schedule strength booster they were once presumed. A one-loss Michigan State could help, but depending on how the next four weeks play out, likely won't carry as much cumulative weight as the trio of Tech, Oklahoma State, and Texas.

If Urban Meyer's team completes a second straight undefeated regular season and so much as one of the two teams in front of them stumbles on the way to their respective league championships, Ohio State will have a very strong case to play for their second ever BCS crown.


While the Ducks are now out of the national title picture, Addicted To Quack still knows there's a lot of football left to be played and that the team could still make something special of this season:


The Bears reached the top-five of the BCS for the first time in school history. Our Daily Bears also took a look at the remaining scenarios and wonders if the remaining schedule will be enough to push Baylor into the national title game should 'Bama or FSU lose:

Despite the fact that LSU predictably failed to unseat Alabama last night and FSU rolled over Wake Forest, plenty changed for the Bears even if it didn't seem to. Going into this week, Baylor needed 2 of the top 3, at least, to lose in order to have a chance to play for the national championship. Oregon complied. In addition, we made up considerable ground in both the computers and the human polls on Ohio State, a fellow undefeated I didn't include in the "top 3" above that we'll have to pass

After last week, my belief in Baylor's ability to pass OSU by simply winning out had started to wane. Now, seeing where the rankings are with OSU's bye and Baylor's dominant victory, I feel good about it again. The same goes for one-loss Stanford.


Even though they beat a four-win Tennessee team, Auburn rose two spots from No. 9 to No. 7. It was a bit unexpected, but a pleasant surprise for the Tigers:

Here's a wild scenario for you: If Auburn can beat No. 25 Georgia and No. 1 Alabama at home and then beat a top-10 foe in either Missouri or South Carolina in the SEC Championship Game, could the Tigers move all the way up to No. 2? Ohio State, Baylor and/or Stanford losing would obviously help their cause; would three wins in a row be enough to leapfrog them over undefeated OSU or Baylor, plus one-loss Stanford?


Rock M Nation readers weren't too happy with Missouri's numbers sliding, but they know they need to just keep winning if they hope to reach a BCS bowl game. For a team most projected to have six or seven wins this year, the Tigers have to feel like they're playing with house money with nine wins already.

Northern Illinois

The folks over at Hustle Belt are really pulling for NIU. Now ranked 15th, the Huskies have a real shot at making a BCS bowl game:

If NIU can win out, and Fresno State slips up, the Huskies would be guaranteed a BCS bowl birth. Of course, even if Fresno State doesn't slip up, with games against Ball State this Wednesday and Toledo next Wednesday, Northern Illinois could potentially pass Fresno State in the BCS standings if it wins both.

If Northern Illinois can finish in the Top 12 and ahead of Fresno State, it will be guaranteed an automatic BCS bowl birth regardless of if the AAC champion finishes above NIU. With just three regular-season games to go, and a potential MAC Championship appearance, NIU's odds of winning out are improving by the week.

Week 12 impact

Ball State at No. 15 Northern Illinois, Wednesday, 8 p.m. ET

The Cardinals feature one of the top offenses in the country behind the arm of Keith Wenning, averaging just under 40 points a game. For those of you who are fans of teams that will be looking to grab an at-large bid to the BCS -- Oregon, Auburn, Missouri, Clemson and a few others -- you'll be a big Ball State fan this week. Tune into this one for some high-scoring MACtion that matters.

No. 25 Georgia at No. 7 Auburn, 3:30 p.m.

Outside of Alabama, Auburn probably has the best shot of continuing the SEC's national championship run. They have a lot of work to do against a brutal schedule, and that'll begin on Saturday. UGA appeared to be dead in the water earlier this season with all of their injuries, but the team has rallied around Aaron Murray over the last month. This will be yet another chance for the Tigers to prove to skeptical humans they are one of the nation's elite teams and continue inching up in the BCS.

No. 12 Oklahoma State at No. 24 Texas, 3:30 p.m.

Baylor appears to be in the driver's seat for the Big 12 title. Oklahoma State and Texas could have something to say about that, though, but they'll need to get through each other first. The Longhorns will be limited in this one, as they lost Johnathan Gray to a season-ending injury over the weekend.

No. 16 Michigan State at Nebraska, 3:30 p.m.

With one of the best defenses in the country, Michigan State is quietly working its way up the polls. This will be one of their tougher challenges of the season. The winner of this one will likely go on to play No. 3 Ohio State in the conference title game, which will, of course, determine who heads to the Rose Bowl in January.

No. 4 Stanford at USC, 8 p.m.

This could be a trap game for the Cardinal. They'll be riding high after knocking off Oregon, and they'll face a USC team that is playing as well as anyone west of the Mississippi River. The Trojans can score a lot of points in a hurry and they have the talent to test Stanford's vaunted defense. If the Cardinal can pick up a road win, there's a decent chance they could jump Ohio State for No. 3 in the rankings -- the BCS computers are much higher on USC than they are on Ohio State's opponent, Illinois.

BCS bowl picture

If the season ended tomorrow, the BCS picture would likely look like this:

  • BCS National Championship: Alabama vs. Florida State
  • Orange Bowl: Clemson vs. Oregon
  • Sugar Bowl: Auburn vs. UCF
  • Rose Bowl: Ohio State vs. Stanford
  • Fiesta Bowl: Baylor vs. Fresno State

Fortunately for the teams left on the outside looking in, the season isn't over! Here's a full look at our bowl projections.

What about the College Football Playoff?

Like every week, Team Speed Kills has assembled what the College Football Playoff would look like if we got one this year. Click for explanations of these matchups, including that all-SEC, Clowney vs. Manziel game:

  • Sugar Bowl semifinal: Alabama vs. Stanford
  • Rose Bowl semifinal: Florida State vs. Ohio State
  • Orange Bowl: Clemson vs. Auburn
  • Cotton Bowl: Baylor vs. Missouri
  • Fiesta Bowl: Fresno State vs. Oregon
  • Peach Bowl: Texas A&M vs. South Carolina

More from SB Nation college football:

• Spencer Hall ranks the 10 teams that matter, counting Alabama twice

Bowl projections: Bama-FSU and 34 other games

Behold Stanford, your weird nerd overlord

Stanford, Auburn, OSU favored in next week’s big games

Long reads: Has Baylor crafted the ultimate football offense?

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