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.
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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.
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:
@chrisburgess87 A lot of football left. Stanford could stumble and Oregon is back in the Rose Bowl hunt. Ducks drop and it's all different.— Addicted To Quack (@AddictedToQuack) November 10, 2013
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:
That's a pretty big move.— College and Magnolia (@CollegeAndMag) November 11, 2013
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.
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