BCS Rankings Projections, Week 13: SEC Rematch Warning, Whether You Like It Or Not

Update: full Week 13 BCS standings are now available right here.

Even if you live under a rock on some distant planet, you'd know that the SEC has won the last five BCS championships. But apparently that's still not good enough.

Now the SEC wants to hoard the national championship game entirely to itself, and have the game played on its turf, just to make the point clear. After the bloodletting of top-ranked teams this weekend, which got a head start on Friday when Oklahoma State lost at double-digit underdog Iowa State, you'll find three SEC West teams occupying the first three spots of the next BCS Standings.

Projected BCS Standings: 1. LSU, 2. Alabama, 3. Arkansas, 4. Oklahoma State, 5. Stanford, 6. Virginia Tech, 7. Oklahoma, 8. Oregon, 9. Boise State, 10. Houston, 11. South Carolina, 12. Kansas State, 13. Michigan State, 14. Georgia, 15. Michigan.

Even if you don't like to see an LSU-Alabama rematch in the BCS title game in New Orleans, that seems all but inevitable as long as LSU beats Arkansas at home next week. Besides, what are your other choices?

Oklahoma State, believe it or not, might get a mulligan if the 174 coaches and Harris voters really, really don't want to see another soccer game. There are also Stanford and Virginia Tech, each with one loss, floating on the margin. But after that, it's Houston (undefeated for now), Boise State (one killer loss) and a bunch of two-loss teams ... in other words: no chance.

So the BCS title game selection process basically comes down to one game: Arkansas at LSU.


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If the Tigers win, they remain the only unbeaten team from a BCS conference and will go on to play in the SEC title game against Georgia. That game becomes a bye for them. Yep, even if LSU loses that game, it'll still go to the national title game - heck, it might still be ranked No. 1 in the final BCS Standings.

The Tigers' title game opponent almost certainly will be Alabama, if it gets by Auburn in the Iron Bowl. Even the voters most adamantly opposed to a rematch will have a hard time opting for either Oklahoma State or Stanford, with one having lost to a heavy underdog and the other failing to have won its own division, never mind its conference. As for Virginia Tech, it beat Duke by four after being shut out in the second half of a 14-10 squeaker. 'Nuff said.

The more interesting scenario would involve an Arkansas victory over LSU, which is hardly inconceivable considering the Hogs have won three of the last four in this series. And each of the last six games was decided by eight points or less.

A close victory by Arkansas likely will still send LSU to the BCS title game, because that outcome should produce Alabama-LSU-Arkansas on top of the BCS Standings. Per the SEC's quirky tiebreaker, the Tigers will still win the West, though now they will have to beat Georgia to get to the BCS title rematch against Alabama. 

Now, an Arkansas blowout win will make it a bit wild. The Hogs still don't get to the SEC title game because it doesn't matter if they end up first or second in the BCS Standings; as long as LSU is third or lower, Alabama wins the division. In that case, if 'Bama beats Georgia, it will face Arkansas in the BCS title game, for a replay of its 38-14 rout on Sept. 24. If 'Bama loses, then it might be an Arkansas-LSU rematch.

Everywhere you look, it's an SEC West rematch!

Of course the voters can always nix any of the rematches by dropping a second SEC team in the polls to ensure another team gets in. But as we've already mentioned, there aren't a lot of choices to begin with, and there's a chance that there might be no choice at all.

Oklahoma State can easily lose to Oklahoma in Bedlam and be entirely eliminated from consideration. Virginia Tech still has to win at Virginia just to win its division, and then beat Clemson in the ACC title game. Even Stanford, with only a home game against a suddenly resurgent Notre Dame left, is no sure bet to finish 11-1.

All these stunning upsets this weekend should leave one team in inconsolable sorrow: Boise State. The Broncos scored a ho-hum 52-35 victory at San Diego State and have just two home games left. Had they not blown a game they nearly had in hand against TCU last week, they'd be a serious contender for a BCS title game berth. But now, with TCU having clinched the Mountain West title, they'll be shut out of even a BCS bowl bid.

Boise coach Chris Petersen should've learned from last season's debacle against Nevada, and that lesson was repeated this weekend for Oregon and Oklahoma State: With your season on the line, don't put all your faith on the foot of your kicker.

This week's ...

Big Winners -

Alabama: The weekend could not have played out more perfectly for the Crimson Tide, who are now all but assured of a second BCS title game berth in three years if they can beat Auburn. It might even make sense for Alabama to root for LSU next week to ensure that it doesn't earn the extra headache of having to play in the SEC title game.

Michigan: After the failed Rich Rodriguez experiment, no one could've foreseen that the Wolverines would be on the verge of a 10-win season and maybe a BCS bowl berth. Michigan, without being burdened with an appearance in the Big Ten championship game, might be just a win over archrival Ohio State away from earning its first trip to a BCS bowl since the 2006 season.

TCU: Southern Miss' upset loss to UAB on Friday night might've gone largely unnoticed, but not in Fort Worth. The Horned Frogs now probably just need a Houston loss against Tulsa next week or in the Conference USA title game to clinch their third straight trip to a BCS bowl.

Big Losers - 

Big 12: All the fratricide this weekend meant that the conference went from having two teams in the BCS, including one in the title game, to maybe just a single bid for the winner of Bedlam. A three-loss Oklahoma for sure isn't going to get an at-large bid; and an OSU team that lost its last two games of the season probably won't, either.

Pac-12: Call it Empire Strikes Back, with a sword on a white horse. USC can't play in the postseason, so it made sure nobody else is going to have that much fun, either. Oregon will have to win its last two games just to earn a Rose Bowl bid and, should Stanford lose to Notre Dame, the Pac-12 will have just one BCS team, again.

Big East: Must we do this every week? How could we not? The team leading the conference now is 6-5 Louisville, with every Big East team having at least three losses already. The Orange Bowl is not relishing the thought of getting another deadbeat "champion" out of this bunch.

Samuel Chi is the proprietor of BCSGuru.com and managing editor of RealClearSports. Sam's college football and BCS analysis, exclusively for SB Nation, will appear on Sundays and Mondays throughout the season. Follow him on Twitter at BCSGuru.

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