BCS Championship Picture: How Many Teams Could Legitimately Run the Table?

Randy ChambersAnalyst ISeptember 17, 2012

BCS Championship Picture: How Many Teams Could Legitimately Run the Table?

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    We aren't even a month into the college football season, and we are already trying to figure out which teams can run the table. Over the past couple of weeks, we have seen many talented teams crash and burn as possible conference and national championship hopes have been shattered.

    Remember Arkansas being a championship contender? USC, with a loss to Stanford, has a ton of ground to make up to get back into the title conversation. Teams like Michigan and Michigan State also have to win the voters' hearts back, as an early loss dropped both teams in the rankings.

    Aside from the many disappointing teams, there are still a lot of teams that have an undefeated record. A combination of talent, health and a favorable schedule is the recipe for an undefeated season in this year’s college football season.

    Let's take a look at some of the teams that have yet to lose and see who can finish the year without a loss.

Why These Teams Have No Chance

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    Oklahoma: Offensive line issues and a brutal Big 12 schedule that includes trips to Morgantown, Fort Worth and, of course, the Cotton Bowl.

    South Carolina: Injuries to starting quarterback Connor Shaw and an SEC schedule that includes a three-game stretch of Georgia, LSU and Florida.

    Stanford: Struggling offense and still has games against Arizona, Notre Dame, Oregon and UCLA.

    Notre Dame: The Irish are playing extremely well, but the schedule has just begun. Notre Dame still has to play Michigan, Stanford, Oklahoma and USC—and the last two of those games are on the road.

    Texas: Inconsistency at the quarterback position, plus the Big 12 schedule will begin for the Longhorns. Texas still plays Oklahoma State, West Virginia, Oklahoma, TCU and Kansas State.

    Florida: Despite a solid running game, the Gators can't put points on the board consistently. Add that to games against LSU, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida State.

    Kansas State: Great dark-horse candidate, but I still think this team is a year or two away from knocking off teams such as Oklahoma, West Virginia, TCU and Texas, all teams that Kansas State has to play.

    TCU: Really haven't seen enough from TCU to determine how good this team actually is, but this is the Horned Frogs' first season in the Big 12. They also have the worst month of November of any team with a schedule that includes West Virginia, Kansas State, Texas and Oklahoma. Ouch.

    UCLA: The Bruins don't have the defense to run the table in the Pac-12, not to mention games against USC and Stanford don't help their chances. The team is moving in the right direction, but an undefeated season under a first-year head coach is asking a lot.

Ohio State

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    Record

    3-0

     

    Why an Undefeated Season Could Happen

    When you have a defense like the Buckeyes, which should be considered one of the best in the Big Ten, you have a chance to win any game. Quarterback Braxton Miller is playing out of his mind and should only improve as the two key running backs get healthier.

    Let's also not act like the Big Ten has been such an impressive conference early on.  


    Prediction

    I think the key game is in a couple of weeks with a road trip to East Lansing. If the Buckeyes can manage to get past the Spartans, an undefeated season is very likely, which will be good enough to hold Ohio State fans over knowing that they can't reach a bowl game this year.

Clemson

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    Record

    3-0

     

    Why an Undefeated Season Could Happen

    The ACC is not known for producing high-scoring offenses, so when you have an offense that is capable of scoring at the drop of a hat, you are a threat. Clemson just got wide receiver Sammy Watkins back from suspension, and quarterback Tajh Boyd is completing over 70 percent of his passes.

    The defense has also improved from a year ago, forcing six turnovers and allowing less than 22 percent of third-down conversions. 


    Prediction

    The toughest test of the year for the Tigers will come this week against Florida State. If this Clemson team can find a way to get past the Seminoles in Tallahassee, this team is not only the ACC favorite; you then can talk about national championship dreams as well.

West Virginia

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    Record

    2-0

     

    Why an Undefeated Season Could Happen

    Have you seen the offense lately? The same team that dropped 70 points on Clemson in the BCS Orange Bowl last season has returned. The Mountaineers are averaging more than 600 yards on offense, and in a conference that doesn't play much defense, those types of numbers could continue.

    The schedule is a tough one, but games against Kansas State, TCU and Oklahoma all take place in Morgantown.

     

    Prediction

    I really like this West Virginia team, especially with quarterback Geno Smith playing the way he has the first two games of the season. If the defense can improve throughout the year before the big boys appear on the schedule, this is a squad that has the talent to run the table.

Louisville

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    Record

    3-0

     

    Why an Undefeated Season Could Happen

    Louisville plays in the Big East. Do I really have to say any more than that? Well, the defense has forced six turnovers, and the offense is converting 55 percent of its third downs and is led by the best quarterback in the conference in Teddy Bridgewater.

     

    Prediction

    Louisville had probably the toughest game of its schedule last week against North Carolina and was able to find a way to win. Unless a key injury takes place, the Cardinals will be the favorite in every game the rest of the way and have the best shot of reaching this year’s BCS Orange Bowl as the Big East champs.

Georgia

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    Record

    3-0

     

    Why an Undefeated Season Could Happen

    Possessing the easiest schedule in the SEC by far, Georgia also has arguably the best quarterback in the conference in Aaron Murray. The defense that finished fifth in the country last season is also getting a few key players back from suspension.

     

    Prediction

    If Georgia can survive a road trip to South Carolina in a few weeks, there is no question that this team runs the table and returns to the SEC championship game. Now, winning it and reaching the BCS title game is a whole different issue.

Florida State

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    Record

    3-0

     

    Why an Undefeated Season Could Happen

    Florida State has the best defense in all of college football, allowing just 103 total yards a game. Read that sentence again to fully understand how good that unit is. The running game is also ranked 11th in the country and second in the ACC, as three players have at least 147 rushing yards already. 


    Prediction

    Despite all of the terrific numbers, Florida State has yet to play anybody decent. This week's matchup against Clemson will tell us a lot about both squads. I think the winner of this upcoming game should be considered the ACC favorite, but games against Virginia Tech and Florida won't be easy either.

Oregon

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    Record

    3-0 


    Why an Undefeated Season Could Happen

    Oregon once again has an offense that averages more than 50 points a game, and there aren't many that are capable of matching that production. But while the offense receives most of the hype, the defense has produced eight sacks and is allowing less than 16 percent conversions on third down.  


    Prediction

    We all know that in order for Oregon to run the table, the Ducks will likely have to knock off USC twice this year. It is certainly not going to be an easy task, but with the way the Trojans have been playing lately, it is not out of the question.

LSU

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    Record

    3-0

     

    Why an Undefeated Season Could Happen

    LSU has the best defense in the SEC, allowing just 205 yards a game. The running game is also on point, rushing for more than 800 yards in the first three games.

    Basically the formula LSU had last year is the route this team is going to take, and it is going to take a great performance for someone to beat this year's Tigers team. 


    Prediction

    The only game where the Tigers should be considered an underdog is possibly the game against Alabama. But even with that matchup on the schedule, LSU still has to play Florida, South Carolina and Arkansas. The defense and running game will get this team far, but a passing game that ranks 97th in the country must improve.

Alabama

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    Record

    3-0

     

    Why an Undefeated Season Could Happen

    The defense has yet to lose a step, as Alabama is ranked sixth in the country in total defense. It is also tied for the most turnovers forced in the first three games with 12. Quarterback A.J. McCarron continues to grow before our eyes, while the running game has a two-headed monster in Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon.

     

    Prediction

    I think Alabama has already proved that it is the best team in the country at the moment. The Crimson Tide have dominated two highly respected teams in Michigan and Arkansas. If Nick Saban and company are able to go into Tiger Stadium and beat LSU, an undefeated season, SEC title and national championship are what is in store for the Crimson Tide once again.