BCS Predictions: Could We Really See a BCS Title Game Without an SEC Team?
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The Southeastern Conference has won the last six BCS National Championships and became the only conference to have two of their teams face off in the title game last season, but this year there appears to be several reasons why college football fans may finally get to see the No. 1 and No. 2 teams come from other conferences for the first time since the 2006 Rose Bowl.
The Oregon Ducks, Florida State Seminoles, West Virginia Mountaineers, Kansas State Wildcats and Notre Dame Fighting Irish are all ranked inside the Top 10 and appear to have the ability to run the table.
The USC Trojans should not be counted out either if Matt Barkley and Co. can navigate a difficult Pac-12 Conference schedule unscathed and other teams begin to drop games near the end of the 2012 season.
Before we take a deeper look at some of the teams who have the potential to keep the SEC out of the BCS National Championship Game, let's refresh everybodies memory about how college football has become five power conferences all trying to catch up to the nation's supreme league.
The SEC haters will be quick to point out that since 1998, the other five marquee conferences have more than held their own against the southern teams.
These numbers become quite skewed though when you look at only the last six seasons, which the SEC truly has dominated on the biggest stages.
Since the 2005 season, SEC teams are 9-3 in BCS bowl games and one of those losses came last season when the LSU Tigers and Alabama Crimson Tide squared off in the national title game, so the conference had to take a loss.
If you add in LSU's victory over the Oklahoma Sooners in the 2004 title game, the SEC has won seven of the last nine national championships.
Additionally, the SEC has the most BCS bowl victories all time (16) and have won more national titles (8) than any other conference since the system was introduced in 1998.
Now let's break down some of the national title contenders this season and why they have a chance to keep the SEC out of the 2013 BCS National Championship Game, which will be played at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla.
Florida State appears to have the easiest remaining schedule out of all the undefeated teams. The Seminoles only have to play one Top-25 team to close out their 2012 campaign, and it is at home against a slightly overrated Florida Gators squad.
West Virginia is next in line, given their No. 1 ranked passing offense and No. 3 ranked scoring offense; the Mountaineers will take on four Top-25 squads, but three of those games will be played in Morgantown.
Notre Dame appears to be the weakest of all the current undefeated title contenders. Even so, their schedule features three Top-25 teams that have all suffered a loss already and have looked vulnerable. The Fighting Irish are certainly not a trendy pick to run the table, but if they are able to finish the season without a loss, they are more than worthy of playing in the title game.
Kansas State has the toughest road to the BCS title. The Wildcats have to face West Virginia and the No. 15 TCU Horned Frogs on the road, in addition to playing the No. 11 Texas Longhorns at home.
Oregon will have to take on two ranked opponents at home and on the road, but their defense appears to be coming together and Chip Kelly's offense is as explosive as ever with Marcus Mariota handing the ball off to Kenjon Barner and De'Anthony Thomas.
What about the five undefeated SEC teams currently ranked in the Top 25 though? If an SEC team runs the table, there is no doubt the conference will be represented in the BCS title game.
Alabama has looked better on both sides of the ball than just about any team in college football this season, and in case anyone forgot, defense wins championships.
The Crimson Tide currently boast the nation's No. 1 scoring defense, however Alabama has to travel to Baton Rogue to take on LSU and could be tripped up by the Georgia Bulldogs or South Carolina Gamecocks in the SEC title game.
LSU, Florida and South Carolina all have to face four ranked opponents in SEC play and do not appear to be dominant enough to make it through their respective schedules without dropping at least one game.
Georgia is a dark-horse contender if the Bulldogs are able to top South Carolina this Saturday and Florida three weeks from now. Having to face the SEC West Division winner in the conference title game will be a tall order for Aaron Murray and the Bulldogs, though.
To sum everything up, if two teams are going to keep the SEC out of the national title game, Florida State and Oregon are the top contenders, in this writer's opinion.
Will this actually happen though? Not likely.
Alabama looks like they are head and shoulders above every other team in college football right now, which should provide the SEC with a chance for their seventh consecutive national title.
Zach Dirlam is currently interning at Spartan Sports Network in East Lansing, Mich. Additionally, he is the former Lead Editor of the College Basketball section as well as a Big Ten columnist for the FOX Sports/MSN/YardBarker affiliate website Sports at Work.
Follow Zach on Twitter.
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