The BCS is entering the final two years of existence in the 2012 season, setting up to be a fitting farewell to the system that some love but most hate. We are only two weeks away from the first set of rankings with a lot of dramatic shifts that have come since the season began.
Many fans will be on the edge of their seats as they watch the rankings unfold, with a number of surprises sure to come with the first rankings release. Can the top teams hold on to their spots throughout the final weeks of the season? It isn’t likely, but crazier things have happened already this year.
Here is a look at the schedule, date, television info and prospective Top Five teams for the first release of the 2012 BCS rankings.
Schedule: October 14, 2012 and every consecutive Sunday through the last week of competition
TV: ESPN, 8 p.m. ET
Expected Top Five:
No. 1: Alabama Crimson Tide
The Alabama Crimson Tide have battled through their 2012 schedule like the ancient Mongols. They are destroying the competition and leaving nothing behind.
Alabama started the season with a drubbing of the Michigan Wolverines in Dallas and earned a second marquee win by blasting the Arkansas Razorbacks 52-0 in Fayetteville in Week 3. Alabama has been efficient on offense, and show-stopping on defense.
The Crimson Tide face the Missouri Tigers on Saturday. Missouri has struggled this season, and those problems are expected to continue. According to al.com starting quarterback James Franklin will be out for the game.
This team will undoubtedly start the BCS as the No. 1 team in 2012.
No. 2: Oregon Ducks
The Oregon Ducks have been as explosive as ever on offense this season. Forget the freshman quarterback and the loss of big playmakers on offense. Nothing has changed for coach Chip Kelly and the Ducks.
The big story has been the Oregon defense. This has been a fast attacking Ducks squad that has allowed points late but has controlled contests early. There has been an impressive shift on the defensive side of the football for Oregon.
It could lead to a championship season.
The Ducks have Week 7 off but face the Arizona State Sun Devils in Week 8 in Tempe. The Ducks will hold their position through the bye week and likely enter the BCS at No. 2.
No. 3: South Carolina Gamecocks
South Carolina was expected to be a good football team this year, but no one could have predicted the meteoric rise into the Top Five.
This isn’t a team that has made it there by default, either. This team has earned every inch of gain.
The Gamecocks struggled in a season opening win against the Vanderbilt Commodores but have been unstoppable ever since. A strong defense anchors this team, but quarterback Connor Shaw has been Heisman-chat worthy this season.
Shaw is 56-of-74 for 733 yards and seven touchdowns. He has completed 75.7 percent of his passes. That is coach Steve Spurrier's results that bring back memories of the 1990s Florida Gators squads.
South Carolina is in great position right now but can’t slow down and relish the big win. The Gamecocks face-off against the No. 9 LSU Tigers in Baton Rouge on Saturday that will be as tough as any game they have played so far in 2012.
LSU is coming off of a tough loss to Florida and will be looking for a big win over a Top Five team this week.
No. 4 Florida Gators
Florida has been the most surprising team of the season so far. The Gators were known to have a tough defense, but they have exceeded expectations. A quarterback controversy started the season, but now Jeff Driskel is firmly entrenched as the starter.
The Florida offense showed a lot of effectiveness on the ground against LSU in Week 6, answering a lot of questions that faced a mediocre offense. The Gators still have a tough road ahead—most notably an October 20 matchup with South Carolina—but have the chance to make this a special season for coach Will Muschamp.
Muschamp was a hot-seat member to start the season.
Florida will continue its attempt to ride at the top of the SEC in Week 7 with a game in Nashville against the Vanderbilt Commodores. While that should be a sure win for Florida, games in coming weeks against South Carolina and the Georgia Bulldogs will be difficult.
No. 5 West Virginia Mountaineers
As the newest member of the Big 12, the Mountaineers were not expected to be the powerhouse of the conference that they have become this season.
They are unstoppable on offense and have a Heisman candidate in Geno Smith. Smith has been other-worldly, completing 81.4 percent of his throws and tossing 24 touchdowns. Smith has no interceptions.
The biggest question will be if this defense can continue to keep the Mountaineers in games, especially with the Kansas State Wildcats matchup coming up in Week 8.
West Virginia does face a tough Texas Tech Red Raiders team before its game against Kansas State. The game is in Lubbock, and Texas Tech is looking to solidify itself among the new Big 12 contenders.