Surprise College Football Teams That Can Crash the BCS in 2012
There are a number of undefeated teams that have worked their way into the BCS discussion by just winning. Conference affiliation is always helpful, but winning goes a long way in helping teams unexpectedly crash the BCS.
There are eight teams currently undefeated that are working their way to the top of the national discussions. Kansas State began the season in the bottom fifth of the preseason polls. It now looks like the Wildcats are one of the best teams in the Big-12.
Teams like Oregon State and Cincinnati are alive and well. This has been a crazy college football season so far and a number of the big wins through September came to teams that weren’t supposed to win.
Looking ahead to bowl season, here are the teams that are in position to crash the BCS in 2012.
No. 5: Kansas State Wildcats
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Kansas State has been the surprise of the season. Kansas State returned their stud signal caller Colin Klein this season and a host of offensive playmakers. The Wildcats returned a number of key personnel on defense, and have been very strong against the run.
This team has been very stingy on defense. Kansas State is No. 5 in the country in turnover margin.
The Wildcats have a tough road ahead. They face West Virginia and TCU on the road, as well as hosting Texas, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State. It will not be an easy road to the Big-12 title game, or the BCS this season.
This team has a lot of football left to play, but are they good enough to knock off West Virginia in two weeks? If that happens, the chances for Kansas State to find the BCS grow exponentially.
No. 18: Mississippi State Bulldogs
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Mississippi State is fulfilling the predictions that were laid before it during the preseason. There was a ton of chatter that the Bulldogs may be able to land in the Alabama game undefeated, but it seemed like a stretch.
Now, only Tennessee and Middle Tennessee State stand in the way of a 7-0 record for the Bulldogs.
Mississippi State has been dominant on defense, standing at the No. 11 position nationally in scoring defense. Tyler Russell has been efficient for the Bulldogs, tossing 10 touchdowns and only one interception this fall. Russell has also only been sacked three times all year.
This team still faces a gauntlet of games before it could claim victory, with a three week stretch making or breaking the Bulldogs season. State travels to Alabama, has a home contest against Texas A&M and then hits the road again to Baton Rouge to face LSU.
If Mississippi State can run that gauntlet undefeated, they would be one of the frontrunners for the national title game.
No. 19: Rutgers Scarlet Knights
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The Scarlet Knights were nowhere near a BCS crashers discussion to start the year, but five wins later and here we are.
The Rutgers defense has been the most impressive piece of this undefeated season. The Scarlet Knights are No. 2 in rushing defense, No. 5 in scoring defense and No. 15 in total defense. The offense has been manageable for the Scarlet Knights, but it will need to get better as they march down the schedule.
The future does not look very intimidating for Rutgers, but late contests against Cincinnati and Louisville will be tough. All three teams are pounding on the BCS steel door as they battle for the Big East.
Right now, it’s Rutgers' show.
No. 14: Oregon State Beavers
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Oregon State pushed through Wisconsin and UCLA early in the season, launching them into an undefeated run that now stands at four games.
The Beavers have a schedule that could continue to steam up success, but a road contest to Stanford and home game against Oregon will be very tough. Oregon will be the most difficult game of the season for the Beavers.
Don’t sleep on the Beavers rushing defense. They are currently the No. 4 rushing defense in the country. That will be a big help facing two rush-heavy teams in Stanford and Oregon.
Sophomore Sean Mannion has been selective with his throws and tossed seven touchdowns while gaining 1,358 yards through the air. He is completing 63.3 percent of his passes.
The Pac-12 has been up and down all season with a number of shifts in power happening throughout the first month of the football season. Oregon State is gripping to the top of the poll in the conference, but the Beavers aren’t buyable BCS stock just yet.
No. 24: Louisiana Tech Bulldogs
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Louisiana Tech has been surprisingly strong this season. The Bulldogs are creating a lot of yards on offense, currently holding the No. 11 spot in total offense and No. 3 in scoring offense.
The Bulldogs have relied on Colby Cameron to produce big plays with his arm. Cameron is completing 68.2 percent of his passes and has gained 1,447 yards through the air while tossing 13 touchdowns and no interceptions.
The Bulldogs defense will cause issues down the road, they currently rank as the No. 119 defense in the country.
Looking at the schedule the Bulldogs have a great shot to run the table. Texas A&M is coming to town this coming week, but if the Bulldogs can come out with a tough win, they will continue to climb.
Fellow WAC member UTSA is also undefeated and remains on the schedule, as does a dangerous Utah State program. It won’t be easy, but the Bulldogs can get to the top if they keep on winning.
No. 20: Cincinnati Bearcats
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The Bearcats have been a consistent player in the Big East over the past decade. Cincinnati continues to climb back into the BCS busters discussion this season with four wins, including a marquee win against Virginia Tech.
The Bearcats have a winnable schedule, but a game at Louisville in three weeks may be the game that pulls them out of the discussion.
Cincinnati has not been extremely explosive on offense like in years past, but they haven’t had to be.
Munchie Legaux has avoided big plays against the opposing defenses, and has tossed nine touchdowns for the Bearcats. His leadership has been a big plus for this team.
George Winn may be the story of the year for Cincinnati. Winn had rushed for 376 yards in three seasons prior to 2012. This year he has 446 yards on the ground, is averaging 6.6 a carry and has four touchdowns. If Winn keeps churning yards, the Bearcats can be the Big East winner once again.
No. 16: Louisville Cardinals
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Louisville has one of the best young quarterbacks in the country calling the shots this season. Teddy Bridgewater is completing 73 percent of his passes for 1,134 yards and eight touchdowns.
Bridgewater has been able to guide the Cardinals through some tight games, but future contests against South Florida, Cincinnati, UConn and Rutgers look tough. The Cardinals got an impressive win over North Carolina, but struggled against FIU and Southern Miss.
The Cardinals are the highest ranked Big East team currently, but they are not the best Big East team in the country right now.
If Louisville can make it past Cincinnati and Rutgers, they will be a BCS surprise. It will be a very impressive run if the Cardinals can earn those wins.
UNR: Ohio Bobcats
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The Ohio Bobcats started the season with an upset victory over the Penn State Nittany Lions. No one expected the Bobcats to land the win, but it vaulted them into six straight wins and what appears to be an open road to an undefeated season.
The most difficult game that lies ahead for Ohio is a November contest against Bowling Green.
Tyler Tettleton has done a great job leading the Ohio offense, while Keith Moore has been bringing the pain to opposing offenses for the Bobcats defense.
Ohio is not currently ranked, but they have all the firepower needed to creep into the Top 25 within the next few weeks.
Watch out for this Bobcats team at the end of the season, they may be one of the at-large bids for the BCS round of bowl games.
UNR: UTSA Roadrunners
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In their first year in FBS competition, the Roadrunners of UTSA could be BCS busters.
Is it likely? Hardly, but that is beside the point. UTSA has a big contest looming against Utah State to end October, and then the Roadrunners travel to Louisiana Tech to open November.
UTSA is playing very good defense—ranking No. 16 in scoring defense so far this year. The Roadrunners struggled in the season opener against new FBS team South Alabama, but they have won every game since by double digits.
This team is the most surprising of the 2012 season so far, but imagine an undefeated run that topped a ranked team and pushed them into the BCS.
It isn’t a likely scenario, but it is a fun one to think could happen.