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Projecting the Top 25 Teams from the First BCS Rankings of 2012

Randy ChambersAnalyst IOctober 12, 2012

Projecting the Top 25 Teams from the First BCS Rankings of 2012

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    It seems like just yesterday when college football fans across the country were begging for the season to begin. Just a month-and-a-half later, we are already halfway through the regular season and are beginning to focus on the national championship picture.

    After Week 7 of the college football season, the first BCS rankings will be announced. This will give everyone a general idea of where each team sits. It will also show us which teams have a realistic shot at reaching a BCS bowl.

    The BCS also is a time for fans to complain louder than ever, as the rankings are never right in the eyes of many.

    With the first release of the BCS rankings scheduled for October 14, here are the projections of how everything will turn out.

25. Baylor

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    Week 6 AP Ranking: N/R

    Week 6 USA Today Coaches Poll Ranking: N/R

     

    Baylor may no longer have Robert Griffin III quarterbacking its team, but the offense is still scoring oodles of points. The unit is averaging 601 yards a game, which is good for second in the country, and averaging over 50 points per game.

    Much like last season, the defense needs to drastically improve if this squad is going to take a step forward in the Big 12, but the Bears remain one of the more exciting teams to watch in all of college football.

    Baylor should win this week against a TCU team that is without its starting quarterback, which should be good enough to barely get this team back in the rankings.

24. Ohio

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    Week 6 AP Ranking: N/R

    Week 6 USA Today Coaches Poll Ranking: N/R

     

    Since the Ohio State Buckeyes won't be in the BCS rankings, why not replace them with the Ohio Bobcats?

    Like Urban Meyer's club, the Bobcats are also undefeated and have a great shot to run the table the rest of the way.

    This has been the surprise team from the MAC since Week 1 of the college football season when it went into Happy Valley and upset the Penn State Nittany Lions. With a balanced team on both sides of the ball, Ohio has already qualified for its fourth straight bowl appearance, which is most in school history.

23. Boise State

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    Week 6 AP Ranking: No. 24

    Week 6 USA Today Coaches Poll Ranking: No. 22

     

    Boise State has struggled against some of the better teams on its schedule such as Michigan State and BYU, but the Broncos are hanging in strong with a 4-1 record. The best defense in the Mountain West Conference is what's keeping this team in games, while the offense is still trying to find itself.

    Regardless, this is always the time of year when college football’s favorite underdog begins to make that push down the home stretch. Unless an upset happens along the way, you can expect Boise to return to a BCS bowl in 2012.

22. Michigan

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    Week 6 AP Ranking: No. 25

    Week 6 USA Today Coaches Poll Ranking: N/R

     

    Despite two early losses, Michigan is still a team that the BCS loves. And while the Wolverines look nothing like last season’s squad, the team did play surprisingly well against an underrated Purdue program in Week 6.

    With a victory over Illinois this week, you can expect Brady Hoke’s team to climb up in the polls.

    Do the Wolverines have any late magic left from last season that can help them the rest of the way?

21. Stanford

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    Week 6 AP Ranking: No. 17

    Week 6 USA Today Coaches Poll Ranking: No. 17 

     

    Although Stanford had lost many weapons during the offseason, including first-round NFL draft pick Andrew Luck, the Cardinal have carried themselves very well. With wins over USC and Arizona, this is a Pac-12 program that shows it won't go down without a fight.

    The problem is that a trip to South Bend this weekend will likely result in the second loss of the year and a drop in the polls.

    Still, that's nothing to be ashamed of, as this is a team that has surprised many with its play in 2012.

20. Cincinnati

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    Week 6 AP Ranking: No. 21

    Week 6 USA Today Coaches Poll Ranking: No. 20

     

    Cincinnati has quietly made a name for itself in 2012 after blowing out Pittsburgh and picking up an upset win over Virginia Tech. The defense has forced 11 turnovers and 12 sacks in the first four games, while the offense is averaging over 30 points per contest.

    Quarterback Munchie Legaux seems to make all of the big plays for this team and is somebody you should keep an eye on the rest of the way.

    The Bearcats certainly have the talent to run the table in the Big East and reach a BCS bowl for the first time since 2009.

19. Texas

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    Week 6 AP Ranking: No. 15

    Week 6 USA Today Coaches Poll Ranking: No. 15

     

    To the surprise of many, the Longhorns are now an offensive football team. A squad that was supposed to be a defensive juggernaut is now ranked 67th in scoring defense, while the offense is averaging over 40 points per game.

    Mack Brown's team is always one that receives a lot of love from the pollsters, but two straight losses will hurt his team's position. Expect a nice little drop once the Longhorns lose this weekend to the Oklahoma Sooners. 

18. Texas A&M

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    Week 6 AP Ranking: No. 22

    Week 6 USA Today Coaches Poll Ranking: No. 21

     

    Nobody ever wants to give the newbies any credit, but Texas A&M has held its own in its first season in SEC. With victories over Arkansas and Ole Miss, the Aggies appear to be on the fast track to becoming a competitive force in college football’s toughest conference.

    Quarterback Johnny Manziel has become one of the most exciting players in the country, while the defense has made some noise as well. A victory this week over a ranked Louisiana Tech team should put the Aggies in a nice position moving forward.

17. Rutgers

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    Week 6 AP Ranking: No. 20

    Week 6 USA Today Coaches Poll Ranking: No. 19


    Rutgers is allowing only 297 yards per game on the defensive side of the ball, which is good for 15th in the country and the second best in the Big East. Despite having a new coaching staff, the Scarlet Knights are sitting pretty with a 5-0 record and will knock off a solid offensive club in Syracuse this weekend.

    Overall, this may not be the prettiest football team in college football, but Rutgers gets the job on defense and finds ways to win games.

16. Oregon State

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    Week 6 AP Ranking: No. 10

    Week 6 USA Today Coaches Poll Ranking: No. 14

     

    Traveling to BYU and playing a defense that is ranked fifth in the nation is never easy. Doing it with an offense that was already struggling and is without its starting quarterback is nearly impossible.

    Oregon State will lose this weekend to the Cougars, which will drop this team in the eyes of the BCS. But a victory over Wisconsin and UCLA has to count for something, as the Beavers should land somewhere in the Top 20 of the polls.

15. Louisville

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    Week 6 AP Ranking: No. 18

    Week 6 USA Today Coaches Poll Ranking: No. 16

     

    The coaches really like this Louisville Cardinals, as it is the highest undefeated Big East club out of the three. The Cardinals have one of the more underrated quarterbacks in the country in Teddy Bridgewater, who is more than capable of leading this squad to an undefeated season.

    Louisville hasn't reached a BCS bowl since 2006, under then-head coach Bobby Petrino. But that's a drought that could be ended very soon.

14. Mississippi State

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    Week 6 AP Ranking: No. 19

    Week 6 USA Today Coaches Poll Ranking: No. 18

     

    What does Mississippi State have to do around here to get some respect?

    I know the Bulldogs haven't exactly beaten anyone of note through the first half of the season, but this is an SEC team that plays SEC football extremely well. The club is currently tied with Alabama with 15 forced turnovers and is averaging 4.8 yards per carry on the ground.

    We will find out just how good this team is down the line, but with many teams likely to lose this week, don't be surprised if Mississippi State makes a sizable jump in the rankings.

13. Clemson

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    Week 6 AP Ranking: No. 16

    Week 6 USA Today Coaches Poll Ranking: No. 13

     

    Clemson is clicking on offense the same way it was last season, and is doing so mainly without star wide receiver Sammy Watkins.

    Though the loss to Florida State really hurt and the defense allows nearly 450 yards a game, this is a well-coached team that seems to be getting better by the week. Don't be surprised if the Tigers head into the South Carolina season finale with only one loss.

12. LSU

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    Week 6 AP Ranking: No. 9

    Week 6 USA Today Coaches Poll Ranking: No. 8

     

    It's obvious many folks still believe in these Tigers, even after their most recent debacle against Florida. This is why I don’t expect LSU to fall much after a second loss this weekend to South Carolina.

    The passing game has suffered a drop-off from last year, the offensive line is banged up, and the defense looks lost at times. LSU will likely be a top-15 team once the BCS is released, but you can forget any chance of this program returning to a national championship this season.

11. Georgia

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    Week 6 AP Ranking: No. 14

    Week 6 USA Today Coaches Poll Ranking: No. 12

     

    Georgia blew its shot to make a serious statement last weekend against South Carolina. Quarterback Aaron Murray seems to fold under pressure situations every time and the defense showed that it still has a ways to go before it is a championship-caliber unit.

    But even with such a disappointing loss, the Bulldogs will still have a say in who comes out of the SEC East. Maybe a week off will do them some good, as Georgia needs to refocus before a second-half run.

10. Florida State

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    Week 6 AP Ranking: No. 12

    Week 6 USA Today Coaches Poll Ranking: No. 11

     

    You knew it was going to happen. Florida State found a way to choke and a loss to North Carolina State likely removes all hope of a BCS title this year. The Seminoles only have one more ranked team on their schedule, which certainly won't help moving forward.

    Jimbo Fisher's club is going to need a lot of help to move on up in the polls.

9. Oklahoma

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    Week 6 AP Ranking: No. 13

    Week 6 USA Today Coaches Poll Ranking: No. 10

     

    Does anybody believe in these Oklahoma Sooners?

    It seems like right when you start to buy into them, they let you down with a disappointing performance against a subpar opponent. Oklahoma woke up last week against Texas Tech and should knock off the Texas Longhorns in the Red River Rivalry against Mack Brown's defense-less squad.

    Then again, the Sooners could return to disappointing form and fail to get off the bus, to lose their second game of the season.

8. USC

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    Week 6 AP Ranking: No. 11

    Week 6 USA Today Coaches Poll Ranking: No. 9

     

    Despite sloppy play in nearly every contest this season, it is still the USC Trojans and the BCS loves this team out west. And although this hasn't exactly looked like a championship-caliber squad, they are still 4-1 and should knock off Washington this weekend in the always hostile Seattle environment.

    The media will continue to question Matt Barkley and company, while the polls will continue to love this team until it loses again.

7. Kansas State

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    Week 6 AP Ranking: No. 6

    Week 6 USA Today Coaches Poll Ranking: No. 5

     

    Kansas State is slowly making a believer out of everybody. After five straight victories, including an upset win in Oklahoma, the Wildcats are showing that there is a new big dog in the Big 12.

    With another victory this weekend against a feisty Iowa State, expect a Top 10 ranking for Bill Snyder and company.

6. Notre Dame

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    Week 6 AP Ranking: No. 7

    Week 6 USA Today Coaches Poll Ranking: No. 7

     

    The computers may actually explode knowing that Notre Dame is playing as well as it is. This is a dream for everybody involved with this program—a program that hasn't reached a BCS game since 2006 will finally have a realistic shot of playing in a prestigious bowl game.

    The Irish already have victories over two ranked teams and will earn a third this weekend against Stanford. With the way the defense has been playing, expect to see Notre Dame inside the Top 10 of the new BCS rankings.

5. Florida

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    Week 6 AP Ranking: No. 4

    Week 6 USA Today Coaches Poll Ranking: No. 6

     

    Florida isn't a flashy offense by any means, but like many SEC teams, the Gators earn their success off of power running and great defense. With two victories already over ranked teams, Florida should jump out to a 6-0 record with a weekend victory over Vanderbilt.

    Not many believed that the Gators would be this good, this soon, but Florida appears to be for real.

4. West Virginia

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    Week 6 AP Ranking: No. 5

    Week 6 USA Today Coaches Poll Ranking: No. 4

     

    Can West Virginia win a national championship with all offense and no defense?

    Well, that is a question that will have to be answered a little later.

    But what we do know is that the Mountaineers' explosive offense and undefeated record is sure to receive a lot of respect from the voters. With two victories over ranked teams and another solid road win this weekend against Texas Tech, West Virginia is making a strong BCS push.

3. Oregon

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    Week 6 AP Ranking: No. 2

    Week 6 USA Today Coaches Poll Ranking: No. 2

     

    With the downfall of USC, and Oregon continuing to play Oregon-style football, the Ducks have become one of the favorite teams outside the SEC to win a national title. The offense is still averaging over 50 points per contest, while the defense has forced 17 turnovers in six games.

    Not only are the Ducks clicking on both sides of the ball, many are starting to believe that Chip Kelly will lead this program to a second national championship appearance in three years.

2. South Carolina

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    Week 6 AP Ranking: No. 3

    Week 6 USA Today Coaches Poll Ranking: No. 3

     

    I have South Carolina jumping Oregon in the BCS because of its likely victory over the LSU Tigers this weekend. That would make two consecutive victories over Top 10 teams, while Oregon has only knocked off two programs that were ranked in the 20s.

    This may be the best Gamecocks team in school history, and there is a realistic chance they could be the SEC representatives in the BCS title game. With a defense that is ranked 11th in the country, head coach Steve Spurrier appears to have found his coaching magic once again.

1. Alabama

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    Week 6 AP Ranking: No. 1

    Week 6 USA Today Coaches Poll Ranking: No. 1

     

    I don't think anyone can argue who the best team in college football is at the moment. The Crimson Tide are the defending national champions, once again have the best defense in the country, and have an improved offense that is averaging 40 points a game. 

    It wouldn't be surprising in the least if Alabama runs the table to the conference championship with the way it has been playing.

    Until somebody can find any kind of major flaw in this team, Alabama should remain the team to beat in all of college football.

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