BCS Rankings 2012: The Opponent Most Likely to Beat Each Top 25 Team

Randy ChambersAnalyst IOctober 15, 2012

BCS Rankings 2012: The Opponent Most Likely to Beat Each Top 25 Team

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    The BCS rankings have been released and the college football world is going crazy. Many believe Florida shouldn't be the No. 2 team in the country, while some think Texas doesn't even deserve to be ranked and almost everyone is saying Alabama is overrated.

    The truth is there is still plenty of football left to be played, and although there are 10 teams in the Top 25 that are undefeated, that list will eventually shrink in the next few weeks. And even some of the teams that have already suffered a loss will likely lose again.

    In other words, the first BCS rankings aren't here to stay, as the order is going to drastically change as the matchups get tougher for each and every team.

    With a lot of college football left to play, here is the team that has the best shot at knocking off each squad in the latest BCS rankings.

25. Texas

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    Biggest Threat Left This Year: At Texas Tech

    The Red Raiders have lost eight of the last nine against the Longhorns, but this is a completely different Texas Tech team. They are more than capable of matching any Big 12 squad touchdown for touchdown with quarterback Seth Doege leading the way and the team is also ranked first in the Big 12 in total defense.

    After holding a West Virginia team to only 14 points, you would think Texas Tech would get a little more respect. If the Longhorns offense had issues against the defense of Oklahoma, we could see another poor performance when they travel to Texas Tech later in the year.

24. Iowa State

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    Biggest Threat Left This Year: vs. Oklahoma

    Still not sure if we can believe in the Sooners, as they are one of those teams that runs hot and cold throughout the year. I do know that Oklahoma has much more talent than Iowa State has ever dreamed of having and that it has beaten the Cyclones in 21 of the last 22 meetings.

    Oklahoma has scored over 40 points in three of the first five games, while Iowa State has the worst offense in the Big 12. Although Iowa State has played top teams tough in the past, the Sooners should win this fairly easily if they come to play.

23. TCU

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    Biggest Threat Left This Year: vs. Texas Tech

    There is a great chance TCU won't last long when it comes to the BCS rankings, especially with the difficult schedule the program has left. There really aren't any easy games left on the schedule for the Horned Frogs and it doesn't make things any easier with quarterback Casey Pachall no longer taking snaps in 2012.

    TCU will likely lose next week to Texas Tech and things will probably get uglier as the weeks go by.

    Sure, the defense remains one of the best in the country, but in this conference you need offense, and it's hard to find without an experienced quarterback leading the way.

22. Boise State

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    Biggest Threat Left This Year: At Nevada

    Many expected the MWC to come down to these two teams and that is exactly what is probably going to happen. Unless one of these clubs suffers another surprising loss along the way, both will enter the season finale as one loss teams, with the winner of this matchup winning the conference.

    The last four of five meetings between these two programs has been decided by less than two touchdowns and should be another tight one in 2012.

    The Wolf Pack isn’t as solid on the defensive side of the ball as Boise State, but Nevada does average over 40 points per contest on offense.

21. Cincinnati

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    Biggest Threat Left This Year: At Louisville

    Cincinnati will play its second constitutive road game when it travels to Louisville, as the Bearcats take a trip to Toledo the week before. And while it will be a short week with the game taking place on a Friday, the Cardinals are one of the better Big East teams the conference has to offer.

    Both teams are great defensively, but it is the play of Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater that makes all of the difference. The sophomore quarterback is completing nearly 72 percent of his passes and is a playmaker with the ball in his hands.

    Cincinnati has won the last four meetings, but this will be a tough one, especially with it being back-to-back road games.

20. Stanford

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    Biggest Threat Left This Year: At Oregon

    Is there any other Pac-12 team that you would rather play less at the moment?

    Oregon is of course clicking in every way possible on the offensive side of the ball, as the team is averaging over 50 points and 500 yards a contest. Stanford on the other hand, relies heavily on running back Stepfan Taylor to lead the way, as the passing game isn't up to par with a first-year starter at quarterback.

    The Ducks defense has also forced 17 turnovers in six games and has allowed the fewest plays of 30 yards or more in the Pac-12.

    Oregon has won nine of the last 10 games against the Cardinal and it will take a monster of a game for them to pull off an upset.

19. Clemson

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    Biggest Threat Left This Year: vs. South Carolina

    Clemson is having all of the fun in the world in the ACC, as there isn't much competition to brag about in that conference. But the Tigers have already lost to a defensive-minded team earlier in the season to Florida State, and will have to play South Carolina at the end of the season.

    The Gamecocks have shown they can move the ball effectively at times on offense, but it is the defense that is ranked 12th in the country that Clemson should be worried about. This unit has allowed over 20 points just once all season and will make things difficult for Tajh Boyd and company.

    Not to mention, the Gamecocks have won the last three meetings against the Tigers.

18. Texas A&M

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    Biggest Threat Left This Year: At Alabama

    There should be little doubt that Texas A&M is on the path to success in the SEC. This team has jumped out to a 5-1 start, and only lost to Florida by three points. The defense can hold its own and quarterback Johnny Manziel has shown with his dual-threat ability that he will soon develop into a star.

    But playing Alabama is a whole different animal than knocking off Louisiana-Tech or a depressed Arkansas team. Traveling to Tuscaloosa will certainly be a measuring stick for head coach Kevin Sumlin, but I'm not sure many in Texas A&M actually have much confidence that it will result in a victory, especially with it being a third straight road game for the Aggies.

17. Texas Tech

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    Biggest Threat Left This Year: At Kansas State

    It's one thing to defend quarterback Geno Smith, who wants to stand in the pocket and prove he can carve you up with his arm. It's another thing to try and defend a tricky quarterback such as Collin Klein, who can make plays with his arm, but is also averaging five yards a carry on the ground.

    Kansas State is a tough team to prepare for offensively, but has also forced 15 turnovers on the defensive side of the ball as well.

    This game will be the second of a back-to-back road game for the Red Raiders and won't be easy, as this Wildcats offense dropped 580 yards in last year's meeting.

16. Louisville

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    Biggest Threat Left This Year: At Rutgers

    Rutgers is a tough team to play because they slowly wear you down. It isn't a team that is going to score a lot, but it is an offense that takes what you give them and doesn't make mistakes. The team also has one of the best defenses in the country and is a unit that has forced 17 turnovers in just six games.

    Although Louisville has won the last two meetings, this game will take place in High Point Solutions Stadium and could be for the conference title if both clubs continue to run the table.

15. Rutgers

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    Biggest Threat Left This Year: vs. Louisville

    There is a great possibility that both of these clubs enter the season finale undefeated, with the winner earning a trip to the BCS Orange Bowl. It's going to be tough for Rutgers because the Cardinals do have a consistent quarterback that is capable of putting up points in a hurry if the defense isn't careful. Rutgers is sixth in the conference in scoring offense.

    This game will also be difficult for both teams, as it will take place on a Thursday, giving each team just a few days to prepare.

14. Florida State

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    Biggest Threat Left This Year: vs. Florida

    I'm not sure anybody expected the Florida Gators to be this good this quickly. But with the defense shaping up to be one of the best in the country and quarterback Jeff Driskel becoming more comfortable in this offense, many are slowly hopping on the bandwagon.

    The Seminoles have shown that the offense can struggle against better defensive clubs, while this program is a combined 3-4 since 2010 against ranked opponents. With both teams likely ranked high heading into this matchup, BCS implications will likely be on the line in this rivalry.

13. West Virginia

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    Biggest Threat Left This Year: vs. Oklahoma

    Did Texas Tech release the blueprint on how to stop this explosive West Virginia offense? If so, there is only one other team on the Mountaineers' schedule that has the talent to get the job done.

    Not many teams in the Big 12 play defense, but the Oklahoma Sooners have shown to be one of the better units when they actually want to get off the bus. A ball hawk secondary could seriously give quarterback Geno Smith fits similar to what we saw last week. The power running game of Blake Bell and Damien Williams could also do a number on the Mountaineers' smaller defense.

12. Mississippi State

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    Biggest Threat Left This Year: At Alabama

    Much like Texas A&M, Mississippi State has been a surprise, as the Bulldogs are only one of three SEC teams that are still undefeated. But all good things must come to an end and that will happen when the club takes its talents to Tuscaloosa to play the Alabama Crimson Tide.

    Mississippi State has weapons on both sides of the ball to make things interesting, but Alabama simply wears down the opposition through all four quarters.

    A consistent running game and stifling defense will prevail and show the folks in Starkville, Mississippi that they still have a year or two before hanging with the big boys in this conference.

11. Georgia

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    Biggest Threat Left This Year: vs. Florida

    Georgia had by far the easiest schedule in the SEC, so Florida is the toughest opponent remaining by default. Maybe the Bulldogs had a bad day against South Carolina, or maybe they just truly aren't that good, but the Gamecocks showed that a good defense can rattle this offense.

    The Florida Gators have a good defense and will make things difficult for the freshmen running back tandem and quarterback Aaron Murray.

    Georgia is 2-9 since 2010 against ranked teams and with the way the Gators are playing; they seem to be getting better and better as the weeks go by.

10. USC

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    Biggest Threat Left This Year: vs. Oregon

    USC hasn't been that top team that we all thought it would be and if things don't drastically change, Oregon will take advantage of this football team. The Ducks can score with the best of them and has scored a combined 88 points in the last two meetings against the Trojans.

    But the speedy defense of Oregon can cause problems for USC as well, as Lane Kiffin's team has turned the ball over 11 times this season. With a defense that survives so much on big plays, the Trojans have shown to be careless with the football at times.

    This was by far the toughest game for USC before the season started and looks even tougher than it did a few months ago.

9. Oklahoma

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    Biggest Threat Left This Year: At West Virginia

    Despite what we all saw last weekend, don't give up on West Virginia just yet. Geno Smith is still the quarterback and the Mountaineers are still one of the most explosive offenses in the country. When you are able to produce 50 points a game and convert 50 percent on third down, you give yourself a chance to beat anybody in the nation.

    And while the defense of the Sooners will provide a stiff test for West Virginia, traveling to Morgantown won't be easy for Oklahoma. An SEC-like atmosphere should inspire the Mountaineers to play better and the momentum of the crowd could certainly carry the football team to victory.

8. Oregon State

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    Biggest Threat Left This Year: vs. Oregon

    I know Oregon State is great defensively and has carried the Beavers to a 5-0 record. But the offense was already brutal and has now lost starting quarterback Sean Mannion for a long period of time with an injury. Replacement Cody Vaz played well in the victory over BYU last week, but we can't possibly expect the junior to continue that type of production for the remainder of the year.

    You can say what you want about the Beavers defense, but you need to be able to produce points against the Ducks and Oregon State hasn't shown they can do that consistently.

    The Ducks have won the last four meetings and will likely make it five later this season.

7. South Carolina

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    Biggest Threat Left This Year: At Florida

    We have talked a lot about Florida in past slides, but the Gamecocks will be pushed to their limits on Saturday against the Gators. This will be the third straight week that South Carolina has played a Top 10 team and it will be the second straight on the road for Steve Spurrier's club.

    South Carolina has struggled all season on the road and playing a Gator team that is gaining confidence throughout the year won't be easy. If the Gamecocks would like to take a trip to the SEC Championship Game, this is probably a must-win game for the program.

6. LSU

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    Biggest Threat Left This Year: vs. Alabama

    We have yet to know which LSU team is going to show up week in and week out. The offense continues to struggle, particularly the passing game, which can't exactly be good when facing a defensive juggernaut such as Alabama. And the Tigers defense hasn't exactly been as dominant as past years, as they have been vulnerable to big plays at times.

    The winner of this matchup may very well move on to the SEC Championship, and although it will take place in Baton Rouge, the away team has had great success in this SEC rivalry.

5. Notre Dame

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    Biggest Threat Left This Year: At USC

    There is a chance that Notre Dame could run the table, which would be a nightmare for many college football fans. But a trip to USC won't be easy, as the Trojans have won nine of the last 10 meetings against the Irish.

    Notre Dame has been a dominant team on the defensive side of the ball, but a young secondary will be tested early with Matt Barkley throwing the football.

    It will be interesting to see how this talented defensive front of the Irish manages against a USC offense that has future NFL players at nearly every position.

4. Kansas State

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    Biggest Threat Left This Year: At West Virginia

    Coming off of a hard fought victory against Iowa State, Kansas State will now travel to Morgantown in hopes of staying undefeated. It may not be a great time for the Wildcats to do so, as West Virginia is coming off an embarrassing loss to Texas Tech and will be looking to prove themselves to the college football world.

    This game will take place during prime time and you can expect Mountaineer fans to be going nuts. It will take a great defensive effort from the Wildcats and a big performance from quarterback Collin Klein in order to pull this off.

3. Oregon

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    Biggest Threat Left This Year: At USC

    Despite what many may think about USC, the Trojans are still one of the few teams that can keep up with Oregon scoring wise. The offense is about as talented as any other unit in the entire country and the USC defense is ranked second in the Pac-12.

    The scary thing about the Trojans is that they have yet to play their best football and are still winning football games. It may not be pretty, but this team is finding ways to win and should improve its play as the games get a little more serious down the road.

2. Florida

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    Biggest Threat Left This Year: vs. South Carolina

    South Carolina has arguably the best defensive line in the country and until quarterback Jeff Driskel can prove he can make plays throwing the football, the Gamecocks are going to load up the box to stop the running game.

    Florida is a physical football team on both sides of the ball, but it is hard to win SEC matchups when your offense is one-dimensional.

    This game will likely be a defensive bloodbath, with the victory going to the team that makes the fewest mistakes. The problem is that Florida is dead last in the SEC, averaging eight penalties a game, while South Carolina averages the fewest penalty yards in the conference.

1. Alabama

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    Biggest Threat Left This Year: At LSU

    If Alabama manages to knock off the Tigers this season, there is no doubt that the Crimson Tide finish the regular season undefeated until the SEC Championship. The hard part is that playing a night game in Death Valley is one of the more difficult things to do as a college football team.

    The LSU defense is still loaded with talent and the running game just ran for over 250 yards on a solid South Carolina front seven. Les Miles' club may have taken a step backwards from a year ago, but shouldn't be slept on, especially with this being a revenge game for the Tigers.