BCS Rankings 2012: 10 Players Who Will Determine the Course of the BCS Standings

Colby Lanham@Colby1226Correspondent IDecember 21, 2014

BCS Rankings 2012: 10 Players Who Will Determine the Course of the BCS Standings

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    This week's BCS standings have been released, and as always, there remain questions about the top teams outside of Alabama, who remains the consensus No. 1 heading into this weekend's matchup with Mississippi State. Teams like Florida, Kansas State and Oregon are looking to make their case for that No. 2 spot below Alabama. For now, Florida holds claim to that spot.

    But, many argue that it's thanks to individual players like Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein that the Wildcats are in the top five of the BCS. If this holds true, then Klein has become one of the most important players that could shape the course of the BCS standings. What other players could actively determine the course of the BCS standings?

Jeff Driskel

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    The Florida quarterback has shown himself as a key piece in Florida's undefeated streak. However, his questionable passing abilities will no doubt be called into question, despite the good mobility and running threat that he poses as a quarterback.

    With Florida being ranked at No. 2 overall, Driskel will be the most important player on a Florida team that has the capabilities on both sides of the ball be be a Top 10 team.

De'Anthony Thomas

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    The dynamic receiver out of Oregon is a big playmaker in Chip Kelly's spread offense. A Heisman contender at one point, Thomas will be a huge part of how well this offense can move the ball. His ability to score on both offense and special teams is an invaluable asset that the Ducks have at their disposal.

    His ability to line up out wide as a receiver and take handoffs out of the backfield or on sweeps makes him a hard guy to key on, and it helps to also take pressure off of their young quarterback.

Marcus Mariota

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    The redshirt freshman quarterback has run the fast-paced Oregon offense with flying colors, and he does not look to stop anytime soon. How well the young quarterback handles the mounting pressure of making it through the season remains to be seen.

    But for now, it looks as though Mariota is one of the crucial elements needed for the Ducks to make it to the national championship, and to avoid that one-game loss that could derail their hopes, as it did last season. Winning out is certainly in reach for this unit, but only if Mariota is able to make the plays the Ducks need him to.

Aj McCarron

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    The Alabama quarterback has been doing well for himself this season, being one of the few quarterbacks to have not thrown an interception. He has guided a better, more polished Alabama offense that has resulted in a better passing game in addition to its already strong running game.

    McCarron has been better than the game manager he was last season, and many are arguing he belongs in contention for the Heisman. But whether he belongs, McCarron remains the MVP for the Crimson Tide, and being on the top-ranked team, he is arguably the biggest factor of all when it comes to the BCS standings.

Everett Golson

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    The Notre quarterback has been part of a Notre Dame offense that has done just enough to help out its highly ranked defense. Golson's athleticism was a big asset early on, but he has struggled throwing the ball and has been injured in several games. Coming in at No. 5, the Fighting Irish are now in serious contention, and Golson is a big part of that.

    As the defenses get tougher, Golson tends to be unable to step it up. He will be the X-factor in whether the Fighting Irish are BCS bound.

Tommy Rees

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    Two Notre Dame quarterbacks on this list? Why? Because Notre Dame has been unable to settle on a quarterback for so long, and when one gets hurt and the backup does well in his spots, it re-ignites the quarterback controversy. And that's what Tommy Rees has done these past few weeks when Golson went down with injury.

    Rees was the starter for a lot of last year, but the Fighting Irish have gone with the more athletic Golson rather than the pocket passer Rees. But Rees has done well when coming in for Golson, and if Golson is unable to stay healthy or become unable to move the offense, Rees will be readily called upon. It's because of this that Rees is important in determining the course of the BCS.

Sean Mannion

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    The sophomore Beaver quarterback has the team sitting at No. 7 in the BCS rankings, with a top-25 rated passing attack. Mannion and the Beavers have been a pleasant surprise in the Pac-12 and are the dark-horse candidates of the BCS. 

    Oregon State has brought themselves some attention thanks in part to the performance of Mannion, who not only has the Beavers bowl-eligible, but potentially BCS bowl-eligible should they continue to play at the level they're playing at right now. Mannion is an important player in this BCS game, as teams like USC or Oklahoma would love to move above Oregon State and have a better shot at the BCS.

Landry Jones

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    The Sooners quarterback has his team with only one loss, and all is not lost for a BCS berth, especially if they win out the remainder of their schedule. And it means Jones can't choke like he has been prone to do the last couple of seasons.

    The Sooners are one of three one-loss teams ranked in the Top 10, and Landry Jones is a key part of Oklahoma moving up in the polls and increasing their chances. The race for the national championship is still wide open and anyone in the Top 10 is fair game at this point.

Matt Barkley

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    The shine had come off Matt Barkley after his upset loss against the Stanford Cardinals. But that has been his only loss of the season, and his name will be a little brighter as the BCS challenges commence. With USC looking to move up for a chance at the BCS, it not only needs other teams to lose, it needs its own marquee wins. And it can't get those wins without Barkley playing at his best.

    With one of the nation's top group of skill position players, Barkley has all he needs to be capable of winning and contending for the BCS. It also means that he holds great sway over how the BCS shapes up.

Amari Cooper

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    Last year, Alabama had no threats in the passing game that threatened any secondary, and teams were able to focus on trying to contain running back Trent Richardson. Well, now Alabama has a threat in true freshman Amari Cooper.

    Cooper exploded against a respectable Tennessee secondary, scoring two touchdowns and giving improved quarterback AJ McCarron a reliable option in the passing game in addition to the strong ground game led by Eddie Lacy and TJ Yeldon.

    Cooper will be an underrated piece in the passing game that left much to be desired last season. However, his presence in the passing game could mean the difference between victory and defeat.