BCS Rankings: Most Talented Teams Lurking Outside of Top 10

Ian Hanford@Ian_HanfordFeatured ColumnistOctober 22, 2012

Just because a team isn't ranked in the Top 10 of the Week 9 BCS standings doesn't mean it's not talented.

A handful of dangerous squads sit outside the top group, waiting to pounce on any slip-ups made by the nation's elite. If one of the upper-echelon teams lose, these teams are ready to take their spot without fail.

Weak scheduling or one costly loss could leave a team on the outside looking in.

Let's take a look at three of the most talented teams sitting outside of the BCS' Top 10.


No. 12 Florida State

The Seminoles always manage to get in their own way at least once per year, but that doesn't take away from this squad's elite ability.

Next to Alabama, in terms of pure physical tools, Florida State has everything a college team could possibly want.

E.J. Manuel makes mental errors, but he's still one of the most dangerous dual-threat quarterbacks in the nation. He doesn't have a clear-cut top target to throw the ball to, but Kenny Shaw and Kelvin Benjamin lead a very deep group of targets on the outside.

On top of that, Chris Thompson and Jame Wilder Jr. have combined for over 1,000 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns on the year.

Defensively, the 'Noles rank No. 5 in the nation in scoring defense. Guys like Bjoern Werner, Xavier Rhodes, Lamarcus Joyner and others make the unit among the nation's most athletic at all three levels.

Florida State will have a chance to prove itself against Florida in the final week of the season. A win would show everyone how talented this team really is.


No. 18 Clemson

Clemson has copious amounts of talent on offense, despite its lack of maturity on the defensive side of the ball.

When you take Tajh Boyd, DeAndre Hopkins, Sammy Watkins and Andre Ellington into account, you have four of the most dangerous skill players in the nation. They're nearly impossible to stop, and are a big part of the reason why Clemson is the nation's No. 15 scoring offense.

The Tigers don't have many chances to prove it. When they have had a chance (Florida State), they blew it. Now they must wait until the last game of the season against South Carolina to show everyone how talented they really are.

Watching Clemson take the ball down the field is fun. If you like speed and athleticism, this team is for you.


No. 13 South Carolina

The Gamecocks are a blue-collar squad without the firepower necessary to keep up in the SEC. When Marcus Lattimore is out of the equation, like he was on Saturday, who can Steve Spurrier turn to?

Connor Shaw has shown that he's not ready to be that guy just yet. He doesn't have the receivers to throw to, and he still makes poor decisions. Without Lattimore, South Carolina's offense struggles mightily.

On the other hand, South Carolina's defense oozes with talent. Jadeveon Clowney, Devin Taylor and Kelcy Quarles comprise one of the nation's most daunting groups of pass-rushers. They're supported by a hard-hitting secondary led by Devonte Holloman and Jimmy Legree.

Two straight losses have this squad on the outside looking in, but don't think that's for lack of ability. This defense can stick with anyone, and no one wants to stand in Lattimore's way when he gets a head of steam.


*For a complete look at the standings, click here

Week 9 BCS Standings

1. Alabama
2. Florida
3. Kansas State
4. Oregon
5. Notre Dame
6. LSU
7. Oregon State
8. Oklahoma
9. USC
10. Georgia
11. Mississippi State
12. Florida State
13. South Carolina
14. Texas Tech
15. Rutgers 
16. Louisville
17. Stanford
18. Clemson
19. West Virginia
20. Texas A&M
21. Boise State
22. Michigan
23. Texas
24. Ohio
25. Wisconsin


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