BCS Standings: Underrated Teams That Will Become Championship Contenders

Steven Cook@@stevencookinFeatured Columnist IVOctober 29, 2012

JACKSONVILLE, FL - OCTOBER 27:  Aaron Murray #11 of the Georgia Bulldogs attempts a pass during the game against the Florida Gators at EverBank Field on October 27, 2012 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

The end of the regular season is just a month away, but there's no shortage of teams lurking under the radar to make late-season surges toward becoming championship contenders.

Although teams like Alabama, Oregon, Kansas State and Notre Dame certainly are in the driver's seat, each has a daunting foe on their remaining schedule, and making it to the bowl season unblemished won't be a cakewalk.

There was a major shakeup in the BCS standings yet again this week, and it has put many teams in prime position for a championship run that would undoubtedly defy the odds. 

Let's take a look at the dark-horse teams that will turn it on in the season's final month and become serious contenders to appear in the BCS National Championship game. 


No. 6 Georgia Bulldogs

When Georgia was thrashed by South Carolina earlier in the season, many people expected the Bulldogs to roll over and concede defeat. Mark Richt's team had other plans.

The Bulldogs boast one of the SEC's easiest schedules, but they still had two top-10 matchups. One was the loss against South Carolina, and the other was a must-win game this weekend in Jacksonville against the Florida Gators. 

Florida had looked limitless through the season's first seven games, but it seemed that they saved all of their turnovers for Saturday's contest. The Gators turned the ball over six times against a stingy Bulldogs defense that finally has started playing up to their potential.

Georgia's offense wasn't dominant, but they were facing a daunting defense, and if there's any quarterback in the nation that can rally his offense, it's Aaron Murray.

Murray and the Bulldogs should stroll through their remaining schedule and head to the SEC Championship game against either Alabama or LSU. If they come out on top in Atlanta, expect them to be a shoo-in for the BCS National Championship.


No. 9 Florida State Seminoles

Entering this season, Florida State was widely anticipated to have their best shot at a BCS National Championship since the early 2000s. That was before being upset by the N.C. State Wolfpack three weeks ago. 

Despite the improbable loss to one of the ACC's better teams, the Seminoles have shown this season that they're capable of making a championship run. According to ESPN, they've beaten opponents this season by an average of 45-12. 

Their scoring offense ranks fourth in the country, and their defense is even more stout, as they are third in the nation. 

The Seminoles should have no trouble winning their next three games, but will have their hands full when in-state rival Florida comes to town. The Gators are certainly still in the hunt for a national championship, and a win over the Gators would help catapult the Seminoles closer to championship contention.

Jimbo Fisher's squad will need the ball to bounce their way if they're going to have a shot at the BCS title, but there's certainly a chance. 


No. 13 Clemson Tigers

Clemson needs help from someone in their own conference to have a shot at entering back in the national title conversation, but it's far from impossible.

The Tigers' only blemish on the season was a 49-37 defeat to Florida State in late September, which means that the Seminoles hold the tiebreaker in the ACC Atlantic division. Clemson will have to keep their fingers crossed that Florida State slips up in one of their two remaining conference games (at Virginia Tech and at Maryland).

While it's highly unlikely that the Seminoles will drop either of those games, a loss would mean that Clemson would be in the driver's seat in the ACC. 

Add a possible late-season win over South Carolina, who could be in the top 10 heading into the contest, and suddenly Clemson is right in the thick of things. 


BCS Rankings Week 10 (according to ESPN)

1. Alabama

2. Kansas State

3. Notre Dame

4. Oregon

5. LSU

6. Georgia

7. Florida

8. South Carolina

9. Florida State

10. Louisville

11. Oregon State

12. Oklahoma

13. Clemson

14. Stanford

15. Mississippi State

16. Texas A&M

17. USC

18. Texas Tech

19. Boise State

20. Nebraska

21. West Virginia

22. Arizona

23. Texas

24. Oklahoma State

25. Louisiana Tech


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