College Football: 5 Teams Whose BCS Title Dreams Died in October
At the conclusion of September, a number of college football teams still had their eyes on the ultimate prize of winning a BCS National Championship.
But as we come upon Halloween and move into November, that number has dwindled significantly.
The true contenders have separated themselves from those who were merely off to a fast start. While Alabama, Kansas State, Notre Dame and Oregon continued to win, others did not.
Left off this list are LSU, Georgia and Oklahoma. While the Tigers did lose to Florida, they still play at Alabama and have the best chance to vault back up into the top three or four with a win against the Crimson Tide. That's a tough task, but their dreams are not yet dead. The same can be said for Georgia if it wins out, which would include a victory in the SEC title game.
On the other hand, Oklahoma entered October with a loss and would have had a tougher time getting back into the championship picture, though the loss to Notre Dame certainly didn't help its cause.
Here are five teams that entered October with visions of crystal footballs and left with nothing more than thoughts about what could have been.
1. Florida State
October was a heartbreaking month for fans of the Florida State Seminoles.
After making a national statement by beating Clemson, they got off to a sluggish start against the North Carolina State Wolfpack.
A 16-0 halftime lead wasn't very impressive, but it didn't exactly signal doom either. The second half played out very differently, and the Wolfpack capped off a drive in the final minutes with a touchdown to seal the win.
Even more confusing is the fact that FSU is scoring nearly 45 points a game while giving up just 12! The game was a complete anomaly, but as college football reminds us each season, you can't let your guard down once.
And unfortunately for the Seminoles, a loss in the ACC erases any chance of climbing back into the title picture, barring complete chaos.
2. West Virginia
The Mountaineers began the month as the best looking beauty queen in the BCS pageant.
Forget that they didn't play defense because the offense was putting up points at a mind-numbing pace, and Geno Smith was the early leader in the Heisman clubhouse.
A win at Texas showed fans that they could win on the road in a back-and-forth game. It's too bad Texas Tech didn't want any part of a back-and-forth game, as it blew out the Mountaineers the following weekend, 49-14.
But West Virginia still had a chance to redeem itself against Kansas State. If only its 118th-ranked defense had made more plays.
The Wildcats demolished West Virginia, and the Mountaineers officially became an afterthought of the 2012 season.
The Florida Gators had passed every test they faced in the rugged SEC.
A home game against LSU turned into a slugfest in which the Gators ultimately prevailed thanks to a productive running game.
Another challenge by the Gamecocks gave Florida a chance to shine once again in the spotlight, and it delivered. Even an early season victory over Texas A&M was starting to look better as the Aggies continued their impressive play.
But this team was ultimately undone by a Georgia Bulldogs team that had disappeared after losing to South Carolina.
Florida is still ranked seventh in the BCS standings, but it trails Georgia in both the BCS and the SEC East. If Georgia wins out (and its schedule is not difficult), the Bulldogs will play in the SEC Championship Game and Florida will be left out.
4. South Carolina
The South Carolina Gamecocks have had better months of football.
They entered September without a loss, and after beating Georgia 35-7, everyone could see they were for real. But following the impressive victory, they fell on the road to LSU.
And then, as is custom in the SEC, they had to travel to Florida to play their third game in a row against a Top 10 team, and it didn't end well.
The two losses put the Gamecocks out of contention in the SEC East and out of the BCS picture altogether.
No one doubts the talent on this team, nor the freakish abilities of Jadeveon Clowney. But a difficult schedule ultimately proved to be too much for Steve Spurrier and company to handle, and they'll exit the month with their dreams ruined.
5. Mississippi State
Don't laugh. I understand your first thought may have been "Mississippi State never had a chance to play for the BCS title." But regardless of your opinion on how good this team is, it definitely had a chance.
But Nick Saban likes to take those chances and crush them, and that's exactly what his Alabama team did to the Bulldogs Saturday night.
The reason they are on this list, though, is that they play in the SEC and as crazy as it sounds, they would be playing for the title had they won out. Pollsters just didn't give them much respect because they hadn't beaten any quality teams.
But if they had somehow squeaked past Alabama, you would have seen them vault up in the standings, possibly into the Top Five. And with future wins over LSU and Texas A&M, they probably would have held the top spot.
Thus, they had legitimate BCS title dreams. But they were dashed by Alabama, and they'll now hit the meat of their schedule. They never deserved to be a Top Five team, and we'll find out soon if they are even a Top 25 team.
But hey, Mississippi State fans, it was fun to dream right?