BCS Rankings: Power Ranking Top National Championship Contenders

Richard LangfordCorrespondent IOctober 28, 2012

COLUMBIA, MO - OCTOBER 13:  Head coach Nick Saban watches from the sidelines during the game against the Missouri Tigers at Faurot Field/Memorial Stadium on October 13, 2012 in Columbia, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

This college football season is rumbling towards a clash of two unbeaten powers ramming head-to-head in the National Championship Game. 

That much is far clearer than which two teams it will be. The top four teams in the latest BCS Standings (posted below) are all undefeated and have a strong chance at finishing off their season that way.

At least two of them will. So, let's power rank the top four's chances of doing just that.  


No. 4: Kansas State

The Wildcats actually have the easiest path to going undefeated. They have two games remaining against ranked teams (No. 24 Oklahoma State and No. 23 Texas) and they will play both at home. The Big 12 does not have a championship game. 

That will work out just dandy for them if two of the three other top four teams lose a game, but they will be doomed if that doesn't happen. 

Kansas State's biggest highlights of their resume are already behind them. They will have a hard time impressing voters moving forward, and the other teams will gain ground on them in the computer rankings because of the strength of schedule department. 


No. 3: Oregon

Oregon is suffering right now due to a lack of opponent strength. They have been steamrolling teams, but the last two weeks, they've been passed by Kansas State and Notre Dame in the standings. 

This is all about to change. Three of the Ducks' next four games are against teams in the Top 25, with games at No. 17 USC, vs. No. 14 Stanford and at No. 11 Oregon State. 

The Ducks will be able to handle all of these games, and the only one that causes me any concern is their regular-season ending in the "Civil War" at Oregon State. The Beavers are a sound and well-rounded football team, and weird things tend to happen in any matchup that carries its own moniker. 

As long as they qualify, Oregon will then have to play in the Pac-12 championship game, which will give them another quality opponent, though not a team that should be able to hang with Oregon. The Pac-12 South only has USC in the Top 25. 

Now, logical thinking suggests this would be enough to push them past Notre Dame, but that won't happen if the Irish win out. 


No. 2: Notre Dame

Notre Dame has a nice path in front of them to an undefeated regular season. Their next three games are vs. Pittsburgh, at Boston College and vs. Wake Forest. The Irish should have little trouble in those contests. 

They will close the regular season playing at USC, and I actually expect the Trojans to give Notre Dame a tougher time than they will Oregon, as the Irish's offense is not as suited to take advantage of USC's lack of depth on the defensive front. 

Anyway, with the Irish's defense playing at their current level, they will win that game. They just won't win it as convincingly as Oregon. So, without a conference title game, this should leave Notre Dame chasing Oregon in the standings (if they both go undefeated). 

However, this is Notre Dame we are talking about, and having them in the championship game will generate more money and hype than any other program. 

Somehow, someway, if the Irish go undefeated, the powers that be will find a way to slide Notre Dame into the BCS championship. 

And lucky for those powers that be, fans won't be likely to riot since the four-team playoffs will be arriving next year. 


No. 1: Alabama

If Alabama goes undefeated, it is not going to be passed in the BCS standings. The Crimson Tide's lead is too comfortable, and they deserve it. 

They certainly do not have an easy path to that undefeated record though. They play at No. 5 LSU next week and vs. No. 16 Texas A&M the following week. 

They also have the SEC title game looming should they qualify, which will undoubtedly pit them against one of the nation's top teams. 

However, Alabama has looked completely unbeatable. They are scary on defense and good on offense. It will be an upset if they lose a game this season. 


 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