BCS Rankings: The Biggest Fear for Each Top 25 Team
Everyone, even the mighty Crimson Tide, is afraid of something.
Indeed, the Top 25 teams in the BCS rankings have more to fear than most teams simply because they have the most to lose. A single hit causing an injury to a key player can easily turn a dream season into a ghastly nightmare.
So, in the spirit of Halloween, what does each Top 25 team have to fear? Read on...if you dare.
No. 25 Louisiana Tech
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The Bulldogs get past FBS newcomers UTSA and Texas State, but they fail to pull QB Colby Cameron out of one of those games before he takes a monster hit that sidelines him for the rest of the season.
The Louisiana Tech offense falls out of rhythm without Cameron, and the Bulldogs fall out of the Top 25 and lose the WAC title to Utah State.
No. 24 Oklahoma State Cowboys
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Oklahoma State fails to beat the four ranked teams left on the schedule and can't keep up with Baylor, either. Thus, Oklahoma State falls from the Top 25 and fails to become bowl-eligible.
Head coach Mike Gundy goes off on his first major rant in front of the media since his "I'm a man! I'm 40!" performance, and Oklahoma State is forced to distance themselves from him.
No. 23 Texas Longhorns
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Texas descends back into quarterback controversy as David Ash loses his grip on the starting job and Case McCoy does enough to contend with Ash, but not enough to win the job outright or win games against Texas Tech, Iowa State, TCU or Kansas State.
The Longhorns limp to a bowl game and lose that, too. Mack Brown decides to make a quick getaway from Austin with a fake mustache, and Texas has to go through a long rebuilding period before it can compete with the likes of Oklahoma again.
No. 22 Arizona Wildcats
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The Wildcats celebrate their victory over USC so long that they forget to prepare for UCLA. The Bruins catch the Wildcats off guard and send Arizona right back out of the Top 25, this time for good.
Arizona handles Colorado, but trips to Utah and rival Arizona State are just too much for the Wildcats. Thus, another promising season falls apart under Rich Rodriguez, and Arizona fans are forced to endure what Michigan fans did under Rodriguez's tenure.
No. 21 West Virginia Mountaineers
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West Virginia's shocking fall from grace continues as the Mountaineers fall to Oklahoma State, Oklahoma and Iowa State. They find a way to beat hapless Kansas, but it's too little, too late.
Geno Smith throws more interceptions than touchdowns in his final four games, and no one mentions the word "Heisman" again in regard to the senior quarterback. West Virginia decides to hire another "head coach in waiting" after the Mountaineers' implosion, and Dana Holgorson takes his offensive mind elsewhere.
No. 20 Nebraska Cornhuskers
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The Cornhuskers follow the example of everyone else in the Big Ten who used to be in the BCS Top 25 and promptly lose to Michigan State and Penn State. The Huskers miss out on the Big Ten title game, and once again, Nebraska fans have to wait yet another season for a chance at a BCS bowl.
And Taylor Martinez continues to be cursed with consistent inconsistency.
No. 19 Boise State Broncos
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Boise State rises high enough in the BCS rankings to perhaps pick up an automatic bid thanks to numerous upsets around the country, only to have those hopes dashed at Nevada.
Worse, the Broncos' new home, the Big East, fails to get a big-time bowl connection after the dust settles from the addition of a playoff to college football. Boise State finds itself in worse condition to play in a major bowl game than it is now in the Mountain West.
To top it all off, Chris Petersen decides that enough is enough and chooses to take a job at a place like Arkansas where he can finally win a national championship. Boise State can't move on without him and falls into the dustbin of history.
No. 18 Texas Tech Red Raiders
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The Red Raiders can't handle success, as Texas finds its offense again against Texas Tech. Oklahoma State and Baylor prove to be too much for its defense to handle, and Seth Doege suffers an injury in the struggle to keep up with all of these high-powered offenses.
Auburn fans can tell Texas Tech fans what happens next as dissatisfaction with Tommy Tuberville grows.
No. 17 USC Trojans
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USC's lack of depth catches up to it as Oregon and Notre Dame rout the Trojans. Arizona State and UCLA also take advantage of USC's shortage of scholarships, and USC falls to a mediocre 6-6.
Disappointing, given the return of Matt Barkley this season.
And after all that, Lane Kiffin abruptly pulls out of L.A. and takes a coaching job in the NFL.
No. 16 Texas A&M Aggies
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Texas A&M faces Mississippi State at the worst possible time, as the Bulldogs play inspired football in the wake of their loss to Alabama.
Then, they, too, fall at the hands of the Crimson Tide, and the Alabama defense puts Johnny Manziel out of commission for the remainder of the season.
Without Manziel, A&M is only able to limp past Sam Houston State, and fellow SEC newcomer Missouri takes advantage of the Aggies' loss.
No. 15 Mississippi State Bulldogs
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Mississippi State never recovers from its 38-7 drubbing at the hands of Alabama. In turn, Texas A&M, LSU, Arkansas and Ole Miss all take down the Bulldogs, and a promising 7-0 start turns into a disappointing 7-5 finish.
The Egg Bowl loss to the Rebels is a particularly crushing blow, and Dan Mullen resigns after failing to keep his promise to never lose to Ole Miss again.
No. 14 Stanford Cardinal
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Stanford runs out of luck, as it gets caught looking past lowly Colorado toward upcoming games against Oregon State and Oregon. Colorado plays the game of the year and upsets the Cardinal.
Stanford can't recover from that stunning blow, and Oregon State, Oregon and UCLA run all over it. Stanford is doomed to a poor bowl game and doesn't get up for it.
A terrible ending to Stanford's first season without Andrew Luck.
No. 13 Clemson Tigers
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Clemson fans experience deja vu as the Tigers suffer another late-season meltdown starting this week against upstart Duke. Sammy Watkins suffers yet another injury just as he's hitting his stride in 2012, and Tajh Boyd also suffers a freak injury.
South Carolina wipes the floor with Clemson, and this time, an Orange Bowl bid is just out of reach.
No. 12 Oklahoma Sooners
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Oklahoma becomes "Ch-Oklahoma" as the Sooners fail to recover from their loss to Notre Dame. Iowa State, Baylor, West Virginia and TCU all get the upper hand over the the stunned Sooners, as Landry Jones relapses in a case similar to what happened at the end of 2011.
Oklahoma is forced to stay home during bowl season, while Texas fans goad the Sooners all offseason long.
No. 11 Oregon State Beavers
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Oregon State's dream season quickly turns into a nightmare as the Beavers fall to Arizona State, Stanford and badly to Oregon. Even Cal gives them a run for their money.
The Beavers drop all the way down to a bowl game like the Las Vegas Bowl and get run over by a team like Boise State.
No. 10: Louisville Cardinals
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Louisville gets bit by the upset bug going around the Big East. Just as Cincinnati fell to Toledo and Rutgers to Kent State, the Cardinals lose to former MAC team Temple.
To add insult to injury, Louisville also falls to Rutgers and any chance at a BCS bowl is cruelly dashed right at the end of the season.
And once again, the football program concedes to Rick Pitino and the basketball team, much to the frustration of Charlie Strong. Strong promptly takes the first job offered to him, and Louisville football falls into obscurity.
No. 9 Florida State Seminoles
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The wheels come off the Seminoles as E.J. Manuel takes a hard hit against Virginia Tech and is sidelined. Florida State falls to Maryland, and Florida decimates the Seminoles without Manuel.
Florida State misses its chance at a BCS bid and has to wait at least one more year for its return to glory.
No. 8 South Carolina Gamecocks
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South Carolina doesn't take Arkansas seriously and pays the price for it. While the Gamecocks, even in their nightmares, can easily handle Wofford, Clemson does to the Gamecocks what South Carolina did to the Tigers last season.
Steve Spurrier grows tired of coaching in the SEC again and leaves South Carolina without bringing it a championship. The Gamecocks are left to wonder if South Carolina will ever be able to win the national championship.
No. 7 Florida Gators
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Florida, distraught from its loss to Georgia and fall from the No. 2 spot in last week's BCS rankings, fails to show up against Missouri. James Franklin has a miraculous recovery and lights up the reeling Gators for a big win.
Meanwhile, Georgia wins out and even finds a way to win the SEC championship. Thanks to certain upsets, Florida's hated rival makes it to the BCS National Championship Game and wins it all.
That would be enough to make the Gators scream.
No. 6 Georgia Bulldogs
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Georgia, riding high after beating rival Florida and taking the lead in the SEC East, suffers a letdown of epic proportions by falling to Ole Miss the very next week. What's more, the Bulldogs find a way to come up short against Georgia Tech to end the season.
Meanwhile, the Gators win out, find a way to upset No. 1 Alabama in the SEC title game and get to go to a BCS bowl while the Bulldogs are left to wonder what might have been.
Such a scenario would certainly keep Uga up at night.
No. 5 LSU Tigers
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Alabama forces LSU to relive the 2012 BCS National Championship Game as the Crimson Tide blank the Tigers again. Mississippi State is then able to take advantage of LSU's heartbreaking loss and hands LSU an upset.
Furthermore, a mistake in clock management leads to a loss to Ole Miss, and Arkansas finally puts together all its talent and takes away the Golden Boot from the Tigers.
All this finally drives "The Mad Hatter" Les Miles insane, and he's forced, for his own sake, to withdraw from football altogether.
No. 4 Oregon Ducks
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The Ducks win their remaining games, but the computers hold Oregon out of the BCS National Championship Game. Oregon is so angry about being left out that it fails to show up to the Rose Bowl and gets destroyed by a team like Nebraska.
On top of all that, the Oregon Duck pulls a muscle and can't do pushups anymore.
No. 3 Notre Dame Fighting Irish
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Notre Dame looks past Pitt after its big win against Oklahoma, and the Panthers put an end to Notre Dame's undefeated season and its national-championship hopes.
Worse, LB Manti Te'o tears his knee and, effectively ending his Heisman hopes. The Fighting Irish defense can't hold together without him, and the Irish offense can't win without a top-notch defense. A final loss to USC places a BCS bowl out of reach, and Notre Dame is forced to wait another year for its return to glory.
No. 2 Kansas State Wildcats
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Collin Klein finally takes one hit too many and tears his ACL this week against Oklahoma State. The Wildcats can't find the end zone without him, and Kansas Stats falls to 8-4 to finish the regular season.
Kansas State falls from the Top 25 altogether and loses its bowl game to finish the season 8-5.
The fans turn on Bill Snyder, who decides that retirement was a better life for him after all.
No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide
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As the weeks roll on, Alabama doesn't seem to have much to fear, but how about this nightmarish scenario:
The Crimson Tide roll into their Iron Bowl game against Auburn a perfect 11-0. The Tigers have three wins at best. Everyone expects a big Alabama victory.
Then, the very winds and earth rebel against the Crimson Tide at the worst possible time. AJ McCarron runs into his own lineman and twists his ankle. The ball all of the sudden becomes slippery in the hands of the Alabama players and Auburn is able to pick up six turnovers, three of them returned for touchdowns.
Meanwhile, Auburn finally plays up to its potential and Gene Chizik coaches the game of his career. Auburn introduces a surprise quarterback that looks suspiciously like Cam Newton. And, worst of all, Auburn pulls off the upset of the millennium and Alabama is forced out of the national-championship race at the hands of its hated rival. Nick Saban resigns in disgust.
Of course this won't happen, but this would be quite a ghost story for Crimson Tide fans.