BCS Standings: Sleeper Teams with Realistic Shots Towards At-Large Bids
After several major upsets in college football in Week 10, the BCS picture is becoming less and less clear with every passing quarter. The BCS standings will be released on Sunday night, and at least half the teams in the Top 25 still have a shot at playing in a BCS bowl.
The SEC, Big 12 and Pac-12 all have candidates who have a case for a BCS at-large birth, and so does the Big East after the Louisville Cardinal remained unbeaten with a big win over Temple.
Oklahoma and Stanford remained alive in the BCS picture, and each has a chance to run the table toward a big game in January.
With that in mind, here's a look at three sleeper teams with a legitimate shot at breaking the BCS. Each needs help, but running the table for any of the three could mean trouble at the top of the BCS rankings as the bowl game scheduled is released following the end of the regular season.
No one relates the Big East to a big-time football conference any more, and with the conference's best team now in the Big 12 (West Virginia), who could blame them?
But behind QB Teddy Bridgewater, this Cardinal team has commanded respect in both the Big East and the eyes of national voters. They were the No. 10 team in the country as of Week 10, but will surely rise on Sunday night, as noted by ESPN's Max Bretos.
Louisville thumping Temple. @floridastate on bye week. Hard to imagine that Noles will not be leapfrogged by Cardinals in the BCS standings— Max Bretos (@mbretosESPN) November 3, 2012
With a chance to move even higher up the rankings, the Cardinal have three winnable games to close the season. They won't overlook Syracuse or Rutgers, two teams that played good offensive football, but barring any major setbacks, this undefeated squad should have a place in the Sugar, Orange or Fiesta Bowl.
Any three of these teams could wind up being the No. 2 team in the SEC. Georgia only has one loss, but that could change in a potential SEC championship matchup with Alabama. LSU, despite the two losses, is always going to be a team to look out for.
Texas A&M is the real sleeper here. If LSU or Georgia was to falter at all, then A&M has some quality wins on their schedule. A loss to Alabama takes them out of this group, but a win or even a close showing might keep them alive.
QB Johnny Manziel embarrassed No. 15 Mississippi State, the second consecutive week that the Bulldogs have been beaten soundly by an SEC foe.
Needless to say, there's a lot to sort out in the rest of the SEC, but any of these teams could sneak into the Top 10 late, and with that designation grab a BCS at-large bid.
Which team would you like to see in a BCS bowl?
Any Kansas State loss takes OU out of the picture. But with a firm grasp on the No. 2 spot in the Big 12 and with the team still hovering around the Top 10 of the BCS standings, it isn't too far to presume the Sooners would be a candidate for a big game.
As the No. 2 team in the Big 12, the obvious place to go would be the Cotton Bowl. But since OU travels well, has a wide fanbase and has two losses to teams in the top three of the BCS standings, it's hard to argue that they would be an easy sell for any bowl director.
They'll have to run the table, but games against Baylor, Oklahoma State and West Virginia will help keep them in a consistent spot in the standings.
QB Landry Jones seems to be turning a corner in his senior season, and this Oklahoma offense needs him to continue to play well. If he does, we could be seeing Jones in the Fiesta Bowl, or even the Sugar Bowl in the right circumstances.
All these teams have much to sort out. When the BCS rankings break on Sunday night, it will help clear up some of the mess, before Week 11 will start to confuse the situation yet again.
Ethan Grant is a featured columnist for B/R's Breaking News Team.
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