BCS Rankings Week 11: Which Undefeated Team Has the Toughest Road Left?
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Another week down, another jumble atop the BCS rankings.
But with only one month left to play, everyone is asking the same question: which, if any, undefeated team is going to fall first?
Quite simply, it all comes down to the schedule.
In what almost seems to be a formality, every season sees a handful of teams storm through the first 10 weeks with hardly a scratch on their armor. Each one believing they have what it takes to be crowned the national champion of the college football universe.
However, for many of these teams that hard work is quickly thrown out the window when they falter just before the finish line.
Maybe the pressure got to their heads. Maybe they overlooked an opponent they shouldn’t have. Whatever the case, these last few weeks are when the contenders are separated from the pretenders.
As it stands, there are four undefeated teams—sorry, Ohio State and Louisville—vying for only two spots in the BCS title game. Over this last month, Alabama, Kansas State, Oregon and Notre Dame will all try to separate themselves from the pack.
For some, it’ll be easier than others.
Take No. 2 Kansas State (9-0) for instance. They’re as close to a sure shot to make it all the way to the title game unscathed.
The Wildcats—coming off a three-game gauntlet of ranked opponents—will travel to TCU and Baylor in the next two weeks. They then play host to No. 17 Texas who have played at a much lower level than their 7-2 record would suggest.
Which team will fall first?
Kansas State will also benefit from the lack of a Big 12 Conference title game. The only question remaining is whether or not head coach Bill Snyder can have his team successfully deal with the pressure that will only build with each passing game.
No. 4 Notre Dame (9-0) will also benefit from no conference title game to be played.
The Fighting Irish will spend the next two weeks entertaining Boston College and Wake Forest. The two teams have a combined record of 7-11. Then again, Notre Dame needed three overtimes to put away a mediocre Pittsburgh team just last week.
Their big test will be a road trip to Southern California to face off with No. 19 USC. The Trojans have won nine of the last 10 in the series between the two.
No. 1 Alabama (9-0) faces a bit of a tougher challenge.
The Crimson Tide will play all three remaining games at home. In four such contests this season opponents have only scored 21 points. They will first face SEC-newcomer Texas A&M before taking on Western Carolina and Auburn. The latter two will prove to be more of a cakewalk with a combined record of 3-16.
Their only remaining hurdle will be an SEC title game tilt with either No. 5 Georgia or No. 6 Florida.
That leaves No. 3 Oregon (9-0).
The Ducks will start out by traveling to play California this weekend. While the Golden Bears have lost three straight, the two teams have split the series 4-4 over the last eight years.
After that, Oregon will host No. 14 Stanford.
The Cardinal will be looking to get a little bit of revenge against the Ducks for their antics last season when Oregon went into Palo Alto and put an end to Andrew Luck and then-No. 4 Stanford’s unbeaten season with a 53-30 victory on Nov. 12. You can bet that game will be used as a strong motivational tool inside the Cardinal locker room leading up to that match.
The Ducks then wrap the regular season up with their annual interstate rivalry game against No. 11 Oregon State.
Oregon may have won four straight in the series, however, the Beavers would likely be vying for a possible Pac 12 Conference championship or even a BCS title shot. Rivalry games tend to be fierce no matter the records. But with both teams fighting with all the marbles on the table? It’ll be sure to be one heck of a slobber knocker.
If the Ducks were to survive all that they still have to play the Pac-12 Conference championship game.
As of now, the team that Oregon would likely face will come down to next weekend’s matchup between No. 19 USC and No. 18 UCLA. Whoever wins that game will likely win the south division.
The Ducks will likely end the season playing three straight top-15 teams. The odds of them coming out unscathed aren’t going to look too good.
It’s why Oregon will be the first of the four to fall.
With Alabama likely facing a top-3 opponent in the SEC Conference championship, there’s also a good possibility that they might fall as well.
That would leave us with a Kansas State-Notre Dame national championship game.
Who saw that one coming during the preseason?
You can follow Sebastian on Twitter at @SP7988
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