There are only a few more games left for college football's top teams to prove they are worthy of a spot in this coming January's BCS National Championship Game.
After surviving LSU in Death Valley in Week 10, Alabama looked poised to return to the title game for the second straight year. But the Tide fell victim to Texas A&M in Saturday's most shocking upset, and will now need serious help to get back to the championship game this winter.
Enter Kansas State. The Wildcats will now likely take over the top spot in the BCS. Meanwhile, Oregon and Notre Dame are both undefeated and in the mix to play Kansas State in a winner-take-all title matchup.
Here, we break down what must happen for each team to win it all in 2012.
No. 1. Alabama
For the defending national champions, repeating after Saturday's bitter loss to Texas A&M will take tons of help from the teams at the top.
If Nick Saban's team can right the ship defensively and run the ball with success on early downs, then Alabama will be on its way to finishing the regular season 11-1.
The good news for Alabama fans is that the Tide will have an extra shot to impress in the SEC Championship Game against Georgia. Alabama must win out against Western Carolina, Auburn and Georgia (SEC Championship Game), and hope for Kansas State, Oregon and Notre Dame to slip up somewhere down the line.
No. 2. Kansas State
Kansas State is in the driver's seat to earn a berth in the championship game this January after Alabama's fall from grace in Week 11.
There's no more fear of being jumped by Oregon. If the Wildcats win out, they will be in the title game.
Like Oregon though, Kansas State's greatest strength is its potent scoring offense. Assuming the Wildcats finish No. 1 or No. 2 in the BCS, they would need Heisman Trophy candidate Collin Klein to be at his best against either a fast defense in Oregon, or a physical one in Notre Dame.
This team will only go as far as Klein takes it.
No. 3. Oregon
At the moment, the Ducks look to be in position to play for the crown.
Oregon will finish the regular season against ranked Pac-12 foes Stanford and Oregon State. If the Ducks can outscore both of those teams and finish 12-0, they'll be a Pac-12 Championship Game win away from 13-0 and returning to the BCS National Championship Game for the second time in three seasons.
The country's highest scoring offense would then likely need to either outscore Kansas State or grind out a win over the Irish.
No. 4. Notre Dame
Notre Dame will need the luck of the Irish in order to finish the year inside the top two in the BCS.
Unless either Kansas State or Oregon fall at some point over the next few weeks, Brian Kelly's Irish will more than likely be left disappointed at season's end. Even if Notre Dame can finish 12-0 and beat Wake Forest and USC in blowout fashion, it might not be enough to trump what Kansas State and Oregon have done, thanks to those two teams' exciting offenses and impressive resumes.
Therefore, the Irish must continue to play sensational defense, win and hope that one of the top two teams ahead of them slip up.
Then, Notre Dame would have to make the BCS National Championship Game a dog fight behind the effort of its fearsome front seven.
|WEEK 11 BCS STANDINGS|
| 2. Kansas State|
| 3. Oregon|
| 4. Notre Dame|
| 5. Georgia|
| 6. Florida|
| 7. LSU|
| 8. South Carolina|
| 9. Louisville|
| 10. Florida State|
| 11. Oregon State|
| 12. Oklahoma|
| 13. Clemson|
| 14. Stanford|
| 15. Texas A&M|
| 16. Nebraska|
| 17. Texas|
| 18. UCLA|
| 19. USC|
| 20. Louisiana Tech|
| 21. Mississippi State|
| 22. Texas Tech|
| 23. Rutgers|
| 24. Northwestern|
| 25. Toledo|
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