Alabama's loss on Saturday created a different dynamic atop the BCS standings. The Crimson Tide are no longer in control of their own destiny. They must hope at least two of the three teams ahead of them slip up to have a reasonable shot at defending their national championship.
If Kansas State, Oregon and Notre Dame win out—even with Alabama presumably still on track to play in the SEC title game—they won't be able to move back into the top two.
As it stands—barring a complete global disaster from the top three teams—two of these four teams will play for the national championship.
Here are the biggest potential impediments for each of them.
No. 1 Kansas St.
The Wildcats have been extremely balanced all season. They are ranked in the top 15 in scoring and fewest points allowed.
Although they must travel to Waco to take on the Baylor Bears, the toughest game remaining for the Wildcats is the season finale at home against the No. 15 Texas Longhorns.
Texas' defense has been suspect all season, but their running game is potentially dominant. Johnathan Gray and Joe Bergeron have combined for 1157 yards. They have the players on defense to step up and make plays.
The unit played perhaps their best game on November 3 against Texas Tech. They finally beat a ranked team, and they held a solid offense to only 22 points.
The Wildcats should handle the Longhorns, but from a pure talent standpoint, they offer the biggest challenge.
No. 2 Oregon
The Ducks' offense has been amazing all season. They are averaging over 60 points per game in their last three games.
In their final two regular season tilts, they will face two ranked conference opponents. They will be at home against No. 14 Stanford, and finish up the regular season on the road in the Civil War against No. 16 Oregon State.
Both of these teams play good to great defense, but containing the Ducks' offense is a tall task for anyone. I'll say the Cardinal has the edge because of their run game.
They knocked off USC on September 15 and they nearly beat Notre Dame earlier this season. In head to head competition, the Cardinal bested the Beavers on Saturday.
That said, their defense cannot contain the Ducks. The team speed advantage is too great. If UCLA falls apart and USC passes them in the South division, a rematch with the Trojans would be interesting in the Pac-12 title game.
If the Ducks navigate the last three games unscathed, they should be the unquestioned No. 1 team in the final BCS standings.
No. 3 Notre Dame
The Irish path is pretty simple.
There's no conference championship to play; they simply have to beat a terrible Wake Forest team, and then defeat No. 18 USC in Los Angeles.
If they take care of business, it will take only one loss from either Kansas State or Oregon and they are in.
Obviously, the USC game is the biggest obstacle in their way. As of now, the Trojans have to be the favorites in that game. I really can't imagine the Irish defense holding the Trojans' offense enough to keep pace.
The Irish defense is good, but not that good.
No. 4 Alabama
The Tide needs tons of help and they have a tough road to travel themselves. Obviously, they should beat Western Carolina, and as bad as Auburn looks, the Iron Bowl should be no issue for the Tide.
However, they are looking at a tough matchup in the SEC title game with No. 5 Georgia. That is no easy win, but it is obviously one the Tide have to have.
A SEC title may be a consolation prize unless they see two major collapses in front of them.
Here are the full BCS Standings:
|WEEK 12 BCS STANDINGS|
| 1. Kansas State|
| 2. Oregon|
| 3. Notre Dame|
| 4. Alabama|
| 5. Georgia|
| 6. Florida|
| 7. LSU|
| 8. Texas A&M|
| 9. South Carolina|
| 10. Florida State|
| 11. Clemson|
| 12. Oklahoma |
| 13. Stanford|
| 14. Nebraska|
| 15. Texas|
| 16. Oregon State|
| 17. UCLA|
| 18. USC|
| 19. Louisville|
| 20. Louisiana Tech|
| 21. Michigan|
| 22. Rutgers|
| 23. Texas Tech|
| 24. Oklahoma State|
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