One Major Flaw Each BCS Contender Must Overcome to Win the National Title
And then there were five.
That's how many teams could lay some sort of claim to the National Championship Game. Those teams are Oregon, Kansas State, Notre Dame, Alabama, and even Georgia, who is ranked No. 5 with only one loss. Each of these teams have their share of strengths, as well as their share of weaknesses, that could keep them out of the BCS National Title.
Yes, even a non-stop offense team like Oregon and a hard-nosed defensive team like Alabama have their respective weaknesses in certain areas. But, could these weaknesses be big enough to keep these teams off of college football's biggest stage?
This is a look at five teams whose weaknesses could keep them away from the BCS National Championship...
The last time Oregon made it to the National Championship, their defense proved to be their downfall, and it has generally been the spot where the Ducks show vulnerability. Their fast paced offense and quick scoring ability are a big disguise for their defensive inconsistencies.
This year, their defense has indeed improved, as they are able to force more turnovers and get their offense back on the field. However, their defense has still been vulnerable, giving up 51 points to the USC Trojans, yet the offense put up 62 to outpace them. It's a given that unless you slow down that offense, no team can beat them in a shootout.
Speaking BCS-wise, they've only beaten one ranked team in No. 17 USC in Week 10, and beaten five teams with winning records. But, the lack of ranked teams or a strong schedule will hurt them, which is why going unbeaten is paramount for this team. Lose one, and they're out.
Health of Quarterback Colin Klein and the Passing Game
Kansas State is, arguably, playing the most well-rounded football out of the Top Five ranked teams. They're well-balanced on offense, playing solid defense, and led by a Heisman Trophy contender in quarterback Colin Klein, who is a big part of what they do.
But can he make it through the next few weeks safely?
The health of Colin Klein is the biggest weakness for this football team. Klein, who received an undisclosed injury in their game against Oklahoma State in Week 10, will undoubtedly have to be more careful when taking off to run the football. Klein is the sole center of that offense, and without him, the offense does not move the same way.
The passing game can also be vulnerable at times, with the Wildcats ranking 87th in passing.
Notre Dame's Offense
Notre Dame has been one of the bigger surprises in the BCS, thanks to their hard-nosed defense led by linebacker Manti Te'o, who has them among the Top Five defenses in the country. The Fighting Irish defense has helped to carry the team for much of the season.
And yet, the offense is very suspect with quarterback Everett Golson. The offense ranks 79th in points, 33rd in rushing yards, and 91st in passing yards. On the season, Golson himself has 1,572 passing yards, but only eight touchdowns and four interceptions. Notre Dame, thanks to their lack of offense, have come close to being upset by the likes of teams like Purdue and Pittsburgh, who, were it not for missed field goals, would have certainly stolen victory from the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
If faced against a defense like Kansas State or Alabama, it would not be out of the realm of certainty to think that Notre Dame would lose by double digits. Defense is good, but the offense needs to score more points to give its defense better situations to work with.
Everyone knows that Alabama has the best defense in college football. There's no denying that. Only Texas A&M has been able to overcome it this season.
But will Alabama's quarterback play possibly be their downfall?
AJ McCarron has had a better season than in 2011, but he has not been a playmaker, but more of a game manager. Against Texas A&M, he threw two interceptions, one of which came in the second half that could have won the game for them. If the game is put squarely on the shoulders of McCarron when the offense can't run the ball, McCarron may not be able to handle it.
Against top defenses, McCarron has struggled to show consistency. If pitted against a Kansas State, he may not be able to keep up with an offense like theirs should the Wildcat offense be able to overcome the Crimson Tide defense.
Big Stage Performance
The Bulldogs, despite the pounding they took by South Carolina, are ranked No. 5 and, should many things fall into place, make a possible statement for the National Championship. But, should those many things happen, who can say that the Bulldogs will step up to the plate?
For the past few seasons, Mark Richt's Bulldogs have continually been on the big stage, and faltered. Whether it was Boise State, South Carolina or LSU in the SEC Championship Game in 2011, or South Carolina in 2012, the Bulldogs consistently fail on the big stage against the tougher competition of the SEC, and benefit by their softer and weaker SEC scheduling.
So, as much as the Bulldogs would want to compete, it will be very unlikely they make any case for National Championship.