The BCS standings received a nice shakeup in Week 11, as No. 1 Alabama suffered its first loss of the season. In Week 12, the spotlight will remain on the top teams vying for a spot in the national title game.
Lower in the standings (and even just outside of them), there is plenty of drama to be had over the rest of the season. While no smaller conference has an undefeated team to really complicate the BCS standings this year, several one-loss squads continue to lurk.
Here is a look at three teams—depending on how things shake out among the automatic-qualifying conferences—that could emerge as busters and sneak into a BCS bowl game.
No. 20 Louisiana Tech
With a pair of 8-2 opponents remaining on their schedule in Utah State and San Jose State, the Bulldogs could still move up a bit in the standings if they win those games along with the WAC championship. Doing so would mean their only loss came in a thrilling 59-57 defeat against No. 8 Texas A&M—a loss that looks even more excusable after the Aggies knocked off Alabama on Saturday.
Louisiana Tech is an exciting team, scoring more points than anyone in the nation—save the Oregon Ducks. If they win out, the Bulldogs have the best chance to play BCS buster this postseason.
The Kent State Golden Flashes lead the Mid-American Conference’s East Division at 9-1. They would be undefeated were it not for an unfortunate dud against 1-9 Kentucky in their second contest of the season.
Though absent from the BCS standings, Kent State is ranked No. 25 in the AP Top 25. A pair of respectable opponents remain on the schedule in Bowling Green State (7-3) and Ohio (8-2). The Golden Flashes already have a big win over one-loss Rutgers, which was No. 15 at the time.
Kent State certainly cannot afford a second loss, but if the Golden Flashes can finish the season with just one blemish on their record, they’ll be in rare company among the nation’s one-loss squads. Doing so would make them an interesting BCS buster candidate.
The Northern Illinois Huskies lost their first game of the season, a one-point defeat to Iowa. They’ve rattled off nine straight wins since then—most recently stomping a lowly Massachusetts squad by a margin of 63-0.
The 9-1 Huskies are in first place in the MAC West. The best chance for a BCS buster to emerge from the MAC would be if both Northern Illinois and Kent State survive the regular season with just one loss, meeting in the conference championship game to produce a single 12-1 champion.
Northern Illinois is top 10 in the nation in both scoring and rushing yardage, as the Huskies have amassed more than 250 yards per game on the ground. That offensive production is due in large part to junior quarterback Jordan Lynch, who has racked up an incredible 3,517 all-purpose yards and 35 touchdowns this season.
Like the other BCS buster hopefuls, Northern Illinois will lose its chance if it loses another game. But if the Huskies win out and some higher-ranked one-loss teams fall, they could provide an interesting option for a BCS bowl game.
|2012 BCS Standings Week 12|
|1. Kansas State|
|3. Notre Dame|
|8. Texas A&M|
|9. South Carolina|
|10. Florida State|
|16. Oregon State|
|20. Louisiana Tech|
|23. Texas Tech|
|24. Oklahoma State|