Week 12 in the 2012 college football season offered several shocking upsets and caused dramatic changes in the Week 13 BCS rankings.
Kansas State become the second No. 1 team to fall in as many weeks after the defense was torn apart by Baylor’s high-powered offense, and Heisman Trophy candidate Collin Klein was unable to keep pace. The Wildcats lost handily, 52-24, and dropped all the way to No. 6 in this week’s rankings.
Former No. 2 Oregon found themselves in a position to play in the national championship for the first time this season when the Week 12 rankings were released, but they too fell after losing 17-14 to now No. 8 Stanford in overtime. The Ducks are once again on the outside looking in and are ranked No. 5.
These results left holes at the top of the standings, so here, in order, are the teams that benefited the most from the unexpected losses.
No. 2 Alabama
No team gained more from Oregon’s and Kansas State’s losses than the Crimson Tide. Nick Saban led his team to a national championship with one loss on its record last year, and now he is back on track to repeat that accomplishment.
The Tide know all too well how the Ducks and the Wildcats are feeling right now due to their recent loss to No. 9 Texas A&M. This bumped them down to No. 4 in the Week 12 standings, but now they have jumped right back up to No. 2.
Coming off of a dominant victory over Western Carolina, Alabama now has a matchup with a struggling Auburn team and the SEC championship game left. With the reality check they were served against the Aggies, the Tide will be extremely focused and have the talent to roll over any team in the country.
They have been given another shot to prove this, and due to the upsets, the Crimson Tide can still win this year’s national championship.
No. 1 Notre Dame
It may seem strange that the team that rose to No. 1 in the rankings was not the biggest beneficiary of the upsets, but the Fighting Irish only needed one of the top two seeds to falter in order to find itself in a position to play for a national title, whereas Alabama needed both teams to lose.
Still, Notre Dame will be extremely pleased with their stop atop the rankings. Their only test left is against USC, who are coming off a disappointing loss to No. 17 UCLA and may be without star quarterback Matt Barkley, according to Scott Wolf of The Los Angeles Daily News.
With no conference, and thus no conference championship game, the Irish are in an extremely favorable position to finish their regular season undefeated and play to win their first national championship since 1988.
The Irish may not have benefited quite as much as Alabama from the shocking results this weekend, but they certainly fell into an excellent place.
No. 3 Georgia
When the Bulldogs were trounced by South Carolina five weeks ago, they certainly did not picture themselves on the cusp of the national championship game.
Georgia is now in control of its own destiny. The Bulldogs have already made their way to the SEC title game against Alabama, and Associated Press notes (via The Washington Post) that if both of these SEC giants win their remaining regular-season contests, “The SEC title game again becomes a de facto national semifinal.”
Georgia Tech is the lone team remaining on Georgia’s regular-season schedule, and as long as the Bulldogs remain focused on the task at hand, they should be able to cruise into the conference championship with an 11-1 record.
The road ahead for Georgia will be difficult, but their path to the national title game could not be simpler. Win the next two games and head to Miami.
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