For many teams, fate boils down to this week.
In most cases, it's the regular-season finale of the college football season, and for some teams, it's the last time they will step foot on the gridiron until bowl season begins. That, of course, means that of all the times to make a big statement in the BCS polls, now is the best time.
Here's a look at the teams that have at least one more big win left in them before the regular season concludes.
No. 2 Alabama
As much as that loss to Texas A&M a couple of weeks ago hurt the Crimson Tide, all hope is certainly not lost for them. All they need is a win over Auburn in order to finish the season 11-1 and seal up their spot in the SEC championship. And if, for some reason, Notre Dame ends up losing this weekend at USC, that No. 1 spot in the rankings will be Alabama's once again.
In truth, a win in the SEC championship is far more important than a win over Auburn—but Alabama needs this win to assure itself that it gets there. It's hard to imagine that the BCS championship won't involve at least one SEC team, and Alabama needs to keep winning in order to make sure it is that team for these second-straight season.
Luckily for the Crimson Tide, on tap for this weekend is Auburn, a team that has just three wins in 2012—all of which came over teams that barely qualify as Division I.
No. 5 Oregon
at No. 15 Oregon State
Oregon is both fortunate and unfortunate this weekend. It is fortunate because a win over a top-25 opponent in the season finale could do wonders for their standing in the BCS poll. It is unfortunate because, obviously, it has to face a top-25 opponent in its regular-season finale.
But the Ducks have no choice but to take advantage on Saturday. They picked one of the worst possible times to suffer their first loss of the season—they could've been No. 1 right now if they'd managed to hold off Stanford in overtime last week—but there's no use thinking about what could have been, especially with Oregon State looming.
A win on Saturday is a necessity for many reasons; one of which is that the Ducks need a victory and a Stanford loss in order to earn a berth in the Pac-12 championship. However, they also need a win to inch back up the BCS standings and keep their bowl dreams alive.
A team like Oregon doesn't lose two straight games to finish out what once looked like it could have been an undefeated season. Last week's overtime loss was a wake-up call. Oregon State has a couple of losses on its record, both of which came against two of the conference's better teams. Saturday could mark their third.
No. 10 Florida State
vs. No. 4 Florida
Florida State, coming out of a very weak ACC, had a golden opportunity to accomplish big things in 2012. Objectively, of all the teams ranked in the top five at the end of September, the Seminoles looked like the one with the best chance of running the table. They had the easiest schedule, one of the most high-powered offenses and the best defense.
Then, an inexplicable loss to NC State on Oct. 6 screwed everything up.
Since then, the Seminoles have returned to their winning ways, reeling off five straight wins, mostly against pretty awful teams. Saturday's big game against Florida will be a test, but it is one the Seminoles are capable of passing. They've beaten the Gators for two straight years, they're at home, and this is the best team they've had in years.
And they know that taking down the No. 4 team in the nation could mean huge things for them in terms of the BCS standings. This is their biggest opportunity of the season, and they know they need to take it.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!