College Football Rankings 2012: Most Costly Moment for BCS Title Contenders
There are only four teams left in college football with a practical shot at playing in the BCS title game, but there are a good number of teams left wondering what if.
Of those teams, the best of them can point to one or two instances this season that has placed them on the outside of the title picture. Alabama and Georgia are fortunate to be in the position to overcome their most costly moment.
They simply have to win their remaining games to play in the title game, but this topic is about the teams beneath the top three that need a ridiculous amount of help, or those whose chances are already dead.
Florida Manages Just Nine Points vs. Georgia
The Florida Gators' offense is obviously their biggest weakness, but this game was a bit puzzling even for their anemic attack. The Bulldogs have great athletes on defense, but they haven't exactly been run-stoppers this season.
Georgia is only ranked 50th in the nation against the run, and that is the only aspect of the Gators' offense that works.
In their matchup, the Gators managed only 77 yards on the ground as a team—more than 100 yards less than their per game average for the year. The result was their only loss of the season, and to make matters worse, the loss came to a conference opponent that they are now trailing in the BCS standings.
No matter what happens against Florida State in the final game of the season, they won't play in the SEC championship, and they need the Bulldogs and Alabama to lose to have a shot at playing for the BCS title.
Oregon Offense Falls Flat Against the Cardinal
The Oregon Ducks' offense looked like a juggernaut the entire season. Coming into their Week 12 matchup with Stanford, the Ducks had scored more than 60 points per game in their last three games. They were all but shut down in a 17-14 overtime loss at home.
This game didn't expose the Ducks' attack, it just showed how good the Cardinal's defense truly is. They held both USC and Oregon below 20 points, and pulled upsets over both teams when it seemed they could be headed for a national championship appearance.
Though the Ducks ran up against a legit defense, they needed to find a way to make a play on offense to pull out a clutch win. The Ducks couldn't take advantage of a huge defensive pass interference call late in the fourth quarter, and that failure to come through was insurmountable.
They need a complete collapse by at least three very good teams in front of them, and a Stanford loss in the regular-season finale to have a shot at playing for something significant.
Wildcats' Defense No-Shows In Waco
I had given the Kansas State Wildcats credit for being perhaps the most balanced team in the nation before Week 12. That went out the window—along with the team's realistic chances of playing for a national title—when they gave up 52 points to the Baylor Bears in Waco.
Collin Klein and the offense didn't have their best game, but the defense made Nick Florence and Terrance Williams look like Robert Griffin III and Kendall Wright.
The Wildcats surrendered 580 total yards, and they looked like they never deserved to be ranked in the top five.
Texas A&M Gives Away A Game to LSU
Johnny Manziel didn't have many bad games this season, but if he ever needs grounding, he can look back to the October 20 game against LSU.
His interception with less than five minutes remaining and the Tigers leading 17-12, was really the dagger. It stopped an Aggies drive on the LSU 43-yard line, and the Tigers' Jeremy Hill ripped off a 47-yard touchdown run to ice the game on the next play.
Manziel threw three interceptions and no touchdown passes in the game. The team turned the ball over six times and still only lost by five points. In the Aggies' two losses this season to the Tigers and Gators, they lost by a combined eight points.
It hurts that both of their losses were at home, but if they had beaten LSU, they would be even with Alabama in the SEC East at 6-1.
They own the tiebreaker by beating the Tide in Tuscaloosa. All they would have to do is beat Missouri on Saturday, and they would be facing Georgia in the SEC Championship game.
Florida St. Falls Asleep in the Second Half vs. North Carolina State
Which of these teams is the best?
The Florida State Seminoles are playing a supporting role in a huge game against the rival Gators on Saturday, but had they played a complete game against the North Carolina State Wolfpack on October 6, this game would be even bigger.
Sitting at 10-1 overall, they have to be thinking, "What if?"
They led the Wolfpack 16-0 at halftime but were shut out in the second half. They lost 17-16 in one of the most inexplicable defeats of the college football season. The 'Noles play only two ranked teams this season: Clemson and Florida on Saturday.
That schedule doesn't give the team a ton of room to make up for the loss. Now it can only hope to be spoilers to the Gators' dim hopes.
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