The semester is winding down, and now both students and student-athletes are facing their final exams. For the players on some of the highest-ranked teams looking to reach a BCS bowl game, their tests will be of a different nature, as scores of manic fans will be cheering them on.
Most programs have just one game remaining before their bowl games, while a select few also have a conference championship game on their schedule.
It will take one last surge from the teams that have worked tirelessly all year to find themselves high up in the BCS standings and on the brink of reaching one of the nation’s marquee bowl games.
Here are the teams facing the toughest tests in these final weeks.
No. 3 Georgia
All the Bulldogs need to do is win their last two games in order to play for the national championship. Easy enough, right?
Unfortunately for Georgia, they have the toughest road towards reaching a BCS bowl game.
The road starts in a rivalry match with Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets are not a powerhouse, and while emotions will run high, they are likely to pose little challenge.
But the Bulldogs have already made it to the SEC championship game against Alabama. The Crimson Tide are the most talented team in the nation, and Georgia will have to beat them when a trip to the national championship is on the line.
No. 6 Kansas State
Despite last week’s incredibly disappointing loss, the Wildcats can still win the Big 12 and secure a spot in the Fiesta Bowl.
Standing in its way is No. 16 Texas. The game will not be played until December 1, and Kansas State will have had two weeks away from the field to think about their performance against Baylor.
If the Wildcats were still building momentum like they had been up until last week, there would be little doubt about their ability to win this game. But coming off a demoralizing defeat makes this contest much more interesting.
If KSU lacks confidence, focus or sharpness in this game, the Longhorns are more than capable of punishing them. Kansas State’s ability to bounce back will determine whether or not they win the Big 12.
No. 8 Stanford
After its monumental upset over Oregon, Stanford controls its own destiny on its quest to Pasadena.
If the Cardinal do reach the Rose Bowl, being unfamiliar with the venue will not be a problem. To secure a spot in the Pac-12 championship game, Stanford will have to travel south and take on the Bruins.
UCLA has already won the Pac-12 South, and a victory will lead to a rematch win the Bruins, with the winner earning a place in the Rose Bowl.
The Stanford defense will face two extremely difficult tests in order to ensure that the team has big plans for New Year’s Day.