10 Top 25 Teams with the Most to Gain in Week 14

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistNovember 29, 2012

10 Top 25 Teams with the Most to Gain in Week 14

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    Conference championship weekend is upon us, but many teams like the Georgia Bulldogs still have something to prove.

    Four conference winners will find themselves playing in a January BCS bowl game.

    The Florida Gators, however, will earn a berth without playing a snap. Additionally, the unranked Wisconsin Badgers and Rutgers Scarlet Knights can receive a BCS bid simply with a win.

    Here are 10 teams in the BCS Top 25 with the most to gain this weekend.

Alabama Crimson Tide (11-1)

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    After being upset by the Texas A&M Aggies, Alabama has won back-to-back games 49-0.

    The Crimson Tide head to their fourth SEC Championship Game in five years and is one of two teams with the most to gain.

    Led by quarterback AJ McCarron, Alabama goes into Atlanta to take on the Bulldogs on Saturday.

    A win would position the Tide to play Notre Dame in the BCS championship in January—its third appearance in four years.

Georgia Bulldogs (11-1)

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    The recurring criticism of UGA head coach Mark Richt is that his teams are championship-caliber, but they can never get it done.

    Well, here's a chance for Richt to silence his critics.

    A win against Nick Saban's Alabama team would allow the Bulldogs to play in their first-ever BCS National Championship Game.

    The whole team is healthy and key players are back from suspensions, so Georgia has a phenomenal chance to prove it truly is one of the top teams in the nation.

Florida Gators (11-1)

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    Florida's lone loss to Georgia stings now more than ever, but there is a hefty consolation prize.

    While the Gators don't play this weekend, the team will likely head to the Sugar Bowl due to the loser of the SEC Championship Game likely dropping below UF in the BCS. Will Muschamp's fourth-ranked team is almost guaranteed the spot.

    Saban, however, believes that a team who doesn't win the division should not be in a BCS game, according to ESPN's Edward Aschoff.

    What a difference a year makes, Nick.

Kansas State Wildcats (10-1)

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    Kansas State, like Alabama, looked to be on its way to a BCS National Championship Game appearance.

    But after the Baylor Bears pounded the top-ranked Wildcats, a lower-level BCS game is now the expectation. K-State will play in the Fiesta Bowl if the team handles the Texas Longhorns this weekend.

    This would result in the Wildcats' second trip to Tempe and first since 2004—the only other BCS game in school history.

Stanford Cardinal (10-2)

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    Stanford faced a must-win game last week on the road against the UCLA Bruins to earn a spot in the Pac-12 Championship Game.

    One week later, the Cardinal take on UCLA in another must-win contest, but this time at home.

    A win would allow Stanford to play in its third consecutive BCS game—as well as the third different venue—after playing in the 2011 Orange Bowl and 2012 Fiesta Bowl.

    The Cardinal dominated the Bruins last week, but Friday night will show if they can do it again.

Oklahoma Sooners (9-2)

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    The Oklahoma Sooners could gain their ninth BCS appearance, which would tie Ohio State for the most by any team.

    Bob Stoops' crew could still win the Big 12 title, but it probably wouldn't complain too much with another BCS game likely on its way.

    If Kansas State loses and the Sooners win, OU would head to the Fiesta Bowl. But on the other hand, a Kent State victory would "shaft" Oklahoma points out B/R's Lisa Horne.

    Either way, a win against TCU is imperative.

Nebraska Cornhuskers (10-2)

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    Nebraska hasn't played in a BCS game since being demolished by the Miami Hurricanes in the 2002 Rose Bowl.

    Fast forward to today, the 2012 Huskers can change that fact this weekend.

    A win over Wisconsin—who have played in two straight Rose Bowl games—would propel Taylor Martinez and the Huskers to the Tournament of Roses.

UCLA Bruins (9-3)

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    UCLA, as previously mentioned, was taken down by Stanford at home last weekend.

    The Bruins had to have learned a lot about this week's opponent in the 35-17 loss, and all of that knowledge will come in handy on Friday.

    Freshman QB Brett Hundley can lead UCLA to its first BCS game in 14 years with a win over the Cardinal.

Kent State Golden Flashes (11-1)

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    B/R's T.J. Mcaloon asks if a BCS appearance by Kent State is a good or bad thing for college football.

    Well, I'm sure the Golden Flashes would be thrilled with a chance to play a top team.

    BCS rules state that if a non-AQ conference champion is ranked in the Top 16 and is higher than an automatic qualifying conference champion, the school will earn an at-large bid.

    Since no Big East team is ranked above Kent State—currently 17th in the BCS—it must beat Northern Illinois to make the rule come into play.

    While the Golden Flashes hope Stanford takes down the 16th-ranked Bruins, head coach Darrell Hazell will leave the rankings "to the experts" said Fred Mitchell of the Chicago Tribune.

Northern Illinois Huskies (11-1)

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    The Northern Illinois Huskies are in the same boat as Kent State, just at a slight disadvantage.

    NIU is ranked 21st in the latest BCS rankings and need some losses by the teams in front of them in the standings. Winning the MAC, however, is the only thing on the mind of head coach Dave Doeren points out the Chicago Tribune's Mitchell.

    Sensational quarterback Jordan Lynch has been hard to handle all season, and the favored Huskies look to keep their 11-game winning streak going.