Buying or Selling Every Top 10 Team as a BCS Championship Contender
As the college football season carries on, true BCS National Championship contenders will rise amongst a sea of pretenders.
The race that is currently led by two-time defending champion Alabama and the explosive Oregon Ducks could change in complexion completely by the time the Jan. 6 title game arrives.
Ohio State, Clemson, Stanford, LSU, Georgia and many others still have a shot at college football's ultimate prize.
With the race wide open, which schools are most likely to be seen at this year's season finale at the Rose Bowl?
No. 10 Georgia: Buy
Georgia is set up better than any one-loss team to still make the national title game.
If the Bulldogs win out, there is a good chance they will have a strong enough resume to play for a national title, leaving them mostly in control of their own destiny.
With Aaron Murray and Todd Gurley leading the way, UGA is as talented as any team in the nation.
There is a chance that, if Clemson, Ohio State and Oregon or Stanford all go undefeated, Georgia will be left out.
Still, it is hard to argue against the Dawgs' potential resume, which would include wins over South Carolina, LSU, Florida, Georgia Tech and likely Alabama in the SEC title game with just one road loss to Clemson in Week 1.
No. 9 Texas A&M: Sell
Unlike Georgia, Texas A&M's destiny is out of its own hands.
A pair of scenarios could still play out to have the Aggies playing for the title, though a lot would have to fall in their favor.
No matter what, for both scenarios, A&M must win the remainder of its games.
A&M could follow Alabama's title-game blueprint from 2012 and hope for the Crimson Tide to end the season as the only undefeated team. This could set up a rematch for the national title, identical to the situation with LSU and Alabama in 2011-12.
Otherwise, the Aggies will have to hope that LSU beats Alabama and wins the rest of its games, creating a logjam atop the SEC West. The Aggies would then have to hope to be the highest ranked of the three to win the tiebreaker.
From there, they would still have to win the league title game and hope that gives them a strong enough resume to surpass any other teams that may still be undefeated.
No. 8 Florida State: Sell
Florida State's national title hopes essentially rest on one game.
On Oct. 19, the Seminoles will travel to Death Valley to take on Clemson.
Whichever team emerges victorious from that contest will, at least somewhat, control its own destiny to make the BCS title game.
If the 'Noles can beat Clemson and win the remainder of their games, they'll have a very strong resume for the national title game with wins over the Tigers, Florida, Miami and an ACC title game victory.
However, FSU has to beat Clemson first.
Led by a freshman quarterback, no matter how talented, in one of the toughest venues in college football, Florida State's chances look grim against a Tiger squad at home with a fifth-year senior at the helm.
No. 7 Louisville: Sell
The only thing that will keep Louisville from the national title is its schedule.
The Cardinals likely won't play a ranked team all year long. Central Florida might be ranked by the time the two teams play on Oct. 18, but the Knights will have to take down South Carolina to make that happen.
Outside of UCF, Louisville might see a ranked Houston or Cincinnati team by season's end, but even then its resume will pale in comparison to its BCS competitors.
With a weak schedule, there is a good chance that Louisville will be jumped by a one-loss SEC team for a title berth.
The Cardinals will have to hope that they are the only unblemished team left by the end of the season, which looks unlikely at this point.
No. 6 LSU: Sell
Based on talent alone, LSU is an absolute buy.
However, there isn't a team in the country talented enough to make it through every week of LSU's schedule without a loss.
The Tigers play on the road against Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi State and Ole Miss, while also hosting Florida, Texas A&M and Arkansas. If they can make it that far, they would have still have to top Georgia, Florida or South Carolina for the conference title.
LSU could likely only afford a loss to Georgia if it were to then traverse its way back through the Bulldogs in the SEC title game to get to the national championship game.
Strength of schedule would definitely play into the Tigers' favor, but they will still have to go through Alabama and Texas A&M to make that scenario happen.
No. 5 Stanford: Sell
Similar to the situation facing Florida State and Clemson, Stanford's BCS hopes hinge in a single game.
The Cardinal will host Oregon on Nov. 7 and the winner will be in the driver's seat to make the national title game.
Stanford will still have to take down Washington, UCLA, Notre Dame and the Pac-12 South winner—perhaps UCLA again—to play for the crystal football.
However, the big one will come against the Ducks, who have looked better than any team in the nation so far this year.
Last year, the Cardinal knocked Oregon out of title contention, but this Duck squad seems different and has been excellent on both sides of the ball. This year, Oregon won't be stopped by Stanford.
No. 4 Clemson: Buy
Clemson will have a very solid resume if it ends the season undefeated.
The Tigers will have gone through two SEC powers, Georgia and South Carolina, as well as three of their best ACC competitors in Florida State, Georgia Tech and potentially Miami (Fla.) in the conference title game.
Depending on what happens around the nation, an undefeated Clemson squad could still be left outside of the BCS title game.
However, regarding what they can control, the Tigers have the talent to win out and at least put themselves in position, with a respectable resume, to play for a championship.
No. 3 Ohio State: Buy
Ohio State is in a situation very similar to that of Clemson, in that the Buckeyes don't quite control their own destiny, but they are more than capable of winning their way to an undefeated regular season.
OSU doesn't have a single opponent ranked higher than No. 16 on its schedule, which could potentially be an issue if multiple teams finish undefeated.
The Buckeyes are the heavy favorite to win the Big Ten, and they have a great blend of talent on both sides of the ball.
Contests with Wisconsin, Northwestern, Michigan and the Big Ten Legends champion all loom, but Ohio State should be favored the rest of the way.
The BCS resume situation will clarify as the season rolls along.
No. 2 Oregon: Buy
Ranked No. 1 and No. 2 respectively, Alabama and Oregon are the only two teams that truly control their own destiny for the BCS title game at this point.
The Ducks have looked as strong as any team in the nation, outscoring their opponents 184-27 through their first three games.
Voters have taken notice, and so have computers. Jeff Sagarin of USA Today compiles the Sagarin Ratings, which includes the "Elo_Chess" rating that is a part of the BCS ranking calculation. After Week 4, the Elo_Chess has Oregon at No. 1.
Oregon's one roadblock will come in Stanford against a Cardinal squad that was the Ducks' kryptonite a year ago. The way the Ducks are rolling so far, that might not be an issue at all.
No. 1 Alabama: Buy
Currently ranked No. 1, Alabama is in the driver's seat to defend its last two national titles. If the Crimson Tide win out, they'll have the resume and the voters' backing to do just that.
With wins over Texas A&M, LSU and Georgia, nothing will keep Alabama out of the BCS National Championship Game.
Alabama hasn't looked quite as dominant as expected, but there is no questioning its talent.
With three of the last four crystal footballs housed in Tuscaloosa, the Tide will remain the team to beat.
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