The BCS title is Saban's to lose.
As we approach the midway point of the regular season, it’s the perfect time to begin fantasizing about some of the best potential matches the BCS title has to offer.
Will Alabama’s reign atop the college football landscape extend to a third consecutive year? Or will a challenger step up and dethrone the mighty giant known as the SEC Conference?
These are just a couple of the questions every fan is dying to know.
With the first official BCS standings coming out this Sunday, we’ll soon get a better picture of how everything will shake out.
But for now, here are five title matchups we’d love to see.
Mariota's (center) mobility could make all the difference in this one.
Head-to-Head: Never played
Who wouldn’t want to see this one?
The Ducks rank No. 2 in both scoring and total offense while ranking No. 3 in rushing. On the other hand, the Bears rank No. 1 in both scoring and total offense while ranking No. 2 in rushing attack.
Furthermore, the matchups at quarterback and running back are pretty mouth-watering.
Under center, Oregon’s Marcus Mariota (1,696 TOT YDS, 24 TD, 0 INT) will face off with Baylor’s Bryce Petty (1,348 YDS, 10 TD, 1 INT).
While Mariota may be the bigger playmaker of the two, Petty is certainly the better quarterback. It will be interesting to see how these two respond to the play of the other.
The Ducks are led by De’Anthony Thomas (42 CAR, 338 YDS, 6 TD) in the backfield while the Bears are powered by Lache Seastrunk (53 CAR, 589 YDS, 8 TD).
Both running backs are equally dangerous and can score on any given run. This matchup could be decided on which team has more success on the ground.
Needless to say, the Rose Bowl may be in need of a new scoreboard when these two are through.
Bell has the Sooners' offense looking good.
Head-to-Head: 6-1 Oklahoma (Last meeting Sept. 17, 2011, 23-13 Oklahoma)
When these two last met in a BCS title game back in 2000, NSYNC, Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears were the main plays on Sony Walkmans across the country. George W. Bush was still the president, and gas went for an average of $1.46 per gallon.
Furthermore, the quarterbacks for the Sooners (Blake Bell) and the Seminoles (Jameis Winston) were nine and six respectively.
Although they may not remember Oklahoma’s 13-2 victory, these two are primed to write the next chapter in the history of these two programs.
After taking over for redshirt freshman Trevor Knight in the third game of the season, Bell (835 YDS, 6 TD, 0 INT) has re-energized the Sooners offense. On the other hand, Winston (1,441 YDS, 17 TD, 2 TD) has done a phenomenal job to make Florida State fans forget about E.J. Manuel.
Each team arguably only has one more hurdle remaining on its schedule.
For the Seminoles, it’ll be an Oct. 19 trip to Death Valley to play No. 3 Clemson. For Oklahoma, the team travels to take on No. 16 Baylor in Waco on Nov. 7.
If both teams pass those tests and other undefeated teams fall, it shouldn't be too unfathomable to see this rivalry rekindled in the championship game.
Boyd provided nightmares for Georgia's defense the first time around.
Head-to-Head: 38-16 Georgia (Last meeting Aug. 31, 2013, 38-35 Clemson)
These two treated college football fans to one heck of a battle back on Aug. 31. The Tigers topped the Bulldogs then 38-35 in Death Valley.
Who would say no to a rematch?
Since then, both teams have looked great. Clemson has won its last four games by an average score of 45.8-12.0 while Georgia has used victories over two Top 10 teams (South Carolina, LSU) to jump back up to No. 7 in the polls.
However, it might be tough for this rematch to even happen.
The Bulldogs still need to navigate through the SEC, with matchups against No. 25 Missouri and No. 17 Florida still remaining. Not to mention, if the team survives that stretch of the schedule, it will then likely have to face a Top Five opponent in the SEC title game.
On the other hand, the Tigers just have to worry about No. 6 Florida State and the ACC title game.
However, there’s no doubt these two would treat fans to quite a showing.
Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray had a disappointing showing against Clemson the first time around—20-of-27, 323 YDS, 0 TD, 1 INT. Expect the senior to look to make up for that performance the next time around.
For the Tigers, quarterback Tajh Boyd will look to repeat his strong performance from the first time around—312 TOT YDS, 5 TD.
This should be the perfect back-and-forth battle with whomever having the ball last likely winning.
There's no love lost between these two.
Head-to-Head: 3-0 Alabama (Last meeting Jan. 2, 1995, 24-17 Alabama)
If Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer and Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban met in the championship game, it would settle one of college football’s most burning questions: Who is the greatest head coach of the BCS era?
Among them, Meyer and Saban combine for five of the last seven BCS titles and six of the last 10. One has won national championships with two different programs while the other has recorded undefeated seasons with as many teams. One brought home last year’s BCS title while the other led the nation’s only undefeated team.
Did we mention, both coach pretty darn good football teams?
Ohio State is riding the nation’s longest active winning streak at 18 games. With its 40-30 victory over No. 16 Northwestern on the road, the team has now added back-to-back victories over ranked opponents.
But while running back Jordan Hall (69 CAR, 427 YDS, 8 TD) has carried the load in the backfield for the majority of the season, look for senior Carlos Hyde to pick up the slack the rest of the way. That included 168 yards and three touchdowns on 26 carries during that aforementioned matchup against the Wildcats last weekend.
As for Alabama, quarterback AJ McCarron (1,048 YDS, 10 TD, 3 INT) and running back T.J. Yeldon (72 CAR, 445 YDS, 4 TD) have paced the offensive attack. Defensively, aside from Texas A&M, the Tide have held each of their four opponents to 10 or fewer points.
Expect a slow-paced, grind-it-out kind of game.
Boyd (center) and the Clemson offense are ready for Alabama.
Head-to-Head: 12-2 Alabama (Last meeting Aug. 30, 2008, 34-10 Alabama)
It’s only fitting that an SEC giant stands in the way of the Tigers winning the BCS title.
With the Week 1 victory over then-No. 5 Georgia, the team now has victories over two straight Top-10 SEC foes—Clemson also topped No. 8 LSU in last year’s Chick-Fil-A Bowl. The team wraps up the season with yet another SEC clash, facing No. 14 South Carolina on Nov. 30.
If the Tigers can come out unscathed, how can anyone disrespect the ACC team that topped not one, not two but three SEC teams?
On the other hand, only a matchup with No. 10 LSU at home and the conference title game stand in the way of the Crimson Tide rolling their way to an undefeated season. Compared to the other BCS title contenders, it’s a schedule that sets up rather favorably.
By gaining SEC experience, and with Tajh Boyd under center, Clemson just may stand as the best chance to unseat Alabama.
Now, there’s a plot twist not many of us expected at the beginning of the season.
All stats and rankings used in this article are courtesy of NCAA.com
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