BCS Standings 2013-14: Final Record Projections for 25 Teams in First Poll

Jeff Bell@@JrayBellCorrespondent IOctober 21, 2013

BCS Standings 2013-14: Final Record Projections for 25 Teams in First Poll

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    Alabama head coach Nick Saban
    Alabama head coach Nick SabanKevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    The leaves are changing colors, pumpkin-spice lattes are all the rage and now and the initial BCS standings have been released.

    We can discuss them as much as we'd like and argue all day about which teams are overrated or underrated, but that's an exercise in futility with nearly a month-and-a-half left in the regular season.

    Saturday provided fans with a level of madness that only occurs in college football. South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, LSU and Texas A&M all lost, as did Clemson and UCLA. Even Louisville, which has been chided for its weak schedule, dropped a home game against Central Florida.

    Now with a midseason pecking order established, how will the Top 25 shake out the rest of the way?

    Let's take a look at the Top 25 in the BCS standings and project what their final records will look like.

    All stats via ESPN. Note that the projections are through the regular season and do not take into account potential conference championship games.

25) Oregon State Beavers

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    Oregon State QB Sean Mannion
    Oregon State QB Sean MannionWilliam Mancebo/Getty Images

    Current Record: 6-1

    Oregon State hasn't played very many difficult teams, to put it mildly. That will change next Saturday when Mike Riley's team plays host to the Stanford Cardinal.

    After a season-opening loss to Eastern Washington, the Beavers defense has improved and the offense is lighting it up through the air. Quarterback Sean Mannion already has nearly 3,000 yards passing to go along with 29 touchdowns, and the Beavers are suddenly a very real threat in the Pac-12 North.

    How much of a threat, however, will be determined against the Cardinal. Given the way Stanford plays defense, it's hard to see Oregon State coming out on top. Trips to Arizona state and Oregon will also be difficult, but at the end of the season, this looks like a team that will stay in the Top 25.

    Final Record: 8-4

24) Nebraska Cornhuskers

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    Eric Francis/Getty Images

    Current Record: 5-1

    The Nebraska Cornhuskers have just one loss to their name, a 41-21 defeat to UCLA in September. The rest of the journey has been relatively smooth, despite changes to the quarterback position and a shaky defense.

    Aside from a visit to Minnesota, the rest of the schedule is filled with difficult tests. Should Bo Pelini's team play to its potential, it can definitely make it the rest of the way without another loss. But that's a lot to ask, and there's a decent chance the Huskers will drop a game or two against Michigan, Michigan State and Penn state.

    The visit from the Spartans will be especially important, because the winner could be punching its ticket to the Big Ten Championship Game.

    Final Record: 9-3

23) UCF Knights

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    UCF coach George O'Leary
    UCF coach George O'LearyAndy Lyons/Getty Images

    Current Record: 5-1

    The UCF Knights are coming off arguably the biggest win in school history, a 38-35 victory on the road in Louisville.

    Now, all they need to do is win out and they'll find themselves in a BCS bowl game for the very first time. That task is typically harder than it sounds, but the rest of the schedule is paved with cupcakes and lollipops for the Knights.

    Of course, they won't be looking at it that way, but a visit from Rutgers may be the most difficult test remaining. At this point, George O'Leary's team may not lose another game.

    Final Record: 11-1

22) Michigan Wolverines

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    Michigan QB Devin Gardner
    Michigan QB Devin GardnerRick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

    Current Record: 6-1

    After a 63-47 win over Indiana in which Michigan had 751 yards of total offense, the Wolverines sit at 6-1 on the season.

    Projecting the team's final record can be tricky considering the numerous close calls over subpar teams, but it's safe to say the most difficult part of the schedule is still to come.

    Michigan travels to Michigan State on Nov. 2nd and will then face Nebraska, Northwestern, Iowa and Ohio State in consecutive weeks.

    This team has a lot of firepower on offense, which should keep it in every game. But it won't face another defense as awful as Indiana's.

    Winning at Michigan State is going to be difficult, and it's hard to see the Wolverines stopping Braxton Miller and company in the big game.

    Final Record: 9-3

21) South Carolina Gamecocks

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    South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier
    South Carolina coach Steve SpurrierJoe Robbins/Getty Images

    Current Record: 5-2

    A surprising loss to Tennessee has the Gamecocks sporting a 5-2 record and sitting two games back of Missouri in the SEC East.

    Luckily, they'll get a chance to reduce that margin Saturday when they hit the road to take on the Tigers. But if the effort against the Volunteers was any indication, this team might not be ready for a Missouri team that is brimming with positive momentum.

    The passing attack has potential, and the ground game, led by Mike Davis, is explosive. But the defense has some issues whether Jadeveon Clowney is playing great or not, and that doesn't bode well for the final stretch of the regular season.

    South Carolina ends its 2013 campaign by hosting Clemson in a rivalry game that may only have bragging rights on the line.

    Final Record: 8-4

20) Louisville Cardinals

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    Louisville coach Charlie Strong
    Louisville coach Charlie StrongAndy Lyons/Getty Images

    Current Record: 6-1

    Throughout the season, everybody pointed to Louisville as having the easiest path to an undefeated season, but alas, it didn't play out that way. College football rarely follows a script.

    This is a team with tons of veteran leadership, and it's hard to imagine Teddy Bridgewater and company dropping another game, especially with the remaining slate of easy matchups.

    A game against Houston could be mildly challenging, and a visit to Cincinnati in the final regular-season game could also provide some issues.

    But let's be honest—Louisville isn't going to lose again.

    Final Record: 11-1

19) Oklahoma State Cowboys

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    Brett Deering/Getty Images

    Current Record: 5-1

    Oklahoma State is a team that began the 2013 season in grand fashion by beating Mississippi State 21-3 and notching blowout wins over UTSA and Lamar.

    But the high hopes that followed the 3-0 start came crashing down in West Virginia when the Mountaineers upset the Cowboys 30-21.

    Mike Gundy's team has since responded with a pair of victories over Kansas State and TCU, but tougher tests loom.

    Games against Texas Tech, Baylor and Oklahoma will all be difficult, and with the way the Red Raiders are playing, the Cowboys aren't going to walk out of Lubbock with a victory. They should split the other two games, and they'll pull out a narrow victory over Texas as well.

    Final Record: 9-3

18) Northern Illinois Huskies

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    NIU QB Jordan Lynch
    NIU QB Jordan LynchMike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

    Current Record: 7-0

    A victory over Iowa in Week 1 is beginning to look more impressive following the Hawkeyes' valiant effort against Ohio State.

    A blowout win over Purdue also helps the perception that Northern Illinois is just as good, if not better than the 2012 version that made it to the Orange Bowl.

    Now, with an undefeated record and a commanding lead in the MAC, the Huskies have a real shot to make a return trip to the BCS. The only potential tripping point appears to be a home date with Ball State, but you have to like the chances of the team with quarterback Jordan Lynch.

    Final Record: 12-0

17) Fresno State Bulldogs

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    Fresno State QB Derek Carr
    Fresno State QB Derek CarrKelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

    Current Record: 6-0

    Like Northern Illinois, Fresno State is an undefeated team that has posted a victory over a BCS conference team (Rutgers).

    Also like the Huskies, the Bulldogs have an excellent chance to run the table with the hardest games behind them. Trips to Wyoming and San Jose State won't be easy, but quarterback Derek Carr is playing great football, and nobody on the schedule should be able to outscore the Bulldogs.

    An undefeated run won't bring about any national championship consideration, but it could give Fresno State a chance to make its first BCS bowl.

    Final Record: 12-0

16) Texas A&M Aggies

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    Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin
    Texas A&M coach Kevin SumlinSoobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

    Current Record: 5-2

    Texas A&M entered the 2013 season with a Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback and hopes of capturing a national championship.

    The team fought Alabama until the very end but ultimately came up short in the 49-42 thriller. The loss to Auburn on Saturday, however, was a bit more surprising.

    What it comes down to is the fact that the Aggies don't have a very good defense, and despite the incredible connection between quarterback Johnny Manziel and wide receiver Mike Evans, A&M is far from a well-rounded football team.

    If the defense can make some major improvements, winning out is a realistic possibility. It's more likely, however, that the Aggies will drop one against either LSU or Missouri.

    Final Record: 9-3

15) Oklahoma Sooners

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    John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

    Current Record: 6-1

    What do we make of the Oklahoma Sooners in 2013?

    Bob Stoops' team appeared to have all the makings of a BCS-worthy squad following a dominant victory over Notre Dame, but a disappointing loss to Texas all but erased that narrative.

    The next two games are against Texas Tech and Baylor. If the Sooners notch a pair of wins, they'll be the favorites to win the Big 12. But given the inconcistency we've seen from the offense, it's much more likely that they'll drop one of the two as well as the regular-season finale at Oklahoma State.

    This is a solid team that is probably a year away from making national noise.

    Final Record: 9-3

14) Virginia Tech Hokies

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    VT QB Logan Thomas
    VT QB Logan ThomasJeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

    Current Record: 6-1

    Surprise, surprise! Sitting pretty at No. 14 in the BCS is Virginia Tech, a team many dismissed following a pitiful effort in a Week 1 loss to Alabama.

    Of course, most teams look pitiful against the Crimson Tide, and the Hokies have since reeled off six straight wins in impressive fashion.

    Frank Beamer's team gets a break in the schedule by missing both Clemson and Florida State, so the season will come down to a visit to Miami in November. Outside of that one, this team probably won't suffer another loss.

    Final Record: 10-2

13) LSU Tigers

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    LSU QB Zach Mettenberger
    LSU QB Zach MettenbergerSpruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports

    Current Record: 6-2

    Before Saturday, LSU still had a chance to win the SEC West with a win over Alabama. But the Tigers dropped their game against Ole Miss, and Les Miles' team suddenly has a lot less to play for.

    Make no mistake, this is a quality football team with a dangerous offense. But some of the bugs from last year have arisen in recent weeks, and the young defense can't solve every problem it faces.

    LSU isn't going to beat Alabama, but it'll have a great chance against Texas A&M.

    Final Record: 9-3

12) UCLA Bruins

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    UCLA QB Brett Hundley
    UCLA QB Brett HundleyBob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports

    Current Record: 5-1

    The UCLA Bruins ripped through their first five games in 2013 before traveling to face an angry Stanford team that handed them a 24-10 beatdown.

    Quarterback Brett Hundley is an amazing talent with a huge arm and wheels to boot, but his indecisiveness has hurt an offense capable of scoring 40 or 50 points per game. Injuries to the backfield haven't really helped much, either.

    The Bruins travel to Eugene this week to take on the Ducks before facing a manageable November slate, highlighted by a visit from Arizona State.

    Final Record: 10-2

11) Auburn Tigers

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    Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

    Current Record: 6-1

    If not for Missouri's string of impressive wins, the Auburn Tigers could've earned the midseason award for most surprising team in the SEC.

    Quarterback Nick Marshall is operating Gus Malzahn's offense effectively and efficiently while also providing a dynamic threat in the ground game.

    Looking at the schedule, it's easy to see this team reaching the Iron Bowl with just the lone loss to LSU on the record. A visit from Georgia will be tough, but the beleaguered Bulldogs don't look capable of hanging with many teams right now.

    The real question is, can Auburn hang with Alabama?

    Final Record: 10-2

10) Texas Tech Red Raiders

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    QB Baker Mayfield
    QB Baker MayfieldJohn Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

    Current Record: 7-0

    Texas Tech has made it through the first seven games on their schedule without a loss, and hopes of winning a conference title are more real than ever.

    However, the most difficult part of the schedule has yet to be played, and it begins Saturday with a visit to Oklahoma, which is followed by a date with Oklahoma State.

    Kliff Kingsbury's team ends the season with games against Baylor and Texas, both of whom appear to be playing their best football of the year. Look for the Red Raiders to win two out of these four games.

    Final Record: 10-2

9) Clemson Tigers

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    Coach Dabo Swinney
    Coach Dabo SwinneyJoshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

    Current Record: 6-1

    Take everything you thought you knew about Clemson and start over, because a 51-14 loss to Florida State is hard to look away from, and it will continue to linger throughout the remainder of the 2013 season.

    The challenge for Clemson will be moving beyond the loss and growing as a team.

    South Carolina looks like the only major challenge left on the schedule, but the game is on the road. If Clemson can win that one, a berth in a BCS bowl as an at-large team is still very much on the table. 

    Final Record: 10-2

8) Baylor Bears

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    Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

    Current Record: 6-0

    The Baylor Bears are undefeated, but given the competition they've faced, that fact is not surprising.

    What is impressive about the fast start is the way the Bears have been winning, piling up monster point totals and holding opposing teams to just 16 points per game.

    Like several other Big 12 contenders, however, the meat of schedule is in November. After a trip to Kansas, the Bears will play Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, TCU and Texas.

    It's hard to see Art Briles' team winning every one of those games, but can the Bears do enough to capture the conference title?

    Final Record: 11-1

7) Miami Hurricanes

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    RB Duke Johnson
    RB Duke JohnsonBob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

    Current Record: 6-0

    The Miami Hurricanes remain in the ranks of the unbeaten teams in college football, but their journey hasn't been without difficulty. On Thursday, quarterback Stephen Morris and company were fortunate to leave North Carolina with a win in tow.

    Of the six remaining games, only two stand out as major challenges—Florida State and Virginia Tech. Can Miami win both and stake its claim as a national title contender?

    Probably not, unless Morris can start making better decisions with the football. Still, this is a dangerous team capable of beating anybody.

    Final Record: 11-1

6) Stanford Cardinal

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    RB Tyler Gaffney
    RB Tyler GaffneyBob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports

    Current Record: 6-1

    Getting to the national championship became a near-impossible task for Stanford following a loss to Utah.

    But the Cardinal bounced back in convincing fashion against UCLA, notching a 24-10 win. This team should win its games at the end of the season against USC, Cal and Notre Dame, but the next two contests will define the season.

    The Cardinal travel to Corvallis to take on Oregon State next Saturday before a marquee matchup with Oregon. If Stanford wins both, it will be well on its way to a second straight Rose Bowl appearance.

    Final Record: 10-2

5) Missouri Tigers

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    Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

    Current Record: 7-0

    Yes, this is real life, and yes, the Missouri Tigers are undefeated well into the month of October.

    Despite losing starting quarterback James Franklin to injury, the Tigers took on the Florida Gators Saturday and dominated the matchup, 36-17.

    Gary Pinkel's team will face South Carolina before taking on Tennessee, Kentucky and Ole Miss. A visit from Texas A&M rounds out the regular season. Everything is in play for Missouri, including a spot in the national championship. Can the Tigers make it through the remaining five games unscathed and reach the SEC Championship Game?

    Final Record: 10-2

4) Ohio State Buckeyes

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    Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

    Current Record: 7-0

    The Ohio State Buckeyes appear well on their way to an appearance in the Big Ten Championship Game, but quarterback Braxton Miller and company likely have larger goals on their minds.

    In order for a spot in the national championship to become a possibility, the Buckeyes will need some help. Before any of that, however, Urban Meyer's team needs to take care of business themselves.

    The schedule is as easy as they come until a visit to Michigan at the end of the season. Ohio State has an excellent shot to post a second straight undefeated season.

    Final Record: 12-0

3) Oregon Ducks

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    Oregon RB Byron Marshall
    Oregon RB Byron MarshallScott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports

    Current Record: 7-0

    The Oregon Ducks have yet to be seriously challenged through seven games of the 2013 season.

    Washington gave Mark Helfrich's team a scare through three quarters, but Marcus Mariota and company pulled away in the final quarter to win easily.

    UCLA visits next Saturday, and the Ducks then get a bye week before taking on Stanford. The two-game stretch will define the 2013 season for Oregon.

    After that, the Ducks will face Utah, Arizona and Oregon State.

    Final Record: 12-0

2) Florida State Seminoles

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    FSU QB Jameis Winston
    FSU QB Jameis WinstonJoshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

    Current Record: 6-0

    If Saturday's 51-14 victory over Clemson is any indication, Florida State isn't going to lose again this season.

    Who's going to beat Jameis Winston and company?

    A Miami team that struggled with North Carolina? A Florida team that looked awful against Missouri?

    Right now, Jimbo Fisher's team is playing better football than anybody else in the country, and barring a shocking upset, an unblemished regular-season mark is in the cards.

    Final Record: 12-0

1) Alabama Crimson Tide

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    Alabama QB AJ McCarron
    Alabama QB AJ McCarronMark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

    Current Record: 7-0

    While Florida State and Oregon continue to grab headlines, Alabama is quietly playing its best football of the season.

    Granted, the schedule hasn't been terribly difficult, but wins over Virginia Tech and Ole Miss look more impressive today than when they actually happened, and the defense is allowing fewer than 10 points per game.

    The biggest games left on the schedule are LSU and Auburn. Can either team beat Nick Saban's squad?

    Final Record: 12-0