Buying and Selling Every Top 10 Team as a BCS Championship Contender

Sebastian Lena@SP7988Analyst IOctober 22, 2013

Buying and Selling Every Top 10 Team as a BCS Championship Contender

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    Jameis Winston and the Seminoles showed the rest of the college football world that they mean business.
    Jameis Winston and the Seminoles showed the rest of the college football world that they mean business.Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    With several upsets altering the college football landscape, the true BCS title contenders have been separated from the pretenders.

    Some have proved their worth by toppling an equally talented opponent. Others have made their case by dominating every team in the way—no matter the level of skill.

    Regardless, with just six weeks remaining in the season, each one of these contenders will be tested in every possible way.

    So let's take a look and determine which of these 10 teams are for real.

     

    Author's note: The top 10 teams referenced in this slideshow come from the latest BCS Standings.

No. 10 Texas Tech

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    The buck stops here for the Red Raiders.
    The buck stops here for the Red Raiders.Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Spo

    Current Record: 7-0

     

    The Skinny

    While many of college football’s usual suspects have fallen from grace in recent weeks, the Red Raiders have quietly crept inside the Top 10 for the first time since 2008.

    Unfortunately for first-year head coach Kliff Kingsbury, the team’s stay won’t be too long.

    Texas Tech still has contests remaining at No. 15 Oklahoma, vs. No. 19 Oklahoma State, vs. No. 8 Baylor and at Texas. In fact, the team’s remaining five opponents have a combined record of 23-6. 

    In comparison, the Red Raiders' first seven opponents were just 18-28. 

    Sure, the team boasts the nation’s No. 2-ranked passing attack, led by Baker Mayfield (65.7 CMP%, 1,488 YDs, 8 TDs, 5 INTs) and Davis Webb (60.8 CMP%, 1,427 YDs, 11 TDs, 5 INTs). However, Texas Tech only ranks No. 98 in rushing, as its top two running backs average under 4.0 yards per carry.

    With that said, it’s very likely the team finishes with two or three losses at end of the year.

     

    Result: Sell

No. 9 Clemson

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    Boyd (center) wishes he could have last week's game back.
    Boyd (center) wishes he could have last week's game back.Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

    Current Record: 6-1

     

    The Skinny

    Even if the Tigers won out, they’d still most likely miss out on the BCS title game.

    First, the team would need losses from nine of the remaining 10 undefeated teams. Next, Clemson would have to hope Florida State lost not once, but twice before the regular season concluded.

    Given that No. 7 Miami is the sole ranked opponent on the Seminoles' schedule, it doesn’t look good for the Tigers.

    Not to mention, Clemson just got exposed last weekend, 51-14, by that very same Florida State team.

    The Seminoles outgained the Tigers 565-326 while forcing four turnovers. Quarterback Tajh Boyd didn’t help matters, or his Heisman stock, going 17-of-37 for 156 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. The senior was also held to just eight yards on 14 carries.

    And this was a week after the Tigers struggled to put away a weaker Boston College team.

    All things considered, Clemson should still win at least 10 games. But hoping for anything other than an at-large bid right now is wishful thinking.

     

    Result: Sell

No. 8 Baylor

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    The Bears' days in the Top 10 are numbered.
    The Bears' days in the Top 10 are numbered.Cooper Neill/Getty Images

    Current Record: 6-0

     

    The Skinny

    There’s no doubt that the Bears have looked unstoppable thus far. The team has topped 69 points in five of its six games.

    But then again, who has Baylor played?

    With a contest against Kansas this weekend, the Bears will likely move to 4-0 in the Big 12. However, those four opponents only have a combined conference record of 1-12.

    In fact, the team has yet to play the top four teams in the conference (other than itself).

    That includes a three-week gauntlet from Nov. 7-23 that features No. 15 Oklahoma, No. 10 Texas Tech and No. 19 Oklahoma State. Not to mention, Baylor also has to travel to face TCU and its stingy defense.

    Three of those four games are away from the friendly confines of Waco. That could prove to be a problem for a team that struggled to get past lowly Kansas State, 35-25, in its only road contest thus far.

    It would be a surprise if the Bears finished with fewer than two losses.

     

    Result: Sell

No. 7 Miami

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    Johnson (center) is the key to Miami's title hopes.
    Johnson (center) is the key to Miami's title hopes.Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

    Current Record: 6-0

     

    The Skinny

    Head coach Al Golden has done a wonderful job with the Hurricanes. He has returned the credibility to the program and has the team in the Top 10 for the first time in four years.

    With a very winnable schedule remaining, Golden has the potential to lead Miami to even more.

    The team only has two remaining contests against ranked opponents—at No. 2 Florida State and vs. No. 14 Virginia Tech. Win both, and the Hurricanes will easily shoot up into the Top Five of the rankings.

    And with a likely rematch with the Seminoles in the ACC title game, Miami would have another shot to prove it deserves BCS title consideration alongside Alabama, Oregon and Ohio State.

    However, given the inconsistency of quarterback Stephen Morris (59.7 CMP%, 1,272 YDs, 9 TDs, 8 INTs), the team must rely on the running back tandem of Duke Johnson (92 CAR, 655 YDs, 4 TDs) and Dallas Crawford (58 CAR, 256 YDs, 9 TDs). Although Johnson suffered an injury scare last week, he's expected to be just fine, according to ESPN.com's Heather Dinich

    While it may be a long shot that the Hurricanes beat Florida State once, let alone twice, I’m still buying them considering only one team stands in their way.

     

    Result: Buy

No. 6 Stanford

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    Shaw (left) and his Cardinal have a bumpy road ahead.
    Shaw (left) and his Cardinal have a bumpy road ahead.Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports

    Current Record: 6-1

     

    The Skinny

    A 24-10 victory over UCLA last weekend went a long way in gaining back respect for the Cardinal. Especially following a week where the team was shocked by unranked Utah.

    However, Stanford’s vulnerability in the secondary—No. 87 against the pass—becomes a glaring issue as Oregon State and the nation’s No. 1-ranked passing attack are up next.

    On the offensive end, the team doesn’t really do much to wow.

    Quarterback Kevin Hogan (62.9 CMP%, 1,410 YDs, 13 TDs, 5 INTs) needs to do more. The junior hasn’t topped 300 yards all season, and he has thrown an interception in all but two games. Furthermore, he hasn’t tossed multiple touchdowns in a game since Sept. 28.

    Running back Tyler Gaffney (144 CAR, 736 YDs, 9 TDs) can only take them so far.

    The Cardinal have a chance to put together another signature win—such as ending Oregon’s undefeated season—but they could also go on to disappoint against a team they should easily beat (think USC).

    Not buying this group.

     

    Result: Sell

No. 5 Missouri

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    How long can Mauk keep up his strong play?
    How long can Mauk keep up his strong play?Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Current Record: 7-0

     

    The Skinny

    Through seven games, the Tigers have been one of the biggest stories of the SEC. In fact, if it weren't for Gus Malzahn’s job at Auburn, Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel would currently be a favorite to win Coach of the Year.

    If you recall, this is the same guy who entered the season on the hot seat after finishing 5-7 last season.

    Now, the Tigers have used back-to-back wins over ranked teams—No. 7 Georgia and No. 22 Florida—to propel themselves into the Top Five of the BCS standings. More importantly, the team is now smack in the middle of the national title conversation.

    Unfortunately, this is one feel-good story that will have an unpleasant ending.

    With No. 21 South Carolina likely without starting quarterback Connor Shaw, via the Associated Press, this weekend’s contest shouldn’t be all that difficult to navigate for Missouri. It’s the Nov. 2 game against Tennessee that should have the team worried.

    Sure, Maty Mauk played solid in his debut—18-of-36 for 295 yards with two touchdowns and one interception—but how long can the redshirt freshman keep it up?

    It certainly doesn’t help that the Tigers wrap up the season with a trip to face Ole Miss and then a home contest against Johnny Manziel and No. 16 Texas A&M.

    Very possible this team finishes with two or three losses.

     

    Result: Sell

No. 4 Ohio State

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    The Buckeyes are closing in on back-to-back perfect seasons.
    The Buckeyes are closing in on back-to-back perfect seasons.Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

    Current Record: 7-0

     

    The Skinny

    Look, I hear the criticism on the Buckeyes loud and clear.

    The team doesn’t play anybody. The Big Ten is considerably weaker this year. Ohio State has struggled as of late—winning each of its last three games by 10 points or less. 

    While all are fair points, it doesn’t take away from the fact that the team has the best shot out of anybody else in the Top 10 to run the table. 

    And if history tells us anything, a 13-0 team more than likely plays for the BCS title. 

    Only the finale at No. 22 Michigan stands in the Buckeyes' way of recording back-to-back perfect regular seasons. The Wolverines have made most of their opponents appear as offensive juggernauts in recent weeks.

    It also helps that quarterback Braxton Miller has returned to the form that garnered him preseason Heisman hype. Over the last three games, the junior has has thrown for 623 yards, six touchdowns and one interception on 69.2 percent passing while adding another 253 yards on the ground.

    Running back Carlos Hyde (50 CAR, 318 YDs, 5 TDs) has been just as proficient during that stretch.

    Ohio State probably won't win the BCS title. However, there’s no doubt the team is in contention for it.

     

    Result: Buy

No. 3 Oregon

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    Mariota is making a case for the Heisman.
    Mariota is making a case for the Heisman.Steve Dykes/Getty Images

    Current Record: 7-0

     

    The Skinny

    Led by Heisman favorite Marcus Mariota (62.4 CMP%, 2,051 YDs, 19 TDs, 0 INT; 49 CAR, 493 YDs, 9 TDs), the Ducks have boasted one of the best offenses in the country. The team ranks No. 2 in both scoring (57.6 points per game) and total offense (643.1 yards per game).

    Over the next two weeks, Oregon’s mettle will be put to the test.

    That’s because the team will host No. 12 UCLA before traveling to face No. 6 Stanford—the same team that put a damper on the Ducks’ undefeated season last year. It doesn’t help that the team’s defense has looked vulnerable as of late, conceding an average of 31 points per game over the last two contests.

    But all things aside, neither the Bruins nor the Cardinal possess the offensive firepower, or defensive talent, to keep up with Oregon’s offense.

    This is a team that has a good shot at lighting up the scoreboard en route to a BCS title showdown with Alabama.

     

    Result: Buy

No. 2 Florida State

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    Winston and the Seminoles have been all smiles thus far in 2013.
    Winston and the Seminoles have been all smiles thus far in 2013.Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Current Record: 6-0

     

    The Skinny

    The Seminoles went into Death Valley and put together college football’s biggest statement-making victory of 2013: a 51-14 thumping of Clemson.

    Not only was it the kind of win that could define a team’s season, it was the kind of performance from quarterback Jameis Winston that could only be summed up as a Heisman moment. The redshirt freshman looked like a five-year senior, throwing for 444 yards and three touchdowns on 22-of-34 passing. He also added another score on the ground.

    While shutting down fellow Heisman hopeful Tajh Boyd, Winston and Florida State made the Tigers look more like an FCS school than a BCS title contender.

    It begs the question: Who can stop these guys? The Seminoles have been productive both on offense and on defense.

    Through six games, the team ranks No. 3 in scoring (53.2 PPG), No. 5 in total offense (551.7 YPG), No. 10 in passing (341.3 YPG) and No. 28 in rushing (210.3 YPG). On the other hand, the defense ranks No. 3 in scoring (12.3 PPG), No. 6 in total defense (285.0 YPG), No. 2 against the pass (158.0 YPG) and No. 29 against the rush (127.0 YPG).

    Only No. 7 Miami stands in Florida State’s way. And that game is at home.

    High chance this team will be running the table and making its first BCS title appearance since 2001.

     

    Result: Buy

No. 1 Alabama

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    Who can stop the Tide?
    Who can stop the Tide?Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Current Record: 7-0

     

    The Skinny

    The Crimson Tide’s 49-42 victory over Texas A&M on Sept. 14 served as a wake-up call for the team. Especially for the defense, which was gashed for 628 yards.

    Since then, the unit has been downright dominant.

    Over the last five contests, Alabama has won by an average score of 40.2-3.2 while conceding just 217.0 yards per game. That includes shutting out two opponents while holding four under 100 yards on the ground.

    On the year, the defense has been just as stout. The unit ranks No. 1 in scoring defense (9.7 PPG), No. 5 in total defense (275.0 YPG), No. 9 against the pass (176.7 YPG) and No. 8 against the rush (98.3 YPG).

    On top of that, the Tide have found a running game as of late.

    The backfield has averaged 271.5 yards per game on the ground over the last four contests. That includes a whopping 352 yards against Arkansas last weekend.

    If the team can get past No. 13 LSU and No. 11 Auburn, a third straight BCS title is up for grabs.

    Who in their right minds would bet against that?

     

    Result: Buy

     

    All stats and rankings used in this article are courtesy of NCAA.com.

    For complete coverage and everything college football, you can reach Sebastian on Facebook, on Twitter and via e-mail at Sebastian.LenaBR@gmail.com