Entering Week 10, there are five undefeated teams sitting with eyes staring hopefully at a BCS National Championship Game birth. For Alabama, Oregon, Florida State, Ohio State and Baylor, the dream is the same: playing for the crystal football. All five can finish undefeated in 2013, leaving three teams huffing and puffing, from the outside looking in.
Obviously, Alabama and Oregon have the inside track to the title game, with plenty of football left to play in the season. However, with on-field subjectivity—the currency by which football must be judged—laid to the side, how do these teams stack up to the blind test? No highlight reels, no big defensive stands, no examining matchups or looking at football between the white lines.
Just the blind resumes:
|Team||Record||Average Points For||Average Points Against||Average Margin of Victory||Yards Per Game||Yards Per Game Allowed||Turnovers Forced||Turnovers||Turnover Margin||Wins vs BCS Opponents||Wins vs Non-BCSOpponents|
|3||7-0||52.6||13||39.5||553.7||289.4||14||6||+8||5 (2)||2 |
|4||8-0||47.3||19.1||28.1||517.3||336||16||8||+8||5 (2)||3 |
|5||8-0||55.6||16.9||38.8||632.1||359.3||23||10||+10||7 (2)||1 |
Number inside parentheses indicates wins over an opponent ranked at the time of the victory.
Number inside brackets indicates win over FCS opponent.
For the person whose fancy is tickled by offense, Team 2 versus Team 5 is a clear winner; sign them up for the title shot. They're both posting over 600 yards of offense per game, tops in the category out of the five. Plus, they score more than any of the other contenders.
However, perhaps margin of victory is what gets your juices flowing. Seeing teams blow out the opponent by the widest margin is your means to measure success. If that is the case, then Team 2 and Team 3 should meet up in Pasadena, as it stands now.
Some put a lot of stock in turnovers. With that in mind, Team 5 and Team 4 should suit up. While these teams do not have the same suffocating defenses of the other contenders, forcing turnovers and giving the ball back to the offense will level that playing field. Opportunistic football at its finest.
There are a myriad of factors to analyze and several scopes through which to view each of these five contenders. Personally, as a defensive guy, seeing Team 1 and Team 3 hit the field, with the fewest points and yards allowed per game, would be quite enticing. Especially given how defense has been a hallmark of past BCS champions; only four teams have won the title while surrendering an average of 15 or more points per game, 1999 Florida State, 2005 Texas, 2007 LSU and 2010 Auburn.
The beauty of college football is that it is not merely a sport determined by numbers. The matchups, varying competition and human element are why watching the games is more important than a faceless resume printed out by a computer. College football is a sport that lends itself, not just to algorithms, but also to knowledgeable evaluation and careful examination of teams battling in the trenches.
Take your pick, using the raw numbers, and see if it matches up with the performances you've become accustomed to every Saturday.
For those wondering, Team 1 is Alabama, Team 2 is Baylor, Team 3 is Florida State, Team 4 is Ohio State and Team 5 is Oregon.