BCS Standings 2013: Ranking Top Contenders' Chances at Title Game
If only the new BCS playoff system that goes into effect next year could be moved up a year. In that scenario, we would be in line for a stellar four-team playoff involving Alabama, Oregon, Florida State and Ohio State.
Instead, we are stuck with the old system, and only two teams will have the chance to play for the title at the end of the year.
My guess is that the BCS title game will feature two of the undefeated teams I just mentioned. After that, it gets a little murkier.
However, looking ahead, a clear ranking comes into view.
No. 1: Alabama
Alabama certainly has earned the right to be at the top of this list. The two-time defending national champions are 8-0 and not showing any signs of weakness. The Crimson Tide are 13th in the nation in points scored and first in points allowed.
Alabama has two games remaining against ranked opponents: a home game on Nov. 9 against No. 13 LSU and a Nov. 30 road game against No. 11 Auburn.
Of course, there is also the SEC Championship Game following the season, which would have the Tide playing Missouri if the season ended today.
Obviously, if Alabama runs the table, it will have a place in the title game. Even if it loses, however, I have no doubt this team would be at the top of the list of teams with one loss.
No. 2: Ohio State
Ohio State is No. 2 in my ranking for the same reason it is relegated to fourth in the standings despite not having lost a game in almost two seasons.
The Buckeyes are fourth because of a weak schedule, and that schedule is not very daunting moving forward. They don't have a win this season against a team currently ranked higher than 24th in the BCS standings.
They have just one game remaining against a team in the BCS rankings: a Nov. 30 contest at Michigan. Should they make it, they'll also have the Big Ten Championship Game.
As things stand now, that would have Ohio State facing No. 22 Michigan State.
If Ohio State plays near its potential, it will win all of these games. The Buckeyes need losses from the teams in front of them, but that's definitely possible.
No. 3: Florida State
The Seminoles are in a similar predicament to the Buckeyes. They have just one game left on the schedule against a ranked opponent.
However, it will be a whale of a game. The Seminoles will host No. 7 Miami next week.
Miami stands a better chance of beating Florida State than any opponent left on Ohio State's schedule has of beating the Buckeyes. Not only that, but there is also a good chance that Florida State will have to face Miami in the conference championship game.
No. 4: Oregon
If the Ducks win out, they will almost assuredly make the title game. The Ducks next take the field against No. 5 Stanford.
Which of these teams has the best shot at making the title game?
They will also close out the regular season against Oregon State, and the Beavers were ranked before last week's loss to Stanford. Also, Oregon is bound to face another ranked opponent in the Pac-12 Championship Game should it advance.
I have them fourth on this list because I believe Oregon's matchup at Stanford is the toughest test faced by any of the teams on this list. Stanford is a hard-nose team that beat Oregon 17-14 in overtime last year in Eugene.
I can't imagine all four of these teams will go undefeated. The college football season has a way of keeping that kind of thing from happening. When it comes to these four teams, Oregon is the prime candidate to fall from the ranks of the unbeaten.
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