BCS Standings 2013: Breaking Down Week 11 Top 25 Teams

Brian Leigh@@BLeighDATFeatured ColumnistNovember 4, 2013

BCS Standings 2013: Breaking Down Week 11 Top 25 Teams

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    Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

    The latest edition of the BCS standings was released on Sunday night, highlighted by another interesting flip-flop at the No. 2 spot behind Alabama.

    Florida State beat No. 7 Miami 41-14 on Saturday, and after finishing first in five of the six computers, it leapfrogged Oregon and would play in the national title game if the season ended today.

    But the season doesn't end today, and if Oregon wins this week's game with Stanford, it will almost certainly hop back into the No. 2 spot for good. 

    Here's a look at how the rest of the rankings turned out.

25. Texas Tech

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    Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Spo

    Texas Tech played one good quarter against Oklahoma State, and even though it was a very good quarter, that is rarely enough to come away with a win.

    Kliff Kingsbury's team doesn't feel like a "fraud," but it's clear that they were over-ranked a few weeks ago, back when their record was still flawless.

    The rest of the Big 12 slate is still very difficult, and this team needs to find some answers on defense quickly. A running game wouldn't hurt, either.

24. Wisconsin

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    Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sport

    It wasn't pretty—and no one expected it to be—but Wisconsin took care of business on the road against Iowa, remaining in the BCS Top 25.

    The Badgers were jobbed out of a potential road win at Arizona State, and if not for the refs' botched call at the end of that game, their only loss would be at Ohio State.

    Bret Bielema may be gone, but this Wisconsin team feels awfully familiar. It'll never be must-see TV, but no one should discount what this team is doing.

23. Notre Dame

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    Notre Dame survived a scare against Navy on Saturday, coming up with a key fourth-down stop to thwart what might have been a game-winning drive by the Midshipmen.

    It's tempting to read too much into that, but in truth, the Irish just need to win at this point. They've already beaten Michigan State, Arizona State and USC this year, and they still have remaining games with BYU and Stanford on the schedule.

    Notre Dame obviously should have beaten Navy with ease, but in the absence of defensive tackle Louis Nix, Notre Dame can be excused for a slight letdown against a good rushing offense.

    It just better not make this a habit.

22. Arizona State

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    Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

    Arizona State made an Arizona Statement in Pullman on Thursday, thrashing Washington State in a 55-21 rout.

    The Cougars aren't a bad football team by any stretch, and they entered that game confident that they could win—they had already beaten USC and hung with Oregon this year.

    But the Sun Devils had their way in Martin Stadium and continue to control their own fate in the Pac-12 South. This team is worth keeping an eye on.

21. Central Florida

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    David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

    Central Florida is still behind Louisville in the poll, which is ridiculous since both teams have one loss and the Knights won a true road game over the Cardinals. 

    But at the end of the day, none of that will matter. UCF is in the driver's seat to win the AAC, and no matter who finishes higher in the poll, the conference winner will play in the BCS.

    Houston could prove to be a tricky opponent, but other than that, no one on this team's schedule should be good enough to give it a game.

20. Louisville

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    Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

    It was BCS or Bust for Louisville coming into the year, and after losing to UCF on its home field, the Cardinals will need some help to reach that goal.

    They also need to take care of business the rest of the way, which might be harder than it seems with Houston looking more and more legit each week.

    If Louisville can beat Houston, and Houston can beat UCF, there's a chance the AAC could have a three-way tie for first place. That might be Teddy Bridgewater's best chance of returning to the big stage.

19. UCLA

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    Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

    Give UCLA some credit for beating Colorado.

    The Buffaloes aren't great, but given the circumstances, it would have been easy for the Bruins to have a letdown. Coming off back-to-back road games at Stanford and Oregon, they had to have been worn-out physically.

    Look no further than Washington, which also played at Stanford and Oregon in back-to-back weeks, then promptly got crushed by Arizona State.

    UCLA avoided a similar fate.

18. Northern Illinois

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    David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

    Northern Illinois beat up on another MAC cupcake this week, throttling UMass 63-19.

    Until the Huskies start playing better teams, though, they're unlikely to be taken seriously enough to pass Fresno State in the rankings—no matter how good they look.

    After a bye in Week 11, NIU has back-to-back games with Ball State and Toledo, which both might be better than any team Fresno State has played all year.

    That battle for a potential BCS spot is neck-and-neck.

17. Michigan State

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    Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

    Talk about scary.

    The Michigan State offense is nothing to write home about, but the defensive display it put on against Michigan on Saturday should strike fear in the heart of every single Big Ten team—Ohio State included.

    Connor Cook did a good enough job of moving the offense along, and Jeremy Langford has been a great addition to the backfield. The offense just needs to be decent for this team to stand a chance in any game.

    Maybe Ohio State's road to the BCS isn't so straightforward?

16. Fresno State

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    Derek Carr is the real deal, and if not for his NFL-caliber right arm, the Bulldogs would likely be irrelevant on a national scale.

    He threw for 487 yards in a home win against Nevada on Saturday, but even though Carr looked great, Fresno State still let a bad team hang around well into the second half.

    If they stay undefeated all year, the Bulldogs have a chance to hold off NIU in the standings and crash the final BCS.

    But the way this team has looked in recent weeks, going undefeated is far from a given.

15. Texas A&M

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    Texas A&M did what it was supposed to do on Saturday, padding its stats in a thorough beatdown of UTEP in College Station.

    The defense only allowed seven points, which isn't surprising considering the opponent, but it might give that godawful unit some confidence and momentum going forward.

    If they can keep teams in the low 30s, the Aggies have an offense powerful enough to beat any team in the country.

    That just happens to be a big "if."

14. Oklahoma State

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    The Cowboys started fast, followed up slow, then eventually put things together in a comfortable victory at Texas Tech.

    Oklahoma State's defense showed some holes, but overall, that unit is better than any Mike Gundy has enjoyed in quite some time. It really feels like the most complete Oklahoma State team he's coached, even if its not technically the "best."

    If Desmond Roland is as good as he's looked the past two weeks and the offense continues to show great balance, Oklahoma State might well be Baylor's biggest threat in the Big 12.

13. LSU

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    Auburn is ranked higher and gets Alabama at home, but if recent matchup history is any indication, LSU stands the best chance of dethroning the Crimson Tide.

    Zach Mettenberger played his best game of the year against Alabama in 2012, and the Tigers played well enough to win before choking away a late lead.

    If that Mettenberger shows up on Saturday, LSU has a shot to win. If the Mettenberger who stunk against Ole Miss shows up, LSU is hopeless.

12. South Carolina

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    Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

    South Carolina let Mississippi State hang around for a while in Saturday's 34-16 win, but there's a chance the Bulldogs just aren't as bad as people think. That was still a fairly impressive performance.

    This team is hard to peg, having looked pretty bad at Tennessee and for three quarters at Mizzou before eventually pulling out the win. It's hard to put a lot of faith in the Gamecocks showing up from week to week.

    But when they do, man, there's not one team in the country who wants to be going up against them. And that has to count for something.

11. Miami

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    John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

    Is it possible to look impressive in a 27-point loss?

    Miami hung around at Florida State and executed a good defensive game plan in the first half, but Jameis Winston and Jimbo Fisher were simply too good. That team might be close to unbeatable.

    The Hurricanes offense got stifled, though, and without a couple of crazy-good throws by Stephen Morris, it might not have scored a single touchdown.

    This ranking feels about right.

10. Oklahoma

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    Oklahoma's win over Texas Tech doesn't look quite as good now as it did last week, after Oklahoma State went into Lubbock and hung 52 points on the Red Raiders.

    But none of that will matter if the Sooners walk into Waco and find a way to beat Baylor, which has barely even been challenged it 2013—especially at home.

    OU has a very good secondary and enough bodies in the front seven to give Baylor some problems. The real question is whether Good Blake Bell or Bad Blake Bell will show up under center.

    The key to beating Baylor is keeping your defense off the field.

9. Auburn

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    Arkansas is far from a powerhouse, but Auburn's win on Saturday still felt important.

    The Tigers hit the road to play an SEC team and made winning look easy. It's always impressive to see that, and the win helped validate Auburn as a team that is for real and not a fluke.

    Nick Marshall needed all of eight passes the shred the Arkansas defense, and the Tigers running game continued to make fodder of every opponent it faces.

    This year's Iron Bowl against Alabama could get very interesting.

8. Missouri

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    Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

    Missouri made things look easy in a 31-3 win over Tennessee, making an important statement that it will not fold after losing a game that it should have won against South Carolina.

    Sure, the win came against a pretty bad road team and a second-string quarterback, but the Tigers got up to play when they could have been hungover—and that still counts for something.

    The rest of the schedule is difficult, with a road trip to Ole Miss and a home game against Texas A&M still looming. But Mizzou is playing good football and controls its own fate in the division, so it has to be taken seriously.

7. Clemson

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    Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

    Florida State proved once again that it can destroy very good teams with a blowout win over Miami, casting a slightly better light on how bad Clemson looked against the Seminoles.

    Despite the margin of that loss, the Tigers still check in strong at No. 7, and they should be able to snag a BCS bid by running the table from here on out.

    That might be difficult, though, since South Carolina is still on the schedule and is starting to round into form as an SEC East contender. Clemson needs to keep playing as well as it did at Virginia this week.

6. Baylor

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    The rubber is about to meet the road in Waco, where Baylor hosts Oklahoma on a Thursday night and begins the hard portion of its back-loaded schedule.

    The Bears' offensive juggernaut has gotten back on track after being "slowed" down by Kansas State, but Oklahoma might have the proper personnel to execute Bill Snyder's blueprint and give them a fight.

    All eyes will be on quarterback Bryce Petty, who has been beyond prolific all season but has yet to play in a spotlight quite this large. How he performs might be the ultimate difference.

5. Stanford

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    Like its rival and upcoming opponent, Oregon, Stanford got a chance to rest up in Week 10.

    There's no way to overstate the importance of this Thursday's game. Stanford is the one team that has always given Oregon's offense trouble, and especially on its home field, it stands the best chance of knocking the Ducks off this season.

    A lot of interested parties will be watching this game and rooting for the home team, most notably folks in Tallahassee, Columbus and Waco.

4. Ohio State

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    Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

    After struggling in close wins over Iowa and Northwestern, Ohio State seems to have gotten the message about style points mattering.

    The Buckeyes have beaten their last two opponents, Penn State and Purdue, by a combined score of 119-14, and are finally starting to look like a team that could win a national title.

    In order to get that chance, however, Urban Meyer's team would need some help from the three squads above it. The computers are not on their side.

3. Oregon

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    Oregon was jumped by Florida State, but it's not time to freak out in Eugene. As B/R's Sam Chi points out, the Ducks are a safe bet to finish No. 2 should they win out.

    Oregon looked vulnerable for the first time all season against UCLA two weeks ago, going into halftime tied before pulling away and crushing the Bruins in the second half.

    The Ducks have won convincingly all year, though, so at this point, it's not like style points matter. If they beat Stanford this coming Thursday and then run the table, they should be able to hold off Florida State in the BCS rankings.

    But beating Stanford is easier said than done, especially given the recent history between the two programs. The Cardinal were Oregon's only loss last season and seem to have cracked the code to stopping its high-powered offense.

2. Florida State

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    Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

    Florida State beat the No. 7 team in America, Miami, by 27 points on Saturday, and it was still somehow the first time the Seminoles have looked vulnerable all year.

    That's how dominant this team has been, and barring any unforeseen circumstances, that's how dominant it will continue to be.

    Should FSU finish the year undefeated and not get a chance to play for the national title, it would be a poetic conclusion to the BCS era. There's a reason this system is being replaced.

1. Alabama

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    Like so many of its fellow national title contenders, Alabama was idle in Week 10, resting up for its biggest remaining test of the year against LSU this Saturday.

    The Crimson Tide are at home, which obviously means a great deal, but no team has given Nick Saban more trouble in Tuscaloosa than the Tigers, who will not back down from the challenge.

    Les Miles will have his boys ready to play, so if Alabama wants to stay atop the rankings, it will need to bring its A-game.