The 2013 college football season is the last one for the much-maligned BCS system, and it is going out with a bang.
There are currently four remaining undefeated teams (and a handful of elite one-loss squads) vying for position in the national title race as we head into the stretch run. Stanford made fans in Columbus, Tallahassee and Waco very happy with Thursday’s upset of Oregon, and there are plenty of remaining marquee games on Saturday that will have widespread repercussions.
Let’s dig into a few.
LSU at Alabama
Saturday’s headliner is the SEC West showdown between rivals LSU and Alabama.
The Tide are the reigning kings of college football and will remain in the No. 1 spot unless they are upset, but the Tigers have beaten Alabama more than any other team (three times) since Nick Saban took over in 2007. In fact, LSU has won two of the past three regular-season matchups with Alabama and five of the past six in Tuscaloosa.
Zach Mettenberger will look to copy Johnny Manziel’s success against the Crimson Tide’s secondary with receiving weapons Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry. The defending Heisman Trophy winner lit up Alabama for 464 yards passing and five touchdowns.
However, we are still talking about the nation’s leading scoring defense in the Tide, meaning exploiting the secondary will be a lot easier said than done for Mettenberger. Look for Saban and company to come away victorious, but it will be another tightly contested battle between these two rivals.
Florida State at Wake Forest
The current No. 2 team in the BCS standings received a monumental boost to its national title hopes when the Cardinal upset the Ducks Thursday. Now Florida State will have to avoid the upset bug itself for the remainder of the year with the majority of its challenging games in the rearview mirror.
If the Seminoles handle their business at Wake Forest Saturday, they will clinch a spot in the ACC title game. They will also cement themselves at No. 2 in the BCS standings for the foreseeable future barring an upset.
Look for Jameis Winston and the Florida State offense (which is third in the nation in scoring per game) to have its way with the Demon Deacons defense. On the other side of the ball, Wake Forest is missing its leading receiver in Michael Campanaro (broken collarbone) and will struggle to move the ball without him.
Two years ago, the Seminoles lost a stunner at Wake Forest, but history will not be repeating itself Saturday.
BYU at Wisconsin
BYU’s trip to Wisconsin is this week’s underrated game in terms of its impact on the BCS standings.
The Badgers still entertain hopes of receiving an at-large bid to a BCS game, but they must win out for that to be a possibility. Premier bowl games would certainly be pleased to invite Wisconsin and its large fanbase to the postseason, but Melvin Gordon and company can’t overlook a dangerous Cougars team.
The key matchup here is the Badgers’ fifth-ranked run defense against BYU’s 14th-ranked rush offense.
It’s also worth keeping in mind that Wisconsin represents Ohio State’s best win to date, so if the Badgers can move up, it would have an impact near the top of the BCS as the Buckeyes jostle for positioning.
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