It certainly looks like Alabama-Florida State now.
After Stanford's stunning upset (more in scope than the act) of Oregon on Thursday night, the BCS picture began to emerge with some clarity. After Alabama's convincing victory over LSU on Saturday, it looks like a Crimson Tide-Seminoles showdown in Pasadena is all but becoming inevitable.
Granted, each team will still have three regular-season games and a conference championship game remaining, but they'll be favored by double digits in each game. In the BCS standings coming out on Sunday, Alabama and FSU will open a wide gap on the No. 3 team and everybody else below that.
Ohio State is expected to move into the No. 3 spot, though, its hold on that position will be tenuous. Stanford is projected to emerge ahead of Baylor at No. 4, despite being ranked lower in the polls.
The rankings from 3-5 are will remain fluid for the remainder of the season, with Ohio State having the best chance at staying unbeaten. But thanks to the weakness of the Big Ten, the Buckeyes will not automatically slide into the top spot should either Alabama or FSU slip up.
|Projected BCS Standings|
|3||Ohio State||9-0||Big Ten||4|
|11||Oklahoma State||8-1||Big 12||14|
|14||Michigan State||8-1||Big Ten||17|
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The most interesting races, however, appear to be for the remaining BCS bowl spots:
* Notre Dame can now be safely eliminated from BCS contention after losing to Pitt. With just two games remaining, the Irish won't satisfy the eligibility requirement of finishing in the top 14 of the final BCS standings, even with a win over Stanford.
* Fresno State did not struggle in a late game this week, scoring a decisive victory over Wyoming. The Bulldogs should maintain their edge over Northern Illinois in the BCS standings. The Huskies will have their biggest game of the season coming up next Wednesday night, as they face Ball State with the MAC West title on the line.
* Central Florida withstood a late Houston rally, holding on to a 19-14 victory with a goal-line stand. The Knights are now in the driver's seat in the American Athletic Conference, which still has an automatic bid to a BCS bowl. They already defeated Louisville and Houston and do not face Cincinnati.
* The rest of the BCS bowl berths likely will be up for grabs, going to teams from the SEC, Pac-12 and ACC. Oregon is nearly certain to earn a fifth straight trip to a BCS bowl with an 11-1 record, even if it doesn't win the Pac-12 North.
|Projected BCS Bowl Matchups|
|BCS Championship||Alabama vs. Florida State|
|Rose Bowl||Stanford vs. Ohio State|
|Orange Bowl||Clemson vs. Central Florida|
|Sugar Bowl||Oregon vs. Texas A&M|
|Fiesta Bowl||Baylor vs. Fresno State|
|Projected as at end of season|
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