BCS Bowl Stock Watch for Week 12
Five of the six BCS AQ conferences entered Week 11 with one undefeated team, but now, at the start of Week 12, only four remain.
Oregon's upset loss at Stanford had massive repercussions on the world of college football, and those upshots were reflected in the most recent batch of BCS Standings.
In addition to crippling their own chances at playing for a national title, the Ducks' loss opened the door for a number of other contenders, all of whom have been waiting for one of their unbeaten brethren to slip-up.
But there were more games to be played in Week 11; more than just the national title picture was affected.
Let's take a look at who else won and lost.
Stock Up: Florida State
Oregon's loss sent ripples throughout the entire country, but the impact was felt most heavily at Florida State, where the Seminoles now ostensibly control their own fate.
Firmly entrenched in the No. 2 spot, Jimbo Fisher's team can now sharpen focus solely onto itself, without the added burden of scoreboard-watching.
With no teams ranked in the BCS top 25 remaining on their schedule, the Seminoles must simply take care of business these next few weeks, and they will get a shot at the national title.
In the past, that has been a problem for Florida State, which is infamous for having one huge letdown each season. But linebacker Christian Jones believes that this year's team is different.
"Previous years, we'd win big games and have a down game," he said, according to Brendan Sonnone of the Orlando Sentinel. "We don't take anybody lightly. We want to come out and show everybody that we deserve that No. 2 spot."
With only Syracuse, Idaho, a depleted Florida team and whoever wins the ACC Coastal remaining, Florida State's schedule is not too hard to manage. As long as Jones and the other leaders remain focused, this team should be playing in Pasadena.
Stock Down: Oregon
On the obvious flip-side of Florida State's ascent, Oregon was delivered a near-fatal blow to its national title quest on Thursday, losing once again to Stanford by the deceptively tight score of 26-20.
In truth, though, the Cardinal mugged Oregon for almost the entire game, disallowing the high-powered Ducks offense from scoring points until halfway through the third quarter.
As far as the actual poll is concerned, Oregon is wounded but not dead. It only dropped down to No. 6, and with a lot—repeat: a lot—of help, it could back-door its way into the BCS National Championship Game, the same way Alabama did last year.
But Stanford took the Ducks' fate out of their own hands on Thursday, and no matter how far (or not far) they fell, this team will never be able to get that back.
Stock Up: Ohio State
In some ways, Ohio State's stock remains the same. Just like last week, assuming things hold true to form, the Buckeyes might very well go undefeated but be left out of the BCS National Championship Game.
Still, they entered the week needing two or more dominoes to fall, and now that Stanford has knocked the first tile to the ground, that number goes down to one.
Oregon's loss moved the Buckeyes up one slot, and now they sit squarely in the on-deck circle. Stanford and Baylor are nipping at their heels, but for now, it appears they will be able to hold their ground.
If it wants to play for a national title, Ohio State still needs some help, but today it needs drastically less than it did at this time last week.
OSU would still be wise, however, to make its next few wins convincing.
Stock Down: Northern Illinois
No, this is not a typo.
Northern Illinois moved up three spots during its bye week, leapfrogging other idle teams like Michigan State and checking in at No. 16—one measly spot behind Fresno State for the all-important highest ranking among non-BCS teams.
In a vacuum, that might appear to be a good thing. But upon closer examination, it appears the Bulldogs actually separated themselves from the Huskies, increasing the margin of their raw lead from .0506 to .0812.
That might seem negligible, but if both teams stay undefeated, every little fraction will count toward deciding which one makes a BCS bowl and which one ends up slumming it elsewhere.
For the Huskies, this was a step in the wrong direction. It just happened to be masquerading as the opposite.
Stock Up: Stanford
Stanford didn't just help out its friends in Tallahassee and Columbus this week—it put itself in position to make some serious postseason noise.
For one thing, the Cardinal now control their own fate in the Pac-12 North, consigning Oregon to a game of wait-and-see in terms of the Rose Bowl for a second consecutive season.
But they also moved up to No. 4 in the polls, ahead of undefeated Baylor and nipping at the heels of Ohio State. Stanford is now the indisputable best one-loss team in America, at least so far as the computers are concerned.
Having seen how Alabama won its last two national titles, it is hard to overstate the importance of that position.
Stock Down: Miami
The roof at Miami has begun to cave-in.
The Hurricanes appeared to have avoided disaster in close wins against North Carolina and Wake Forest, but after back-to-back ugly losses the past two weeks, it's become clear that they were just delaying the inevitable.
This defense looked scrappy at the start of the year, but now it's being exposed as a mild fraud. And the offense, sans Duke Johnson, has been completely out of sorts.
Now ranked all the way down at No. 23, Miami has its work cut out for it. A road game at Duke this week is not the gimme it appeared when the schedules were first released; the Blue Devils are actually tied with Miami in the loss column, along with Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech in the ACC Coastal.
If the 'Canes can't stop the bleeding in Durham, there's a chance that they never make it stop.
Stock Up: Auburn
The art of deception is overrated. Auburn doesn't care if you know what's coming—hint: it's a run—and trusts its guys to make sound plays in spite of that telegraph.
The Tigers carved up Tennessee to the tune of 444 rushing yards in a blowout win on Saturday, 331 of which came from the gruesome twosome of quarterback Nick Marshall and running back Tre Mason.
As a result, the Tigers leap-frogged Missouri and Clemson, jumping up from No. 9 to No. 7 in the rankings. Come season's end, that could play a pivotal role in determining BCS at-large bids.
Head coach Gus Malzahn, who has not been opposed to passing the ball in the past, has recognized his players' strengths and tailored a scheme around them. But he hasn't abandoned the passing game out of necessity.
"I still believe we can throw the football," Malzahn said, according to the Associated Press (via ESPN). "There's no doubt in my mind we can, but when you don't have to, you don't."
That confidence will be put to the test immediately, as both of Auburn's remaining opponents—Georgia and Alabama—are ranked in the BCS top 25, and the latter has won two consecutive national championships (in case you've been living under a rock).
Even if Auburn finds success on the ground, it will need to throw the ball successfully at some point in one or both of those games.
Stock Down: Louisville
Louisville straight-up murdered its opponent on Saturday, and it didn't take a dip in the rankings. But its BCS stock—that is, its chances of making a BCS bowl—have never been lower than after Week 11.
That's because Central Florida, the team that slayed it and currently sits undefeated atop the AAC, beat its toughest remaining competition, Houston, 19-14 in Tampa, Fla.
The game was close and the Golden Knights needed a goal-line stand to win it at the end. But style points don't matter so long as UCF has a zero in the loss column—all it needs to do is keep on winning, and it will be the AAC representative in the BCS.
Teddy Bridgewater opened eyes in the Sugar Bowl last season, and he was still hoping to get a chance at repeating that success on such a big stage.
With hardly any competent teams remaining on UCF's schedule, though, that no longer seems like a realistic hope.
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