Ultimate BCS Chaos Scenarios
At Week 12, the BCS National Championship at the Rose Bowl looks destined to play host to a battle between Alabama and Florida State for the crystal football.
However, there is still plenty of football left to be played. More importantly, there is still plenty of time for college football to be cast into a chasm of chaos.
With 'Bama and FSU firmly at No. 1 and No. 2 in the BCS rankings, one or both of these teams will have to lose. The first of the following chaos theories explains how that might happen and what it might do to the BCS picture.
From there, we'll go into how each of the standing contenders could make it into the national title game. As we go deeper, we'll come full circle and explain how some seemingly impossible scenarios actually could play out.
ACC Chaos Theory
Scenario: Florida State loses ACC title game (preferably to Duke)
Likely BCS Championship: Alabama vs. Ohio State
The BCS is already set up to be chaotic, so this scenario would actually be simple, yet controversial.
This framework also contains some internal chaos that is the ACC Coastal race. Right now, Duke controls its destiny more so than any other team in the division. If the Blue Devils win out, they'll win the division. Miami needs a Virginia Tech loss. Virginia Tech needs a Duke loss.
Regardless of which team takes the Coastal, an FSU loss in the ACC title game would rip college football asunder—Duke winning that game would just make it more fun.
If FSU goes down, Ohio State would be its likely national title game heir. But sitting at the beginning of Week 12, Baylor or Stanford could jump the Buckeyes in the end.
While just one team being knocked out of the BCS title race isn't all that chaotic, the possibility of Duke being the team to do the knocking is too juicy to ignore.
SEC Chaos Theory 1.0
Scenario: Alabama is ousted
Likely BCS Championship: Florida State vs. Ohio State
We'll look at two possible SEC chaos scenarios: The first of which is very possible, the second of which could land me in a mental institution.
However, both could still play out.
This one is simple; Alabama loses either to Auburn in the Iron Bowl or to Missouri, South Carolina or Georgia in the SEC title game.
The SEC East is teetering on chaos by itself, which will be explained more in the next slide. However, that isn't important here. What is important is that Alabama would lose to its rival in the Iron Bowl or in the SEC championship game, knocking it out of the BCS title picture.
Similar to the ACC chaos theory, a lot could happen with the Crimson Tide out of the picture. Ohio State, Baylor, Stanford or even a one-loss Auburn or Missouri team would have a claim to a national title berth.
SEC Chaos Theory 2.0
Scenario: The SEC cannibalizes itself
Likely BCS Championship: Florida State vs. Ohio State
A loss by Alabama might be enough to end the SEC's BCS title run in and of itself. However, as previously mentioned, a case could also be made for a one-loss Auburn or Missouri team with a win over the Tide and an SEC title to be given a chance in the national title game.
With the BCS, anything can happen. So, rather than potentially allow for a one-loss SEC team to slide into the championship game, the SEC will have to just implode.
First, Missouri must lose both of its final two games, on the road against Ole Miss and at home against Texas A&M—a definite possibility. This will make Georgia, with a tiebreaker over South Carolina, the SEC East champion.
However, in this scenario, Auburn will have lost to Georgia. So, Alabama will also have to fall victim to an upset on the road against Mississippi State. That way, when the Tigers top the Tide in the Iron Bowl, Auburn will be sent, with two losses, to play three-loss UGA for the SEC title.
Of course, three-loss UGA will win, giving the SEC no chance at the BCS title.
Waco Chaos Theory
Scenario: Either Alabama or FSU lose, and Ohio State falls in the Big Ten title game
Likely BCS Championship: Alabama (or FSU) vs. Baylor
The Waco chaos theory would open the door for Baylor to make the national title game. This is assuming the Bears win out and that is enough to propel them over one-loss Stanford in the BCS standings.
First, either the ACC or SEC chaos theory must play out. Without one of those two, the title game appears to be locked with Alabama and FSU. Next, Ohio State must also lose, which would likely come in the Big Ten title game to a stingy Michigan State defense.
As strong as OSU has been of late, the Spartans are one of just a few teams who could present a serious defensive challenge for the Buckeyes offense.
This would send Baylor—which, until 2010, had a string of 14 straight losing seasons—into the national title game.
Head coach Art Briles has already done plenty to earn his contract extension in Waco, but a national title berth would make the deal that much sweeter for Baylor.
Cardinal Chaos Theory
Scenario: Alabama (or FSU) loses, and so do Ohio State and Baylor
Likely BCS Championship: Alabama (or FSU) vs. Stanford
This one is similar to the Waco chaos theory, except that Baylor would also lose a game sometime in the next few weeks.
That part of the scenario is likely, considering Baylor has the toughest road from here on out of all the national title hopefuls. The Bears could still conceivably lose to Texas Tech, Oklahoma State or Texas.
A loss in any of those games, plus a loss by Ohio State and either FSU or Alabama, would likely send one-loss Stanford into the title game.
This would make for a wild scenario, especially considering Stanford's one loss came to a Utah (4-5) team that might not even be bowl eligible.
Regardless, Stanford could still make the national title game.
Quack Chaos Theory
Scenario: Alabama (or FSU) lose, and so do Ohio State, Baylor and Stanford
Likely BCS Championship: Alabama (or FSU) vs. Oregon
So, you thought Oregon's BCS title hopes were done when it lost to Stanford? Well, maybe not.
As improbable as it might be, this is college football, and anything could happen: even the Ducks skating into the national title game.
First, Stanford would have to lose, either to USC or in the Pac-12 title game. The Ducks would be best served by Stanford losing to USC. That way, Oregon could go on to win the Pac-12 championship and prove that its loss to the Cardinal was a fluke.
Ohio State and Baylor would also have to be knocked out, as well as Alabama or Florida State—the more losses the better. A lot would have to happen, but it isn't out of the realm of possibility for Oregon to make the national title game.
At No. 6 in the BCS standings, the Ducks are on the outside looking in, but the back door isn't completely closed just yet.
Clemson Chaos Theory
Scenario: Alabama, Ohio State, Stanford, Baylor and Oregon all lose
Likely BCS Championship: Florida State vs. Clemson
This wouldn't just be chaotic, it would also be an utter disaster for the BCS.
USA Today's Dan Wolken tweeted this chaos theory not long ago, setting up a situation in which FSU and Clemson could be slated together in a rematch for the national championship.
There was a major uproar when Alabama and LSU played in a rematch in the national title game in 2012, but this would be even worse.
While the LSU-Alabama game in the regular season of 2011 was actually closely contested, the Tigers were mauled by the Seminoles earlier this year, 51-14, making for a potentially ugly rematch this time around.
This theory, and the quack theory, would depend heavily on how the BCS numbers play out. Either way, it would actually be a fitting end for the BCS system that everyone already hates.
Alabama Chaos Theory
Scenario: Alabama loses but still (somehow) makes the national title game
Likely BCS Championship: Alabama vs. ???
Stay close, because this one is going to be messy. Theory No. 8 is a scenario where Alabama, even with a loss, could still win national title No. 8 for the SEC.
First, Alabama's loss would have to come to Auburn, giving it time to wait while the rest of the dominoes fall.
With 'Bama losing to rival Auburn, the Tigers would have to turn around and lose the SEC title game. However, that loss would have to come to South Carolina, with Missouri losing to either Ole Miss or Texas A&M in the regular season. Alabama would be left as the only one-loss SEC team.
That alone won't be enough to earn the Tide a spot in the national title. They'd also need two of three other teams to lose: Florida State, Ohio State and/or Baylor.
Given that Oregon only dropped to No. 6 after losing to Stanford, Alabama's drop would be minimal as well. The only wild card here is Stanford, which is currently the top one-loss team and is as strong as undefeated teams Ohio State and Baylor in the BCS.
The Tide would be better off in this scenario if the Cardinal lost as well. Although, Alabama could come in higher than Stanford in the BCS, since a Tide loss to Auburn would look much better than a Cardinal loss to Utah.
There are plenty of wild scenarios still out there, but this one might take the cake.