After a thrilling Week 11 that featured some of the best matchups of the season, Week 12 kind of falls a bit on its head. There are only two games featuring BCS-ranked teams (Georgia vs. Auburn and Oklahoma State vs. Texas).
So barring anything unforeseen, this will give us a chance to step back and think about where each of the ranked teams stand. Which teams are on the rise? Which teams are in trouble? And does anyone have a real chance of beating Alabama or Florida State?
Below is the Top 25 in the BCS rankings. Following that will be an overview of some of the biggest headlines entering the weekend.
|2.||Florida State (9-0)||.962|
|3.||Ohio State (9-0)||.893|
|10.||South Carolina (7-2)||.558|
|11.||Texas A&M (8-2)||.547|
|12.||Oklahoma State (8-1)||.467|
|14.||Fresno State (9-0)||.432|
|15.||Northern Illinois (9-0)||.351|
|16.||Michigan State (8-1)||.342|
|19.||Arizona State (7-2)||.283|
|23.||Miami (FL) (7-2)||.147|
Can Auburn Play Spoiler?
If Auburn can beat Georgia at home, then it will take on Alabama at home with the chance to send the BCS into chaos.
Not only would an Auburn victory catapult the Tigers into contention for the title game, but it would probably be the biggest shock of the year. Remember, Auburn went 3-9 last season.
Of course, the Tigers have to beat Georgia first, and the Bulldogs are seemingly getting back on track. Todd Gurley may not be 100 percent yet, but he's rounding into form, and he rushed for 175 yards combined in the past two weeks.
If Auburn Beats Georgia, Can They Beat Alabama?
But let's not forget just how good Auburn has been. Its last close game was a four-point victory over Texas A&M in mid-October. The Tigers' offense is electric, as they average a whopping 38.6 points per game, and 'Bama struggled against the high-flying Texas A&M team. If it's a shootout, Auburn has a chance.
I don't think Georgia is quite the same team it was entering the season. The Bulldogs have just been ravaged by injuries. Aaron Murray has done a fine job, but he's not the type of transcendent talent who can win games on his own.
It's a real possibility—Auburn can go into the Iron Bowl with the chance to play spoiler. And you know what? The Tigers have a real chance of forcing madness.
Can Anyone Beat Alabama or Florida State?
Oregon lost out on its chance to play in the title game. So did other contenders like Clemson and Missouri. It doesn't seem that Baylor or Ohio State can leapfrog the two-top teams—imagine what the playoffs would look like?—so we're on a collision course for Alabama to defend its title against Jameis Winston and Florida State.
Is this predestined? I wrote above about how Auburn has a chance against Alabama, but it's just a chance, and the Tigers are certainly not guaranteed to win. Let's remember how good Alabama has been. Its win over LSU last week? That's about as dominating and impressive as a college football win can be.
And Florida State should walk into the title game. The Seminoles' hardest game remaining is against a depleted Florida team. That's really not that hard.
It would be absolutely shocking if Florida State did not make the title game. There's just no way the Seminoles are losing to Florida. But Alabama? As I wrote above, it's possible the Crimson Tide lose.
In that case, Baylor would probably have the inside track. Its win over Oklahoma was more impressive than any win the Buckeyes have or could have. The Big 10 is pretty bad. Ohio State has no real signature win. Baylor has dominated everybody.
It might be nice to see a team other than Alabama enter the spotlight. But, man are the Tide impressive. I'm more impressed with this year's version than last year's. The most likely outcome is an Alabama-Florida State matchup. But at least there's hope for something different.
Barring an unforgettable performance by Johnny Manziel, it seems that Jameis Winston has the Heisman locked up.
He's been utterly dominant, throwing for 26 touchdowns and 2,661 yards. More impressively, he's only thrown seven interceptions and has completed nearly 70 percent of his passes. And he's only a freshman.
Manziel and Marcus Mariota are still in it, and Bryce Petty has a fighter's chance. You could probably throw in AJ McCarron as well.
Manziel has the best chance to upset Winston. Manziel has been as good as last year, if not better. He's thrown 3,313 yards, 31 touchdowns and just 11 picks. He's also rushed for 611 yards and eight touchdowns.
Who Will Win the Heisman?
Last season, he only threw 26 touchdowns, and he's completed five percent more of his passes this year. Johnny Football did run for more yards last season, and he did have 21 rushing touchdowns. But he's still been dominant and electric and could snatch the trophy out of Winston's hands with a signature performance.
It didn't help that Mariota and Oregon lost to Stanford. He struggled against a top defense. Heisman winners need to be transcendent in those games.
But he hasn't thrown a pick yet, which is amazing, and he also has nine rushing touchdowns. He's not bad, you know.
Still, this is Winston's to lose. The Seminoles have an easy schedule from here on out, and the quarterback will be able to put up some big numbers.