Week 12 of college football action threw a major wrench into everything we thought we knew about the 2013 BCS bowl season.
The former No. 5 Stanford Cardinal lost to the unranked USC Trojans in Week 12. In other words, things just got a bit hectic at the top.
Four unbeaten teams remain. No. 1 Alabama and No. 2 Florida State are set for a title dance barring a loss. No. 3 Ohio State and No. 4 Baylor continue to jockey for position in the polls.
After that? Madness.
Regardless of Stanford's exit from the picture (they were kind of boring anyway, no?) there are plenty of exciting potential matchups left on the table. Below is a look at the official rankings, followed by projected BCS games with a focus on three. Enjoy.
|2||Florida State (10-0)||.9661|
|3||Ohio State (10-0)||.8869|
|10||Oklahoma State (9-1)||.5890|
|11||South Carolina (8-2)||.5883|
|12||Texas A&M (8-2)||.5394|
|13||Michigan State (9-1)||.4646|
|15||Fresno State (9-0)||.4134|
|16||Northern Illinois (10-0)||.3729|
|17||Arizona State (8-2)||.3414|
|18||Central Florida (8-1)||.3033|
|23||Southern California (8-3)||.1070|
|BCS Championship||Alabama vs. Florida State|
|Rose Bowl||Oregon vs. Ohio State|
|Orange Bowl||Clemson vs. Michigan State|
|Sugar Bowl||Texas A&M vs. Central Florida|
|Fiesta Bowl||Baylor vs. Fresno State|
Chris Roling's projections.
BCS Championship: Alabama vs. Florida State
The Crimson Tide and the Seminoles encountered few issues on the way to victories in Week 12.
As a result, the two retain a strong grip on the title game.
At this point it seems like destiny.
Which team wins?
Alabama allows 10.2 points per game—best in the nation. Florida State allows 11.1, which is good for third. Both defenses will be matched against elite offenses, which is exactly what fans should want to see.
The Seminoles will be tasked with stopping an elite crop of backs and an efficient AJ McCarron. Alabama will have a tall order when it comes to stopping Heisman favorite Jameis Winston. He already has more than 2,900 yards and 28 touchdowns on the year—it was also not that long ago Johnny Manziel threw for 464 yards and five scores on Alabama's defense.
Will Winston be able to replicate Johnny Football's success? We'll find out soon.
Rose Bowl: Oregon vs. Ohio State
Oregon and Baylor are interchangeable in the offensive excitement department.
If things continue at their current pace, fans may very well still get a Ducks vs. Buckeyes showdown in the Rose Bowl.
Ohio State has been fortunate to play a soft schedule all year (which may end up backfiring), but a bad team such as California was able to post 34 on its defense.
Oregon averages well over 50 points per game and features a Heisman candidate of its own in quarterback Marcus Mariota. Outside of an unusual loss to Stanford, the Ducks have been one of the nation's more dominant teams.
The Ducks quietly rank in the top 10 in scoring defense. Ohio State has yet to encounter a team as loaded as Oregon, and likely won't the rest of the way.
The unpredictability of this one makes it a must-watch contest.
Orange Bowl: Clemson vs. Michigan State
Now here is what would be an underappreciated matchup.
Clemson is best known for being absolutely destroyed at the hands of the Seminoles back in mid-October, but at that point we had but a small grasp on just how great Winston and Co. truly are.
The Tigers still average more than 40 points per game and have plenty of star power thanks to names like quarterback Tajh Boyd and receiver Sammy Watkins.
Should Michigan State win out, this has the makings of an attractive strength vs. strength showdown.
It was not too long ago the Spartans had the No. 1 defense in the land. Still, No. 4 is not a bad spot to reside, either. The Spartans surrender just 13.2 points per game and no opponent has broken the 30-point mark.
While arguably not the best teams in their respective conferences, Clemson and Michigan State would put on a show where one side is horribly exploited. Those are always fun.