And then there are three.
As another undefeated team bites the dust—this time it's Baylor getting blown out by Oklahoma State, 49-17—the BCS title game picture actually is becoming more and less clear at the same time. More clear because without question No. 1 Alabama and No. 2 Florida State will face each other if they both win out. Less clear because if either team should lose, it can potentially bring a one-loss team back into the picture.
For now, Ohio State is projected to be a solid No. 3 in the next BCS standings, and it's extremely unlikely that the Buckeyes will fall behind any one-loss team, even if that's a one-loss SEC champion Auburn or Missouri. They will be getting a major boost if Michigan State can defeat Minnesota next week and arrive at the Big Ten title game at 11-1 and ranked in the Top 10.
But that's where the intrigue comes in. Michigan State has the potential to defeat Ohio State, and if Alabama and/or FSU should stumble in the next two weeks, what then?
|Projected BCS Standings|
|3||Ohio State||11-0||Big Ten||3|
|7||Oklahoma State||10-1||Big 12||10|
|10||Michigan State||10-1||Big Ten||13|
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At Nos. 4-6 are all Tigers—Auburn, Clemson, Missouri, in that order. While it’s unlikely for Auburn to jump Ohio State without a Buckeyes loss, the Plain Tigers will be the one-loss team most likely to play in the BCS title game if they can win the Iron Bowl and then the SEC title game. The Mizzou Tigers can usurp that position by beating Texas A&M next week and then the Iron Bowl winner the week after.
The Death Valley Tigers are the least likely to get to the BCS title game, especially if Florida State remains undefeated. The voters will have no appetite for an ACC rematch of a game the Seminoles won decisively on the road. Oklahoma State will have a better chance to play in the BCS title game than Clemson if it beats Oklahoma in Bedlam and finishes 11-1.
The rest of the teams will be jockeying for BCS bowl berths, and losses by Baylor, Oregon and Texas A&M have shaken things up a bit. But all the potential BCS matchups will be affected by whether there will be a non-AQ team crashing the party.
Since both Fresno State and Northern Illinois won, the situation will remain status quo, with the Bulldogs maintaining their lead in the standings, though the Huskies will cut into that a bit this week. But with NIU facing woeful Western Michigan next week, it's still very much Fresno's BCS bid to lose. If the Bulldogs can defeat San Jose State next week and then win the Mountain West championship game, they'll earn a Fiesta Bowl berth.
|Projected BCS Bowl Matchups|
|BCS Championship||Alabama vs. Florida State|
|Rose Bowl||Ohio State vs. Stanford|
|Orange Bowl||Clemson vs. Baylor|
|Sugar Bowl||Missouri vs. Central Florida|
|Fiesta Bowl||Oklahoma State vs. Fresno State|
|Projected as at end of season|
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