With just two weeks left in the 2013 college football regular season, the BCS title game matchup will be decided by a series of elimination games.
Given the opponents and circumstances with these games, it's reasonable to deduce that at this point only the three undefeated and up to six other one-loss BCS conference teams are still in the hunt.
So, in order of probability, these are the nine teams and what they must do to reach the BCS championship game (rankings in the latest BCS standings).
If Jameis Winston is ruled out, should FSU still be in the BCS title game?
No. 2 Florida State: 90 Percent
The Seminoles will be facing a toothless Florida team in disarray at the Swamp and then the Coastal Division winner (Duke or Virginia Tech, most likely) in the ACC championship game.
Even without quarterback Jameis Winston, whose legal status is up in the air, FSU will be double-digit favorites in both games. And if he does play, Winston has shown a Kobe-esque focus as he's performed even better with all of the distractions.
No. 1 Alabama: 75 Percent
Of the three undefeated teams, the two-time defending champions face the toughest road to a third straight BCS title game appearance.
The Tide will have to win the Iron Bowl at one-loss Auburn and then defeat either Missouri or South Carolina in the SEC title game.
Unlike in the past two seasons, there is no scenario that exists that would allow Alabama to lose one of those games and still back-door its way into the title game.
No. 3 Ohio State: 18 Percent
The Buckeyes should have no trouble with a fast-fading Michigan team, even at the Big House. A one-loss Michigan State will pose problems in the Big Ten title game, and that's really the only game they'd be in danger of losing.
But even if it goes 25-0 under Urban Meyer over two seasons, Ohio State will miss out on the BCS title game again without an Alabama or FSU loss. On the other hand, it will not be in danger of being jumped by any one-loss team.
Which team is most likely to dethrone Alabama for the SEC title?
No. 5 Missouri: 7 Percent
The Tigers need to defeat Texas A&M to win the SEC East and then knock off the Iron Bowl winner in the SEC title game.
If they can do both (no matter who wins the Iron Bowl) and have either FSU or OSU lose one of its final two games, they'll be playing for the BCS title.
No. 4 Auburn: 5 Percent
These other Tigers can make a miraculous return to the BCS title game and still keep the crystal ball in the state of Alabama following the same script as Mizzou's.
First, they have to dethrone Bama in the Iron Bowl.
No. 7 Oklahoma State: 2 Percent
The Cowboys have a slim shot at the title game, but there are two routes to it.
- Have both FSU and OSU lose one of its final games.
- Have either FSU or OSU lose one of its final games and have a two- or three-loss South Carolina win the SEC title.
Of course, the Pokes have to defeat Oklahoma for anything to happen, but a loss by Mizzou to A&M next week will greatly enhance their chances.
No. 11 Michigan State: 1 Percent
The Spartans need the same recipe as Oklahoma State, and then they must win their remaining two games and have Oklahoma State lose the Bedlam game to the Sooners.
No. 9 Baylor: Less Than 1 Percent
The Bears are in the same boat as the Spartans, but they need something more.
Either have Michigan State lose to Minnesota before defeating Ohio State in the Big Ten title game or have MSU win the final two games but still stay behind them in the BCS standings.
No. 6 Clemson: Less Than 1 Percent
These Tigers, though at No. 6 right now, will need utter BCS chaos to get into the title game.
First, they must win at South Carolina to finish the regular season. Then the Gamecocks must get into the SEC championship game via a Mizzou loss to Texas A&M and upset the Iron Bowl winner to take the conference title with three losses.
Then the most unreal part: FSU must lose both of its remaining games or lose at least one so badly that it falls behind Clemson in the BCS standings. Even if all that happens, Clemson probably still needs an Oklahoma State loss to do the trick.
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