The Week 14 edition of the BCS rankings has been released via BCSFootball.org. After two Top Five teams lost in Week 13, the championship picture has been altered in a major way.
Two fresh faces have cracked the Top Five and are just as much in the title picture as the undefeated Top Three. This creates the potential for the BCS National Championship Game that appeared to be imminent becoming altered in a major way.
The question is, what impact will the updated polls hold on the championship picture?
Alabama vs. Auburn: Winner Takes All?
The No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide will play the No. 4 Auburn Tigers in what is one of the most high-stakes Iron Bowls in the history of the storied rivalry. Alabama is playing to preserve its BCS National Championship Game dreams, while Auburn is looking to create its own.
One way or another, the winner will have a legitimate opportunity to play for it all.
If Alabama wins, it's no secret that it will be playing in the BCS National Championship come January. The Crimson Tide are the two-time defending BCS champions, and with an undefeated record of 11-0, Alabama is in prime position to win a third straight crown.
Losing to Auburn could derail those title dreams.
Auburn would need some help to enter the BCS National Championship Game, but the possibility is real. The Tigers would crack the Top Three with a win over Alabama, and they could enter the title picture if it proceeds to win the SEC Championship Game.
The Iron Bowl could end up being a winner-takes-all game.
Rivalry Games Still Critical
The Florida State Seminoles are currently No. 2 in the BCS rankings, and the Ohio State Buckeyes are No. 3. The Seminoles will travel to play the struggling Florida Gators in Gainesville, and the Buckeyes will hit the road to face the Michigan Wolverines.
Rivalry games tend to make the quality of a team an irrelevant factor, and that's why both of these teams are under pressure.
Florida State is the favorite to reach the BCS Championship Game, but a single loss would eliminate that upside. The Gators are 4-7 with six consecutive losses, including a Week 13 debacle against FCS school Georgia Southern.
With all of that being established, it's hard to imagine Florida losing three straight home games. It may happen, but it'd previously been close to unthinkable.
As for Ohio State, it goes without saying that games against Michigan are filled with hatred and upset potential. The Buckeyes have won 23 consecutive games, but even in the midst of this incredible winning streak, Urban Meyer's group is viewed as a team on the outside looking in.
Just when Florida and Michigan looked like non-threats, the arrival of these games reminded the college football community of the truth: These two games are critical.
What About Missouri?
Believe it or not, the No. 5 Missouri Tigers aren't yet eliminated from the BCS National Championship Game. They are still eligible to appear in the SEC Championship Game, and if the proper pieces fall in place, Gary Pinkel's crew could sneak in.
It certainly won't be easy.
The first and most significant piece of the puzzle is controlled entirely by the Tigers, and that's closing out the season strong. Missouri will face the No. 21 Texas A&M Aggies during Week 14, and a win would cap off what has been a brilliant regular season.
If Missouri survives, it will clinch a berth in the SEC Championship Game.
It'd help for Auburn to upset Alabama this weekend, thus potentially moving Missouri into the No. 3 spot in the BCS. Even if that doesn't happen, however, Missouri can leapfrog Alabama by defeating the Crimson Tide in the SEC Championship Game.
From there, Missouri needs to hope for one of two things. Either No. 2 Florida State or No. 3 Ohio State will need to lose a game. If not, the Tigers would need the BCS' history of favoring the SEC to continue.
That's a lot of ifs, but it's all possible. Who's ready for a crazy week of college football?
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