While the No. 2 Florida State Seminoles and No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide remain the favorites to make the BCS National Championship game in January as they own the top two spots in the BCS rankings, there are other college teams on the cusp of dethroning these two powerhouses in order to make the national title game
The Auburn Tigers have had a great season thus far and could take the next step toward a berth in the national title game should they top Alabama this week.
The Ohio State Buckeyes haven't lost a game in what seems like forever and amazingly enough, the Buckeyes still have work to do if they hope to play for the crystal football come January.
As the dark horse to make the national title game, the Missouri Tigers still have a prayer in making the big game if they can finish out their schedule perfect, including an SEC championship victory against whoever their opponent ends up being.
Let's break down how each of these teams can get to Pasadena for the BCS National Championship game at the Rose Bowl.
No. 4 Auburn Tigers (10-1)
With their ranking, the Tigers remain the best one-loss team in the nation and have the best shot out of all the squads behind them to earn a shot at the national title this season.
It will take a bit of work to get there, but Auburn has already earned three wins against ranked opponents this season. A victory over the top team in the nation would further build what is an impressive resume to begin with.
Should they emerge victorious over the No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide on Saturday in the Iron Bowl, the Tigers would grab a huge advantage over other teams in the hunt with such a high-profile win. It could very well catapult the Tigers to one of the two coveted spots at the top of the rankings right away.
Even if a win over 'Bama weren't enough, Auburn would be the No. 3 team at worst and would have another opportunity to take a top spot in the BCS with a win in the SEC Championship game—although to play it safe, a loss by either Ohio St. or Florida St. would be a monumentally positive thing.
Regardless of how they get it done, the Tigers are so close to the national title game they can smell it.
No. 3 Ohio State Buckeyes (11-0)
The Buckeyes remain on the outside looking in for the moment and that's despite the fact they haven't lost a game in nearly two full seasons.
Which of the three teams listed here has the best shot at making the national title game if they run the table?
Head coach Urban Meyer's squad has enjoyed a relatively light schedule in 2013-14 with only two wins over ranked opponents to speak of, and neither of those squads (Northwestern and Wisconsin) was particularly highly touted.
Because of that, the Buckeyes haven't gotten the respect their record would indicate and it will take more work for this team to surpass the likes of Alabama and Florida State in the rankings.
The first test will come against Michigan this week and after that, it'll be No. 11 Michigan State who hopes to knock off the undefeated Buckeyes.
If Ohio St. can pass both of those tests en route to being Big Ten champs while either Florida St. or Alabama loses one of its next two games, it's more than likely the Buckeyes will hold a top spot and a berth in the national title game.
No. 5 Missouri Tigers
Another feline squad has earned the right to be in the conversation for the national title game as the Tigers are on the cusp of earning a top spot in the rankings.
Missouri's rise to the nation's elite has been a tough course, but it's one the Tigers have thrived in. Missouri has wins over three ranked teams this season and the Tigers' only loss came at the hands of No. 10 South Carolina in double overtime.
Missouri has a huge game coming up against Johnny Manziel and No. 21 Texas A&M for the regular-season finale. A win in that contest would give the Tigers their fourth win over a ranked opponent and some major respect going into a conference title showdown in the SEC.
In turn, the Tigers would have to face either Auburn or Alabama, and a win over either could be enough to give the Tigers a shot in the big game.
In that scenario, it would be tough for the computer to keep Missouri out, but losses for Ohio St. and/or Florida St. would certainly help things. In the meantime, all Missouri can do is help itself and the Tigers can do that by winning the rest of their games.