Following another wild weekend of college football, the BCS picture has become very clear.
Florida State and Auburn are poised to meet for the national title next month in Pasadena after Michigan State scored 17 unanswered points to stun Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship Game. But the Buckeyes' stunning defeat means that some other teams are likely to be on the rise as well.
Here, I'll project the final 2013 BCS rankings ahead of Sunday night's final release and highlight three teams sure to rise after a crazy championship weekend.
*Biggest risers are highlighted.
|2013 BCS Rankings Projection|
|Final standings will be released on Dec. 8.|
1. Florida State Seminoles (13-0)
The 'Noles' 38-point thrashing of Duke in the ACC Championship Game reaffirms their status as the No. 1 team in college football. Florida State's headed to the BCS National Championship Game for the first time in 13 years.
2. Auburn Tigers (12-1)
It looks like Auburn's magical run will conclude in the Rose Bowl, the site of January's national title game. The Tigers won nine straight games to end the year and will be looking to keep the SEC's winning streak alive in Pasadena.
It remains to be seen whether Gus Malzahn's squad has any more surprises up its sleeve, but there's no doubt that the Tigers are one of college football's most entertaining, explosive teams.
3. Alabama Crimson Tide (11-1)
Alabama will miss out on the BCS National Championship Game for the first time since 2010, but the Crimson Tide are still headed to a BCS bowl game.
The two-time defending national champions are set to earn a trip to New Orleans for the Sugar Bowl. Although the Tide will likely jump Ohio State, it doesn't make much of a difference moving forward as Alabama was already going to get an at-large bid to the BCS.
4. Stanford Cardinal (11-2)
Despite having suffered two losses this season, Stanford could potentially finish inside the Top Five in the final BCS rankings.
The Cardinal blasted Arizona State in the Pac-12 Championship Game on Saturday night to win their conference for the second straight year and ensure another berth in the Rose Bowl Game on New Year's Day, where they'll meet Big Ten champion Michigan State.
With Ohio State, Missouri and Oklahoma State suffering losses this weekend, Stanford is poised to leap into the No. 4 spot, making it the highest-ranked two-loss team in 2013.
5. Michigan State Spartans (12-1)
The Spartans won their ninth straight game on Saturday, coming from behind to beat Ohio State in the Big Ten title game. As a result, Michigan State is set to rise in the final BCS standings.
Mark Dantonio's squad was No. 10 in the BCS coming into Week 15, but a massive win combined with losses for Ohio State, Mizzou and Oklahoma State is sure to lift Michigan State a few spots in the final release.
If not for a four-point loss at Notre Dame back in September, the Spartans could have been in position to run the table and play for the national crown.
6. Ohio State Buckeyes (12-1)
Ohio State came back from a 17-point hole to take a seven-point lead in the second half of Saturday's Big Ten Championship Game but was undone by 17 unanswered points from Michigan State to end the game.
Look for the Buckeyes to fall out of the Top Five in the final standings.
7. Baylor Bears (11-1)
Baylor won the Big 12 Conference on Saturday thanks to a dominant effort against Texas and a dramatic win by Oklahoma in Bedlam earlier in the day. Consequently, the Bears are headed to Glendale, Ariz., for the Fiesta Bowl next month.
Bryce Petty and company should easily jump Oklahoma State in the BCS after the Cowboys suffered their second loss of the year. And there's a strong possibility that Baylor's big win over the Longhorns could propel it past two-loss South Carolina and Mizzou.
8. Missouri Tigers (11-2)
While Mizzou came up short in the SEC title game, the Tigers lost to the nation's third-ranked team. So, don't expect them to free fall out of the Top 10 in the final standings like Oklahoma State.
9. South Carolina Gamecocks (10-2)
South Carolina's regular season concluded in Week 14, and with both Baylor and Michigan State earning signature victories this weekend, the Gamecocks could find themselves a spot lower in the final standings.
However, there's no doubt South Carolina will finish in the Top 10.
10. Oregon Ducks (10-2)
Like the Gamecocks, the Ducks were idle in Week 15. But losses in the Top 10 have opened the door for Oregon to move up in the final rankings. Don't be surprised to see the Ducks back in the Top 10 heading into bowl season.
Oregon is also in play for an at-large BCS bowl bid this winter.
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