College Football: Top 10 Teams To Stir The BCS Pot
This year is bound to stir the ever-increasing controversy that is the BCS.
Already there is talk of who should and should not play in the National Championship Game – and we’re only five games into the NCAA FBS season.
Don’t hold your breath for any one team to be a shoo-in for the big game. There are a lot of games left and a lot of teams liable to upset some top-ranked, undefeated teams and knock those shoo-ins out of contention. Here’s the list of those teams that just may dash some National Title and conference championship hopes of the top contenders:
10. Nevada (5-0)
Yes, we’re talking about a different WAC team. Nevada is the only other contender for the WAC championship besides Boise State.
Their solid running and passing quarterback in Colin Kaepernick leads another high octane offense that will be a challenge even for a top ranked Boise State defense.
Because of their lack of strength in their schedule that consists of only WAC remaining opponents, Nevada will likely go into their game against Boise State undefeated and ranked in the teens. They have the best chance of upsetting Boise State and dashing any hopes of a BCS bowl, much less a national title shot.
9. LSU (5-0)
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I like LSU’s chances to pull off a win over a solid Alabama team that has earned their spot at #1. And because of that, I also like their chances of making the SEC title game and possibly a national championship game.
Despite their hold-your-breath victory over a much weaker, yet unpredictable Tennessee team, they’re bound to only get better as the season progresses and will make their presence well-known within the SEC West as well as the nation when they start winning more decisive victories against conference opponents.
8. Michigan (5-0)
Undefeated. Check. AQ conference. Check. High powered offense. Check. Heisman trophy front-runner. Check. Defense. Uh, maybe not so much.
Although they’re undefeated and have a lot going for them, Michigan has a long, hard road ahead of them in conference play. It’s unlikely they’ll finish unscathed… or with less than two losses for that matter.
But don’t count them out to pull off the upset in the biggest rivalry game in all of college sports against Ohio State. No matter the teams’ records, the game always promises to be a good one. This year will be no different and Michigan has the possibility of keeping Ohio State out of the national championship game and possibly even the Big Ten title.
7. Tennessee (2-3)
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Tennessee has been very unpredictable. A loss to Oregon, a close overtime victory against UAB and then a close two-point loss to an undefeated LSU team should be an indication that at any given time they could beat just about any SEC team or they could lose horribly.
With enough ranked competitors in their schedule, expect Tennessee to pull off an upset… maybe even two.
6. Missouri (4-0)
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Believe it or not, this isn’t much of a stretch. Missouri, although they’ve never won the Big XII title, has been to the championship game twice, once in 2007 and again in 2008. They’re becoming a perennial conference contender and one can never count them out.
It is likely that a Missouri team could knock Nebraska out of contention for the Big XII title game and (if Nebraska remains undefeated until their meeting) the national championship game.
They have a big game against a 3-1 Colorado team this Saturday as well as a match-up with possible Big XII and national title contender, Oklahoma later this month.
5. UTEP (4-1)
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Conference USA and big time football aren’t exactly synonymous but the C-USA has produced some pretty formidable teams in recent years, particularly in Houston. Both Houston and UTEP have a shot at winning the C-USA.
That’s not why they’re on this list. UTEP still has one foe that could put the nail in the coffin to any SEC title hopes of one team: Arkansas. Although Arkansas already lost to Bama, the possibility of an SEC shake-up is always imminent and with two conference losses by Alabama, a one loss Arkansas could be right back in contention for the SEC title and quite possibly a national title. That is, unless they don’t get upset by a hungry UTEP program.
4. Virginia Tech (3-2)
How upsetting for a talented Virginia Tech team with national title hopes to come off a tough Boise State loss only to lose the very next week to FCS James Madison. In their defense, James Madison is a Top 3 FCS team.
Their loss to James Madison was perhaps even more deflating to Boise State who was counting on their win against Virginia Tech to be the most significant victory of their season.
Last Saturday, with their win over then undefeated NC State, they have reestablished themselves not as a national title contender but as an ACC contender. With the running game of Ryan Williams and Darren Evans picking up to back up the passing/running of Tyrod Taylor, they have even more potential to fare well against conference foes. By season’s end, it’s likely that both Virginia Tech and Boise State will have their redemption when the Hokies take the conference.
3. Oregon State (2-2)
They started the season 1-2 but both losses came to highly ranked TCU and Boise State teams that are still sitting in the Top 5.
They’ve been a solid football team thus far, despite what their two losses indicate. And those two losses are certainly no indication of how well they’ll fare in conference play. This week should be a good conference game against Arizona and I’ll take Oregon State for the upset.
The rivalry game between Oregon the last week of the regular season should also be another great game. Anticipate both teams to come into this game with one Pac-10 conference loss and the winner just may become the Pac-10 champion. Oregon State for the win and the Pac-10.
2. Air Force (4-1)
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Sure they haven’t played a quality schedule to date and they’re in a conference that’s generally considered weaker than the Big 6 (although that’s very debatable with a weaker than usual ACC and a typically weak Big East conference).
Let’s not forget that their only loss came at the hands of #6 ranked Oklahoma. They cracked the Top 25 with their win over Navy last Saturday and have some good match-ups with undefeated and highly ranked Mountain West foes Utah and TCU.
I wouldn’t count on a Mountain West championship for them, but they’re sure to take the other top two Mountain West teams for a ride this season. Who knows, an upset may be lurking.
1. Baylor (4-1)
Yes, I said Baylor. So they’ve already entered Big XII conference play with a loss. Let’s not forget that the loss was a non-conference opponent which doesn’t affect their ability to still win the Big XII.
In a conference where they’re a perennial pushover, this year could be different. They started conference play with a decisive 55-7 win over Kansas. Yes, I know, it’s a 2-3 Kansas team. Nonetheless, it’s a good indication of how the majority of their conference games will be.
Although I don’t expect them to win the Big XII’s South division, I wouldn’t be surprised if they did. Their truest test will be against Oklahoma. And given the few too many close calls of OU by unranked teams, I wouldn’t put it past the Bears to beat them in an upset. One thing is for sure, they’re going to stir up the pot as much as possible in the Big XII this year.