BCS Rankings: 10 Ranked Teams That Could Be Unranked by December 5
With just two weeks left in the regular season before the conference championship games, the postseason is beginning to shape up.
However, a lot can happen in those two weeks and it would be wise to wait before putting your bowl projections down in pen.
Many teams will have their dreams dashed and others will have their hopes restored as many jockey for position in the BCS rankings and try to get the best bowl bid possible.
Here are 10 teams currently ranked in the BCS's Top 25 that could see themselves unranked by bowl season.
No. 25 Florida State Seminoles
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As the No. 25 team in the BCS, the Florida State Seminoles have the smallest margin of error for any ranked team.
Even if they win both of their remaining contests against the Maryland Terrapins and the Florida Gators, unimpressive margins of victory could allow them to be jumped by an upstart squad in the "also receiving votes" category.
Putting added pressure on the Seminoles is the fact that they are currently fighting for an appearance in the ACC Championship Game under first-year head coach Jimbo Fisher.
Standing in their way is Maryland, currently tied with the 'Noles and the North Carolina State Wolfpack for first place in the ACC's Atlantic Division.
A win over the Terps, and a loss by the Wolfpack in one of their two remaining games, will find Florida State in Charlotte with a BCS berth at stake.
However, a loss this weekend will send the Seminoles back home for a contest against the rebuilding Gators in a game where both teams will be auditioning for a lower-tier bowl bid.
No. 24 Miami (FL) Hurricanes
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The Miami (FL) Hurricanes had their sights on an ACC Championship Game and a BCS bowl berth before starting quarterback Jacory Harris suffered a concussion against the Virginia Cavaliers in late October.
Harris' injury left the 'Canes flustered against the Cavs and Miami didn't recover until it was too late, seeing a furious 19-point comeback in the fourth quarter fall short in their 24-19 loss to Virginia.
The stellar play of backup quarterback Stephen Morris (678 passing yards, five total touchdowns) since Harris went down has kept the Hurricanes' ACC title hopes alive.
The 'Canes currently trail No. 16 Virginia Tech in the ACC Coastal Division by two games, but a win over the Hokies at home will put Miami one Tech loss to Virginia away from a trip to Charlotte for the ACC Championship Game.
However, the Hurricanes' No. 77 rushing defense will have a very difficult time containing mobile quarterback Tyrod Taylor and the ACC's second-best rushing offense (208.5 yards per game).
After a loss to the Hokies, beating up on a weak South Florida team likely won't land the 'Canes back in the BCS rankings before bowl season.
No. 23 Utah Utes
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The No. 23 Utah Utes' track record of excellence (two BCS bowl victories), combined with their 8-0 start, had the Mountain West Conference power in prime position to be a "BCS buster" as the nation's No. 5 team.
However, consecutive blowout losses to the No. 4 TCU Horned Frogs (47-7) and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish (28-3) have the Utes reeling and barely hanging onto the number next to their name.
With a probable trip to MAACO Las Vegas Bowl or the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl waiting for them at the end of the season instead of a BCS bowl, Utah has to be disappointed and a little unmotivated.
And that lack of motivation could hurt them significantly in their game against the San Diego State Aztecs this weekend.
Under head coach Brady Hoke, the Aztecs nearly ruined TCU's perfect season in a 40-35 loss last week and they certainly have the talent and the coaching to make a game against the Utes very interesting.
After their game with San Diego State, Utah plays their annual rivalry game against Brigham Young and despite their down year, the Cougars should bring a lot of punch against the Utes.
Utah's final two games are very winnable matchups, but they are also big trap games and could leave the Utes unranked to finish a season for the first time since 2007.
No. 22 Arizona Wildcats
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The No. 22 Arizona Wildcats are going places under the direction of head coach Mike Stoops.
The 2010 season has seen the Wildcats jump out to a 7-3 record thanks to their passing game, which ranks No. 1 in the Pac-10 with 330.6 yards per game, and a good defense, which ranks second in the Pac-10 with 18.1 points against per contest.
However, they'll meet their match in the No. 1 Oregon Ducks next weekend.
The Ducks not only have the Pac-10's second-best pass defense (189.1 yards per game), but they lead the nation in points per game, putting up an average of 50.7 points every Saturday.
Oh and by the way, Oregon also leads the Pac-10 in points against, yielding just 17.2 points per game to their opponents, so touchdowns and field goals will be hard for Arizona to come by against the Ducks.
So, barring a major upset, Oregon will handle the 'Cats next weekend and, assuming they are still ranked, Arizona will face a tough battle with their rivals, the Arizona State Sun Devils, who may very well be fighting for bowl eligibility when the two face off December 4.
No. 21 Mississippi State Bulldogs
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Unfortunately for the cowbell-wielding folks in Starkville, the Cameron Newton scandal has completely overshadowed the Mississippi State Bulldogs' successful season.
Second-year head coach Dan Mullen has led the Bulldogs to a 7-3 record, including a 10-7 win against former employer Urban Meyer and the Gators in "The Swamp."
However, while Mississippi State will find themselves in a decent bowl at season's end, a spot in the BCS rankings after the conference championship games may be harder to come by.
Granted, the 'Dawgs are led by star running back Vick Ballard (699 rushing yards, 12 touchdowns) and the nation's No. 18 ground attack (211.7 yards per game), but their final matchups present a great challenge.
The No. 13 Arkansas Razorbacks have the top passing offense in the SEC (343.6 yards per game) and the Bulldogs rank eighth in the conference in pass defense, yielding 227.1 yards per game through the air.
Should Mississippi State fall to the Razorbacks, they will probably come very close to dropping out of the rankings if they do manage to remain in the BCS Top 25.
And that ranking would be put on the line against the Ole Miss Rebels in the Egg Bowl.
With a mobile quarterback like the Rebels' Jeremiah Masoli and the game being played in Oxford, all bets are off.
Mississippi State could have a lot of trouble against an Ole Miss team that has been very down on its luck this season.
No. 20 Iowa Hawkeyes
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After nearly taking down the No. 7 Wisconsin Badgers and dismantling the then-undefeated No. 12 Michigan State, the Iowa Hawkeyes have hit a snag.
Kirk Ferentz's club needed a dropped touchdown pass by Indiana receiver Demarlo Belcher to hold off the Hoosiers 18-13 and then fell to the unranked Northwestern Wildcats 21-17 last weekend.
Mired in a slump, Ricky Stanzi and company are fading fast at the wrong time as they prepare to host the No. 9 Ohio State Buckeyes this weekend.
Since the Hawkeyes boast the nation's fourth-best run defense (86.8 yards per game), Jim Tressel and the Buckeyes will probably let quarterback Terrelle Pryor "let it rip" against Iowa's No. 70 pass defense (220.2 yards allowed per game).
While the Hawkeyes could very well defeat Ohio State, a loss would probably land them at No. 25 with a road matchup against the Minnesota Golden Gophers that looks much easier on paper.
Seeing how Iowa let their guard down against Indiana and Northwestern and the fact that the Hawkeyes will have little to play for, they may be on upset alert in the final week of the regular season.
No. 19 Texas A&M Aggies
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The No. 19 Texas A&M Aggies may have finally turned the corner under head coach Mike Sherman in 2010, guaranteeing their first season with a winning record since 2007 after starting 7-3.
Unfortunately, their stay in the BCS Top 25 may be short-lived, especially with who have they have to play in the regular season's final two games.
The Aggies host No. 8 Nebraska at home before traveling to Austin to face an uncharacteristically bad Texas Longhorns team.
The matchup with the Cornhuskers should be interesting as Nebraska boasts the Big 12's best rushing attack (282.3 yards per game) while Texas A&M has the Big 12's best run defense (112.2 yards per game).
Despite the fact that the 'Huskers and the Aggies will be evenly matched in the trenches, expect Bo Pelini's team to come out on top.
After a loss to Nebraska, Texas A&M will face a hungry Texas team that may be scratching and clawing for a bowl bid after a rough year.
Also, you have to throw the records out when it comes to rivalry games, especially when the two teams not only share a state, but play in the same division of the same conference.
No. 17 South Carolina Gamecocks
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The No. 17 South Carolina Gamecocks are just one of those teams that is impossible to figure out.
Sometimes, they'll come out clicking on all cylinders and handily defeat the likes of the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Florida Gators.
And at other times, they fail to show up altogether and lose to the Kentucky Wildcats and get run off the field by the No. 13 Arkansas Razorbacks in their own stadium.
However, despite their streaky play, Steve Spurrier and the Gamecocks clinched their first SEC East title in school history against the Gators last weekend and will face the Auburn Tigers on Dec. 4 in the Georgia Dome.
However, now that South Carolina has won the SEC East, they are set up perfectly for a letdown game.
The Gamecocks will most likely take care of business against Troy on senior day, but the following weekend's matchup with the Clemson Tigers is where it gets tricky.
The Tigers are fighting for bowl eligibility and on they'll be highly motivated to win on senior day in Memorial Stadium.
A loss to Clemson, coupled with a defeat at the hands of Auburn in the SEC Championship Game, would likely send South Carolina to the ranks of the unranked.
No. 14 Oklahoma Sooners
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Any hopes that the No. 14 Oklahoma Sooners had of possibly sneaking into the BCS National Championship Game were dashed with a 33-19 loss to Texas A&M.
However, the boys in Norman, Oklahoma, are still very alive in their mission to win the Big 12 and clinch a berth in a BCS bowl game.
However, their BCS dreams could vanish very quickly in the season's final two weeks, especially considering the teams that Bob Stoops and Co. have to face.
First comes a road matchup with the Baylor Bears, who have had a very good season and will play in their first bowl game since the 1994 Alamo Bowl.
Baylor will be fired up for their last game of the regular season, and don't be surprised if they ride the momentum of their homefield advantage to a victory against the Sooners.
Oklahoma also has to face the No. 10 Oklahoma State Cowboys on the road in their annual rivalry game in the regular-season finale.
The Sooners will have their hands full stopping the Cowboy offense, which ranks second in the nation in passing offense (359.1 yards per game) and third in the nation in scoring offense (45.0 points per game).
No. 13 Arkansas Razorbacks
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Of all the teams on this list, the No. 13 Arkansas Razorbacks face the toughest end to their regular season.
Bobby Petrino will take his Razorbacks on the road to face Dan Mullen and the upstart No. 21 Mississippi State Bulldogs this weekend.
Arkansas' rush defense, which ranks ninth in the SEC (152.7 yards per game), will probably struggled to stop Vick Ballard and the Bulldogs' running game, which ranks third in the SEC (211.7 yards per game).
The Razorbacks then go back home to host the No. 5 LSU Tigers, who are probably a couple of plays away from being the No. 2 team in the country right now.
The LSU offense is nothing to write home about, but their defense, which ranks sixth nationally with only 14.6 points per game, will push even Ryan Mallett and the nation's third-best passing offense (343.6 yards per game) to the limit.
You also have to consider the Les Miles luck factor, which accounts for an average of three lucky plays that end up changing the course of the game per game.
Despite their talent, the Razorbacks could very easily lose back-to-back contests to end the regular season and see their potential bowl prospects worsen drastically.