BCS Rankings Week 13: Why These 20 Teams Are Still in Mix for BCS Spots

Elliott PohnlFeatured ColumnistNovember 22, 2010

BCS Rankings Week 13: Why These 20 Teams Are Still in Mix for BCS Spots

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    BCS Rankings Week 13 made history with the top seven spots remaining unchanged for the third straight week.

    But with several huge games looming on the horizon this week, don't expect the standings to remain stagnant for much longer.

    All signs point to Boise State leapfrogging TCU with a win Friday against Nevada.

    Based on what happens earlier on Friday, the Broncos could know if they will have a chance to become the first team from a non-BCS conference to earn a trip to the National Championship game.

    Auburn remains at No. 2 in the BCS standings heading into a difficult Iron Bowl match-up against Alabama Friday afternoon.

    Even if the Tigers survive that challenge, they could still fall out of the national championship picture with a loss in the SEC title game.

    With close races in both the Big Ten and Big 12, it's safe to say the BCS picture is very cloudy.

    Here's a look at the possible scenarios for teams jockeying for position in the BCS race.

No. 20: Missouri

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    Missouri hasn't been the same team since upsetting Oklahoma, but the Tigers aren't quite dead yet.

    What Needs to Happen: Beating rival Kansas, Colorado beating Nebraska, winning the Big 12 Championship game.

    Taking care of Turner Gill's Kansas team shouldn't be much of a problem.

    Even if that happens, Missouri needs a loss by Nebraska to Colorado and a win over Oklahoma State or Oklahoma in the title game.

    Despite beating the Sooners early in the season, sneaking into the BCS looks like a tall order.

No. 19: Florida State

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    Florida State would be sitting pretty had it managed to hold off North Carolina State.

    Instead, Jimbo Fisher's team needs some help to find a way to the BCS.

    What Needs to Happen: North Carolina State losing to Maryland, Florida State beating Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship.

    Florida State still has a decent shot at sneaking into the ACC title game, but it seems very unlikely Jimbo Fisher's team could find a way to slow down the Hokies powerful rushing attack.

No. 18: Pittsburgh

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    Why would Pittsburgh ever even think about joining the Big Ten when they can win the Big East?

    Despite being atop the conference standings, the Panthers are still not ranked in the BCS Standings.

    The Panthers loss to UConn two weeks ago left the door slightly ajar for the Huskies, but Dave Wannstedt's team remains in the driver seat.

    What Needs to Happen: Pittsburgh simply needs to win out to make a BCS game.

    That means beating West Virginia at home before facing Cincinnati in the season finale.

    Don't crown Pitt Big East champs just yet.

No. 17: Arkansas

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    Arkansas is flying under the radar in the BCS, with good reason.

    But it's not impossible to imagine a scenario putting the Razorbacks in contention for an at-large spot.

    Saturday night's overtime win over Mississippi State helped Bobby Petrino keep hope alive.

    What Needs to Happen: Beating LSU and Alabama losing to Auburn.

    Beating LSU impressively, coupled with some help, could sneak the Razorbacks above the Tigers in the BCS standings.

    If Alabama falls to Auburn, the Razorbacks would then end up being the second highest-ranked SEC team in the BCS.

    Barring an upset by South Carolina against Auburn in the title game, Arkansas would have a solid chance at an at-large bid.

    Don't count on all of those scenarios playing out.

No. 16: North Carolina State

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    By virtue of beating Florida State, North Carolina State is in the driver's seat to represent the Atlantic Division in the ACC Championship game.

    Beating Maryland this week would lock up a spot in the title game.

    What Needs to Happen: Obviously, the ACC is only getting one team into the BCS this year.

    That means Russell Wilson and the Wolfpack will need to find a way to stop surging Virginia Tech.

    Although NC State can score on anybody, the defense remains a work in progress.

    The Hokies look like the best pick to come out of the ACC...

No. 15: Virginia Tech

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    Make it nine straight wins for Virginia Tech after Saturday's impressive win at Miami.

    Tyrod Taylor is happy to have Ryan Williams back to his freshman form alongside the consistent Darren Evans in the backfield.

    Virginia Tech will represent the Coastal Division in the ACC Championship game.

    What Needs to Happen: No at-large bid here.

    Still sitting deep down the BCS Standings, Virginia Tech's BCS hopes rest on winning the conference title game.

    Look for Virginia Tech to get the job done.

No. 14: South Carolina

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    The Gamecocks are the class of the SEC East and capable of hanging with any team in the country.

    As long as Marcus Lattimore stays healthy, the Gamecocks offense could give Auburn fits.

    What Needs To Happen: Winning the SEC Championship game over Auburn.

    Had it not been for some untimely turnovers and the questionable benching of Stephen Garcia, South Carolina could have defeated Auburn earlier this season.

    Defense will be optional in what is a must-win game for Steve Spurrier.

No. 13: Nebraska

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    No, Taylor Martinez did not in fact quit the team after being ripped by Bo Pelini Saturday.

    At the same time, all is clearly not well in Husker nation.

    Nebraska played very poorly in the loss to Texas A&M, ending any chance they might sneak into the BCS as an at-large.

    What Needs to Happen: Avoid losing to Colorado and win the Big 12 Championship.

    There is no reason Nebraska should lose to Rodney Stewart and the Buffs, but anything can happen in a rivalry game.

    A win gives Nebraska a chance to play either Oklahoma State or Oklahoma in the Big 12 title game.

    Once a trendy National Championship pick, the Huskers will need to win to make the BCS.

No. 12: Oklahoma

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    It's been another fairly disappointing season for Bob Stoops' team, but all hope is not yet lost.

    In fact, the Sooners have a chance make the Big 12 title game with a win over Oklahoma State.

    What Needs To Happen: Beating Oklahoma State, passing the Cowboys in the BCS and winning the Big 12 championship game.

    In the event Oklahoma wins Saturday, the Sooners would likely make the conference title game by being the highest-ranked Big 12 South team in the BCS ahead of Texas A&M and Oklahoma State.

    A berth in the title game would set up a favorable matchup against a sputtering Nebraska team.

No. 11: Oklahoma State

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    The Cowboys are looking good in the Big 12 but still have some business to take care of before locking down a spot in the championship game.

    What Needs to Happen: Beating Oklahoma, winning the Big 12 Championship.

    Any chance of the Big 12 getting two at-large teams into the BCS went out the window with Nebraska losing Saturday.

    What looked like one of the best conferences in college football earlier this season has fallen on hard times as of late.

    Oklahoma State lost to Nebraska in Stillwater, but the Cowboys have really put things together since that meeting.

No. 10: Alabama

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    The Tide aren't going to make the National Championship game, but they could sneak into the BCS with a little help.

    What Needs To Happen: Beating Auburn, LSU losing to Arkansas and possibly Auburn losing in the SEC Championship game.

    The SEC has been a difficult conference to forecast all year long and that isn't going to change if Alabama beats Auburn.

    Even with a win over the Tigers, the Tide might have a difficult time passing the Tigers in the standings.

    Should Auburn fall to South Carolina, Nick Saban's team could end up being the highest-ranked SEC team in the BCS Standings and secure an at-large bid.

    It won't be easy.

No. 9: Michigan State

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    Since three Big Ten teams can't go to the BCS, Michigan State will need some help to make the BCS.

    After surviving a scare against Purdue Saturday, the Spartans head to Happy Valley to face an improved Penn State team.

    What Needs to Happen: Beating Penn State, Ohio State loses.

    The Spartans will win the Big Ten if Ohio State falls to Michigan on Saturday or if Wisconsin loses to undermanned Northwestern.

    If Michigan State and Wisconsin win, Sparty holds the tiebreak by virtue of beating the Badgers early this season.

    If all three teams win, a three-way tie would give the highest-ranked team in the Big Ten a BCS berth.

    That would leave Michigan State on the outside looking in.

    It will just be so much easier once there is a Big Ten Championship.

No. 8: Ohio State

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    Terrelle Pryor shed his choke label by making several big plays to help Ohio State rally against Iowa, Saturday.

    The Bucks are sitting pretty in the BCS picture but still have some work to do.

    What Needs to Happen: Beating Michigan.

    Sure, losses by Wisconsin and Michigan State would clear things up in the Big Ten.

    Since that is unlikely to happen, the most realistic chance for Ohio State to make the BCS is by earning an at-large bid.

No. 7: Wisconsin

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    The cluttered Big Ten race makes forecasting BCS bowls a major headache.

    At least the picture is fairly clear for Wisconsin.

    What Needs to Happen: Beating Northwestern.

    One way or another, Wisconsin controls its own destiny.

    A loss by Ohio State, coupled with a win by Michigan State, would give the Spartans the Big Ten title.

    Even without winning the conference, Wisconsin would find itself as the highest rated BCS team and likely earn an at-large spot.

    Who wants a playoff?

No. 6: Stanford

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    The Cardinal still have only one blemish on their record this season heading into the season finale against Oregon State.

    What Needs to Happen: Beating Oregon State.

    Assuming either TCU or Boise State gets left out of the BCS picture, the Cardinal should be able to secure an at-large berth in the BCS with a win.

    Where they will end up playing is anybody's guess.

No. 5: LSU

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    Somehow, Les Miles just keeps watching his team pull out wins.

    LSU faces another tough test this week against Arkansas.

    What Needs to Happen: Beating Arkansas

    Basically, LSU will be fine if they win and screwed if they don't.

    Losing to Arkansas would end the Tigers' at-large hopes, likely pushing them below both Alabama (if they beat Auburn) and the Razorbacks in the the BCS Standings.

No. 4: Boise State

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    The Broncos are in great shape heading down the stretch and could even sneak into the National Championship game with a little luck.

    What Needs To Happen: Beating Nevada in impressive fashion to pass TCU and avoiding a shocking loss to Utah State.

    Although the National Championship Game is the ultimate goal, nothing matters unless Boise State manages to pass the Horned Frogs' in the BCS standings.

    If the Broncos struggle against Nevada, the BCS picture could come down to hundredths of percentage points.

    Nobody wants to see that.

No. 3: TCU

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    TCU has had a great season, but the struggles of Utah and Baylor aren't helping the Horned Frogs' BCS chances.

    What Needs to Happen: Beating woeful New Mexico by 100 points or so and cheering for Nevada.

    Winning by 100 might be a stretch, but Gary Patterson's team needs some major style points this week.

    Depending on what happens in Reno, a big win might be enough to hold off Boise State for another week.

    This is getting tense...

No. 2: Auburn

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    It was nice to have a weekend without Cam Newton eligibility issues dominating the headlines.

    Hopefully, you enjoyed it while it lasted.

    What Needs to Happen: Beating Alabama and South Carolina, beating South Carolina or beating Alabama and hoping LSU loses to Arkansas.

    There are all sorts of scenarios at play here.

    It won't be easy for Auburn to win out, but if it happens, they will obviously receive a bid in the National Championship game.

    If Auburn loses to Alabama, they will remain in the BCS picture with a chance to win the SEC Championship.

    If Auburn beats Alabama but loses to South Carolina, they could risk falling out of the mix behind LSU.

    Won't it be nice when the picture clears up considerably in a week?

No. 1: Oregon

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    Oregon survived a scare from Cal and should be very focused with two fairly challenging games left on the schedule.

    What Needs to Happen: Just win out, baby.

    Sitting atop the BCS Standings, Oregon just needs to finish off Arizona and Oregon State.

    It shouldn't be a problem, but both teams are far from pushovers.

    Should Oregon falter, the Ducks would still make the BCS by virtue of owning the tie-break against Stanford.

    Let the games continue.