We are currently halfway through the college football season, and it has been quite an exciting start. The real question at this point in time is who will be playing for the National Championship. This is a difficult question because the undefeated teams at the top of the rankings will not remain undefeated, which will cause major changes as the weeks unfold.
Anyways, let’s break down the contenders and predict the championship game.
Texas is currently ranked number one atop the very strong Big 12 after their huge win over Oklahoma. However, it will be very difficult for them to remain at the top of the rankings due to their strength of schedule: Texas will face Missouri, Oklahoma State, and Texas Tech during the next three weeks.
These games are going to be extremely difficult, and I see them losing at least one and possibly two of these matchups. If they do end up only losing one game during the course of the season, they should be playing in the championship this year.
Oklahoma is in a similar position to Texas, but they have already used up their one loss. The Sooners will need to win the rest of their games, and with a Texas loss they also will have a shot at the Championship.
Texas Tech really has no chance with matchups against Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma State, and Oklahoma all in a row. They will lose at least two of these games and will fall out of BCS contention. This is the same case with OKSU, who will play Texas, Texas Tech, and Oklahoma.
Missouri, on the other hand, is playing do or die football right now, which means they cannot lose another football game.
The Big 12 is so strong at the top, and the problem is that all of the good teams play each other. This means each school will beat each other down and force drastic changes in the rankings each week. The team that escapes with just one loss should play for the title this winter.
In the SEC, Alabama has climbed all the way to the number two ranking and has played some great football. They absolutely killed Clemson and Alabama but struggled to dominate Kentucky and Tulane. However, they stepped up against their strongest competitors and have shown the country that they are for real.
Their schedule is favorable—I see them taking care of Mississippi State and Auburn. That leaves their showdown against LSU as the final test. If they can beat LSU (which won’t happen), they will go undefeated and win a trip to the National Championship.
The Florida Gators saved their season last week when they destroyed LSU. Tim Tebow and Percy Harvin look great, and the Gators won’t have any trouble with five out of their remaining six games.
If they can beat Georgia in Athens, they will finish the season with only one loss—and if the Crimson Tide lose to LSU, the Gators will finish the season ranked higher.
USC is in a good position because they by far have the easiest schedule for the remainder of the season. If they win out, and Texas and Alabama both lose, USC has a legitimate shot at another championship opportunity.
This same realm of thought is also true for Georgia, Ohio State, and LSU. If either team wins out or the teams ranked ahead of them lose, they will also have a shot at playing for the title.
Now on to Penn State, the one major conference team with the best chance at remaining undefeated. The Nittany Lions have looked great, and their win against Wisconsin was a ridiculous performance. I don’t see them having trouble with anyone outside of the Buckeyes. Their trip to Columbus on Oct. 25 is going to be a major battle.
Paterno and his team have a great shot. If they win out, they will be the number one team in the country at the end of the season.
BYU is in a rare and weird position in my mind. I have never seen a “mid-major” ranked this high this early in the season. The Cougars are undefeated and ranked number nine at this point. BYU has a decent chance at a BCS bowl game, but they need to remain undefeated and beat a high-ranking Utah team.
If Utah is still undefeated and the Cougars win, that will give them a bump in the rankings. However, the chance of them making the trip to Miami is very small, as they would need almost every team currently ranked higher to lose two games.
My final predictions are as follows: Penn State beats Ohio State and wins out to go 12-0 and move on to the Championship. Florida also wins out and watches other teams lose another game during the course of their seasons. The strength of the SEC and the Gators' big time wins will lead them to Miami and a shot at a National Title.
Final prediction: Florida Gators vs. Penn State Nittany Lions
(If Boise St. and Utah both go 12-0, we need a damn playoff already.)