BCS Rankings: Predicting the Next Loss for Undefeated Teams
With only eight teams remaining undefeated, the time is coming for these teams to put the pedal to the medal and continue to make their way towards the BCS in the hopes of playing in the big-time bowl games.
Teams like Clemson are own their own "Shock the World" tour, trying to remain in the ranks of the unbeaten for only four more weeks. Meanwhile, in Stanford, the Cardinals are hoping Luck continues to stay on their side in the Pac-12, and are one of several teams in control of their own destinies for these last four to five weeks. However, there are key stumbling blocks that could knock these teams' BCS hopes out of the window if they fall the way Wisconsin and Oklahoma did.
Stanford at Oregon
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Stanford, one of the remaining unbeatens, must overcome a major hurdle when they ultimately face Oregon in the regular season. Oregon's fast-paced spread offensive attack is among the best in the nation, and head coach Chip Kelly has had the Ducks on a roll since their early season loss (their only loss to date) against the LSU Tigers.
If Stanford wants to return to a BCS game, they must defeat Oregon. And they may be hard pressed to do so, even with quarterback Andrew Luck on their side.
LSU vs. Alabama
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The matchup that will have the biggest impact on the BCS matchups will occur when the LSU Tigers face off against the Alabama Crimson Tide in two weeks. Both teams have productive offenses and high-powered, aggressive defenses. These two teams are similar in terms of their production, and while they don't have big-name quarterbacks, they manage to get it done by other effective means—especially on defense, where they are the unquestioned leaders of the SEC.
It is clear that the winner of this game will undoubtedly earn a trip to the BCS National Championship, while the other will certainly earn a BCS Bowl bid.
Oklahoma State at Oklahoma
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Despite falling against the likes of Texas Tech, the Oklahoma Sooners are still a big threat standing in the way of the Oklahoma State Cowboys, who are in full control of their own destiny. They currently stand atop the Big 12, and actually have a realistic chance to make it to the National Championship game, or at least obtain a BCS Bowl bid.
Nonetheless, these rival games between the Sooners and the Cowboys always come down to the wire, and are more often than not offensive shootouts. The team with the ball last has usually ended up victorious, and that looks to be the case with this game as well. The Cowboys have been known to lose their edge later in the season, but they will want to try to hold onto it this time around.
Clemson at Georgia Tech
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Clemson is on its own tour to shock the nation, and have done plenty of it by going 8-0, adding a 59-38 routing of North Carolina to its list. The Tigers play three of their final four games on the road and must face perhaps their biggest test of the season against the option attack of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. The Yellow Jackets are looking for redemption after suffering back-to-back losses in consecutive weeks against Virginia and Miami (FL).
The Tigers surely have more than enough ability to beat the Yellow Jackets, but they have had issues playing in Atlanta, losing every game they've played there for the past few seasons now. Similar to how the Tigers conquered both Blacksburg and College Park, the Tigers need to conquer Atlanta if they want to continue their "shock the nation" tour. Otherwise, the Tigers' tour will be over prematurely.
Boise State vs. TCU
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As an undefeated team, Boise State is still in the hunt for a BCS Bowl bid, but they are constantly skating on thin ice. One loss will automatically put them out of contention since they are not from a BCS-qualifying conference.
After narrowly defeating Air Force 37-26, the Broncos still have one more test left in TCU, who can still score points despite their struggling defense. Boise State is a very resilient team, but they must be careful that TCU does not become the team that Nevada did last year, who effectively knocked Boise State's BCS hopes out the window.