Each college football season starts the same way. Expectations are high that multiple teams will finish undefeated and lead to a rebellion against the BCS system. However, as we saw yesterday, few teams can make it a whole season without a letdown game.
While there are no certainties in college football, the BCS bowl picture just became clearer yesterday. As a result, I am going to list the five most likely teams to make a BCS bowl this season.
The Crimson Tide are now 7-0 and all but a lock to make a BCS bowl. Which bowl will be determined November 5th when they square off against the No. 1-ranked LSU Tigers. However, even with a loss, they will be a lock to make the Sugar Bowl.
Their remaining schedule, after LSU, consists of Mississippi State, Georgia Southern and Auburn. While an upset in two of those three games is possible, it is not probable. The Alabama defense has been stingy all season, and both Auburn and Mississippi State have been horrific on offense for most of the season.
The only thing that can stop the Tide from a BCS bowl this season would be a loss to LSU and if the Tigers turned around and were upset in the SEC championship. At this point, that is highly unlikely.
LSU, much like Alabama, would need a major upset loss for it not to make a BCS bowl. Two SEC teams are a given for this year’s BCS bowl games. If the Tigers win the November 5th game against the Crimson Tide, they become an official lock.
After their game versus Alabama, they finish their schedule with games versus Western Kentucky, Ole Miss and Arkansas. It would not be a stretch to say the Tigers could send their scout team to play Western Kentucky and Ole Miss and still win.
The only game they could possibly lose would be against Arkansas. However, the Razorbacks do not appear to be on the same level as the Tigers at this point. It is a rivalry game that Arkansas has had recent success in. The problem is that this is not your typical LSU team. This team takes no games off.
Like Alabama, the only way I do not see the Tigers in a BCS bowl is if they lose to Alabama and the Tide are upset in the SEC championship game.
Dabo Swinney entered the 2011 season on the hot seat—he is now on the verge of a lucrative extension. The Tigers are now 8-0 and have all but secured a BCS bowl. Not only will Clemson win the ACC automatic bid, but it is going to make it look simple.
The Tigers have Georgia Tech, Wake Forest, North Carolina State and South Carolina remaining on the schedule. I am not ready to go out on a limb and say they will finish undefeated, but they will not lose more than one game. Their offense is too explosive, and their opponents have too many weaknesses.
With their remaining schedule, the Tigers are more likely to play for the national championship than to not make a BCS bowl at all.
If you were watching the Broncos game versus Air Force this weekend, you might be asking yourself what was wrong with Boise State.
The answer is it is just Boise State being Boise State. The fact is the Broncos have those games from time to time. However, there is no one on the schedule that will be able to take advantage of it this season.
The Broncos are 7-0 with remaining games against UNLV, TCU, San Diego State, Wyoming and New Mexico. In the past, the TCU game would have been a barn burner. However, this season TCU is in rebuilding mode.
Boise has circled that game on its schedule ever since the Georgia game was over. Boise will win in a landslide, and the Broncos will once again be BCS-bound.
The Pac-12 will get two teams into BCS bowls this season. The most likely choices are Stanford and Oregon.
While I do believe Stanford will win the Pac-12, Oregon has the easiest road to a BCS game. The Ducks will get into the game even with two losses, so if they lose to Stanford on November 12th, they are still sitting in good shape.
The remaining schedule for the Ducks, outside of Stanford, is Washington State, Washington, Stanford, USC and Oregon State. While that is not the easiest remaining schedule, it is not the most difficult either.
Their BCS hopes hinge on the USC game—even if they drop the Stanford game.