This will cover the 15 teams that are in the best position to make a BCS Bowl game...if it weren't for all those other teams ahead of them.
It's one thing to be a good team all year and be bowl-eligible. It's another to be the team that comes in second in your division or second in your conference and KNOW that "Championship Weekend" in early December holds no hope for you because you don't play.
It's a-whole-nother ball of wax to be in the conference championship, knowing that if you don't beat LSU, a team from the other side of the river might edge you out of a BCS slot without even playing in the championship.
This article is about some teams that still have a shot. It's also about some teams that are already looking forward to the 2012 season...'cuz this one is GONE.
Wisconsin is sitting in a position to make a BCS bowl as the inaugural Big Ten Champion. The reason they show up here at No. 15 is that they have to go through Michigan State to get there.
They have a better shot at winning the conference championship than I believe Georgia does for the SEC, but still—It's a long shot.
Ahhh...Georgia, the shocker from the SEC East. To fight from 0-2 all the way to 10-2, just to be rewarded with a showdown with LSU has got to be disheartening. Now, going to the conference championship is awesome, and the heads will be high at least through the first half. Then comes the second half.
I just don't see the Bulldogs stopping the Tigers from getting their crystal ball this year.
The reason Georgia comes in at No. 14 is that they still have a shot. The 45-7 victory over Auburn shows that they are not the same Georgia that lost to Boise State in the beginning of the year.
The LSU-dozer that Miles has constructed over in the Bayou says Georgia isn't going to a bowl.
Does Georgia have a shot? Yes, just like Oregon, West Virginia, Alabama and Arkansas all had a shot.
Notre Dame barely edged out Georgia for a spot at No. 13. Georgia and Notre Dame are sitting in about the same type of spot.
Notre Dame got the edge for two reasons. Number one: Notre Dame doesn't have to beat LSU, they "just" have to beat Stanford.
Number two: Notre Dame would still have to jump up eight BCS spots to make a BCS bowl.
Does Notre Dame have a chance? 1966 says they can jump REALLY high, so, maybe.
No. 16 Kansas State has had a huge season, but they sit ranked behind both No. 3 Oklahoma State and No. 13 Oklahoma.
Kansas State needs the win over Iowa State next weekend, and needs to root for Oklahoma State to hand Oklahoma another loss.
That would put Kansas State in a position to get an at-large bid. If Oklahoma beats Oklahoma State—as most are projecting—then Kansas State is out of the discussion altogether. Also, if Oklahoma State doesn't jump over 'Bama with the Oklahoma victory, then Kansas State is likely out of the picture.
The last of the teams on this hit list with a chance to play in a BCS bowl. The reason they are the worst with a chance is that their chance is dependent on a few things.
They have to maintain a better record than Arizona State. In order to do that, they need to beat USC or Oregon. I don't see them doing that.
I want to believe in the "Cinderella" story that college basketball has made so famous, but not this year. USC is in beautiful form, and Oregon is determined to win out.
Even if they beat USC and Oregon, they still have to take down Oregon in the PAC-12 Championship.
Update: USC beat UCLA 50-0, and UCLA will advance to the PAC-12 Championship.
Thanks to D.H. for the corrections. I had Stanford representing the PAC-12 North, and had UCLA not going to a bowl game after the loss to USC tonight. Forgot about tie-breakers. SEC fan here should have known better, especially this year.
Penn State was sitting at No. 19 before they got creamed by Wisconsin yesterday, which wasn't a position to look toward a BCS bowl anyway. Now, they are sitting in one of the worst positions in college football, nowhere near a Top Five bowl.
If anyone has said that they are definitely not playing football next year, I haven't heard it. They are in a position to look toward next season, as this season will not end in a BCS bowl.
James Franklin stands in a horrible spot for a BCS bowl, but he is bowl-eligible with his Vanderbilt Commodores.
That's huge for the Commodores. Though they are not going to a Top Five bowl, they are going bowling this year. If he can continue this trend, look for Vandy to shake the stigma of "the one that doesn't belong" for good.
They used to be considered a "cake" team. Soon enough, he'll have all of us in the west trying to play Georgia or South Carolina instead of him.
Another team on the outside looking in on their conference championship. Michigan State will be playing against Wisconsin for the inaugural Big Ten Championship.
That leaves Michigan out of the picture altogether. Maybe next year, Wolverines.
Ohio State has been a household name for as long as Tressel had been there. Not anymore. Tressel is gone.
Whoever takes over this head coaching job has his work cut out for him. Ohio State is in pretty bad shape this year, and someone needs to step in and turn it around.
If not, expect them to stay on this list for a while.
South Carolina is another team screwed by the SEC West. With 'Bama, LSU and Arkansas ahead of them and Georgia going to represent the East in the conference championship, South Carolina just chalks this one up to "another decent year."
Spurrier seems to be turning this program around, and next year the Georgia-South Carolina fight for top of the East should be very interesting.
This year, the Gamecocks are out of the BCS picture, though.
Regardless of the fact that they took down Clemson earlier this year, and disrupted the Tigers' perfect season, Georgia Tech will be left out of the ACC Championship.
That game will be between Clemson and Virginia Tech, who Clemson stomped early in the season.
Georgia Tech will be on the outside looking in on the BCS Bowls, but look for them to possibly face Notre Dame in the Champs Sports Bowl this postseason.
This is the first year a team from the state of Florida wasn't in the BCS standings in a long time.
That hasn't changed at the end of the season, either.
It's been a long time since the trio from Florida have taken turns being the top dog. From the looks of 2011, it's going to be much, MUCH longer before we're talking about the Sunshine State again.
Will Muschamp has his work cut out for him, and with South Carolina returning a healthy Lattimore, and a quarterback with a summer's worth of practice, look for Florida to make this list for a few more years.
With Georgia and South Carolina ahead of them in the East, it's going to take some NFL and graduation losses for Florida to bring some recruits to the field that can take down the Bulldogs or the Gamecocks.
No. 1 LSU is almost a lock for the title game, with Georgia the only obstacle in the way. (Though many say that a loss to Georgia wouldn't keep them out of it, a blowout by Georgia might.)
If Georgia upsets LSU, LSU will still likely go to the BCS Championship.
Alabama sits at No. 2. Alabama is likely to go to the title game as well.
If that happens, the BCS does allow a conference champion to be selected into a bowl game even though two other teams from the conference play in the title game.
If LSU beats Georgia, LSU goes to title game against 'Bama.
Nowhere does the BCS allow a third party from a single conference to enter the BCS picture without a conference championship.
Arkansas is out this year.
No. 1 on this list HAS to be USC.
Still underneath the sanctions of the NCAA, USC is in the final year of disqualification from the postseason.
Next year it's a different story. This year they are in the worst shape to get a BCS bowl bid, since they absolutely can't, even with a 9-2 record.