5 BCS Bowl Teams That Will Decline Next Year
With the bowl season upon us, the 2011-12 college football season is drawing to a close. Some teams have fallen by the way side, while others find themselves in BCS bowl games.
Even with the year almost over, it is never too early to look at next year's prospects.
This article assesses five teams that will decline from their BCS bowl game status next year.
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Andrew Luck and company have had an outstanding year, garnering Stanford's second straight at-large BCS berth with an 11-1 record.
Stanford's only loss, versus Oregon, probably cost them a shot at a Pacific-12 Championship and a national championship.
With Luck, David DeCastro, Jonathan Martin, Coby Fleener, and a host of other seniors most likely leaving, the Cardinal will be in full rebuilding mode next year, trying to break in a new quarterback for the first time in three years.
Do not count on Stanford being in a BCS bowl game, and I would consider a 6-6 season a success.
Oklahoma State Cowboys
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Oklahoma State will be left with thinking "what could have been?" had it beaten Iowa State and ran the table. Nevertheless, the Cowboys still won the Big 12 and will face Stanford in the Fiesta Bowl.
With Justin Blackmon intending to declare for the draft in January, along with veteran quarterback Brandon Weeden graduating, the Pokes will take a definite step back from their stellar performance this year.
In addition, teams like TCU, Kansas State and Texas will likely be national championship contenders from the Big 12, making Oklahoma State's road to the BCS even harder.
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Wisconsin is probably two late-game gaffes away from being in the national championship game after losing two tough games at Ohio State and Michigan State.
Still, the Badgers ended up winning the inaugural Big Ten Championship Game and punched their ticket to the Rose Bowl.
Being without Russell Wilson will be tough for the Badgers, but coupling this loss with seniors on defense and the offensive line graduating will probably knock Wisconsin from the Big Ten's elite.
Both Ohio State and Michigan will likely get the better of the Badgers along with a group of under-the-radar Big Ten teams like Iowa and Penn State.
Alabama Crimson Tide
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Declining from being in the BCS National Championship Game is pretty easy, but Alabama will be far from the 11-1 and dominant team it was this past year.
The Crimson Tide could easily be the SEC champions if not for several missed field goals by both of their kickers and a superb defensive play by Eric Reid.
Alabama's stout defense will not be nearly as great as it was this past year, considering Dre Kirkpatrick, Courtney Upshaw and Dont'a Hightower are most certainly gone.
Throw in the possible losses of Heisman hopeful Trent Richardson and Outland Award-winning lineman Barrett Jones, and I see the Crimson Tide digressing to an eight to nine win team.
West Virginia Mountaineers
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West Virginia had a topsy-turvy year, going 9-3 and winning the Big East conference title after even losing to abysmal teams like Syracuse early in the conference schedule.
The Mountaineers do not lose any key players to the draft and Geno Smith will likely return for his senior year in hopes of improving his draft stock and leading West Virginia to a national championship.
However, with the impending move to the Big 12, I see West Virginia going from the best to the middle of the pack in a much better 10-team conference.