When the BCS Rankings are released, a collective group of fans will take time scouring the Championship contenders and finding loopholes to fit their team into the final game. For five teams there is no trap door or revolving bookcase, they just have to win the rest of their games and they’ll be in the mix if not assured of a spot. Alabama, Florida, Oregon, Kansas State, and Notre Dame are all undefeated at this point and it’s worth diagnosing who is left and who has the best chance of smashing their BCS Championship dreams. Who is left, why they’re unbeatable, and then where can they lose.
1. Alabama Crimson Tide
Ranked teams left to play: #12 Mississippi State, @ #6 LSU, #18 Texas A&M, SEC Championship Game
Why they’ll go undefeated: Don’t look for flaws in the Crimson Tide. They aren’t perfect, but they are clearly the nation’s most complete and best team. If they hadn’t gotten sleepy in the second half of recent games they would have an even more impressive no. 1 ranked defense, allowing a measly 7.5 points per game.
Best shot: ‘Bama’s remaining ranked opponents are either too light on defense or too light on offense to pull it together against the Tide. Their best shot to lose will be against Florida in the SEC Championship – they are the only team in the conference that has comparable athletes on both offense and defense, and although I don’t predict a victory Florida will be out for revenge from the last time these two teams met for the Southeastern title and Alabama took the throne by force.
2. Florida Gators
Ranked teams left to play: #7 South Carolina, #11 Georgia, @ #14 Florida State, SEC Championship Game
Why they’ll go undefeated: After a 14-6 victory over LSU it appears Florida has their mojo back, and by mojo I mean an SEC defense. The top recruiting classes of past years have paid dividends defensively and finally the Gators can match talent on all three levels with the nation’s best. Florida is a work in progress on offense, but full of speed and getting better.
Best shot: Florida won’t take South Carolina or Georgia for granted because they will be vulnerable to lose against either, but the toughest game left on the schedule apart from a potential game against Alabama will be the season finale at Florida State. Florida State tripped up against NC State but is an elite team and still hungry for a BCS birth, and a home victory against the Gators would do the trick.
3. Oregon Ducks
Ranked teams left to play: @ #10 USC, @ #20 Stanford, @ #8 Oregon State, Pac 12 Championship Game
Why they’ll go undefeated: The Oregon offense scores a ridiculous 52+ points per game and hasn’t slowed down since establishing the scoring spree in a weak out-of-conference schedule.Arizona had a highly ranked defense before getting 49 points hung on them during a September 22nd matchup.
Best shot: The Civil War against Oregon State is always a highly contested game, and that’s when Oregon State is a doormat. Oregon State is ranked in the Top 10, and although that might be reaching, they are much improved and can play offensive and defensive football. USC doesn’t have the depth in the secondary to keep pace with the Duck attack, and Stanford is too vanilla and too unskilled on offense to pose a threat.
4. Kansas State Wildcats
Ranked teams left to play: @ #13 West Virginia, #17 Texas Tech, @ #23 TCU, #25 Texas, Big 12 Championship Game
Why they’ll go undefeated: Collin Klein is still the best quarterback you’ve never heard of, but you better start believing in Manhattan’s dual-threat stud. Klein has thrown for over 1,000 yards and seven touchdowns and rushed for another 510 yards and 10 scores. Kansas State is ranked in the Top 20 for both points for and against, and has played the Big 12’s second-best team:Oklahoma.
Best shot: This weekend at West Virginia. Morgantown is a new and scary adventure for any established Big 12 team to venture into. The Wildcats have not experienced driving through country hills and arriving in a generally unaccepting and hostile venue like West Virginia. Venue aside, West Virginia was embarrassed last weekend against Texas Tech and needs to regroup, but they can put a ton of points on the board.
5. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Ranked teams left to play: @ #9 Oklahoma, @ #10 USC
Why they’ll go undefeated: Notre Dame has the easiest road to undefeated because they only have two ranked opponents left, playing veritable garbage besides for those two (sans BYU).They don’t have the opportunity to get knocked out in a conference championship game. Notre Dame possesses an elite defense and two quarterbacks with some sort of mojo.
Best shot: Notre Dame hasn’t played a team with an accomplished passing quarterback that can attack the weakness of their defense. Despite having a phenomenal defensive line, Notre Dame’s secondary is pedestrian at best. Oklahoma and USC don’t rely entirely on the run game and can beat you with a one-sided passing attack. First up is at Oklahoma and rekindled Landry Jones.