This time Oregon wins, and jumps Notre Dame for what I think is for good. I'm not going through the full top 10. We're at the point where there are 4 contenders, so below is each of the top 4 teams chances to reach the title game, plus the likelihood for each conference champion and BCS Bowl Birth.
1 - ALABAMA -BCS AVG: .9957 (9-0) Remaining Schedule: Texas A&M, Western Carolina, Auburn, SEC Title Game @ Atlanta
This is easy. Alabama took care of LSU, so the remaining questions are A&M and Georgia in the SEC title game, which should both be wins. At this point, I think we would all be more than surprised if Bama wasn't in Miami, now it's a question of who plays them. AJ McCarron proved on several occasions in this game that he is more than capable of another title run. I was a little suprised to see LSU's offense have as much success as they did, even though it was just 17 points. I've heard a few of the experts say the final drive of the game was one of the best in Bama history.... I wouldn't say that, It was impressive, but on the final play LSU's D forgot how to tackle and was woefully out of position. Bama found a way to win an incredibly difficult game.
This is where it gets interesting. How healthy is Collin Klein? If he is good to go, so are the Cats, if not, good luck. The only ranked team left on the schedule is Texas who seems to have found the defense everyone expected in September. While KST doesn't play a conference title game, the Texas game should provide just as much drama, even though the Horns won't win the conference. If Texas keeps winning, it certainly helps the Wildcats chances. Defensively, Kansas State looked outstanding, better than I had expected. Because of that, they may get some extra love in the human polls. More on this below.
3 - OREGON - BCS Avg: .9166 (9-0) Sked: @CAL, Stanford, @ Oregon State, Pac 12 Title Game
321 yards and 5 TD's from Kenjon Barner.... 300+ from Marcus Mariota....700+ total yards.. 62 points. This was against USC. Absolutely unreal. There is NO question Oregon has the best offense in the country. I thought too often they didn't get enough safety help, and the corners were exposed. I heard David Pollack say on ESPN it was an awful performance by the UO D. It wasn't good, let me start there, but calling it embarrassing, is extreme. You have THE best receiver in the country and the best duo. They have abusing defenses all year, and Barkley looked like the #1 pick putting balls where nobody else could. The Ducks still have 3 tough games...no, not Cal. There is a lot of work to be done.
How do you allow a team that lost at home to Youngstown State come within a foot of beating you in 2 OT, then survive in the third OT. Notre Dame's offense left a lot to be desired. The ONLY way they get in at this point with their schedule is to be 1 of 2 unbeatens. PERIOD.
WHO FINISHES #2?
I was convinced last week that it would be Oregon, but now I'm not so sure. It comes down to a couple of things at this point. #1 - Can Oregon maintain their big lead in the human polls. If they can keep that margin, they WILL close the gap in the computers enough to pass Kansas State. They should pass Notre Dame in some of the computers eventually, and when Georgia loses to Alabama. They are between 4 and 7 in the computer polls, and need to be higher. They should be. I think if they are 4th or better in the computers they pass the Wildcats.
#2, Kansas State certainly has a chance as well. If they maintain their lead in the computers and close the gap between themselves and Oregon in the human polls it is very likely they stay ahead of the Ducks. With Notre Dame's schedule pretty bad in the coming weeks save USC, there is virtually no chance they pass either Oregon or Kansas State.
Who Wins the BCS Conferences?
In the North, Oregon is the front runner, but either the Ducks, Stanford or Oregon State can reach the conference title game by winning out. My pick: Oregon
In the South, UCLA is currently in first place with 2 losses, USC, and ASU have 3. UCLA runs the table, they're in the title game, same with USC. UCLA beat ASU, they still play USC. ASU needs to beat USC this week, and hope that UCLA loses twice, it could happen with USC and Stanford on the schedule. My pick: USC Conference Champion: Oregon
In the West, Bama has it locked up. Even with a loss, they still hold the tiebreaker over LSU. No need to pick, it's Alabama.
In the East, Georgia holds their destiny. Only a loss to Auburn keeps them out which would be highly unlikely. Florida's conference schedule is over, they get in if Georgia loses. My pick: Georgia
Conference Champion: Alabama
Legends: Nebraska and Michigan each have 1 loss, Nebraska holds the tiebreaker, Michigan has a tougher sked with TOSU at the end of the year.Northwestern has a very outside chance, needs 2 more losses from Nebraska, and they need to beat Michigan this week and hope they lose to TOSU. My Pick: Nebraska
Leaders: WIth Ohio State and Penn State not eligible, Wisconsin is the only team with a chance. Conference Champion: Nebraska
No conference title game here anymore. Kansas State would have to lose twice to give up the conference championship. Oklahoma has 1 loss....to KST. Texas has 2 losses, and still plays K State. Conference Champion: Kansas State (I went out on a limb here)
Atlantic: It's a two team race between FSU and Clemson, both have one loss, FSU beat Clemson. They both play a joke of a Maryland team, FSU still has Virginia Tech who is below average, and Clemson has NC State. They both finish 7-1 in the conference. My Pick: Florida State
Coastal: Yuck. Miami and UNC have 2 losses, UNC is not eligible for post season play. So that means a 2 loss Miami team will play a 3 loss duke team in the final conference game for a spot in the title game. What the hell happened to this conference. My pick: Miami Conference Champion: Florida State
Louisville and Rutgers are both unbeaten in conference play, Rutgers still has to play at Cincinnati, and hosts the Cardinals in the final game of the season. ZZZZZZZZ Conference Champion: Louisville
BCS BOWL PROJECTIONS:
Keep in mind, in order to reach a BCS game, you have to either win your automatic qualifying conference, be in the top 14 to be an AQ at large, or in the top 16 for a non AQ school and ahead of a conference Champion in the BCS Standings. Remember, only 2 teams per conference are eligible. Current Rankings in parenthesis.
BCS TITLE GAME:(1) ALABAMA (BCS #1/SEC CHAMP) vs (2) OREGON (BCS #2/Pac 12 CHAMP)
ROSE BOWL: (16) NEBRASKA (BIG TEN CHAMP) vs (11) OREGON STATE (AT LARGE)
FIESTA BOWL: (2) KANSAS STATE (BIG 12 CHAMP) vs (10) LOUISVILLE (BIG EAST CHAMP)
ORANGE BOWL: (9) FLORIDA STATE (ACC CHAMP) vs (12) OKLAHOMA (AT LARGE)
I mentioned this last week, the only chance Oregon State has to get in is to finish in the top 14, and have Oregon play for the National Championship. Because the Rose Bowl loves tradition, they will go with a Pac-12 team if eligible. If the Ducks play in the Rose Bowl, OSU doesn't have the cache that other eligible teams do to be selected. A 1 loss Clemson gets left out behind a 2 loss Oklahoma thanks to their fanbase travelling better to Glendale.
Just for S&G's..... in case Oregon doesn't play for the Natty, it could play out like thisL
Title game: Bama vs K State
Rose: Oregon vs Nebraska
Orange: Florida State vs Louisville
Fiesta: Oklahoma vs Notre Dame
Sugar: LSU vs Clemson