The Prayer on the Plains somehow was answered and the Auburn Tigers are still alive for the SEC West, SEC, and BCS National Title. Who else is left to try to win a national title in this final season of the BCS? 9 teams. Maybe 11.
Alabama- Win out and they play for a 3rd straight title. Oddly, Auburn winning probably ruins their chances of playing for a BCS Title if they lose. Now a Tigers win means they miss SEC Title game or a SEC Title Game loss means losing in the final week. Stranger things have happened however.
Auburn- The Tigers may need some help even if they win out, but there would be a loud cry from the SEC folks not to leave their champ out, especially if Auburn will have beaten Texas A&M, Ole Miss, Georgia, Alabama, and either Mizzou or South Carolina. You could make a strong argument they will have the best resume, more so than any unbeaten, and no shame in losing a game at LSU.
Missouri- The Tigers will be in much the same position as Auburn, having a nice resume of wins and just one, even more heart-breaking loss, at home in overtime to South Carolina. The clamor would be even louder if they beat Alabama for the SEC Title.
Florida State- The Noles resume isn’t going to impress anyone. Baylor and Ohio State will be mad if things stay as is. In FSU’s defense, they are pulverizing all these average to below average teams. Clemson is highly ranked, and even if they score wins over Georgia and South Carolina, it wouldn’t be enough against other one-loss teams I don’t think, especially when they were blown out by FSU at home, and would not have much of an argument to be ahead of them.
Ohio State- The Buckeyes are being let down by the team from the north. Their rivalry game won’t mean as much nationally, and at this rate the other team from that state going 11-1 will be there only chance to prove they belong.
Michigan State- I only include them in case of catastrophe, as a one-loss Big Ten champ would need South Carolina (two losses) to win the SEC, and anyone but Oregon to win the Pac-12, and FSU to lose, maybe twice, and Baylor to lose to even enter the fray.
Baylor- The Bears are likely to finish an angry #3 in the BCS. Because the polls don’t respect the name BAYLOR, if they lose, they are done with no shot at redemption much like Kansas State a year ago.
Oklahoma State- The Cowboys would need to win out, and need similar disaster I spelled out for Michigan State. Sparty would argue their loss to Notre Dame wasn’t as bad as the Cowboys loss to West Virginia. Okie State would argue they played a better schedule. We’d all be confused as hell if it came to this.
Oregon- I think it is just the Ducks now. They need to win out, and then need all the other unbeatens to lose. If that happened, I think it would be them against the SEC champ, unless it was South Carolina. Unless…
2 losses? LSU did it back in 2007. The season went to hell in a hand-basket in the last month. The Tigers lost on Thanksgiving weekend to Arkansas, only to rebound with the SEC Title a week later and more upsets sent them to the championship. The only two-loss teams that would have shots are probably South Carolina and maybe Stanford.
The Gamecocks would need a Mizzou loss the next two weeks and then ideally they’d beat Alabama for the SEC. They would then need 3 of the next 4 things to happen. The Big Ten champ would have at least one, if not two losses. Pac-12 South winner would win the conference. Duke would win the ACC. The Big XII champ would have at least one loss.
Stanford is pretty similar. They’d need Oregon to lose a game, allowing them to win the Pac-12 North and the conference. Then Big Ten, ACC, and Big XII combustion. The Gamecocks have the edge on Stanford however because they are the worst case scenario for the SEC, meaning any other scenario in this impossible puzzle puts Alabama, Auburn, or Missouri in the BCS Title Game. Heck, if Auburn beat Alabama, and South Carolina or Missouri beat Auburn, there would be a strong push for, yes, you guessed it, Alabama to get in at 11-1 despite again missing out on the SEC Title Game.
That would be perfect.
UNBEATEN COUNT: 6. Nothing changed. Alabama actually had the tough time, not playing well at Mississippi State.
WINLESS COUNT: 5. Nothing changed. Special shout out to Cal, Purdue, and New Mexico State for getting their only win this season against I-AA (FCS) competition.
1. Alabama (10-0)
2. FSU (10-0)
3. Baylor (10-0)
4. Ohio State (10-0)
5. Missouri (9-1)
6. Auburn (10-1)
7. Oregon (9-1)
8. Clemson (9-1)
9. Stanford (8-2)
10. UCLA (8-2)
11. Texas A&M (8-2)
12. Arizona State (8-2)
13. South Carolina (8-2)
14. Wisconsin (8-2)
15. Oklahoma State (9-1)
16. Michigan State (9-1)
17. Ole Miss (7-3)
18. LSU (7-3)
19. Oklahoma (8-2)
20. UCF (8-1)
21. Fresno State (9-0)
22. Duke (8-2)
23. Minnesota (8-2)
24. Northern Illinios (10-0)
25. BYU (7-3)
– Let’s give it up for a couple of the worst teams in the country this week. Kansas snapped their 27-game conference losing streak with a win over West Virginia. Yes, the goal posts were torn down. Also, an odd note, the last win was 2010 vs. Colorado. So the streak is book-ended by teams that are old and new to the Big XII. You have to go back to October 2009 to find the last win over a current conference-mate, Iowa State. They still have lost 38/40 in conference.
– Speaking of Colorado, they snapped their 14-game losing streak in the Pac-12 with a win over Cal. Going back to their Big XII days, the Buffs conference records have been 1-6, 1-8, 2-7, 2-6, 2-6, and 2-6 since 2008.
– Now we just need Illinois to get a win. They haven’t won a conference game since October of 2011. After a 41-20 at Indiana they were ranked 19th. They have lost 20 straight in the Big Ten since then! They play Purdue this week. Something has to give.
– Duke is in control of the Coastal division. So much so, they may only need to split road games at Wake Forest and at North Carolina to get to the ACC Title Game. They are 4-2 in conference currently. Keep in mind that two previous coaches to David Cutcliffe, Ted Roof and Carl Franks combined to win 6 conference games in 10 years! Just an amazing job.
– Miami fans are upset, and should be. It stinks to fall short of goals. But keep in mind, Miami only went 7-5 last season. They needed good luck and fortune to squeak out wins against Georgia Tech, NC State, and Duke. This year, they are 7-3 and needed some luck to beat North Carolina and Wake Forest. I didn’t predict them to win the Coastal this year in part because I still thought they had warts from the previous season. They still clearly aren’t big enough, or fast enough, or strong enough to compete on an elite level or to beat the teams everyone thinks they should beat the weeks they aren’t playing great teams. The last 4 top-10 teams (end of season) they’ve played have beaten them by a combined 167-50. The key now is finishing strong, winning their last two games against Virginia and Pittsburgh and showing up in their bowl game. They haven’t won a bowl game since 2006 against Nevada. Better days are ahead. Now, fans just hope it’s sooner rather than later.
STIFF-ARMING TROPHY RACE
1. QB Jameis Winston, FSU
2. QB Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M
3. QB Bryce Petty, Baylor
4. QB Marcus Mariota, Oregon
5. DE Michael Sam, Missouri
6. QB Derek Carr, Fresno State
7. QB Jordan Lynch, Northern Illinois
8. RB Andre Williams, Boston College
9. WR Mike Evans, Texas A&M
10. LB CJ Mosley, Alabama