If you are like most 'Bama fans, the ability Texas Tech, Iowa State, Oklahoma, Cal, Notre Dame, and Oregon possess to defeat a top-five team has become extremely vital to a sane life and happy holiday season.
Let's take a deeper look at the teams that could get a statue on the Walk of Champions next to Bryant-Denny Stadium if one of them defeats the two teams that stand in the way of Alabama's rematch with LSU in the BCS Championship Game on January 9, 2012 in New Orleans.
We will assume LSU wins out and ends the season at No. 1 in the BCS. We should also make dangerous assumptions that Alabama wins out as well.
Current BCS No. 2 Oklahoma State and No. 4 Stanford seem to be the biggest obstacle to Alabama's rematch with LSU. Oklahoma and Boise State could push for the No. 2 spot if the Cowboys and Cardinal stumble, but 'Bama would most likely head to New Orleans with the computers possibly ranking the Sooners and Broncos low enough to hurt each team's overall average ranking.
We'll begin with the teams who have the most recent games versus Oklahoma State and Stanford and look through the end of the regular season.
1. Texas Tech (5-4, 2-4 Big 12)
The good news is that the Red Raiders proved they can beat a top-five team when they went into Norman and upset the then No.3 Sooners, 41-38. The bad news is that they've been outscored 93-27 in back-to-back losses to Iowa State and Texas.
This offense is nearly unstoppable, but the defense remains on a milk carton. The Red Raiders own the sixth-ranked passing attack in college football (362 yards per game), but they are also 104th in points allowed (34.2 points per game).
#2 Oklahoma State at Texas Tech -- November 12th, 11:00 A.M. CST on ABC
Chances of Texas Tech defeating Oklahoma State -- D+
Keep up with the latest Texas Tech news so you can learn all about a coach all Alabama fans love to hate, Tommy Tuberville. Just put his Auburn past behind you and cheer like mad that Texas Tech can get the job done at home against the Cowboys of Mike "I'M NOW 43!" Gundy.
2. #7 Oregon Ducks (8-1, 6-0 PAC-12)
If 'Bama fans are going to cheer this weekend about another game besides their own, it's probably going to involve the No. 7 Ducks' trip to Palo Alto to face BCS No. 4 Stanford. The Cardinal is expected to get enough of a bump from the computers to supplant the 'Tide in the No. 3 spot with a victory, so this game is as big in Tuscaloosa -- probably much bigger -- as it is in Palo Alto.
Oregon can run the ball like crazy and now that LaMichael James is healthy again (25 carries, 152 yards rushing, TD at Washington last week). James is averaging 8.0 yards per carry has 1,061 yards rushing. That impressive stat becomes very impressive when you consider he missed two games in October.
The Ducks' only loss is to No. 1 LSU on opening weekend in Dallas. Oregon ranks fifth in the nation in scoring (46 points per game), but Stanford is third with 48 points per game.
The stat that will give 'Tide fans the most hope is Oregon's 8-1 record over the last nine years over Stanford. The only loss came in 2009.
#7 Oregon at #4 Stanford -- November 12th, 7pm CST on ABC
Chances Oregon defeats Stanford -- A- ... Got this one right. My Ducks got it done at Stanford, 53-30.
3. Iowa State Cyclones (5-4, 2-4 Big 12)
Remember the bad news about Texas Tech's two games after beating Oklahoma? Well, one-half of it is now good news. After Tech beat the Sooners, Iowa State went into Lubbock and beat the 20th ranked Red Raiders, 41-7. So can they sneak up on the Cowboys on a Friday night in Ames, Iowa? I don't know. Why are you asking me?
Iowa State is one of those teams that makes one wonder how you could be a fan of the cyclones because the team colors are so bad. I'm not saying I'll cheer for a team because the colors are cool, but ask what changing color schemes did for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Super Bowl winner), Tampa Bay Rays (American League Championship), the Denver Broncos (2 Lombardi Trophies), Detroit Pistons (NBA Championship and another NBA Finals appearance), and Oregon Ducks (BCS Championship Game appearance after changing uniform color-combos four times before kickoff). If McDonald's in Ames is missing some paint from the shed, check Iowa State's campus. Ronald McDonald is not an Iowa State fan. But it does appear that Iowa State is indeed a McDonald's fan.
#2 Oklahoma State @ Iowa State -- Friday November 18, 7:00 P.M. CST on ESPN
Iowa State chances of not allowing 50 points -- C- -- OOPSIES!!! Iowa State wins 37-31 in Double-Overtime -- And they still have the best fries. Someone get me a McDonald's visor.
4. California Bears (5-4, 2-4 PAC-12)
Cal ranks 54th in points scored (28.9 points per game) and 51st in points allowed (24.2 points per game)
They play Stanford in Palo Alto on Saturday November 19th and unless Oregon beats Stanford the week before, the Cardinal will remain undefeated heading into its regular season finale with Notre Dame. Let's don't play this game and say we did and move on to to Notre Dame, shall we?
If it's all the same, here's some stuff on Cal.
5. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (6-3)
The 'Irish will travel to Palo Alto for a November 26th tilt that will be televised on ABC at 7:00 P.M. Notre Dame has lost three games, but untimely fumbles returned for touchdowns against South Florida and USC has lead to two of the losses.
The 'Irish were about to drive in for the opening score in the first quarter of the South Florida game when the Bulls returned the fumble 96 yards for the touchdown and the 7-0 lead. It proved to be the difference in the game as the 'Irish fell 23-20.
Then there was the USC game. Notre Dame had fought back from a 17-0 second quarter deficit. They appeared poised to tie the game from inside the 5-yard line when Dayne Crist fumbled the snap. The ball flopped around until a Trojan finally picked up the ball (uhhhhh, huh huh) and ran 80 yards for the touchdown and a 24-10 lead.
The Michigan-Notre Dame battle was to offense what the LSU-Alabama was to defense. Michigan scored late, Notre Dame scored later, and Michigan scored the latest and won 35-31 in the first night game in the history of The Big House.
So there's the three losses. Three games that I'm sure 'Irish Fans will tell you that they should have won. Will they win November 26th at Stanford? Only if Oregon beats them first, but this game would just be a moot point then wouldn't it?
Notre Dame @ #4 Stanford -- November 26th, 7:00 P.M. CST on ABC
Chances Notre Dame beats Stanford -- C-
Want info on Notre Dame? Call Beano Cook.
6. #6 Oklahoma Sooners (8-1, 5-1 Big 12)
Now we're talking! This is the one. Yep, the best team in the Big 12. Headed on over to Stillwater for Bedlam to prove they are the best team in Oklahoma. Granted, the Sooners lost to a 28-point underdog (Texas Tech) at home.
The Sooners will probably be without top playmaker, senior wide receiver Ryan Broyles, but Landry Jones should be healthy and he can sling the old pigskin. He can really put the pepper on the old ball. Atta boy. A little mustard. And other 1950s phrases to describe someone who can hurl a ball at a high velocity.
Oklahoma traveled to Kansas State the week after losing to Texas Tech and defeated then eighth-ranked and undefeated Wildcats, 58-17. I know that comparing victories between common opponents is considered an exercise in futility, but considering Oklahoma State could not stop the Wildcats until the very end of the game should give Bama fan solace.
For those 'Bama fans sitting in Atlanta watching LSU and Georgia play for the SEC Championship, Oklahoma could really bring tears of of joy that Saturday night. The only problem is that they may cause tears of sadness and pain Sunday if the Sooners are too impressive in their victory over the Cowboys. A dominant Oklahoma win could give voters enough of an excuse to allow the Sooners to jump the 'Tide and move into the No. 2 spot in the BCS.
This day is going to look very similar to the first Saturday in December of 2007. Every team that had to lose that day lost and it gave the two-loss LSU Tigers a free ticket to the BCS Championship game where they hammered Ohio State. 'Bama fans need the same luck when Oklahoma and Oklahoma State take the field sometime that day or night.
#6 Oklahoma Sooners @ #2 Oklahoma State -- December 3rd, TBD on ABC
Chances Oklahoma beats Oklahoma State -- A
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