Heading into week 7, the real contenders for the BCS title are starting to separate themselves from the pack. 16 teams out of the top 25 are still undefeated, but only six of those have a realistic shot at the national title. For an outside contender - say, #8 Louisville - to get in, they'd have to win out AND have five of the six teams currently ahead of them drop at least two of their remaining games.
#7 Georgia is the only one-loss team with a realistic shot, and that would also require some major slippage by the current frontrunners. Here's our latest prediction for the BCS title game:
Saban's boys are still doing their thing down in Tuscaloosa, and with star wide receiver Amari Cooper finally back at 100%, they'll have yet another weapon available on offense. The SEC is theirs to lose, and unless any other key players go and get themselves suspended, they'll be playing for a third straight national championship in January.
Oregon is still rolling through teams without breaking a sweat, but Saturday's game against #16 Washington will be their first real test of the year (sorry, Tennessee - taking Georgia to overtime is nice, but you canceled that out when you nearly choked away a 24-point lead to South Alabama at home the week before). Even if the Ducks leave Washington with a comfortable win, there's still that trip to #5 Stanford on November 7th to worry about. Make no mistake - Oregon is still the second-best team in the country - but they still don't have a signature win on their resume, and until that happens they won't be taken as seriously as some of the other top contenders.
3. #6Florida State(5-0) OR #3Clemson(5-0)
That's right - the two best teams on the outside looking in are so close we can't separate them yet. If only there were some definitive way to find out which team is better...what's that? Oh, wow. Circle October 19th on your calendars - this shootout between two superstar quarterbacks could be just as good (if not better) as the showdown between A.J. McCarron's Alabama and Johnny Football's Texas A&M back on September 14th. There will be fireworks - Tajh Boyd and Jameis Winston are both legitimate Heisman contenders, and whoever wins this game will be the next team in to the BCS championship picture if 'Bama or Oregon slips up.
The best of the rest:
4. #5 Stanford (5-0)
Yeah, so they barely scraped by Washington - so what? Stanford has an elite defense and incredibly underrated skill players on offense. Sure, they might not be two-deep at every single position like Alabama, but their starters can go toe-to-toe with anyone out there. Don't forget - Oregon's road to the BCS title game goes through Palo Alto, and Stanford's other game against a top team - #11 UCLA - is also at home. If they end the season undefeated, they'll get in over any one-loss team, and this year's stronger-than-usual Pac-12 means they'll also get in over our next team if they end up with the same record (beating Oregon would easily vault them into the top four, so read into their current AP ranking).
5. #4 Ohio State (6-0)
Much like Stanford, the Buckeyes also needed a Houdini-esque escape act to win on the road last weekend, but their weak remaining schedule hurts them in our rankings, and they'll need to win out AND hope someone else slips up to sneak into the BCS title game. Don't see this as an indictment of the Ohio State team, which is incredibly talented (we think they'd have rolled over Wisconsin and Northwestern if it hadn't been for Braxton Miller's injury and Carlos Hyde's suspension), but more as an indictment of an extremely weak Big 10. Most Buckeyes fans couldn't have seen the fallout from Penn State's NCAA sanctions affecting them, but a weaker PSU means a weaker B1G, and with other programs in rebuilding mode, they just don't have a strong enough schedule to push them above undefeated Pac-12 or ACC schools anymore.
Keep an eye on:
#7 Georgia (4-1): Georgia's absurd schedule (depending on how Auburn and Georgia Tech do, they could end the season having played EIGHT ranked opponents) puts them in the conversation if they win out. It'll take mistakes from the other contenders, but they're still a very real threat.
#11 UCLA (4-0): Oh, it's a long shot - they'll have to beat Oregon and Stanford on the road back-to-back - but IF that happens, suddenly the balance of power in the Pac-12 will have shifted back to Los Angeles. Don't bet on this happening - but don't sleep on Jim Mora's team, either. Remember, with the Pac-12 South theirs to lose, they'll have another shot at impressing the committees in the conference championship game too...
#15 Baylor (4-0): Baylor?! Yeah, Baylor. The Bears are the only team outscoring Oregon right now, and their insanely productive offense would make Norm Chow wet his pants. These guys still haven't played a "real" team yet, but they'll take on #12 Oklahoma, #20 Texas Tech, and #22 Oklahoma State in three straight games later this year. Set your DVR now.
Back to the NCAA Newsfeed