After the chaos that ensued over the weekend, everyone was anxiously waiting for the new BCS standings to come out to see where their teams stood. As expected, the only remaining undefeated team, Notre Dame, landed the top spot and Alabama, which many consider to be the strongest one-loss team is at number two. But considering everything that’s happened up to this point, it would be hard to argue that these teams are safe, even with just a couple of weeks left in the season. Now that the dust is settled from the weekend, we can look at the top five and their potential paths to the title game. We’ll also take a look ahead at some of next week’s mathcups.
#1 Notre Dame 11-0
With K State and Oregon losing this weekend, Notre Dame is finally in the spotlight and getting all the love from the human voters as well as the computers. The Irish are a unanimous number one in the polls and are number one with the machines, so the path for the Irish is obviously the easiest and most simple.
Path-Beat USC on Saturday
That’s it. That’s all they gotta do and it shouldn’t be as difficult as many of us thought a couple of weeks ago. Matt Barkley has been ruled out for this game after he was injured in this week’s loss to UCLA and the USC squad as a whole is struggling mightily, having already lost four games this season. With the best defense in the nation and a capable offense, I wouldn’t bet against the Irish reaching the title game.
#2 Alabama 10-1
Bama is back in the driver’s seat too after this weekend’s fallout. Alabama is number two in the polls and number three in the computers, but there’s no question that they are also in control of their own destiny.
Path-Beat Auburn on Saturday, Beat Georgia in the SEC Championship
The Crimson Tide simply need to win their remaining two games and they’re in. Auburn coming up this weekend should be a cake walk. Auburn is 0-7 in the SEC this year, so don’t expect an upset. However, the spread should be huge and since this is a rivalry game, I might actually take the Tigers to cover the spread depending on how big it is. After the Tide roll past the Tigers, they’ll have to deal with Georgia in the SEC Championship, which should be a challenge for sure, but the Tide has a recent history of success against the Bulldogs and I don’t see that changing.
#3 Georgia 10-1
The Bulldogs are currently on the outside looking in, but have the best chance of any other outsider to get invited to the dance. They are number three in the polls and number six in the computers.
Path-Beat Georgia Tech on Saturday, Beat Alabama in SEC Championship
The Bulldogs should have little trouble with G Tech. It’s a rivalry game, but G Tech has struggled this season. The tough part will be Alabama. Georgia has the type of offense to get the job done, but they’ll need to find a way to stop Bama’s run game. They still control their own destiny and a win against Bama would certainly help them in the computers, but easier said than done indeed.
#4 Florida 10-1
Florida is getting plenty of love from the computers at number two, but the Gators have failed to pass the eye test with voters and are number five in the Harris and number six in the USA Today polls.
Path-Beat Florida State on Saturday, Notre Dame Loses to USC
Unfortunately for Florida, they’ll need some help to get to the championship. A win over rival Florida State on Saturday would give them even more support from the computers and would earn them some admiration from the voters, but it would likely not be enough on its own to grab a #2 spot. They’ll have to hope Notre Dame loses its game to USC, or Georgia drops its game to Georgia Tech, or Alabama to Auburn, but the last two will not happen. And the toughest part might actually be beating FSU. It’s a road game for the Gators, who have not played particularly well as of late and they’re up against one of the best offenses in the country. I actually like the FSU to get the win this week and knock off the Gators, so if that happens, we count Florida out anyway.
#5 Oregon 10-1
After losing this weekend, many considered the Ducks’ chances dead, but the fact that they lost by only three points in overtime to a very strong (now #8) Stanford team, has them still at number four in the polls and seven with the computers.
Path-Beat Oregon State on Saturday, Notre Dame Loses to USC, Florida Loses to Florida State
For Oregon to get back to number two would mean a lot would have to go right in the coming week. First, they’ll have to rebound from the loss and defeat their rival Oregon State. Not an easy task, but definitely doable. In fact, I would bet Oregon to win by a big margin in that one. However, the Ducks will also need Notre Dame to lose, which we earlier determined probably won’t happen and Florida to lose, which we determined probably will happen. So, it’s not completely crazy to see an Oregon-Bama, or Oregon-Georgia title game, but it certainly doesn’t look great right now. A lot will be determined this week and we’ll see what we’re up against.
For now, it appears we’ll be watching ND and Bama play for the Natty come January, but crazier things have happened.