At this point in the season, there are still several teams in the National Championship conversation in college football, but which squads have a realistic chance to go all the way? Here’s a little rundown for each major contender.
Alabama has remained the unanimous number one in most of the polls and is now number one in the BCS. The Crimson tide haven’t showed much weakness in any of their wins, as their closest game was a 33-14 win against Ole Miss. But they will undoubtedly have a tough road ahead with Mississippi State, LSU and Texas A & M on the schedule in the next three weeks. The number one defensive team in the country will be tested, but the Tide probably have the best chance of any team right now to make it to the championship game.
Considering the Gators have struggled ever since Tim Tebow left, this season’s undefeated team has been somewhat of a surprise. Florida has already passed arguably its two toughest tests, getting by LSU and South Carolina, but it still has yet to play Georgia and Florida State. Even if Florida does run the table during the regular season, it will likely have to contend with Alabama in the SEC Championship game. The Gators definitely have a good chance and are getting plenty of love from the BCS, but they are a team with holes (118th in passing offense) that if not filled, may prove costly.
#3 Kansas State
Another surprise team is Kansas State. We knew the Wildcats would be good, with many returning starters from a strong squad last year, but their win over Oklahoma was certainly an upset and has put them in position to make a serious run at the title. Kansas State is a sound team that doesn’t many mistakes and although the Wildcats don’t have many tough games left on their plate, they don’t really have any easy games either. The concern from a betting standpoint is that K State is still unproven in big games late in the season and may not be able to rise to the occasion.
The Ducks have one of the most explosive offenses in the country and are fielding the best defense they’ve had in the Chip Kelly era. The Ducks D is 28th in the nation in points allowed, giving up just 20.1 points per game and keep in mind that most of those points have been allowed by the second and third units. Oregon typically jumps to huge leads early and pulls its starters in the second half. That practice may be hurting them in the BCS, as they have fallen two spots in the last two weeks even after wins, however if the Ducks get past USC and the surprising Oregon State Beavers, they could end up in the National Championship for the second time in three years.
#5 Notre Dame
The Fighting Irish have one of the strongest defenses in the country(2nd in points allowed with just 9.4 ppg) and they also play one of the most difficult, minefield-like schedules of any team. However because of that, they have squeaked by in many of their wins and consequently some of their victories have looked less impressive. The Irish’s gauntlet of ranked opponents continues this week as they travel to Norman to play the Sooners and then they end the season with USC. There’s no question that they will go to the title game if they win out, but it’s sure a tall order with the amount of tough games they will play.