The college football season is half over and there have been some shocks thus far. The top five teams in the AP rankings are undefeated, but we all know not all of them will make it to the end of the year with an unblemished mark. Two of the top teams are both from the SEC – Alabama and Florida. If they both run the table they’ll face each other in the SEC championship game, giving their conference at least one team in the BCS title game. Taking a look at the other teams in the rankings, there are 12 teams that are undefeated right now.
Some of those teams, even if they go undefeated, just won’t make it to the title game. It’s unfortunate to a point, but who would want to see Alabama take on Ohio for the championship? Not many, unless you go to or attended one of those universities. Now, if Ohio goes through a team or two in a playoff format to get to the title game, then I would say they deserve to be there.
The teams currently with a perfect record are: Alabama, Oregon, Florida, Kansas State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oregon State, Mississippi State, Louisville, Rutgers, Cincinnati and Ohio. Despite the record, the last four teams likely won’t finish the year with a perfect mark and won’t be in the title game. So that leaves eight teams with a shot to be the best in college football. Three of the teams are from the SEC and two are from the Pac-12. Chances are the champion will be one of those teams. Let’s take a look at each teams remaining schedule and which matchups would be the most entertaining from a fans’ perspective.
Alabama has a good shot at running the table. They have a tough three-game stretch versus Mississippi State, LSU and Texas A& M but all are winnable. No matter what, I believe the Crimson Tide will be fighting in the championship game come January.
The Ducks of Oregon also play three ranked opponents and would have to get through the Pac-12 title game as well. The Ducks haven’t really been tested yet this year, so they will on the losing side of at least one game. Could they still get into the title game, yes. They will have to win the Pac-12 title game to do so and hope there are not two undefeated teams. The Beavers give the Ducks a tough matchup to close the year, one I think the Ducks will lose. But I still give Oregon a good chance to face ‘bama in the title game.
The Gators have three very winnable games and three difficult matchups remaining on the schedule. To make the title game I believe Florida has to win out and beat Alabama in the SEC Championship. That’s going to be a tall order, one I don’t think the Gators are up to. While Florida is heading in the right direction, they are not an elite team just yet.
Kansas State has four more ranked opponents to go through, but I think the road to a perfect season isn’t a difficult one. K-State is a longshot to make the BCS title game, but have the easiest road. If the Wildcats finish the year undefeated, it would be hard not to give them a shot at Alabama. In case you haven’t figured it out, I believe the Crimson Tide are a shoe-in for the BCS title game. I’m not sure if K-State could get the job done, but I’d be interested to see this matchup. The Wildcats are a run-first team that likes to control the clock. If they get to the title game, they’d give the Tide a run for its money.
Notre Dame hasn’t been relevant in college football in years. So the fact we are finally talking about the Fighting Irish is a step in the right direction. The Irish boast one of the best defenses in college football for the program. Notre Dame has two tough showdowns the rest of the year, USC and Oklahoma. Being an Independent the Irish need to finish the year without a loss to make it to the BCS Championship. This would be the best storyline for college football as the Irish are trying to climb back to the top of the mountain. I don’t think they are there yet, but I know there are a lot of people in the media and across the country that want Notre Dame to be back. I think if it comes down to three undefeated teams at the end of the year – the Irish included – they’d get the nod because, well heck, they are Notre Dame. Not exactly fair, but that is why we’ll be having a playoff system soon.
Ohio State has the luxury of playing in a Big Ten conference where no team has really stepped up this year. Urban Meyer has his team playing well, but are they for real? They’ve had one close game and that was versus Michigan State. The Buckeyes could run the table easily as they don’t face another ranked opponent. I see a letdown in Ohio State’s future, but looking ahead to next season the Buckeyes should be a top four team in the nation. Meyer will get the players he needs and wants, putting Ohio State in a good place yet again. He’ll distance his team with the scandal of selling memorabilia and having Jim Tressel cover it up for his players. This year look for a great matchup with either Oregon or Oregon State in the Rose Bowl for Ohio State.
The Beavers have two more ranked opponents on the schedule, plus a potential Pac-12 Championship game. It can be done by this squad. They have had some close games and found a way to win them. A lot of the other undefeated teams haven’t really been tested, so this edge goes to Oregon State. If the Beavers can’t make it through the Ducks, they’ll be heading to the Rose Bowl, which isn’t a bad consolation prize.
Mississippi State is in a place that they thought they should be a few years ago. Head coach Dan Mullen took over this program back in 2009 and has slowly turned things around. The university knew it wouldn’t be a quick fix and has stuck with Mullen. He has the best winning percentage among Mississippi State coaches dating back to Murray Warmath in the 1950s. The Bulldogs are a team on the rise and are a legit contender in the SEC. This team isn’t elite, but they are aiming big and shouldn’t be leaving the top of the rankings anytime soon. Unfortunately they play in the SEC and have three ranked opponents coming up. The Bulldogs won’t go unscathed through that schedule and will not be playing in the BCS title game this year. Keep tabs on them in the coming years though as Mullen as this university moving in the right direction.
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