Who Will Play For The BCS National Championship?
The following is a breakdown of the BCS Rankings, and the projections for the remainder of the NCAA Football season.
Knowing the history and volatility of college football, it would be no surprise if one or even two of these teams were to lose prior to end of this season.
However the lens in which this examination takes place is assuming that all four current undefeated teams REMAIN undefeated at the end of the regular season.
(Current) Week 9 BCS Standings
- Alabama (.9759)
- Kansas State (.9400)
- Notre Dame (.9147)
- Oregon (.9136)
Alabama (1) sits firmly atop the BCS Standings as they travel to Baton Rouge for a rematch of last year’s BCS Championship Game against LSU (5) this upcoming Saturday. A win against LSU will only solidify Alabama’s position as the top team in the nation.
Kansas State (2) hosts Oklahoma State (24) in a Big XII battle, which should have the Wildcats’ coming out on top. Notre Dame (3) begins their “cool-down” schedule, after a very impressive road win over Oklahoma (12) this past weekend, the Irish will host Pittsburgh (4-4).
Oregon (4) travels to Los Angeles for their toughest challenge to date against USC (17). USC’s loss on the road against Arizona (22) this past week has the Trojans reeling and in need of a major victory to salvage their season.
Continuing the presumption that all top 4 BCS Teams continue to win this week, there will not be much change to the top 2 (...yet) as the BCS standings will be very similar next week with the exception of Oregon (.9136) passing Notre Dame (.9147) and Alabama (.9759) increasing their margin after a top 5 road win against LSU.
(Projected) Week 10 BCS Standings
- Kansas State
- Notre Dame
In order to form an accurate projection for the BCS National Championship Game, it is necessary to examine and isolate the BCS Components (Harris Poll, USA Today Coaches Poll, & Computer Rankings).
Harris Poll + USA Today Poll + Computer Rankings = BCS Total
- Alabama (.9976)
- Oregon (.9478)
- Kansas State (.9238)
- Notre Dame (.8880)
USA Today Coaches Poll
- Alabama (1.000)
- Oregon (.9431)
- Kansas State (.9261)
- Notre Dame (.8861)
With the Harris and USA Today poll both having the teams ranked in similar fashion, these rankings do not seem likely to change significantly, unless one of these teams happens to lose.
Precedent has demonstrated that the voter rankings give deference to teams previously ranked higher throughout the season unless a loss or a “quality” (top 5) win occurs.
(See Remaining Schedules Section)
With the “human” polls, not likely to have much variability, the remainder of the BCS is composed of the Computer Rankings, and will rely heavily on the remaining strength of schedule for each team.
Computer Rankings (Average)
- Kansas State (.970)
- Notre Dame (.970)
- Alabama (.930)
- Florida (.870)
- Oregon (.850)
Kansas State and Notre Dame have made their impression on the computers, and do not appear to increase their computer margin any higher over the coming weeks. Both Alabama and Oregon own tougher remaining schedules as well as a conference championship game(s) compared to Notre Dame and Kansas State with weaker schedules and no conference championship game.
Alabama will surely catapult in these rankings with a road win over LSU (5). Oregon is clearly the underperformer in the computer rankings, but that’s not all bad for Oregon, as the Ducks have the greatest amount of room for improvement, which will likely correlate to a higher overall BCS ranking in weeks to come.
@ LSU (5) **(Alabama clinches SEC Championship Game Berth with a win over LSU)**
vs. Texas A&M (16)
vs. Western Carolina
SEC Championships UGA (5) / Florida (6) ** ( UGA clinches SEC Championship Game Berth with win over Ole Miss)
With LSU as their stiffest competition until the SEC Championship game, Alabama looks poised to return to the BCS National Championship, of the four undefeated teams, Alabama projects to have the 2nd most difficult schedule. Games against underwhelming Western Carolina (1-8) and shockingly awful Auburn (1-7) water down Alabama’s otherwise impressive remaining schedule.
Kansas State (2)
vs. Oklahoma State (24)
vs. Texas (23)
The Wildcats’ most challenging remaining game will take place this week as they host the Cowboys of Oklahoma State (24). The next two contests are Big XII road battles with TCU and Baylor, both of which are not as impressive as seasons past. K-State concludes its season against Texas (23) at home.
Due to conference realignment there is no longer a Big XII Championship game which will ultimately hurt K-State. Having played potentially one less game than Alabama and Oregon. Kansas State’s remaining schedule is the 3rd most challenging of the undefeated 4. With Collin Klein at quarterback, the Heisman favorite, K-State will have incredible momentum and fanfare surrounding their quest to get their icon of a coach Bill Snyder to the BCS Championship.
Notre Dame (3)
@ Boston College
vs. Wake Forest
@ USC (17)
Notre Dame had a very impressive win on the road in Norman, Oklahoma this past weekend. Couple that victory with a home OT thriller vs the Stanford Cardinal, and those are the only two wins Notre Dame can hang its four leaf clover hat on.
Blowing out a below average Miami, as well as wins over a disappointing Michigan and lackluster Michigan State have Notre Dame becoming the biggest fans of the Trojans this week. If somehow USC can dethrone the Ducks, Notre Dame would get back into the mix.
However, if USC loses to Oregon, USC could drop out of the Top 25 and be a three loss team when the Irish travel west for their season finale.
The next three weeks Notre Dame could open an Irish bakery with all their cupcakes on the schedule, look for Notre Dame to improve to 11-0 before their historic battle against USC on Nov. 24) Notre Dame has by far the easiest remaining schedule.
@ USC (17)
vs. Stanford (14)
@ Oregon State (11)
PAC-12 Championship vs (USC, Arizona State, UCLA)
Oregon leads the nation in PPG (53.4) and looks to continue their dominance over their stretch run. Traveling to USC (17) this week and finishing their season in Corvallis against Oregon State (11) appear to be their toughest games. With difficult bookends to their next four weeks, a road contest at California as well as hosting a tough Stanford (14) team sandwiched in the mix are not to be overlooked.
It certainly did not help Oregon’s case that both Oregon State (11) and USC (17) dropped unexpected games to Washington and Arizona this past weekend, but it still appears that if the Ducks win out, they’ll have as good of a shot as anyone to be in Miami.
Analysis: What does it all mean?!
While Notre Dame and Kansas State are both positioned ahead of Oregon at the moment, not having a conference championship game for K-State or ND will impact their overall computer rankings at the end of the season. Also, Alabama being the top-ranked team in the country all but guarantees that if Bama wins their remaining games, they are a lock to go to Miami.
Alabama vs ALL
There is no question that Alabama has looked like the premiere team in the nation, even if their schedule to this point is probably the weakest of the four undefeated teams. However, looking forward, Alabama will have the most impressive wins, with wins over LSU on the road, as well as the SEC Championship victory over UGA or Florida.
Alabama (1) will not drop with a quality road win as well as an SEC Championship; the Crimson Tide will be presumable favorites in the BCS Championship Game in Miami. But which other team will join them?
Verdict: Alabama > ALL (Alabama vs ______________?)
Notre Dame or Oregon:
Notre Dame (.9147) should fall behind the Ducks after this week, compared to Oregon (.9136) Notre Dame will not move up much (if at all) with a win against Pittsburgh, while Oregon’s potential movement with a win @ USC (17) will move them up at least (.001) in the BCS.
Notre Dame’s most impressive potential win, will come against a USC team that will have already lost to Oregon. (Notre Dame will be too far behind, even if the Irish win their remaining games, an at large BCS bowl bid is in their near future)
Verdict: Oregon > Notre Dame
(Notre Dame = Fiesta Bowl or Sugar Bowl)
With Notre Dame not having the numbers to hold-off Oregon, it is impossible for them to jump Kansas State, therefore the final spot in the BCS Championship comes down to the Wildcats vs. Ducks.
Kansas State or Oregon
Unlike Notre Dame and Oregon, Oregon (.9136) and Kansas State (.9400) have a more substantial margin between their respective BCS totals. This bodes well for Kansas State, as Oregon will be chasing them in the Computer Rankings. Oregon is the 2nd ranked team in the country in the voters’ polls, but has substantial ground to make up in the computer rankings (Currently Ranked 5th: .850).
Oregon takes on (3) Top 18 teams, 2/3 of them on the road, as well as a PAC-12 Conference Championship game. In contrast, Kansas State has (2) Top 25 opponents (both at home) and (2) other opponents that are unranked on the road, and no conference championship.
Kansas State has an impressive body of work, but at the end of the season without a conference championship game, Oregon will leapfrog the Wildcats the last week of the season, and Kansas State will be passed on for the BCS Championship berth.
Verdict: Oregon > Kansas State
(Kansas State= Fiesta Bowl or Sugar Bowl)
BCS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME: UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA VS UNIVERSITY OF OREGON