If you hate the BCS you find yourself rooting for chaos each year. By chaos I don’t mean three undefeated teams. That’s an awful way to end a season, but it doesn’t provoke the necessary outrage. By chaos I mean four or more undefeated teams. Well, buckle your seatbelts because we’re staring down the barrel of college football’s own big bang — six or seven teams may well finish the season undefeated this year. Let’s run through our list of undefeated teams broken down by conference: LSU/Alabama, Oklahoma/Oklahoma State/Texas/Kansas State/Texas Tech, Stanford, Wisconsin/Michigan/Illinois, Clemson/Georgia Tech, Houston, and Boise State. How the hell do you decide which of these teams deserve a shot at the national title if seven schools finish undefeated?
Put simply, you can’t.
The big bang created the universe, but college football’s own seismic implosion may well end the BCS as we know it. That’s because it takes an epic cataclysm to right an entrenched wrong. The BCS honchos are staring at the college football schedule and gulping. We may well be on the precipice of college football’s ultimate storm.
Some of you, the doubters, are already shaking your heads saying there is no way that six or seven teams finish the year undefeated. I think you’re wrong. In fact, I’m going to make this bold prediction now on October 3rd: Six teams will finish the 2011 season undefeated. And now I’m going to tell you why.
We listed fifteen teams that are in the running to finish the year undefeated. Now let’s break down the rest of these schedules and show you why this situation is so likely. In so doing, I’m going to rank the teams most likely to finish undeated. That is, not based on who I think is the best right now, but who I think has the best chance of finishing the year undefeated. (LSU and Alabama are definitely the two best teams in the country this year. But I don’t think they’ll get to play twice).
This is simply a ranking of the undefeated team most likely to finish undefeated.
1. Boise State
Without a top 25 team remaining on the schedule and likely to be favored by double digits in each game remaining, Boise is poised for 12-0.
It has the simplest route to undefeated status of all the remaining teams.
Anyone else think Stanford is flying under the radar right now?
That’s amazing considering it has the presumptive number one overall pick in the draft and all the Cardinal have done is fulfill expectations. Through four games they have a top ten defense and a top ten offense.
The Cardinal only play one ranked team, number nine Oregon, the rest of the way. And that game is in Palo Alto. Amazingly, every other Pac 12 team has already lost a game.
Beat Oregon and the Pac 12 South title game is a cakewalk against a vastly inferior opponent that will have multiple losses.
The Badgers are 5-0 and have outscored opponents 242-51 thus far this season.
Here’s the remaining regular season schedule:
@ Michigan State
@ Ohio State
@ #19 Illinois
You tell me where the Badgers are losing. None of these teams have offenses that can score with Wisconsin. Or score on the Badgers. Right now Wisconsin has the nation’s number two overall offense and the nation’s number three defense.
Does a match-up with Michigan loom in the first ever Big Ten title game?
November 5th is the default national title game. I simply don’t see any way possible that Alabama or LSU doesn’t win the Sugar Bowl.
Look at Bama’s schedule the rest of the way. Vanderbilt and Ole Miss are the next two games. Last week I told James Franklin to forfeit rather than risk getting his team physically bludgeoned on the field at Bryant-Denny. Alabama could play its third team — this is not a joke — and win both of these games by double figures.
Bama will be double-digit favorites over Tennessee, Mississippi State, and Georgia Southern.
LSU and Auburn are the only teams that can challenge Bama. And ultimately both will come up wanting. So will whichever SEC East team wins that division with a 5-3 record.
With three consecutive top 25 wins, Clemson has two truly tough games left on the schedule: at Georgia Tech and at South Carolina.
Given that South Carolina appears to have regressed to the point where Steve Spurrier is no longer even calling actual offensive plays, here’s a bet that both Georgia Tech and Clemson are undefeated come their game and here’s a further bet that Clemson takes that first contest.
Of course a rematch with Georgia Tech might well come in the ACC title game.
The Sooners are the most likely of four undefeated Big 12 teams to remain undefeated. Since the Big 12 (now ten) teams all play one another this season, the Sooners real test starts now. Can Oklahoma win five top 25 games against conference opponents?
What’s more, can you imagine the scene in Stillwater if both Oklahoma and Oklahoma State were undefeated on December 3rd?
The Cougars aren’t even ranked so you might have missed them, but they’re 5-0 and stand a good chance of surging to 8-0 with three straight home games where they will be big favorites.
Can Kevin Sumlin and crew make it to 12-0.
Will anyone notice?
That remains to be seen.
The nation’s number one team still has a tough road.
If the world was a completely just place, LSU would get the opportunity to play Alabama twice in the event of a road loss at Tuscaloosa.
That would only be fair since Alabama and LSU are the two best teams in the nation.
But the world is not a fair place. And the national champion will be decided on November 5th.
9. Georgia Tech
Beat Clemson, Virginia Tech, and Georgia at home and the Yellow Jackets are finishing the regular season 12-0.
Of course it’s looking like there might well be a rematch between Clemson and Georgia Tech in the ACC title game. Who knows maybe someone will watch this year?
If the Wolverines ran the table and Wisconsin ran the table, we’re looking at the biggest Big Ten game in two decades, a match-up between undefeated teams in the first ever Big Ten title game.
In the event both of these teams are undefeated the winner of this game might well slingshot into the BCS title game over Oklahoma. That would be the discussion anyway.
The Wolverines have several tough games left on the schedule: at Michigan State in two weeks, at Illinois, and, of course, Ohio State, in the Big House.
But, amazingly, at 5-0, the Wolverines look like legit contenders to make a run at an undefeated regular season.
11. Oklahoma State
The second most likely of the Big 12 teams to make a run at an undefeated season. Could the slingshot effect carry Oklahoma State into the national title game with a win over undefeated Oklahoma? It could. If Oklahoma state goes undefeated and doesn’t get to the play for the national title, T. Boone Pickens and Mark Cuban might create their own playoff.
The Longhorns have yet to play a top 25 team yet and five of their remaining eight games are against teams from the current top 25.
Having said that, if you want to set off a political firestorm, leave an undefeated Texas sitting on the sidelines from the BCS title game. The Longhorn state will probably hold legislative hearings to discuss the practicalities of independence.
5-0 for the first time since 1951, it’s not outrageous to think Wisconsin will roll in to Champaign to decide the division title.
Yes, Ron Zook may hold the fate of the Big Ten in his hands.
If Wisconsin is undefeated for this game and Illinois isn’t, Jim Delany may cut power to the Illini sideline midway through the second half in an effort to preserve a top tier Big Ten title game.
14. Kansas State
Bill Snyder’s team has done what Bill Snyder’s Kansas State teams have always done — find ways to win early season games — often against inferior competition — and suddenly find themselves in the mix late in the season. Only this year the script is a bit reversed, Kansas State has wins over Miami and Baylor in the first four games of the season. It’s unlikely State will make a run at an undefeated Big 12 title given the team’s left on the schedule, but they’re in the mix.
Which is a lot more than you could say for the past several years.
15. Texas Tech
Only Texas Tech could be 4-0 in a BCS conference and remain unranked.
Somewhere Tobby Tuberville is polishing his six-shooter and wondering what he has to do to get some attention.
The answer is easy: Beat Texas A&M, Kansas State, and Oklahoma back-to-back-to-back.
Then finish off Texas, Oklahoma State, and Baylor.
Yep, an astounding six of Tech’s remaining eight games are against ranked opponents.
Good luck with that.
December 3rd could be one of the best days in college football history: a Big Ten title game between undefeated Wisconsin and Michigan? Followed by a virtual Big 12 title game between undefeated Oklahoma and Oklahoma State? Not to mention undefeated Alabama, Clemson, and Stanford playing in title games.
But come December 4th we could have the biggest hangover of all-time. Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Alabama, Clemson and Stanford still all undefeated. Five of the six major conferences with undefeated champs. Toss in Boise State and Houston and you’re talking the BCS perfect storm — seven undefeated teams.
Notice something that’s key about these teams? That’s why this season will be a BCS implosion.
They represent a diverse geographical expanse and a variety of major conferences. Recall that undefeated Utah’s spurning got Senator Orrin Hatch holding BCS hearings in Congress. Well, can you imagine the political fallout if teams from Texas, California, Wisconsin, Idaho, and South Carolina all finished undefeated with no chance to play for the title? Champs from the SEC, the Pac 12, the Big Ten, the ACC, and the Big 12 could all be undefeated. Yet only two get to play for the title?
That could really happen this year.
Seven undefeated teams is well within the realm of possibility.
The BCS as we know it will die. Because the BCS is ultimately a political construction. And political pressure will make it crumble.
So if you hate the BCS and want a playoff start rooting for this perfect storm of undefeated chaos. In the meantime, with five undefeated champs from major BCS conferences, how the hell do you decide which match-up is the proper one to determine the title?