It's that time of year where the contenders start separating from the pretenders. The Rundown with BCS Rankings:
#1 Alabama has won by an average of 41-8. They will need to get through the SEC West gauntlet of MSU, LSU, A&M in the next three Saturdays.
#2 Florida I don't think anyone saw this coming but they look strong and confident. Get past UGA this Saturday and the path to Atlanta looks much smoother.
#4 Oregon may look like a solid #2 to some but the BCS thinks they are #4. The most likely reasons are the schedule and the defense. The Ducks allowed a total of 73 points to cupcakes Ark St., Fresno, and Tennessee Tech. Bama has given up 58 ALL YEAR. Next opponent Colorado will not help the strength-of-schedule but fear not. They finish @USC, @Cal, Stanford, @Oregon St., and would still have to win the Pac-12 Championship Game.
The New Kids on the Block:
#3 Kansas State I guess we have to start taking them seriously. Not only are they 7-0, but two of those wins have come at Oklahoma and West Virginia. There is a lot of talk about the offense (10th in scoring offense 43 ppg) but the defense is stout and should get some respect as well. They give up 16 points per game (14th best) and 99 rushing yards per game (11th). However, there is something that makes me think Cinderella won't last at this ball. Texas Tech is next. TCU and Texas are also in their future. If it all comes down to several teams having the same record come December, a lack of a conference championship might hurt them.
#7 Oregon State is another surprise team that is looking for real. Starting QB goes down? No problem. The backup is 2-0. They too have won on the road (UCLA, Arizona, BYU) and play solid D (17th in scoring defense). Their schedule finishes with Arizona St., @Stanford, Cal, Oregon, and a potential champ game. I don't think they can survive the back end of that schedule.
The Tightrope Walkers:
#5 Notre Dame I know they don't have many fans in these parts but until they lose, they have to be in the discussion. Most likely, they will be eliminated in 5 days (at Oklahoma). The Irish are second behind Bama in scoring defense (9.43 ppg) which is good for them since the offense is pedestrian – especially the passing game (194 ypg). Four of their wins have been by a TD or less.
Back from the Dead (all these teams have one close loss to a ranked opponent and will need some help to get back in the race):
#6 LSU has shown some life after the Florida loss. They host Alabama and MSU in the first two weeks of November.
#8 Oklahoma Since suffering a tough 19-24 loss to K-State due to putting the ball on the turf, the Sooners have been playing like a machine. They handed Texas Tech their sole loss, embarrassed Texas 63-21, and decimated Kansas 52-7. If Landry Jones can eliminate the turnovers, Notre Dame is in big trouble.
#9 USC Matt Barkley has not been so Heisman-like since Stanford exposed him. Though it has not been spectacular, the Trojans have been winning. Oregon and Notre Dame await. If they go 11-1 and win the PAC-12 championship game, it might cause some to give them some votes. Note: USC and Oregon State were not scheduled to play this season.
Hold Serve and Pray (crazier things have happened):
#10 Georgia Due to the ugliness of their loss to South Carolina, lackluster wins, and the weak non-conference schedule, it would take a lot for the Dawgs to get to Miami.
#11 Mississippi State has a ridiculous non-conference schedule (Jackson State, Troy, South Alabama, Middle Tennessee). Reality sinks in on Oct 27 @Alabama, followed by a visit from Texas A&M and @LSU.
#12 Florida State A bad loss to NC State coupled with a weak ACC has doomed the 'Noles. Scheduling Savannah State continues to haunt them. They should sail through to Charlotte with a hiccup against Florida November 24.
#14 Texas Tech I only included them because they are 6-1. There would have to be some REAL insanity for the Red Raiders to see Miami this January.
#13 South Carolina is pretty much out of it. All other teams are eliminated as far as my humble opinion is concerned.