ATLANTA- The BCS rankings have not been out for 24 hours and there is already heated debate as to who the number one team in the nation really is. If the season ended today, Oklahoma and Oregon would be playing in the BCS national championship game. Over the past 5 seasons, dating back to 2005, the eventual national champion has never been ranked number one in the first BCS ranking. USC is the last team to win a championship that was ranked number one when the BCS rankings were first released and they did that in 2004. Florida is the only team to win or make the championship game coming from outside of the top five when the rankings were first released. The Gators were ranked sixth. Knowing this information, who do fans, coaches, and media members think will raise the crystal ball at the end of the season?
“If the season ended today,” I absolutely hate this saying because the season does not end today. The last five seasons are evidence that the season is not over and there is still a lot of football to be played after the first week of BCS rankings. As we take the rest of the season in to account, who has the greatest chance of running the table?
Boise State, duh, has the best chance of winning the rest of their games because they do not play anyone. Hawaii and Nevada are the only teams left on the Bronco’s schedule that could potentially pose a threat. I do not believe Boise State is as great as they are advertised, but I also do not believe they will fail to finish the 2010 season undefeated.
Oregon is currently ranked number two in the BCS and number one in all the other polls. As of right now, Oregon is the most deserving team to be number one. Boise State has only played two good teams. Oregon has beaten every team they have played by double digits. But, I do not believe they will be able to finish their journey unscathed. As we speak the men of Troy at USC are preparing to host the Ducks two weeks from now. With two weeks to prepare and a hostile crowd in Southern Cal, I think the Trojans will knock off the Ducks in an epic Pac-10 showdown. If I am wrong, which I am known to be from time to time, Oregon will also have to survive a game with Arizona and rival Oregon State.
The Sooners of Norman, Oklahoma currently sit atop the BCS rankings. Their middle of the season crown will be challenged this weekend as the travel to Missouri to face the Tigers. This game will be extremely physical and will come down to which team can take care of the ball the best. Whose quarterback will have the most time to find receivers? Both defenses are statistically good but these numbers are skewed due to both teams taking advantage of some weak teams. As much as I would love to see Missouri knock off a number one team for the third week in a row, I do not think they will be able to stop the Sooners. I do think Oklahoma State will pose the biggest threat to blemish the Sooners record. I do not think Oklahoma will be able to navigate the rest of their schedule undefeated.
A team that I do not necessarily think deserves a chance to play for the national championship but that a lot of people are forgetting about is Michigan State. The Spartans are undefeated and only have one ranked team remaining on their schedule. Michigan State will have to travel to number fifteen Iowa to keep their dreams alive. The Spartans do not have to play Ohio State but will conclude their season on the road against Penn State. I do not know why, but I have an eerie feeling that Michigan State will finish the season undefeated and throwing an enormous wrinkle into the national championship picture.
Will the SEC be able to play for a chance to win a fifth straight national championship? It will be extremely challenging America’s strongest conference to make it back to the title game. Auburn, LSU and Alabama all have to play each other. While I would love to see the SEC defend their title, I think the big three in the west will beat up on each other. I think each team has to win out to get to the national title game. A lot of readers probably just muttered a quiet dug. But, I do not think a one loss LSU or Auburn will be able to get in to the top two in the BCS. A one loss Alabama team should be given the opportunity to defend the title they won last season. In my opinion, Alabama is still the best team in the country, but their schedule has and will continue to cause them problems the rest of the way.
All in all, there is still a tremendous amount of football remaining to be played. The BCS rankings will change a lot over the next eight weeks, which will provide college football fans with a lot of excitement, disappointment, and heated debates. Will an SEC team play for a national championship? Will Boise State make the title game? Who will run the table? Unlike the final season of Lost, all these questions will be answered in the next few months.