Is Another SEC-Only National Championship in the Offing?
The first week of the BCS standings are out and as expected the top two spots are occupied by a pair of SEC teams — Alabama and Florida. Once again, the SEC has the inside road to sending its top team to the national championship and, if the BCS poll holds true, two SEC teams could be invited. For that scenario to unfold some other teams will likely have to lose, but even a 1-loss SEC team might beat out a team with a perfect record from another conference to get in.
Alabama and Florida do not meet in the regular season and could meet for the SEC championship as they represent the SEC West and SEC East respectively. Both teams have huge games coming up with the Tide starting a three game stretch against ranked teams on Oct. 27 when they face Miss. State at home followed by LSU on the road and Texas A&M at home.
For Florida, its immediate challenge is No. 7 South Carolina followed by No. 11 Georgia before the schedule eases up with games against Missouri and two non-league opponents. The Gators start an envious 5-game home stretch before taking on dangerous Florida State on the road on Nov. 24th.
To assume that both teams will finish the regular season with perfect records is a large assumption indeed. If any one of these teams falters, there are enough SEC teams to move up.
Oregon and Kansas State
The third place BCS spot is occupied by Oregon, which is ranked ahead of Florida in both the AP and Coaches poll. The Ducks have been merciless this year against their opponents, winning by an average of 52 to 20 enroute to a 6-0 start. De’Anthony Thomas and Kenjon Barner have been powering the offense, guided by the capable arm of freshman QB Marcus Mariota. November will make or break the Ducks as they’ll have to play USC, Stanford and Oregon State.
With a No. 4 BCS ranking and No. 3 in the coaches poll, the Kansas State Wildcats are the highest ranking Big 12 team. To continue winning, the Wildcats will have to work through a brutal schedule that starts with West Virginia this Saturday, followed by Texas Tech next Sat. TCU and Texas are also on the schedule and nationally ranked with games against Oklahoma State and Baylor also part of the mix. Should K-State win out and win the Big 12 championship, they may be able to leap frog everyone except the SEC winner to advance to the BCS championship.
The Fighting Irish
Notre Dame at No. 5 is showing signs that it is returning to its past glory. It took overtime to dispatch the Stanford Cardinal last week on the road, a game lesser Fighting Irish teams would have found a way to lose. The biggest games left on the Irish schedule are road games against No. 9 Oklahoma and No. 10 USC. Although the Irish are definitely looking impressive this year, the only way a 12-0 Notre Dame teams gets to the BCS is for some serious falling out from above, namely, three of the teams ahead of it losing. That may not be enough if a team behind it like LSU or Mississippi State keeps winning, potentially setting up (not again!) an all-SEC national championship for the second consecutive year.
See Also — College Football: Old Rivalries Take A Hike