It might only be November still, but college football fans are shifting their eyes to mid-January and pontificating which two teams will be left standing for the BCS National Championship.
It wouldn’t be a college football season without analysts barking back and forth over who deserves to play in the final game of the season. And, of course, there is the obligatory clamoring for a playoff, which would still leave teams out of the mix. But we won’t open that can of worms right now.
It’s time to breakdown who is on their way to the National Championship, and which teams will be left wondering what happened.
Let’s get the obvious out of the way, Alabama is going to cruise into the National Championship once again and probably win. Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M gave the Crimson Tide a decent run for their money during the regular season, but other than that, undefeated Alabama has clipped through the season, annihilating opponents in the process.
The Crimson Tide have two hurdles if you want to call them that. Alabama faces Auburn in the last game of the season. No. 7 Auburn only has one loss on the year and you have to factor in the dynamics of this fierce rivalry. In games like this, records don’t really matter.
Still, the Crimson Tide might be able to even lose that game against Auburn without hurting their chances of a National Championship appearance. After all, they had one loss last season. Alabama will also have to survive the SEC title game, which really doesn’t appear to be an issue this season.
The big question on everyone’s minds right now is which team will be facing off against Alabama on the big stage. Right now, Florida State sits at No. 2, but off-the-field legal issues have suddenly surrounded star quarterback Jameis Winston. Whether or not this will affect his eligibility to play remains to be seen, but if the Seminoles lose Winston, I don’t see them reaching the National Championship.
Florida State still has Florida on the calendar, and even if the ‘Noles roll, you have to look at the fact they play in the ACC. They didn’t see a lot of competition this year, but their blowout victory over Miami does indeed help their case.
Ohio State finds itself in a similar boat. The Buckeyes were not eligible for a bowl game last season, even though they went undefeated. They are undefeated yet again this year, and they will probably finish the regular season off that way. It’s looking more and more like the Buckeyes will face Michigan State in the Big Ten Championship. However, the Big Ten is another conference that struggled this year, and just because Ohio State was undefeated doesn’t guarantee them a spot.
Baylor? Sorry, the Big 12 is just not good enough. You might be undefeated but you’re not going to the National Championship. Ask Boise State what that’s like.
Stanford and Oregon are ranked No. 5 and No. 6 respectively. These are two really good teams that slipped up once this year. If they can win out, it is very feasible that they jump the line ahead of teams like Ohio State and Baylor.
The next three weeks will help bring this always-blurry picture into focus at last.