Breaking down BCS championship chances
Imagine a world where teams could be evaluated on head-to-head matchups instead of using a computer system and several polls. This world actually has a name and it's "The Year 2014." Unfortunately for the 2012-13 season, this world will not exist for another 2 years. There is a possibility for four top tier programs finishing unbeaten this year in Alabama, Oregon, Kansas State and Notre Dame. With a four-team playoff two years away, only two teams will be allowed to compete for this year's title. So who should play and what are the chances of the teams winning out? Let's discuss.
Why should Alabama play for the National Championship? Well to start, they are Alabama. They are the defending champions and have won the National Championship two of the last three years. They have the nation's longest winning streak and have won almost all of their games in convincing fashion in the nation's toughest division, the SEC. That being said, anything could happen late in the season. Their only real test for the rest of the regular season will come this weekend against No. 15 Texas A&M. The final two weeks of the season feature West Carolina and Auburn which, barring divine intervention, will be complete blowouts. The Tide will then have to play in the SEC championship against either Florida or Georgia. If they get through all of that, then they will have to be in the National Championship game as the most battle tested team in the nation.
Oregon's last appearance in the National Championship came against the Auburn Tigers in 2010, when they were narrowly defeated by Cam Newton and Nick Fairley. Is it time for the Ducks to return? Well they have the top offense in college football, again. The Ducks have been scoring with ease week after week, averaging well over 50 points a game and rushing for over 300 yards a game. Based on pure talent alone, Oregon should find itself competing for another National Championship. So the real question is will they win out? The Oregon Ducks' schedule has saved the best for last. They play Cal next week, a team that was able to hold the Ducks to just 15 points during their 2010 season. The Ducks will then play No. 14 Stanford and No. 11 Oregon State to finish out the regular season. I could see the Ducks losing at least one of these games, specifically to the Beavers the final week of the season. The Beavers would love nothing more than to end the Ducks' title hopes. With a tough schedule left, I wouldn't be so sure that the Ducks will be unbeaten by the end of the year.
If Kansas State were to go to the National Championship, it would be one of the greatest sports stories of the decade. Kansas State used to be one of the worst programs in college and had only gone to one bowl game in school history before hiring coach Bill Snyder in 1989. Coach Snyder has since built the program into something the people of Manhattan, Kansas should be proud of. With Collin Klein (the gritty Heisman front runner) at the helm and a stout defense, there is no reason that the Wildcats shouldn't be able to win out their final few games with their only test coming from Texas the last week of the season. The Wildcats of Kansas State could be the feel-good underdog team to root for this year in the championship game.
Notre Dame hasn't been to a National Championship game since 1988 when Lou Holtz still roamed the sidelines. Since then, the Irish have had disappointing season after disappointing season with more underachieving high school prospects than you could imagine. Could this be the year they put it all together? Their only real test comes against USC the final week of the season. If they get by the Trojans, the Irish will be undefeated. If the committee is looking for a strong viewing base for the sometimes overlooked championship game, Notre Dame could be its school, as they have one of the strongest fan bases in the country. It will all come down to that final week.
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