We’re down to five undefeated programs as the college football season comes down the homestretch.
Of course, only four of them have a legitimate shot at playing for a BCS National Championship in January (sorry, Louisville). There’s also Ohio State, but the Buckeyes aren’t even eligible for the Beef O’Brady’s Bowl.
But there are a slew of one-loss teams who are doing everything they can to remain in the BCS mix in case something catastrophic happens with Alabama, Kansas State, Oregon and Notre Dame.
Let’s take a look at the Crystal Ball Run power rankings of the one-loss programs (it’s odd to see so many Mid-American Conference teams).
1. Florida State (8-1)
The Seminoles aren’t getting as much love from the BCS as Georgia and Florida, but FSU has the best chance of finishing the season with just one loss. Naturally, the game with the Gators on Nov. 24 will determine a lot.
While Florida State’s loss at North Carolina State is inexcusable, it’s easier to overlook than any other program.
FSU has one of the nation’s best offenses and will represent that ACC well in a BCS bowl game.
2. Georgia (8-1)
The Bulldogs get the nod over Florida because of the head-to-head win, but their loss to South Carolina was an old-fashioned butt whipping.
Georgia controls its own destiny in the SEC East and if the Bulldogs could pull the upset over Alabama in the SEC Championship Game it would be hard to argue that Mark Richt’s team wouldn’t get some consideration for the big game.
Of course, that’s contingent on how the other undefeated teams fair.
3. Florida (8-1)
The Gators looked ready to take the SEC East back over and then came the Georgia game.
It’s not like Florida was horrible, but the offense failed Will Muschamp’s team again.
With its vaunted defense, Florida is a tough match up for any team, including any of the undefeated teams.
4. Oregon State (7-1)
The Beavers are rejuvenated in 2012 after a 3-9 campaign, and Oregon State has some nice talent.
Injuries have taken a toll on OSU, but the Beavers have persevered.
Oregon State still has tough games with No. 14 Stanford and No. 3 Oregon, but outside of the game with the Ducks there is no reason why OSU can’t finish 10-2.
5. Clemson (8-1)
Clemson’s loss to Florida State hurt, but didn’t devastate the Tigers. If Dabo Swinney can navigate through the rest of the schedule, which includes a date with rival South Carolina, the Tigers could be in a BCS Bowl game.
If the Seminoles get upset in an ACC game then the conference title is back on the table for Clemson, but that doesn’t look too likely.
The Tigers are definitely a dangerous opponent with their balanced offensive game.
6. Louisiana Tech (8-1)
Louisiana Tech has no choice but to outscore everyone it plays, but luckily the Bulldogs have Colby Cameron at quarterback. La Tech is averaging 52.4 points a game, which is second best in the nation.
Tech almost beat Texas A&M in a nationally televised game at home, but the Aggies prevailed 59-57.
The Bulldogs have a huge showdown with Utah State, which will likely decide the Western Athletic Conference title.
7. Toledo (8-1)
The Rockets have to be considered the favorite to win the Mid-American Conference right now.
Toledo has been consistent, even if its wins have been close each week. The Rockets’ lone loss was to Arizona in the season opener 24-17 in overtime.
The Rockets did get a huge win over No. 21 Cincinnati 29-23.
8. Rutgers (7-1)
The Scarlet Knights are still in the hunt for the Big East championship as their one blemish came out of conference against Kent State.
After Rutgers gets past Army this weekend, the Knights must focus on three critical conference games with Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and No. 9 Louisville.
Rutgers defense ranks among the best in the nation and could carry the Knights to a Big East title.
9. Ohio (8-1)
Frank Solich’s team suffered a tough loss at rival Miami of Ohio, but the Bobcats are still considered a favorite in the Mid-American Conference.
Ohio does have an impressive season-opening win over Penn State on its resume, but if the Bobcats don’t beat Kent in the season-finale they won’t even make the conference championship game.
The Bobcats will have to travel to Kent, but I’ll stick with Ohio quarterback Tyler Tettleton and Solich.
10. Northern Illinois (9-1)
The defending MAC champs are very good again, especially on offense.
Northern Illinois is averaging 40.6 points a game and has dominated its last six games. NIU also has a 30-23 win over Kansas, and a close 18-17 loss to Iowa in the season opener.
The Huskies will be challenged on Nov. 14 when they host No. 25 Toledo.
11. Kent State (8-1)
The Golden Flashes have a nice upset win over Rutgers on the road, but I can’t get past the fact they lost to lowly Kentucky 47-14.
Dri Archer is a dangerous runner, but also leads Kent State in receiving.
Before Kent gets its shot against Ohio, it must first get past Miami of Ohio and Bowling Green.