Oregon and Arkansas are big winners after critical victories over conference opponents. The SEC was could be a huge loser. The SEC could end up with three teams in the Top 5, but since only a maximum two teams from a conference can be selected for a BCS Bowl, one team will be left out. How gut wrenching is that feeling? Arkansas, for example, could end up 11-1 and not in the BCS. It happened several years ago when Wisconsin went 11-1 and missed out on the BCS, because Ohio State and Michigan were selected ahead of it.
Arkansas (9-1, 5-1), by crushing Tennessee, 49-7, is a winner because it keeps its BCS hopes a live. The Razorback have two games left against Mississippi State and at LSU. If the No.6 Razorbacks win both games, it could move them up and possibly past Alabama into the top four, which would guarantees them an at-large BCS berth.
Houston (10-0, 6-0) is a winner by virtue of being undefeated at this point. If the BCS selections were today, the Cougars would be invited because they are in the top 12 and are conference champions. Houston, currently 11th in the BCS, would all but guarantee its inclusion if it wins out.
Oregon (9-1, 7-0) is right back in the national championship picture after a 53-30 wipeout of Stanford. The Ducks have one of the most exciting offenses in college football and proved they are worthy of inclusion. Of course the Ducks would love to get another crack at LSU. Who knows? Things could play out in a way that puts the Ducks in the title game with LSU.
Rutgers (7-3, 3-2) is back in the BCS picture after beating Army at Yankee Stadium on Saturday. Rutgers could win the Big East if it wins out and West Virginia loses one of its next two games. With Cincinnati and Connecticut the next two games for the Scarlet Knights, getting that elusive BCS berth is certainly a possibility. But will Rutgers finally get over the hump and win when it counts? Rutgers had that chance against West Virginia on October 29, but blew a 31-21 lead.
Boise State (8-1, 3-1) lost in a big way. Not only are the Broncos out of the national championship picture, they could be out of the BCS altogether if TCU (8-2, 5-0) doesn’t lose its next two games Colorado State and UNLV. It’s a shame really, because Boise State has had a great season. The one thing Boise State has going for it right now is that it is 10th in the BCS standings. Its next three opponents –San Diego State, Wyoming, New Mexico– won’t help the Broncos in the BCS. But if the Broncos can run the table and a couple of teams ahead of them lose, there is an extreme outside shot they could get back into the BCS picture.
Stanford (9-1, 7-1) finds itself in the same position as Boise State. Losing at home to Oregon was the worst-case scenario for the Cardinal. If Oregon wins out, it gets a berth in the PAC-12 title game and a chance to get the conference’s automatic berth to a BCS bowl game. But Stanford is ninth in the current BCS standings. If it wins out against Cal and Notre Dame, there is a chance for upward movement, especially since the teams ahead of it –Virginia Tech, Clemson– all have tough opponents left. Virginia Tech sill has a home game with North Carolina, is on the road against Virginia and has the ACC title game, while Clemson ends its regular season at North Carolina State and South Carolina and also has a date in the conference championship game.
The Big Ten: Penn State’s 17-14 loss to Nebraska practically guarantees that only one Big Ten team will be in the BCS. Michigan State is 15th and Nebraska is currently 16th in the BCS. Wisconsin is 17th and Michigan is 18th. It would take several teams ahead of them losing two more games for a Big Ten team to get high enough to earn an at-large bid.
The Big East: The Big East is even worse off then the Big Ten with no teams in the BCS Top 25. The only team close enough was Cincinnati, but the Bearcats losing to West Virginia knocked them out. The Big East has absolutely no shot at earning an at-large berth.
The SEC: Yes, the SEC. As state before, under BCS rules only two teams per conference can qualify. But what happens if the SEC has three teams in the top four? It is certainly a possibility. If Arkansas wins at LSU and Alabama wins out (it still has Auburn left), there is a chance the three teams could end up being Nos. 2, 3 and 4. This is all assuming No.4 Oregon and No.5 Oklahoma lose. Oklahoma’s season finale is at Oklahoma State, while Oregon still has USC, Oregon State and possibly the PAC-12 title game. And don’t think USC and Oregon State won’t be licking their chops at a chance to derail Oregon. It’s certainly possible that the SEC could have three teams in the top 4 or 5 of the BCS. It would certainly be gut wrenching if an SEC team is in the top 4 of 5 and gets left out.
SOMEWERE IN THE MIDDLE
The scandal involving former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, which cost coach Joe Paterno his job, aside, Penn State (8-2, 5-1) is still in position to earn a berth in the Big Ten championship game. It won’t be easy, however, as the Nittany Lions end their regular season with games at Ohio State and Wisconsin. Barring the university or the state of Pennsylvania wiping out the season, a topic that has been broached in may circles, the Nittany Lions could still end up in a BCS Bowl.