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The BCS and the unbeaten college football teams

CHRIS DUFRESNE / ON COLLEGE FOOTBALL

With 13 teams still undefeated, this could be a season that, under the Bowl Championship Series format, might lead to several unresolved endings.

October 09, 2011|Chris Dufresne
  • Kellen Moore of Boise State, Trent Richardson of Alabama and Jarrett Lee of LSU will try to lead their teams to the BCS promised land, but other schools have a chance to interrupt their march toward the national-title game.
Kellen Moore of Boise State, Trent Richardson of Alabama and Jarrett Lee… (Photos by US Presswire and…)

One problem with having 13 undefeated teams remaining only one week before the release of the first Bowl Championship Series standings is that, for some, it's not really a problem.

The major bowls aren't upset.

The Rose Bowl won't care about any five-alarm, talk-radio playoff controversy if it gets undefeated Wisconsin versus undefeated Stanford.

You think the Sugar Bowl will cry if, a week before it hosts No. 1 and No. 2, it also gets to host No. 3 vs. No. 5 or 6?

New Orleans would start Mardi Gras early if the one-loss loser of Alabama-Louisiana State played undefeated Boise State in a prelude to the Alabama-LSU winner playing, say, 12-0 Oklahoma.

What if the Fiesta Bowl could pair 11-1 Oklahoma State with 11-1 Michigan and the Orange could feature undefeated Clemson or Georgia Tech against one-loss West Virginia?

The beauty/bane of college football is that it doesn't think like you do. There are competing interests internally that make a macro playoff demand actually counterproductive to the micro interests of a community-based bowl system.

What you say is pathetic they package with a parade.

Now do you understand why nothing ever gets done?

It was hard enough prying the Rose Bowl free of tradition and getting Granddaddy to join the BCS, which meant losing the Big Ten Conference and Pacific 10 Conference champion to another game if they were ranked No. 1 and No. 2.

We bring this up proactively now because this is shaping up as a season in which the outraged and the party-poppers could meet again in the town square.

Having five undefeated teams is terrible!

No, it's terrific.

Tastes great!

Less filling!

Most years things sort of, kind of almost work out in the end because undefeated teams play each other and pare down the competition.

This year, though, might lead to several unresolved endings.

In the Southeastern Conference, it appears the only team capable of beating Alabama is Louisiana State and the only team that can beat LSU is Alabama.

So, there's one team in the BCS title game.

With there no longer being a title game in the Big 12 Conference, the other spot could be decided when Oklahoma and Oklahoma State meet Dec. 3 in Stillwater.

Kansas State is an undefeated X-factor. Bill Snyder has done a remarkable job getting the Wildcats to 5-0.

"I think we have something special," receiver Chris Harper said after Saturday's win over Missouri. "We just cannot get complacent. We are getting more and more attention with each win, but we cannot just start settling and become happy where we're at."

Kansas State's problem is that the rest of its schedule includes Oklahoma at home and away games at Oklahoma State and Texas.

Boise State's chances of perfection are excellent. The Broncos have a grade-A win over Georgia in their pocket but probably won't be tested again until Texas Christian comes to town Nov. 12. That game, remember, was moved from Fort Worth to Boise after TCU announced it was leaving the Mountain West Conference.

Boise State might not have the title-game argument it had late into last year but will secure, as the highest-rated "non-AQ" school, a guaranteed spot in a BCS game.

What's to keep Stanford from going undefeated? The Cardinal is 5-0 with its two toughest remaining games, Oregon and Notre Dame, at home. If undefeated Stanford wins the North Division, it would also host the first Pac-12 title game.

Stanford isn't getting much national respect despite the week-to-week accomplishments of quarterback Andrew Luck.

"Every game he does something that not many humans can do," Stanford Coach David Shaw said after Saturday's 48-7 win over Colorado.

There's also a good chance this year's Big Ten champion could be undefeated but not title-game bound.

Right now there the three unbeatens are Wisconsin, Michigan and Illinois. Wisconsin and Michigan wouldn't meet until the Big Ten title game in Indianapolis.

Illinois is another surprise story but has tons of work left. The Fighting Illini, in successive weeks starting Oct. 29, play at Penn State before hosting Michigan and Wisconsin.

How, though, is the unscathed Big Ten champion going to win a BCS bake-off against the unscathed Big 12 or SEC?

Wisconsin has a No. 109 schedule ranking in this week's Sagarin Ratings. Illinois is 94 and Michigan is 87. Sagarin's index is one of six used in the BCS standings formula.

Clemson and Georgia Tech, the remaining unbeaten teams from the Atlantic Coast Conference, meet Oct. 29 in Atlanta and could face off again in the ACC title game.

Houston (6-0) also cracked the polls Sunday after a lopsided win over East Carolina. The clog on the Cougars' path to undefeated might come down to a Nov. 19 home game against Southern Methodist.

Houston doesn't have the schedule strength to bump undefeated Boise State out of the automatic BCS bid but could add to a year-ending uproar mix while making another bowl executive very happy.

See how rotten, criminal, stupid and screwed up this could all turn out?

Or, depending on your bent, how magnificent?

chris.dufresne@latimes.com

twitter.com/dufresnelatimes

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