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Alabama, Oregon control their BCS fate the best

Arguments can be made for the other unbeaten teams, but the Crimson Tide and Ducks will meet for the national championship, provided they win out.

November 03, 2013|Chris Dufresne
  • AJ McCarron and Alabama are No. 1 and will likely stay that way if remaining unbeaten, so the race for No. 2 will come down to Marcus Mariota (8) and Oregon vs. Jameis Winston and Florida State.
AJ McCarron and Alabama are No. 1 and will likely stay that way if remaining… (Getty Images and Associated…)

November has always been "argument month" so what are we waiting for?

Alabama's best non-league win came against an unranked Virginia Tech team coming off losses to unranked Duke and Boston College. The Crimson Tide also scheduled Colorado State, Georgia State and Chattanooga.

Oregon played Nicholls State, Virginia and terrible Tennessee.

Florida State signed up for Nevada and Bethune Cookman thinking Florida would provide a stiff test at season's end.

Florida is 4-4.

Ohio State's card included Buffalo, San Diego State, California and Florida A&M, and now the Buckeyes want us to consider their national-title case?

Baylor scheduled Wofford, Buffalo and Louisiana Monroe (Louisiana Madison must have been busy).

We have a problem here.

The top five undefeated teams in the Bowl Championship Series standings can all finish undefeated without anybody playing each other.

These schools represent the five major conferences, yet only two can qualify for BCS title game.

This is the year where the title could be decided by who you have to play, however, not who you chose to play.

Forget out-of-conference play — it's in-conference that counts.

Despite the traffic jam on top, the BCS race is easy to figure out so long as nobody loses.

If the Southeastern Conference and Pac-12 are the top two leagues this year, which seems to be the consensus, undefeated Alabama and undefeated Oregon will play for the national title.

It doesn't matter that Florida State jumped Oregon for No. 2 Sunday in the BCS standings. Oregon figures to swipe No. 2 right back if it defeats No. 5 Stanford on Thursday and hold it provided the Ducks finish 13-0 with the Pac-12 championship.

There is other supporting evidence, beyond the eyeball test, that the SEC and Pac-12 are the best leagues.

Jeff Sagarin runs one of six computer systems used in the BCS formula, but he also rates each conference by divisions.

Sagarin's top division is the SEC West, where Alabama resides.

His No. 2 division is the Pac-12 North, where Oregon resides.

The Pac-12 South is third followed by the SEC East, which makes it a clean sweep.

The Big 12 (Baylor) is fifth followed by Big Ten Legends and then Big Ten Leaders (Ohio State).

At No. 8 is the ACC Coastal division followed by ACC Atlantic (Florida State).

So there you have it: Florida State plays in the worst-ranked division among the five major conferences.

That's not the Seminoles' fault, it's just a reality.

None of the Undefeated Five, according to Sagarin, has a compelling strength of schedule ranking: Alabama (47), Oregon (62), Florida State (54), Ohio State (81) and Baylor (93).

But that's going to change as the leaders close out play in conference.

The rest of Alabama's SEC schedule is 18-7 (plus Chattanooga) and the rest of Oregon's Pac-12 regular-season schedule is 23-10.

The remainder of Florida State's ACC schedule is 8-9, plus non-league opponents Idaho (1-9) and Florida (4-4).

Ohio State's remaining Big Ten schedule has a 12-12 record.

Baylor can seriously upgrade its SOS by running a remaining Big 12 schedule with a record of 30-12, but how are the Bears going to move up in the polls?

Alabama and Oregon, clearly, have the inside track.

Since two-thirds of the BCS standings are comprised of polls, Florida State has the advantage over Ohio State and Baylor because the Seminoles are a solid third.

So it's really no argument: Alabama and Oregon will play for the BCS title if they both end up undefeated.

But it's a big "if."

Florida State, Ohio State, Baylor and the other one-loss contenders must keep plugging and playing and see how things play out.

Only twice since 2005 has the BCS title game featured two undefeated teams — Alabama vs. Texas in 2009 and Auburn vs. Oregon in 2010.

The odds of the top teams all winning out are still remote, while the odds of things getting crazy seem tremendous.

Weekend wrap

--This just in: Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston is human. "Don't forget he's a freshman," Coach Jimbo Fisher reminded after Winston threw two-first half interceptions against Miami. Winston recovered to lead Florida State to a resounding 41-14 win. "They pulled me out of the dumps, they had my back," Winston said of his teammates."

--Heisman watch: Winston isn't the only candidate to throw an interception in November. Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota threw one last Nov. 17 against Stanford and hasn't thrown one since. If voters wish to consider interceptions in the Heisman discussion, Winston and Johnny Manziel have combined for 14 this year.

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