Boise State Will Likely Be Last Undefeated Team Standing
The first official BCS standings of the season were released on Sunday and of course people were pissed that Boise State (number two in the AP and Coaches’ Poll) was jumped by Oklahoma. Making things more confusing, the Sooners were tops in the BCS standings, jumping even Oregon which is number one in both polls. If people are upset that Oklahoma’s number one, I don’t think they’ll have to worry too much — I’m betting the Sooners lose a game in the regular season.
What really outrages folks is the thought that Boise State — which has beaten Virginia Tech and Oregon State non-conference — will be left out of the title game. I’m already on the record saying their schedule is not challenging enough to include them in a national championship game. While they’re an extremely good team, give them a Pac-10, Big Ten, Big 12, or SEC schedule and they’ll lose a game just like the top teams in those conferences generally do. Unfortunately, it appears as if they may be the last undefeated team standing when the regular season ends.
Presently, there are 10 undefeated teams left in the country. Six of them play each other, so that cuts this list of possible undefeated teams down to seven. From there, most of the remaining teams have difficult schedules, making me think Boise State will be the last undefeated team and a decent bet to end up in the title game.
Here are the remaining undefeated teams and analysis of their schedule and the likelihood they remain undefeated (they’re listed by their BCS ranking):
1) Oklahoma – They’re playing Missouri this weekend and end the season at Oklahoma State. Any other Big 12 game between those two games could easily be their downfall. Plus, if they make it through all of that, they still have the Big 12 Championship Game.
2) Oregon – They’re at USC, at Cal, at Oregon State, and home against Washington, Arizona and UCLA. They looked far from invincible for a half against Tennessee, as well as the whole game against Stanford and Arizona State. They’ll lose at least one game before the regular season ends.
3) Boise State – Two of their remaining difficult games are at home (Hawaii, Fresno State), and they have a moderately tough game at Nevada in late November. It would be a big surprise if they didn’t run their schedule and go undefeated.
4) Auburn – They may have the best chance of going undefeated out of the remaining teams. I don’t think they’ll lose until the Iron Bowl which is in Tuscaloosa this year. Even if they win that one, a meeting with South Carolina or another SEC East team would be in store in the conference championship game.
5) TCU – They have three remaining Mountain West games that will be challenging. They’re home against Air Force and San Diego State, and then the big one is at Utah November 6th.
6) LSU – Luckily they’re at Auburn this weekend and will likely be out of the conversation in a week. Even if they escape that game, they still host Bama two weeks later and then wrap up the year at Arkansas. I see at least three losses for them in the regular season.
7) Michigan State – They’ll have a tough time winning back-to-back road games at Northwestern and Iowa beginning this weekend. If they get through those two, they have home games against Minnesota, Purdue, and at Penn State. An 11-1 season would still be great and send them to the Rose Bowl.
9) Utah – The Utes plays TCU and they have road games at Air Force, Notre Dame, and San Diego State. It would sort things out nicely if they beat TCU and lost to a team like SDSU or Air Force.
11) Missouri – They barely squeaked by San Diego State at home and finally played their first road game last weekend. Four of their remaining six games are on the road, including Oklahoma and Kansas State.
14) Oklahoma State – They’ve had one of the softest schedules around up to this point in the season. They’ll be introduced to the difficult part of the Big 12 in the coming weeks.