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Kansas State Isn't out of the National Title Chase Yet

WACO, TX - NOVEMBER 17:  Collin Klein #7 of the Kansas State Wildcats reacts after a 52-24 loss against the Baylor Bears at Floyd Casey Stadium on November 17, 2012 in Waco, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Sam QuinnContributor IIINovember 18, 2012

Yes, I know Kansas State lost to Baylor.

Yes, I know there are three SEC teams that are likely to be ahead of them in the BCS standings.

Yes, I know Florida State and Oregon both have legitimate claims to the "second-best one-loss team" title.

And yes, I know that Notre Dame is still undefeated and will probably make all of this moot by beating USC next week.

But I'd like to point out that Kansas State, despite what everyone is saying after the Wildcats' 52-24 loss to Baylor on Saturday, is not in fact out of the title hunt. It's a long shot, but the Wildcats could absolutely play the SEC champ in Miami for the whole darn thing. 

It obviously starts with Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish will open this week at No. 1 in all three rankings and, should they beat USC, will play for the title. However, it isn't a foregone conclusion that they'll beat the Trojans.

USC was the preseason No. 1 and, with the possible exception of Oklahoma, will be the most talented team the Irish will have played in the regular season. 

Rivalry games, especially on the road, are never a simple proposition. As much as Notre Dame deserves to be heavily favored here, USC will give them a tough game.

Let's say USC wins. All of the sudden all bets are off. The one thing we know for sure is that the SEC champion will be playing in Miami. Its opponent, however, would be a mystery.

Kansas State still has an argument in this scenario, but unfortunately for the Wildcats, the Florida Gators would likely jump to No. 2. Fans can hold out some small hope that the polls will scorn Florida to avoid a second straight year of an all-SEC title game with a worthy Big 12 team sitting out, but I wouldn't expect that to happen.

Luckily for Kansas State (and Oregon, and pretty much everyone else), Florida still has to travel to Tallahassee to play Florida State. If the Seminoles win, we'll have all sorts of BCS chaos.

Once the dust settles, three teams will have legitimate cases for No. 2. Voters (and the computers) would have to decide whether they want to send the best team (Oregon), the best conference champion (Kansas State) or the team that beat the best opponent (Florida State) to Miami.

In this scenario, I can honestly say I have no idea what would happen. Considering the Big 12's snub last year and Collin Klein's Heisman candidacy, Kansas State might have an edge. However, Oregon and Florida State would be equally worthy candidates. 

Regardless of who the voters and computers would pick, that's the scenario that has to happen for Kansas State to make the BCS National Championship Game. It's not likely, but stranger things have definitely happened. 

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