BCS Standings 2012: Notre Dame Sits Atop Projected Top 25 Week 13 Rankings

Matt Fitzgerald@@MattFitz_geraldCorrespondent IIINovember 18, 2012

SOUTH BEND, IN - NOVEMBER 17:  Manti T'eo #5 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish (R) celebrates with Kapron Lewis-Moore #89 as he leaves the home field for the last time during a game against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons at Notre Dame Stadium on November 17, 2012 in South Bend, Indiana. Notre Dame defeated Wake Forest 38-0.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Remember when the Notre Dame Fighting Irish were a has-been powerhouse program?

It's funny how quickly the tide can turn in college football—pun intended—and in the new BCS Standings for Week 13, the Top 25 is sure to look vastly different thanks to losses by the nation's top two teams.

Baylor entered Saturday giving up over 500 yards of offense per game (h/t NCAA.com), yet somehow banded together to blow out top-ranked Kansas State 52-24 in front of a thunderous Bears home crowd. After Stanford bested No. 2 Oregon on the road in overtime, it was clear a shake-up was in store.

Check out this breakdown of the nation's top teams, and where they are projected to stack up when the rankings are released Sunday evening.


1. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

As sensational as the Irish defense has been all season long, the unit hadn't posted a shutout. Until Saturday's game against Wake Forest, that is.

In a game where Brian Kelly's team absolutely couldn't afford a letdown, it was a beatdown. The Irish took it to the inferior Demon Deacons in front of the Irish faithful to the tune of a 38-0 rout, and QB Everett Golson continued to show improvement by throwing for 344 yards and three touchdowns.

It appears inevitable that Notre Dame will finally reach the No. 1 spot. The new top-ranked team will take on the preseason No. 1 USC Trojans next week. Quarterback Matt Barkley may be out with a shoulder injury sustained in the Trojans' loss to UCLA, which should help Notre Dame's cause.

The Irish would all but guarantee a shot at their first national championship since 1988 under Lou Holtz with a victory at the Coliseum.

All-American linebacker Manti Te'o also shot to the forefront of the Heisman race—or at least should have—in light of the underwhelming performances delivered by Kansas State QB Collin Klein and Oregon RB Kenjon Barner.


2. Alabama Crimson Tide

Allow me to articulate that whole tide turning concept: Just a week ago, the chances of 'Bama repeating as national champs flew out the window with a home loss to Johnny "Football" Manziel and the Texas A&M Aggies.

But not so fast. Nick Saban's bunch took out some frustration on FCS opponent Western Carolina, thrashing the Catamounts 49-0 in Bryant-Denney Stadium.

Home cooking against a cupcake team after weathering such a difficult SEC schedule nearly unscathed was just what the Crimson Tide needed. As it turned out, the follies of other unfortunate teams vaulted them right back into a projected shot at the BCS title.

Week 13's rivalry game with Auburn is going to likely be a similar blowout given the Tigers' immense struggles this year, which will likely lead to a conference championship showdown with Georgia.

Considering the superiority of the SEC—which will be a prominent theme again in this new Top 25—that may be labeled as a pseudo-national title game.

Needless to say, it would be a stunning achievement to navigate through the nation's best conference again to make it back to the sport's biggest stage—especially with all the talent that last year's team lost to the NFL.


3. Georgia Bulldogs

Before a potential SEC championship matchup with 'Bama—with college football's ultimate prize likely at stake—the Bulldogs need to take care of business in the season finale.

Thankfully, it will only be a home game against Georgia Tech.

But anything can happen in a heated rivalry. The Yellow Jackets' triple-option attack can chew up a bunch of clock and has the potential to get Aaron Murray and the Georgia offense out of rhythm.

It doesn't seem likely, though. Head coach Mark Richt's seat was getting pretty warm after a disappointing 35-7 loss at South Carolina in early October. Since then, the Bulldogs have ground through the rest of their schedule and managed to top No. 2 Florida 17-9 at home.

The competition in recent weeks hasn't been of the highest caliber, but the fact that Georgia made it through the SEC slate with only one loss should be enough for the Bulldogs to hold their spot right behind the Tide. Saturday's duo of top-ranked teams is sure to fall below Georgia.

4. Oregon Ducks

This may be a little bit high for a team that lost at home against what was truly its first legitimate, ranked opponent. But considering the narrowness of the loss and the quality football Stanford has played all year long, it's hard to blame the Ducks for falling.

The Cardinal simply out-muscled Chip Kelly's team, holding Oregon's high-octane offense to just over 23 minutes of possession even though the 17-14 loss carried into overtime.

Senior RB Stepfan Taylor pounded the Ducks for 33 carries and 161 yards, and new starting redshirt freshman Kevin Hogan played a smart, efficient game under center for Stanford.

The only losses for the Cardinal were to Washington on the road—who is now ranked in the Top 25—and in overtime at Notre Dame, who is prepared to take over the top spot in the BCS. To say this was a complete and total stunner is a bit far-fetched. Hindsight is 20-20, of course.

Nevertheless, there's no reason the Ducks should fall below more than two one-loss SEC teams. They can clearly compete with one of the best teams in the country in Stanford, and the rankings should reflect that by rewarding the Cardinal with a substantial jump.

But who knows, maybe the computers will think otherwise about Oregon and its weak strength of schedule overall.


5. Texas A&M Aggies

It might not make sense to put a two-loss SEC team ahead of two teams that have only lost once—particularly because both accounted for every Aggies loss in 2012.

But if these rankings truly are an indication of where the best teams stack up right now, Texas A&M has to be ahead of both Florida and LSU.

Heisman hopeful Manziel was making his first career start in the season opener against the Gators, and the Aggies only lost by three despite how tough that defense has proven to be. Then, he had his career-worst game against the Tigers, and Texas A&M still only lost by five.

Since that disappointing four-interception performance, Johnny Football has dismantled then-15th ranked Mississippi State on the road and beaten the soon-to-be No. 2 Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa.

This has to be looked at as one of the best teams in the country, because LSU just narrowly escaped defeat against a ranked Ole Miss team, and Florida has looked awfully unsatisfactory in the past three games.

Here is a look at the complete predictions for how the Top 25 will look, and again, watch out for the official release on Sunday night.


Projected BCS Standings

Rank Team
1 Notre Dame
2 Alabama
3 Georgia
4 Oregon
5 Texas A&M
7 Florida
8 Stanford
9 Kansas State
10 Florida State
11 South Carolina
12 Oklahoma
13 Clemson
15 Nebraska
16 Texas
17 Oregon State
18 Louisville
19 Rutgers
20 Michigan
21 Oklahoma State
22 Mississippi State
23 USC
24 Washington
25 Kent State


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