College Football

BCS Standings 2013: Breaking Down Week 10 Top 25 Teams

Brian LeighFeatured ColumnistOctober 28, 2013

BCS Standings 2013: Breaking Down Week 10 Top 25 Teams

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    The second edition of the BCS rankings were released on Sunday night, and after a relatively "chalk" weekend of college football, there weren't many shocks or surprises.

    Oregon passed Florida State and assumed the all-important No. 2 ranking, setting itself up for a potential date with No. 1 Alabama in the BCS National Championship.

    That move wasn't unexpected, but seeing the Ducks ascend past FSU was important nonetheless. Because the Pac-12 is so much stronger than the ACC, it all but ensures that the Seminoles will need some help if they want a shot at the national title.

    Here's a look at the entire BCS Top 25:

25. Notre Dame

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    Tommy Rees played, Notre Dame beat up on lowly Air Force and now things are finally starting to look up in the city of South Bend.

    Notre Dame has two losses this year, but both came against teams (Michigan and Oklahoma) that also place in the BCS Top 25. It also has wins over No. 22 Michigan State and a couple of teams (Arizona State and USC) that shouldn't be too far off.

    Navy and Pitt both present some problems, but the Irish should realistically be 8-2 before heading into games with BYU and Stanford. If they can steal one of those two games, a 9-3 season after losing their starting quarterback would be nothing to scoff at.

    If they can steal both, the BCS could still be calling.

24. Wisconsin

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    Wisconsin has the scariest rushing game in America and has only lost two very forgivable road games at Arizona State and Ohio State.

    Its BCS outlook, though, is a little bit morbid. Unlike last year, when Ohio State was bowl ineligible, the Badgers will need a lot of unforeseen help to win the Big Ten Leaders division.

    Still, Gary Andersen's team has passed the eye test in his first year with the school, and the fact that it looks so much better than Bret Bielema's program (Arkansas) has folks continuing to smile in Madison.

23. Central Florida

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    Central Florida is still looking up at Louisville in the rankings—which is stupid in its own right—but with regard to BCS prospects, that is a moot point.

    The Knights control their own fate in the AAC, which is still considered an AQ league for the last time this season.

    Blake Bortles and Co. looked good in an easy win over Connecticut, and so long as they keep winning, they will play one of the big boys in a BCS bowl.

    No matter what the computer numbers say.

22. Michigan State

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    Not unlike Wisconsin, its Big Ten foe, Michigan State is one or two dubious road-game calls from having a much more attractive profile.

    The Spartans are coming off perhaps their most complete game of the year, a 42-3 thrashing of Illinois on the road in Champaign. Their defense might be the best unit in America, and the offense—while untrustworthy—has at least shown flashes of being competent.

    Now sitting at 7-1, MSU gets Michigan in East Lansing this week and has a great opportunity to shoot up the polls. Another win might be the one that finally forces people to pay attention.

21. Michigan

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    Michigan is a hard team to peg. It's talented enough to play at a BCS-bowl level, and it's record is impressive at 6-1, but the body of work produced in Ann Arbor this year still feels like a letdown.

    The Wolverines had a well-timed bye last week and got to rest up before a very important game with Michigan State. The in-state rivalry might very well determine who wins the Big Ten Legends and plays Ohio State in the conference championship.

    Especially with the Buckeyes already looming on its schedule, Michigan cannot afford to drop a game in East Lansing.

20. UCLA

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    Someone in the Pac-12 office has it out for the Bruins, who travelled for road games at Stanford and Oregon in consecutive weeks.

    UCLA fought well in both spots, but the result was a quick turnaround from un- to twice-defeated and a hole to dig out of in the Pac-12 South standings.

    Still, the Bruins are loaded with talent. There are plenty of reasons for optimism moving forward, including the fact that current division leader Arizona State has to play in the Rose Bowl this season.

    They still control their own destiny and might have a shot for revenge against Oregon or Stanford in the conference championship game.

19. Louisville

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    Louisville got back on track with a road win at USF—a team that, despite losing to FCS McNeese State by 32 points in Week 1, was actually 2-0 and ranked ahead of the Cardinals in AAC play.

    The faint national title hopes went up in flames against UCF, but if Teddy Bridgewater can right this ship and keep the offense rolling, his team can still make a second-consecutive BCS bowl.

    But doing so would require help from Central Florida, and it's far more likely that the Cardinals get shut out of the final BCS.

18. Oklahoma State

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    Oklahoma State is slowly starting to hit its stride, and the Cowboys might stand best-suited (among Big 12 teams) to de-throne Baylor and win the conference.

    Desmond Roland emerged as the surprise contributor on Saturday, rushing for 219 yards and four touchdowns on 26 carries—all more than his year-to-date totals before the game.

    If OSU can establish a dominant ground game, it would take a big onus off of the revolving door at quarterback and help keep an improved defense off the field as much as possible.

    That might be the formula for beating Baylor.

17. Northern Illinois

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    Northern Illinois is the quietest 8-0 team we've seen in quite some time, going about its business every week and taking no prisoners in the MAC.

    There are legitimate concerns about the Huskies' schedule, but an early season win at Iowa looks much better now than it did at the time, and upcoming games against Ball State and Toledo (plus the potential conference championship) should provide enough chances to make a statement.

    Even if they weren't ready to beat Florida State in the Orange Bowl last year, Jordan Lynch & Co. were scrappy enough to hang around (for a while) and there's something to be said about running the conference table in consecutive seasons.

    If that's how this year plays out, it will be hard to keep this team from a BCS bowl.

16. Fresno State

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    Fresno State has been flirting with losses all year, so Saturday's overtime win at San Diego State was neither unprecedented nor a surprise.

    This team looked like it might go as far as Derek Carr's arm would bring them, but now that Northern Illinois is so close in the rankings, it might need NIU to lose if it wants to make a BCS bowl.

    Before focusing attention on the Huskies, though, this team should hold a mirror to its defense. That is the biggest threat to the Bulldogs' BCS chances.

15. Texas Tech

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    Texas Tech put up a good fight at Oklahoma, and even though they left the game with their first defeat, the Raiders did well to stay close and earn some public respect.

    This team is tougher than previous versions in Lubbock, and so long as Kliff Kingsbury is at the helm, the offense will continue to run—regardless of which freshman quarterback is under center.

    The schedule is backloaded, but Texas Tech gets to play its next three games at home against Oklahoma State, Kansas State and Baylor.

    If it can find a way to go 2-1 in that stretch, then beat Texas in Austin, this team might finish in the top 10 in the BCS rankings.

14. South Carolina

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    Connor Shaw earned his place in South Carolina lore on Saturday, entering a game he was questionable to participate in and breathing life into a stale offense.

    The result was an upset win at Missouri, which moved the Gamecocks within one game of first place in the SEC East and giving them a head-to-head win over their biggest competition.

    Steve Spurrier's team has struggled with consistency this year, but when it's on, South Carolina is among the 10 best squads in America. 

13. LSU

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    LSU's struggle to separate itself from Furman was the oddest part of Week 9.

    Eventually, the Tigers pulled away and won by 30-plus points, but the fact that the game was within four points at half-time was distressing to say the least.

    It's hard to peg what might be wrong with this team, which has fired on all cylinders in certain spots this year and won quality games over teams like Auburn.

    Les Miles needs to right this ship before heading to Tuscaloosa.

12. Texas A&M

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    Johnny Manziel started the week in a sling, but he ended it by shredding up the Vanderbilt defense and silencing whispers about his uncertain status going forward.

    The defense is a very big problem, and it's inability to get stops has already resulted in two ugly losses this season. That cannot be denied.

    But so long as No. 2 in taking the snaps, A&M has a chance to score on every play and stay in every game. No matter who the opponent, the team with the best player on the field should always have a chance to win.

11. Auburn

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    No team is hotter than Auburn right now, and with a fairly manageable schedule the rest of the way, it could very well enter the Iron Bowl against Alabama with a record of 10-1.

    Road games at Arkansas and (especially) Tennessee might prove a little tricky, but Gus Malzahn's team has already dealt with a raucous venue at Texas A&M and handled itself well.

    Quarterback Nick Marshall had to leave last week's game in the first quarter, which forced Tigers fans to hold their collective breath, but according to Joel Erickson of AL.com, he told teammates that he will be fine.

    That is a very big relief.

10. Oklahoma

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    Oklahoma handed Texas Tech its first loss of the season on Saturday, but it still has a ways to go if it wants to win the Big 12.

    The Sooners don't control their own fate, needing Texas to find a couple of conference losses along the way, and they still need to beat teams like Baylor and Oklahoma State.

    But with a defensive backfield this talented, OU might be well-tailored to upend their conference foes, most of which rely heavily on receivers getting open down the field.

     

9. Missouri

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    Missouri was a BCS darling last week, placing top-five and scoring well above No. 6 Stanford in the season debut of the rankings.

    An overtime loss to South Carolina is not enough to kill that momentum, even though it did feel like an unspeakable wasted opportunity after the Tigers gave up a 17-0 lead.

    This team doesn't feel like a fluke, per se, but the absence of James Franklin was hard to ignore down the stretch as Mizzou let Connor Shaw and the Gamecocks come back.

    With Ole Miss and Texas A&M both still lurking on the schedule, Maty Mauk will need to grow up on the fly.

8. Clemson

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    Clemson can be forgiven for coming out sluggish at Maryland, one week removed from getting pantsed on national TV by Florida State and squandering its national title hopes.

    It's harder to forgive the Tigers' sloppiness, though, as they let an inferior and depleted Maryland team hang around for much longer than they had any right to.

    Clemson still has a lot to play for this year. If it runs the table—which includes a game at South Carolina—it will almost definitely play in a BCS bowl.

    But running the table, at this point, looks like far from a sure thing.

7. Miami

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    There's a fine, fine line between "dumb luck" and "team of destiny."

    It's hard to tell which one Miami is, but after nearly losing to UNC and Wake Forest in consecutive weeks, it's clear that the Hurricanes are a cut below the other BCS unbeatens.

    Still, at the end of the day, all the matters is the scoreboard and Miami has a zero in the loss column. If it beats Florida State at home this week, the recent sloppiness will be forgiven (and then some).

6. Baylor

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    It might be time to start taking Baylor seriously.

    Art Briles is an offensive wizard, and he has plenty of on-field support in Bryce Petty, Lache Seastrunk, Tevin Reese and Cyril Richardson—all of whom could realistically end up of the All-America team.

    According to Chris Brown of Grantland, Briles recently said that "We do not try to go to the body to set up the knockout shot. We try to score on every snap."

    This offense is scary to game-plan against, and at this point, it might be impossible to defend.

5. Stanford

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    Stanford did what no one else in college football has been able to do this year, walking into Corvallis and slowing down the dreaded combo of Sean Mannion and Brandin Cooks.

    The Cardinal poured their (realistic) national title hopes down the drain by losing at Utah, but because of their incredible defense and sound coaching, they are good enough to beat any team in the country on any given night.

    That will be put to the test on Nov. 7, when undefeated Oregon comes barreling into Palo Alto for a game that should settle supremacy in the Pac-12 North.

4. Ohio State

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    Finally.

    After struggling against the likes of Northwestern and Iowa, Ohio State flexed its muscles in a 63-14 win over Penn State, truly looking like an "elite" team for the first time in a long time.

    That's the Ohio State team people expected to see this season, and if it can continue to pound the mediocre opponents on its schedule, it can hush some of the whispers about being overrated.

    More importantly, it wouldn't have to worry about, say, a one-loss Alabama outranking it in the end-of-season polls.

3. Florida State

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    Florida State made things look easy once again on Saturday, steamrolling North Carolina State—a team that beat it last year—after going up 35-0 in the first quarter.

    Jameis Winston is the name you know, and he has played well enough to earn/justify the prodigious hype. But what makes this team special is depth and balance.

    The Seminoles are stacked at every position on the field, and so long as they stay healthy, they are a very real threat to stay undefeated and win the BCS National Championship.

2. Oregon

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    Oregon looked vulnerable for the first time all season against UCLA, struggling to gain separation from the Bruins and entering half-time tied at 14.

    But then the Ducks came out with their patented explosiveness, scoring 28 consecutive points en route to a 42-14 win. For the second two quarters of the game, they made a very good team look bad.

    Everyone will point to the offense, but Oregon's defense is one of the most underrated (and overall best) units in America. Unlike previous years, this team has enough balance to legitimately win a national title.

1. Alabama

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    The Tide beat Tennessee with the same ease as Oregon did earlier this season, saving themselves from a potential argument about "common opponents" in support of the Ducks being ranked No. 1.

    With all of the parity in the SEC this season, Alabama is the sole legitimate chance to emerge from the conference and continue the streak of seven straight BCS National Championships. That's the bad news.

    The good news is that Nick Saban's team (somehow) seems to get better each week, and until anyone not named Manziel figures out how to beat this defense, Alabama will find itself rightfully favored against anyone.

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