Three Teams Race For BCS Title Game

Last Saturday began with four national championship contenders sitting pretty and un-defeated. One of those teams fell, and it was the one that most people felt was the most talented and built to finish the season undefeated.

Top-ranked Alabama fell to the No. 15 Ag-gies of Texas A&M in their first season in the SEC. The Tide fell behind 20-0 in the first quarter and played from behind the whole game. 29-24 was the final score and, just like that, Roll Tide was no more. The typically stel-lar Crimson Tide defense was not up to par early, and the offense just could not overcome the deficit.

The fall of the Tide leaves three undefeated teams left in the national championship race. While a playoff is on the horizon in the coming years, only two teams can play for it all this year.

These three teams did not have the same struggles that Alabama had. Kansas State took out the TCU Horned Frogs 23-10, Oregon beat the Cal Bears 59-10 and the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame pummeled the hapless Boston College Eagles at Chestnut Hill, 21-6. While none of the three victorious teams had an opponent of the same caliber as Texas A&M, they were all dominant and impressive. With three undefeated teams left, the question has to be: which two will be playing for it all on January 7?

Currently ranked first are the Kan-sas State Wildcats. Led by Heisman can-didate Collin Klein, the Wildcats sit atop the most recent BCS Standings for good reason. Their best win came on September 22 in Norman against the Oklahoma Sooners. Oklahoma was ranked No. 6 at the time and is No. 12 right now. They also beat West Virginia, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State in three con-secutive weeks. At the time, these three teams were ranked 13th, 14th and 24th respectively. That is a solid resume if you ask me. Still, these teams now sit at 46, 23 and 24 in the BCS standings, respectively.

A good deal of these wins looked better at the time than they do now. For example, a month ago we thought West Vir-ginia and quarterback Geno Smith had an unstoppable offense. However, they have lost their last four games and have really fallen off the map.

The Wildcats still have to take a trip to Waco to take on the Baylor Bears and then host an intriguing matchup against Texas to close the season. Kansas State is No. 1 in the BCS stand-ings as of now, so one of the spots in the title game is their’s to lose.

Out of the undefeated teams, the Oregon Ducks resume is the most up in the air. They have beaten three ranked teams in their own conference – Arizona, Washington and USC. Currently, however, Arizona is No. 27, Washington is No. 25 and USC is No. 18. Southern California may be the most impressive victory, but the game was a close shootout, with the Ducks winning 62-51.

Outside of those games, Oregon has been blowing out inferior opponents with no trouble whatsoever. The Ducks have the most prolific offense in the whole nation, and if you let them get going you’re going to have a long day. The final two games, though, are where their sea-son will be made. They host No. 13 Stanford this Saturday night, then travel to play a tough Oregon State squad for the annual “Civil War” game. The game will be the latest in a storied rivalry, and this encounter may have national title implications.

Finally, there is the polarizing Notre Dame Fighting Irish. The Irish have taken down Okla-homa, Stanford and Michigan on their way to a perfect record.

The most troubling part about Notre Dame may be their penchant for barely sneaking by clearly inferior teams. They’ve beaten Purdue, BYU and Pittsburgh all by three points, and the Pitt win came in triple overtime at home in South Bend. The Irish have had their highs and their lows, but they are still undefeated. The defense has been great and has held teams to six points or less in four games this season.

After hosting Wake Forest this week, the Irish will close the season with a primetime matchup at USC. The Trojans will relish the chance to play spoiler after a tough season, so don’t be surprised if Notre Dame a loss to end the regular season. If they do, the BCS title game matchup will mercifully be a lot less controversial.

Contact David Josselsohn at

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