Is the BCS title game set in stone? Al Dannity says it’s far from a done deal. With just one week to go in the regular season, here’s the penultimate set of power rankings before bowl play starts.
1. LSU (12-0, 8-0 SEC, 9-3 ATS) The Honey Badger takes what he wants. Tyrann Mathieu returned one punt for a touchdown, forced a fumble, and had an interception in this statement win for the Tigers. Last week: W 41-17 vs. Arkansas. Next game: Saturday vs. Georgia (at the Georgia Dome).
2. Alabama (11-1, 7-1 SEC, 8-4 ATS) The Tide have one foot in the BCS National Championship Game. Setting up a re-match with LSU is now dependent on how the voters act next weekend. Last week: W 42-14 at Auburn. Next game: Bowl game TBD.
3. Houston (12-0, 8-0 Conf. USA, 10-2 ATS) The Cougars recorded their biggest win of the year on Saturday but their BCS hopes are still wholly dependent on finishing the season with a perfect record. That means they must win against Southern Mississippi on Saturday. Last week: W 48-16 at Tulsa. Next game: Saturday vs. Southern Mississippi.
4. Stanford (11-1, 8-1 Pac-12, 10-2 ATS) Andrew Luck was good against Notre Dame but that was far from a Heisman sealing performance. The build-up to the big day in New York could prove particularly interesting. Last week: W 28-14 vs. Notre Dame. Next game: Bowl game TBD.
5. Oklahoma State (10-1, 7-1 Big 12, 8-3 ATS) Style points matter for the Cowboys. If they can win big, and I mean really big, against Oklahoma then the battle for the ‘other’ slot in the BCS title game could get really interesting. Last week: Idle. Next game: Saturday vs. Oklahoma.
6. Boise State (10-1, 5-1 MWC, 4-7 ATS) A limp showing against Wyoming did little to impress the pollsters. The Broncos will want to round out the season in style this weekend. Last week: W 36-14 vs. Wyoming. Next game: Saturday vs. New Mexico.
7. Virginia Tech (11-1, 7-1 ACC, 4-8 ATS) The Hokies just obliterated the Cavaliers in what was supposed to be a trap game. Now they are just one win away from yet another ACC title. Last week: W 38-0 at Virginia. Next game: Saturday vs. Clemson (at Raymond James Stadium).
8. USC (10-2, 7-2 Pac-12, 8-4 ATS) Well it sure is a pity about that post-season ban, a re-match between the Trojans and Ducks would have been oh so tasty. Last week: W 50-0 vs. UCLA. Next game: Season complete.
9. Oregon (10-2, 8-1 Pac-12, 6-5-1 ATS) This Friday night’s Pac-12 title game should be nothing more than a coronation for the dominant Ducks. Last week: W 49-21. Next game: Friday vs. UCLA.
10. Georgia (10-2, 7-1 SEC, 8-4 ATS) The Dawgs have won 10 in a row and will force all sorts of BCS complications if they surprise LSU in the SEC title game. Last week: W 31-17 at Georgia Tech. Next game: Saturday vs. LSU (at Georgia Dome).
11. Arkansas (10-2, 6-2 SEC, 7-5 ATS) The Hogs got off to a good start but were subsequently out-scored 41-3 over the rest of the game. Last week: L 41-17 at LSU. Next game: Bowl game TBD.
12. Oklahoma (9-2, 6-2 Big 12, 6-5 ATS) I thought too much was being asked of the Sooners to cover on Saturday. I was right. Last week: W 26-6 vs. Iowa State. Next game: Saturday at Oklahoma State.
13. South Carolina (10-2, 6-2 SEC, 6-6 ATS) I am a sucker for symmetry. By covering against Clemson the Gamecocks secured a 6-6 record against the spread. Last week: W 34-13 vs. Clemson. Next game: Bowl game TBD.
14. Michigan State (10-2, 7-1 Big Ten, 8-4 ATS) A big win on the road sets up a battle with the Badgers for a trip to the Rose Bowl. Last week: W 31-17 at Northwestern. Next game: Saturday vs. Wisconsin (at Lucas Oil Stadium).
15. Wisconsin (10-2, 6-2 Big Ten, 7-5 ATS) The Badgers have their re-match. Now it’s time to see if Russell Wilson can lead Wisconsin to a second straight Rose Bowl. Last week: W 45-7 vs. Penn State. Next game: Saturday vs. Michigan State (at Lucas Oil Stadium).
16. Kansas State (9-2, 6-2 Big 12, 9-2 ATS) The Wildcats would be the preferred choice for an at-large bid if the Big 12 sends two teams to the BCS. They have to get past the Cyclones first. Last week: Idle. Next game: Saturday vs. Iowa State.
17. Michigan (10-2, 6-2 Big Ten, 8-4 ATS) The Wolverines have done their part, now they need LSU to beat Georgia so Michigan can climb high enough to become eligible for a BCS at-large bid. Yes, it sounds complicated but it will all work out if the Tigers win. Last week: W 40-34 vs. Ohio State. Next game: Bowl game TBD.
18. TCU (9-2, 6-0 MWC, 5-6 ATS) The Horned Frogs will be cheering Southern Mississippi on this Saturday. A loss for the Cougars would send TCU to the BCS. Last week: Idle. Next game: Saturday vs. UNLV.
19. Baylor (8-3, 5-3 Big 12, 6-4-1 ATS) The Bears earned a long-awaited win over Texas Tech but face an anxious wait to see if Robert Griffin III will be healthy enough to lead Baylor against Texas. Last week: W 66-42 vs. Texas Tech. Next game: Saturday vs. Texas.
20. Arkansas State (9-2, 7-0 Sun Belt, 9-2 ATS) The only national championship the Red Wolves could aim at is one based on against the spread records. Arkansas State is currently tied with Stanford, Kansas State, and Houston on 9-2 ATS. Last week: Idle. Next game: Saturday vs. Troy.
21. Nebraska (9-3, 5-3 Big Ten, 3-7-1 ATS) The Huskers finished the regular season with a win but their bowl fate will depend largely on what happens with the teams above them. Last week: W 20-7 vs. Iowa. Next game: Bowl game TBD.
22. Clemson (9-3, 6-2 ACC, 7-5 ATS) Panic stations! The Tigers are sliding and in desperate need of a win in the ACC title game. Last week: L 34-13 at South Carolina. Next game: Saturday vs. Virginia Tech (at Raymond James Stadium).
23. BYU (8-3, 7-4) It’s been a while but the Cougars have finally worked their way back into the Power Rankings. They finish the regular season with a trip to Hawaii. Last week: Idle. Next game: Saturday at Hawaii.
24. West Virginia (8-3, 4-2 Big East, 5-6 ATS) This is getting ridiculous. The Mountaineers need to beat the Bulls and then rely on Cincinnati to beat Connecticut in order for the Big East to avoid having 7-5 Louisville play in a BCS bowl. Last week: W 21-20 vs. Pittsburgh. Next game: Thursday at South Florida.
25. Notre Dame (8-4, 5-7 ATS) Well who would you put here instead? Don’t say Texas, don’t even think about it. The Fighting Irish are, worryingly, the #25 team in College Football. Last week: L 28-14 at Stanford. Next game: Bowl game TBD.
Last five out: Cincinnati, Northern Illinois, Penn State, Southern Mississippi, Texas.