Six weeks into the 2012 College Football season and a week before the first BCS rankings, there are still plenty of undefeated teams, but only 7 teams look like legitimate contenders for the national title, with Alabama standing way above the rest: Oregon, West Virginia, Kansas State, Florida, South Carolina and Notre Dame.
Alabama Crimson Tide, SEC West, 5-0
The national champions and the number one ranked team in the nation is actually not that hot on the BCS computers at the moment, but they’re so overwhelmingly strong in the polls, including getting all of the first place votes on the AP Top 25, that their relatively weak schedule doesn’t really matter.
Looking at their schedule, the biggest game left has to be their visit to Baton Rouge, where they play on November 3. Last season it was twice a “game of the century” kind of encounter, and ‘Bama have won only once in their last four games at Death Valley. They’re a better team, and the Tigers have all kinds of problems on offense at the moment, but LSU, especially at home, can give them a lot of problems.
Oregon Ducks, Pac-12 North Division, 6-0
An explosive offensive team who have reached the national championship game and the Rose Bowl over the last two years, looking for another NC visit this season. They’re ranked 4th in the nation in points (52.3 per game) and rushing yards (302.3). So far, they’ve beaten two ranked opponents in Arizona and Washington by a total of 101-21. They have three ranked rivals left – Oregon State (10) to end the season; Stanford a week earlier and USC on November 3 in a brutal closing schedule. The Trojans ruined it for the Ducks last year, and their offense is probably the best and most dangerous thing they’re going to face on the road to a perfect season.
South Carolina, SEC East, 6-0 & Florida, SEC East, 5-0
The simple math of the SEC means that eventually, at the end of the regular season including the SEC championship game, only one team can be undefeated. Both the Gamecocks and the Gators are coming off impressive wins. For South Carolina, it was their first ever third consecutive win against Georgia. For Florida, it was a big defensive shutdown of LSU. SC have a game against the bruised and battered Tigers, but it looks like Florida is the team to beat on their schedule.
West Virginia, Big 12, 5-0 & Kansas State, Big 12, 5-0
Notre Dame, Independent, 5-0
A curios case. The voters won’t like to give them one of the top two spots, but their schedule really helps with the computers, and they keep shutting down opponents, so far allowing only 7.8 points per game, including a total of 12 in their last three games against Michigan, Michigan State and Miami. Their biggest test down the road? Has to be USC on November 24, the season finale. It isn’t an easy road to get there, which includes Oklahoma on the road, but this team needs an elite offense to stop it, apparently.
Pretty simple here. The Mountaineers can score against anyone, putting up 48 points in Texas on Saturday, and they’re pretty good at stopping the run, despite allowing 35 points per game to be scored against them. Kansas State have one of the best defenses in the nation, as proven against Oklahoma and Miami. Their visit to Iowa State isn’t an easy game, but the biggest one left for them on the schedule has to be the visit to Morgantown, which seems like the decider in the fate of the conference.