Power Dozen: SEC's Lotto Stash Shrinks
Plenty of big games remain, but it's looking more and more likely the final BCS champion will come from a group of four teams.
One of the craziest college football weekends in recent memory left Alabama, Oregon, Florida State and Ohio State alone at the top. Another four unlikely unbeatens in Missouri, Miami, Baylor and Texas Tech, three of which make their Power Dozen debut, are scrambling for respect.
Perhaps the biggest development is the lack of a true national contender from the SEC East. Missouri, unranked in the Coaches' Top 25 just two weeks ago, finds itself missing its starting quarterback and in the Top 5.
Showing just how tepid the field is behind Ohio State, No. 6 Miami needed a bit of luck Thursday to knock off 1-5 North Carolina, and No. 7 Stanford lost at Utah just last week, a fixture in the bottom third of the Pac-12 since joining the conference.
LSU and Texas A&M have two losses as well, and the SEC, which has won seven consecutive BCS title games, is forced to pin all its hopes on defending champion Alabama.
That's not an absolute truth, but it may as well be. Before Saturday, Missouri was 200-to-1 to win the national title at the respected Las Vegas Hilton and Auburn was off the board. Those are the only two SEC teams beyond the Tide with an outside shot.
Even Ohio State can't expect to play for a title without help, never mind that the Buckeyes may put together a second consecutive undefeated season.
If the top three keep winning, Oregon and Florida State will have to convince voters — and for the last time, computers — they're more deserving of a crack at dethroning Alabama.
Methodology: First-place votes equate to zero points. Voters rank their Top 13 to help differentiate marginal teams. Teams ranked 2-13 get a point total equivalent to their rank. If a team is not ranked in a person's Top 13, they are automatically assigned 15 points. The lowest aggregate score is ranked No. 1, second-lowest No. 2 and so forth.
|3||Florida State||6-0||47||+20||vs. N.C. State||5|
|4||Ohio State||7-0||57||+10||vs. Penn State||4|
|5||Missouri||7-0||90||+33||vs. South Carolina||—|
|6||Miami||6-0||98||+8||vs. Wake Forest||10|
|7||Stanford||6-1||112||+14||at Oregon State||12|
|10||Auburn||6-1||164||+27||vs. Florida Atlantic||—|
|11||Texas Tech||7-0||168||+4||at Oklahoma||—|
Less Than Max Score Of 225: UCLA (190), Texas A&M (201), Louisville (215), Virginia Tech (217), Oklahoma (223).
Dropped Out: Texas A&M, Louisville, UCLA, South Carolina.
Power Dozen Scuttlebutt
|1||Alabama||Crimson Tide gaining steam in shadow of chaos elsewhere.|
|2||Oregon||Ducks aren't perfect, but will they ever face competitive fourth quarter?|
|3||Florida State||Did more than command ACC with win. May leapfrog Oregon in BCS(?!).|
|4||Ohio State||Buckeyes confirmed fourth-fiddle perception by struggling against Iowa.|
|5||Missouri||Surprise team of 2013 thus far after finishing 2-6 in SEC play last year.|
|6||Miami||Keep rising by default as better teams crumble around them.|
|7||Stanford||Convinced doubters team is better than last week's loss at Utah.|
|8||Baylor||Offense revives after slow (35 points) week; defense impresses more.|
|9||Clemson||Behind the embarrassment lies an unsolvable puzzle. What happened?|
|10||Auburn||Opportunistic running game took advantage of brief Manziel exit.|
|11||Texas Tech||Even at 7-0, only here because other teams collapsed.|
|12||LSU||Suddenly the third-string Tigers in SEC. One of best two-loss teams ever.|
Discrepancies at the top were rare. Two voters ranked Oregon over Alabama and one voter ranked Florida State over Oregon. Three voters ranked Ohio State over Florida State. After the first four? Good luck. Only one voter placed Missouri below No. 8, which is why the Tigers claimed the final Top-5 slot. The next four teams in our rankings vary between either five or six and either 12 or unranked. Auburn, Texas Tech and LSU failed to induce a consensus, and one voter placed two-loss Texas A&M (unranked) at No. 9.
Voters: Christopher Smith, David Seigerman, Joe Coughlin, Joe Jenkins, Dan Harralson, Chris Wuensch, Ken Pomponio, Matt Natali, Jon Coffey, Veair Green, Bill Gelman, Chris Stephens, Henry McKenna, Eric Russell.