Ranking BCS Spoilers: Can Any Team Prevent Bama-FSU?
Florida State fans chanted "We want Bama!" as time ticked away during their 41-14 win against Miami.
They may get their wish. Alabama put away LSU in the second half Saturday, winning 38-17.
Barring a major upset, the Crimson Tide and Seminoles are on a collision course for Pasadena on Jan. 6.
Each team would need to win four games to assure a BCS championship spot. Here's a look at the remaining obstacles, ranked by degree of difficulty.
1. Auburn -- The Tigers (9-1, 5-1) seem like a one-trick pony, but that trick has them ranked in the Top 10. Auburn's defense alone is a fringe Top 25 unit, and quarterback Nick Marshall has only thrown 16 passes since Oct. 19. But Marshall and Tre Mason (a combined 23 rushing touchdowns) are dangerous.
If any team has a shot at disassembling the current national championship projection, its Auburn, which hosts the Iron Bowl on Nov. 30.
2. East Division champ -- Missouri, Georgia and South Carolina all remain candidates. The Tigers and Gamecocks in particular would have a puncher's chance. Each team has an elite pass rush capable of pressuring AJ McCarron, a tough senior quarterback (assuming James Franklin and Connor Shaw are upright in December) and NFL talent on offense (Missouri's tall receivers and South Carolina running back Mike Davis).
That said, LSU (now with three losses) was a more difficult matchup for Alabama than any of these three, and it's a down year for the SEC East.
3. Coastal Division champ -- Florida State already crushed Miami, and that was before Duke Johnson broke his ankle late in the game. The Hurricanes, though, may not even get to Charlotte for the rematch. Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech and Duke each have two conference losses as well.
The Hokies may present the best matchup because they have a stingy defense, but Florida State would have to do more than wet the bed for this game to be competitive in the fourth quarter no matter the opponent.
4. Mississippi State -- We're already out of "I guess it could happen" territory here, which is why Alabama and Florida State almost certainly will square off in Pasadena. The Bulldogs (4-5) get this slot above the next two teams because they played LSU and Texas A&M close into the second half and got within four points of Auburn.
Yes, Mississippi State should prepare to get shellacked against Bama, but at least the Bulldogs are feisty losers.
5. Syracuse -- The Orange do OK against mediocre teams, but fall apart against the upper echelon. Exhibits A and B: a 49-14 loss to Clemson and a 56-0 defeat at Georgia Tech.
Syracuse isn't awful, but there isn't a single player on the roster who will scare FSU. The Orange have little hope of avoiding a blowout by halftime.
6. Florida -- This seems like heresy, but the Gators are awful and should finish the year on a 1-6 run. Will Muschamp better pray the Florida faithful allow him another season after his roster couldn't sustain any sort of ability after a number of key starters got injured.
Don't expect the Gators to score more than 14 against FSU, and that gives them percentage points more than no shot.
7. Chattanooga -- The Mocs are no joke in the FCS at 8-2, tops in the Southern Conference (ahead of Appalachian State and Georgia Southern). The Sagarin ratings slot Chattanooga about 50 slots ahead of Idaho.
The Mocs do get Alabama the week before the Iron Bowl, and though they have no shot, they could keep it closer than the next team.
8. Idaho -- The only thing the Vandals (1-9) have a hope of stealing is a quick bus ride out of the Doak Campbell Stadium parking lot. This team lost by 24 to Arkansas State.