The Path to the 2013 BCS Title, Part One

Lots of time is spent debating which teams will play for the BCS title.

But in reality it isn't that complicated when you break down all the possible outcomes.

Here are this week's BCS standings.

Keep in mind that there are really just two factors to analyze -- a. the psychology of voters, i.e. how will a group of Harris Poll and coaches respond to different game outcomes and b. the computers. 

It's a relatively simple formula, the humans make up 2/3rds of the voting and the computers make up a third. The computers don't vary that much. So what you really need to analyze more than anything else is the psychology of the voters. 

The BCS is more psychology than it is math. 

That's why each Wednesday at Outkick the Coverage, I'll tell you how many teams are still alive for the title and what would have to happen for them to end up in the BCS title game.  

Right now there are ten teams that still have a shot at the BCS title. 

So if you want to know what these ten teams need to have happen to win the BCS title just read along below. 

The easiest two contestants to break down are Alabama and Oregon. 

If these two teams win out, they will meet for the BCS title. 


So that's where we'll begin. 

1. Alabama

Plays for the BCS title if:

it wins every game remaining on its schedule. 

2. Oregon

Plays for the BCS title if:

it wins every game remaining on its schedule. 

3. Florida State

Plays for the BCS title if:

it wins every game remaining on its schedule and either Alabama or Oregon loses.

4. Missouri

Plays for the BCS title if:

it wins every game remaining on it schedule -- including a likely victory over Alabama in the SEC title game -- and either Florida State or Oregon loses. 

This is the first really difficult call to make, would 13-0 Missouri get in over Florida State? 

Oregon would be number one in this scenario and the real debate would come down to Florida State, likely the pollsters number two, and Missouri at three. Florida State is the highest ranked computer team. Missouri would figure to be number two in the computers in this scenario.

Given that Florida State would be ranked above Missouri in the computers, poll voters would have to leap Missouri over Florida State.

I don't believe that enough voters would do that.  

So in order to play for the title Mizzou would need to beat Alabama and have either Florida State or Oregon lose. 

5. Miami

Plays for the BCS title if:

it wins every game remaining on its schedule -- including two head-to-head wins over Florida State which would knock the Seminoles out of the title mix -- and then the Alabama/Missouri winner or Oregon would need to lose.

Believe it or not, Miami's in pretty good shape for the title race if the Hurricanes keep winning.

6. Baylor

Plays for the BCS title if:

It wins every game left on its schedule and four of the five teams in front of the Bears lose. (Keep in mind that either Alabama/Mizzou or Florida State/Miami would be guaranteed to lose). Which means that Baylor would need two of the top three winning teams to lose to advance to the BCS title game.   

RIght now the computers really don't like Baylor. But if the Bears win out they would beat three teams ranked in the top 20 of the existing BCS. That would send their computer numbers surging and pollsters would consider Baylor's body of work to be better than Ohio States.

It wouldn't hurt that Vegas would have Baylor as a seven point favorite over the Buckeyes on a neutral field.

The Bears would end up ranked above Ohio State in th final BCS standings. 

7. Ohio State

Plays for the BCS title if:

it wins every game left on its schedule and five of the six teams ranked in front of the Buckeyes lose. (Keep in mind that either Alabama/Mizzou or Florida State/Miami would be guaranteed to lose). Which means that Ohio State would need three of the top four surviving teams to lose in order to advance to the BCS title. 

Ohio State has a lid on its head right now because of its schedule and the awful Big Ten. 

When you look at Baylor vs. Ohio State, it's important to look at the computers as well as the polls. Worst case, Baylor is ranked behind Ohio State. But not by much. Then look at the computers. Baylor is going to surge in the computer polls over the final five games. Ohio State isn't going to move very much at all. 

8. Texas Tech

Plays for the BCS title if:

it wins every game left on its schedule and six of the seven teams ranked in front of the Red Raiders lose. (Keep in mind that Tech would beat Baylor and that Alabama/Missouri and Florida State/Miami would knock out two other teams.) So what you're left with is the Red Raiders needing four of the remaining five teams ranked above them to lose. 

Now, here's where things could get messy.  

9. Beware the one-loss Alabama, Oregon, Florida State or Stanford team

These four one-loss teams could still be in the mix for a BCS title berth.  

You can make a strong case for one of these four one-loss team advancing to the title game over undefeated Baylor, Ohio State, or Texas Tech. 

Look at Stanford, for instance, are you telling me if the Cardinal run the table with wins over Oregon State, Oregon, and Notre Dame plus a Pac 12 title win, that a 12-1 Stanford wouldn't have a better resume than 12-0 Baylor Texas Tech or 13-0 Ohio State?

What if Florida State, for instance, lost to Miami by a point in the regular season, but came back to beat the Hurricanes convincingly in the ACC title game? 

Beware these one-loss teams.  

10. You want the ultimate darkhorse?

How about the Auburn Tigers?

Sitting at 6-1 right now, what would happen if the Tigers won out?

That would mean back-to-back wins over number one Alabama, and potentially number two or three Missouri. 

I don't think it will happen, but 12-1 SEC champ Auburn's resume would be pretty sterling.

Written by
Clay Travis is the founder of the fastest growing national multimedia platform, OutKick, that produces and distributes engaging content across sports and pop culture to millions of fans across the country. OutKick was created by Travis in 2011 and sold to the Fox Corporation in 2021. One of the most electrifying and outspoken personalities in the industry, Travis hosts OutKick The Show where he provides his unfiltered opinion on the most compelling headlines throughout sports, culture, and politics. He also makes regular appearances on FOX News Media as a contributor providing analysis on a variety of subjects ranging from sports news to the cultural landscape. Throughout the college football season, Travis is on Big Noon Kickoff for Fox Sports breaking down the game and the latest storylines. Additionally, Travis serves as a co-host of The Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show, a three-hour conservative radio talk program syndicated across Premiere Networks radio stations nationwide. Previously, he launched OutKick The Coverage on Fox Sports Radio that included interviews and listener interactions and was on Fox Sports Bet for four years. Additionally, Travis started an iHeartRadio Original Podcast called Wins & Losses that featured in-depth conversations with the biggest names in sports. Travis is a graduate of George Washington University as well as Vanderbilt Law School. Based in Nashville, he is the author of Dixieland Delight, On Rocky Top, and Republicans Buy Sneakers Too.