Oregon, Alabama and Notre Dame all survived varying levels of scares on Saturday to remain in the top four of the Week 11 BCS standings. Oregon passes Notre Dame for No. 3 in the latest rankings though, the result of the Ducks topping a ranked USC. Notre Dame needed three overtimes after a wild comeback to withstand Pitt’s challenge, but the Panthers still managed to negatively impact the Irish by lowering its score. That’s what opponents with losses to the FCS are good for.
Alabama solidifies its top ranking with the best win not only of the weekend, but of the season for the Crimson Tide. Winning at LSU begins a month-long process for Alabama that ensures the Tide can only relinquish No. 1 with a loss — that’s the good news for Tide Nation coming out of Baton Rouge. The bad news is that LSU showed Alabama is beatable. The Tigers made the Tide bleed, and as Dutch famously quipped:
All of the top four showed vulnerability on Saturday. Oregon’s defense surrendered 51 points to USC; Notre Dame’s aforementioned struggles with Pitt further demonstrated how thin a tight wire the Irish have walked most of the season; and in an impressive victory, No. 2 Kansas State lost quarterback Collin Klein. His status is uncertain, and is likely to remain that way for a while given Bill Snyder’s tight-lipped style.
Notre Dame faces the toughest path to the BCS championship. The Irish needed a USC win to compensate for a weak final stretch; conversely, one of K-State’s final opponents, Texas, earned a major score at Texas Tech. Both suffer from the lack of a 13th game, but that curse might become a blessing.
Were the SEC championship played this week, it would pit Alabama against Georgia. The Bulldogs round out the top five after routing Ole Miss Between The Hedges. Georgia signifies another top spot-bolstering possibility for the Crimson Tide, but also another quality opponent that could conceivably pull off the upset. Georgia is very much in the championship picture — beat Alabama and two of the other unbeaten teams lose, and the Bulldogs are bound for Miami.
Mark Richt’s Dawgs represent the SEC’s best chance at a team other than Alabama playing for the crystal ball. Though Florida is just one spot behind, the Gators’ remaining stretch has two BCS ratings killers in Louisiana-Lafayette and Jacksonville State before the season ending showdown with Florida State. UF needs the computer score boost of Alabama to backdoor its way into the BCS title picture, but can only get it if Georgia loses to Auburn…not likely.