Florida State needed an Oregon loss to have the best chance of finishing in one of the top two spots in the final BCS standings and earn a berth in the national championship, and their prayers were answered on Thursday when the Ducks were defeated by Pac-12 rival Stanford.
Florida State has a weak schedule to close the regular season, and it’s possible, depending on its ACC Championship Game matchup, that it won’t play any more ranked teams until bowl season. Not being able to add another win over a quality opponent to their resume was one reason why the Seminoles were hoping for an Oregon loss, because if both schools finished undefeated, the Ducks were likely to hold a slight edge in the second spot of the last BCS rankings.
But at No. 2 in the Week 12 BCS standings, the Seminoles have the inside track to the title game, an event that the ACC school hasn’t participated in since it lost to Oklahoma in the 2000 championship game.
Florida State ends the regular season with matchups against Syracuse, Idaho and Florida, three schools that have a combined record of 10-18. With control over their own destiny and freshman quarterback Jameis Winston highly motivated to finish the season strong and become the Heisman Trophy favorite, the chances of the Seminoles losing before their bowl game are extremely slim.
There are other teams in top half of the BCS standings with impressive resumes, but the probability of Florida State being overtaken by one of these schools is unlikely given its lead over third-place Ohio State, which is .0693. This cushion should be more than enough to hold off the undefeated Buckeyes, who are suffering from a weaker-than-normal Big Ten Conference, only one or two quality wins on their resume and a soft schedule through conference championship week.
Stanford and undefeated Baylor are fourth and fifth in the new BCS standings, respectively, but both would probably need losses from Florida State and Ohio State to have any chance of making it to Pasadena.
It’s still possible that two-time defending champion and No. 1 ranked Alabama loses before bowl season, but with the most talented team in the country, great coaching and a chance to pull off a rare three-peat, don’t expect the Crimson Tide to fail in their quest for another undefeated SEC campaign. A regular-season finale against arch rival Auburn in the “Iron Bowl” will be a difficult matchup, but if Alabama survives that test, it should have no problem winning the SEC title over whichever school comes out of the conference’s East Division.
The BCS has given college football more problems than solutions since it began in 1998, but in its final season with the new playoff system beginning in 2014, there should be no debate over which schools deserve to play for the national championship if no major upsets happen in the final weeks of the regular season.
Here’s the top five of the Week 12 BCS standings: