Another crazy regular season is almost over, but we still don’t know which teams will separate themselves as the best in the nation. With conference championships still up for grabs, the last weeks of the season will be incredibly important for several teams.
Arizona’s major upset of Oregon continued to change the national landscape, and a Ducks team that was recently competing for a national championship is now out of the top 10. That’s just another reminder that anything can happen in college football.
1. Alabama (11-0, Last week: 1)
Alabama won easily over Chattanooga to set up a huge rivalry game against No. 5 Auburn. The winner will capture the SEC West title and earn a trip to the SEC Championship Game. Add that element to an already heated in-state rivalry, and this should be one of the best games of the weekend.
2. Florida State (11-0, Last week: 2)
Florida State didn’t just beat Idaho, it set records in the process. The Seminoles scored 80 points in the win, the most in a single game in school history. They also broke both the school and ACC records for most points in a year. As long as it can beat a struggling Florida team, Florida State should be set to play for a national championship.
3. Ohio State (11-0, Last week: 3)
With its latest win, Ohio State won a spot in the Big Ten Championship Game against Michigan State. Quarterback Braxton Miller threw for 160 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 144 yards and two more scores in Ohio State’s win over Indiana. The Buckeyes have to take on rival Michigan before playing in the conference championship, and still have a chance to move up the rankings if Alabama or Florida State get upset.
4. Missouri (10-0, Last week: 8)
Missouri continued its great play, beating then-No. 24 Ole Miss last weekend. If the Tigers can beat No. 21 Texas A&M on Saturday, they’ll play in the SEC Championship Game. It might be unthinkable for a team other than Alabama to win the SEC, but if all goes right for the Tigers, it could happen.
5. Auburn (10-1, Last Week: 7)
Missouri isn’t the only team that can dethrone Alabama. If Auburn beats the Tide on Saturday, Alabama will be out of the SEC championship picture, and will fall from the top spot. Auburn will have to play its best game to win, but if it does, the Tigers will cause BCS madness.
6. Clemson (10-1, Last week: 8)
While other teams have moved in and out of the top 10, Clemson has quietly been among the best all season. They won’t have a chance to play for the national championship, but the Tigers are clearly worthy of playing in a BCS bowl. Tajh Boyd and the Tigers can make a final statement with a win over No. 10 South Carolina to finish their regular season.
7. Oklahoma State (10-1, Last week: Not in the Top 10)
Oklahoma State won a place in the top 10 by beating a previously unstoppable Baylor team. The Cowboys held the Bears to only 17 points and can win the Big 12 if they beat Oklahoma on December 7. Though it’s new to the top 10, Oklahoma State could soon be among the best teams in the nation.
8. Stanford (9-2, Last week: 9)
Despite two disappointing losses, Stanford is going to the Pac-12 Championship Game, thanks to Arizona’s upset win over Oregon. The Cardinal wrapped up Pac-12 play with a 63-13 win over Cal, in which wide receiver Ty Montgomery caught four touchdowns and ran for one more. Stanford will now play Arizona State for the conference championship, and could host the game if Arizona State loses to Arizona.
9. Baylor (9-1, Last week: 4)
Baylor’s stay in the top 5 was short, as its loss to Oklahoma State knocked it down five spots. It will be tough for the Bears to move back up, unless some unlikely upsets take place. Baylor has two more Big 12 games left, so it can still finish as one of the top teams in the conference, but the Bears are now looking like a very good team that couldn’t maintain a spot among the nation’s elite.
10. South Carolina (9-2, Last week’s ranking: 10)
South Carolina won easily over Coastal Carolina, and could play for an SEC title if Missouri loses this weekend. South Carolina takes on No. 6 Clemson on Saturday, and could end its regular season on a great note by beating a rival team. The Gamecocks are at the bottom of the top 10, but they can still make a lot of noise. .
How would you rank the top college teams in the country? Who should be in the top 10 heading into week fourteen? Let us know in the comments section below!
Photo: O.J. Howard #88 of the Alabama Crimson Tide runs 52 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter against the LSU Tigers at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 9, 2013 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)