There’s one topic that has taken the college football world by storm the past few weeks: If three or more of the remaining undefeated teams stay unblemished through the regular season, who gets left out of the BCS National Championship game?
Whoa, whoa — hold your horses, fans.
There are six undefeated teams left in college football right now — Alabama, Oregon, Kansas State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, and Louisville — and five of them are eligible for postseason play, with four having a shot at the national championship (sorry, Louisville — but on the bright side, you are the only school in the country with a top 10 team in football, men’s and women’s basketball right now, so go celebrate).
However, is having six undefeated teams after ten weeks even that unusual? Not really, as it has happened in four of the past ten seasons:
Undefeated Teams of the Past Decade
Wondering who the specific teams were those years? Here they are:
So what does it all mean? That teams fall off by the end of the year, and very rarely do BCS conference teams make it through the regular season undefeated and NOT get a chance to play in the national title game. While there have been 11 teams in the past 10 years to go undefeated and get left out of the title game, only two of those came from major conferences — 2009 Cincinnati and 2004 Auburn. The rest (Boise State four times, TCU twice, Utah twice, and Hawaii once) were good teams in their own right, but their strength of schedule left much to be desired.
Maybe you think that this year is different. After all, it isn’t very often that you have teams who break rules and get declared ineligible for postseason play. In that respect you’d be right, but it still appears unlikely that we will have too much championship controversy:
There is currently a 7.1% chance that Alabama, Notre Dame, Oregon and Kansas State are all undefeated on December 2… ow.ly/f4s8L
— Paul Bessire (@predictmachine) November 6, 2012
There is still a lot of drama left to come in the next four weeks (Alabama vs. Texas A&M, Notre Dame vs. USC, and Oregon vs. Stanford come to mind) but don’t be surprised if things shake out in a way that leaves two clear title contenders ready for the big fight. College football is a gauntlet that is hard to survive unscathed, even if the end appears near three-quarters of the way through the season. After all, history tells us not to worry — somebody will drop in the coming days.