At this point a BCS Bid is such a long shot that it really isn’t worth discussing. The road map still exists but it now hinges almost entirely on Central Florida losing 2 of its final 3 games of the season. But Louisville Football needs to move up the polls and that means chaos overall. So let’s take a look at how the Cards can make gains in the polls & computers in Week 13 of the College Football Season:
Toledo vs. #16 Northern Illinois: This is a game I think Toledo wins tonight. It’s in Toledo & NIU has been flirting with disaster for some time now. The Huskies are rated higher than the Cards in the BCS and in most polls used to compile the BCS. A win for the Rockets would be a big deal moving up the poll.
Rutgers @ #18 Central Florida: The luckiest team in football gets to test their luck again at home against the Scarlet Knights. But UCF probably doesn’t need much luck against a pretty sub par Rutgers team. UCF however definitely needed luck against Temple (an awful team). Anything can happen. A loss would help Louisville in the polls and put pressure on the Knights in their final two games to hang on to their BCS bid.
Northwestern vs. #13 Michigan State: If there is a team who has had a more dramatic slide in college football than Northwestern I am not aware of it. The Wildcats have lost 6 games in a row since hosting ESPN’s College Game Day against Ohio State. Michigan State is a good team with an excellent defense. Northwestern must win their next two games to become bowl eligible & the Spartans can clinch the Big Ten Legends division with a win.
Kansas State vs. #20 Oklahoma: The Sooners are directly in front of the Cards and will be facing a red-hot K-State team who has won 4 in a row after losing 3 in a row to the top tier of the Big 12. The Wildcats are more than capable of knocking off the Sooners and it would help tremendously in moving up the poll.
#4 Baylor vs. #10 Oklahoma St: Baylor is really good. I’ve said all year I thought Oklahoma State is over-rated. This is the week to get validated. OSU (I believe) should be blown out of this game and a big loss might be enough to get the Cards past the Cowboys. It will be close. The good news is that OK State still has Oklahoma at the end of the year.
#12 Texas A&M vs. #22 LSU: Potentially Louisville could win either way here. The Cards are ahead of the LSU in the BCS but the Tigers are stealing votes in the human polls and spots in the computers. If LSU beats A&M, that could also help, but they would likely just swap places. It’s best for A&M to win this game as they still must play Missouri next week.
#25 Minnesota vs. #19 Wisconsin: The Gophers have been outstanding this season and they have a good chance here. Minnesota dropped two games in a row to teams they really should have beaten during some turmoil over the health of their head coach Jerry Kill. It is possible that these teams would just trade places in the poll but Wisconsin has an easier opponent next week (Penn State) and Minnesota must face Michigan State. Getting Wisconsin & Michigan State losses would do a lot in ensuring the the Big Ten is a one-bid league.
#14 UCLA vs. #17 Arizona State: This is really set-up to be an outstanding football game. For all intents & purposes this game is to take the driver’s seat in the PAC-12 South. USC still can make a play, but UCLA can flip the whole division with a win Saturday. The computers LOVE Arizona State, but both teams have solid positions over the Cards. Arizona State gets Arizona next week and should be favored over their rival, while UCLA gets USC. Go Bruins this week.
#8 Missouri @ #24 Ole Miss: Arguments could be made either way. But if Missouri beats Ole Miss the Cards should be able to make up quite a bit of ground in the computers while if Ole Miss beat the Tigers the Rebels would definitely jump the Cards & Mizzou probably wouldn’t drop enough. The SEC is a one bid league but UofL has positions they need to gain.
Iowa vs. Michigan: Somehow Michigan still has a handful of CPUs over the Cards. Iowa can change that.
Notre Dame vs. BYU: Either Way Louisville benefits, but I think the Cards would be best served by hoping for a ND win because next week BYU has Nevada, while the Irish have Stanford.
Indiana @ #3 Ohio State: Indiana isn’t beating Ohio State but it sure would be fun to watch.
Colorado vs. #23 USC: Colorado isn’t beating the Trojans, but USC is back into the Top 25 picture and has a shot to play their way into the PAC 12 Title Game. Colorado can re-claim some of the territory for the Cards…..but that isn’t a likely scenario.
Kentucky @ Georgia: As bad as Louisville’s schedule has been, Kentucky has been a worse football team. The Cards have needed some help from their opponents and UK has made sure to give none with just 2 wins. One against the worst team in FBS, and a FCS school. Georgia is likely mentally exhausted, but they will probably sleepwalk through this game.
Penn State vs. Nebraska: The Nittany Lions are not a bad football team. Neither is Nebraska but the Cornhuskers are ahead of the Cards in the Massey Ratings, so they need a loss.
Wake Forest vs. Duke: The Blue Devils are creeping up the rankings and hold several key computer rankings over Louisville. Wake isn’t awful…..but they’ve dropped three in a row and need to win their final two game to make a bowl.
Virginia @ Miami (FL): Virginia on paper doesn’t have a chance in this game, but they are going to be facing a downtrodden Miami team that has gone from a Top 10 ranking to out of the polls following 3 straight losses.
Arizona @ #5 Oregon: The Wildcats have just one above average win on the season (Utah) and lost to a pretty substandard Washington State team last week. Don’t expect to be surprised in this one.
Washington @ Oregon State: Both of these teams are solid, but only hold a computer ranking over the Cards (Massey for both teams). Louisville benefits either way but the Huskies are the highest rated and Oregon State still has to catch Oregon.
Roadmap to the BCS
Really isn’t something to get overly concerned about without a loss to UCF. Central Florida really needs to lose twice for the Cards to have their best chance at a BCS Bowl. An at-large berth seems extremely unlikely at this point as a result of Falling in the Polls after wins repeatedly throughout the season. It’s become cool to ‘dis’ the Cards.
But for fun, let’s say that Alabama, Florida State, Ohio State, Baylor, UCF and Oregon win their league. There would be 4 at-large berths available and the following scenario would need to play out almost exactly:
1) Northern Illinois & Fresno State must lose. NIU could go down tonight, but Fresno isn’t likely to lose until 11/29 against SJSU or the Mountain West Championship game. One loss from either team puts them out of the picture.
2) The SEC will get just 2 teams based on the guidelines of the BCS. Alabama is in the driver’s seat for the National Championship game and that leaves just one spot for: Auburn, Missouri, South Carolina, Texas A&M, LSU, and Ole Miss. Who gets into position does really matter, but what does matter is that 7 of the Top 25 in the BCS are from the SEC and they can only claim two spots. The Cards can gain position in the polls with losses from Ole Miss, LSU, A&M, and South Carolina but in the end that doesn’t really factor. Louisville just needs to get in front of the eligible teams that the BCS can select from.
3) Michigan State, Minnesota, & Wisconsin are all 3 coming up the rankings. Give BCS officials a reason to validate the Big Ten conference and that league will get two bids. So Michigan State needs to lose to Northwestern, Wisconsin needs to lose to Minnesota, and Minnesota needs to lose to Michigan State. Solves everything.
4) Clemson could help out if they lose to South Carolina in two weeks and making the ACC a single bid lead.
5) The Pac-12 is complicated. Stanford is likely in unless they drop a shocker and is out of the PAC-North competition unless Oregon drops a game unexpectedly. The PAC is a 2-bid league from the North Division, but the South: UCLA, USC, Arizona State could really turn things on their head and leave either Oregon or Stanford out if the South representative can win the championship and go to the Rose Bowl.
6) Oklahoma State & Oklahoma are the last two pieces of the puzzle. OK St has Baylor & OU, OU has the Cowboys and K-State. Losses need to happen to both of these schools.