It has been three years now since Pac-12 team has played in the BCS Championship Game and nearly a decade since a Pac-12 team has won one but, as the recent usual, Stanford and Oregon are still very much in the national title hunt well into November. But much like last year, the Cardinal has saddled themselves with an earlier upset and the Ducks have saddled themselves with a loss to Stanford.
With the season winding down, we thought it would be a good idea to consistently outline who the Ducks and Cardinals roadblocks, and potential roadblocks are for them getting into the BCS Championship Game and how they might stay, or get out of the way. We will also break down the two Pac-12 teams' résumés week-by-week.
Undefeated, and in the driver's seat
Remaining games: at Mississippi State, Chattanooga, at Auburn, *SEC Championship Game
What needs to happen for Pac-12 teams to jump them? With their clout and strong résumé the Crimson Tide would probably have to lose two games to get passed up by a Pac-12 team. With their schedule, unless they suffer a colossal upset at Mississippi State, this means they would probably have to lose at Auburn and have Auburn lose to Georgia, which would put Alabama in the SEC Championship Game and then have Alabama lose there.
Chances this happens? Very, very unlikely since they probably have to lose two and even if they lose to Auburn, that probably means that the Tigers go to the SEC Championship and not them, leaving them stuck at only one loss which I still think would leave them ranked higher than a one-loss Stanford or Oregon.
Florida State 9-0
Remaining games: Syracuse, Idaho, at Florida, ACC Championship Game
What needs to happen for Pac-12 teams to jump them? With the fall of Miami and Florida, I think the Seminoles' résumé would weaker than that of Stanford or Oregon if the Seminoles lose a game and the Cardinal and/or Ducks win out so the good news is that they probably only need to slip up once. It's possible that they could stay on top of them with a loss, but I wouldn't bet on it with the weakness of the ACC.
Chances this happens? Not likely, but keep in mind that the Seminoles have developed a well-earned reputation for always losing a game that they shouldn't that trips them up in their national title chase and that Jameis Winston was just embroiled in a controversy that could cause them distraction. Keep an eye out on their rivalry game against a battered Florida team as it's the kind of game where a lot of the time records are thrown out the window and it's in The Swamp.
Undefeated, but needs help
Ohio State 9-0
Remaining games: at Illinois, Indiana, at Michigan, *Big Ten Championship Game
What needs to happen for Pac-12 teams to jump them? The Buckeyes have a very flimsy résumé with how weak the Big Ten is this year so one loss will plummet them down the rankings past Stanford and/or Oregon and I wouldn't even be shocked if Stanford could pass them with one loss if enough of the Pac-12 teams they end up beating finish with good stock.
Chances this happens? Not likely, but possible. The Buckeyes' only potentially challenging regular season game is at Michigan in the rivalry games of all rivalry games, but keep in mind that the Wolverines are falling apart right now and even though Michigan State is tough, they are very limited offensively and the Buckeyes would be favored in the game.
Remaining games: Texas Tech (Arlington, TX), at Oklahoma State, at TCU, Texas
What needs to happen for Pac-12 teams to jump them? The Bears are actually behind the Cardinal right now even though they are undefeated and the Cardinal have a loss, but I think that would change if they finish the season undefeated, so the Ducks and Cardinal probably need them to lose a game.
Chances this happens? Good, especially with the injuries that the Bears are now battling. The Bears' schedule is very back-loaded and while I think they are very good, I have a hard time seeing them running the table in their final gauntlet. I could easily see them losing at Oklahoma State and then getting upset in another one of their games.
One-loss teams that could jump Pac-12 teams
Remaining games: Georgia, Alabama, *SEC Championship Game
What needs to happen for Pac-12 teams to stay ahead of them? The Tigers would jump the Cardinal and the Ducks if they win out, so they need the Tigers to drop one of their remaining games.
Chances this happens? Good, the Tigers are much improved, but I just don't see them beating Alabama this year and even though Georgia is beaten up, I still think they could easily come into Auburn and pull off an upset.
Remaining games: at Mississippi, Texas A&M, *SEC Championship Game
What needs to happen for Pac-12 teams to stay ahead of them? The other SEC Tigers would also jump the Pac-12 teams if they win out so they need to lose a game.
Chances this happens? Very likely, I just don't have a ton of faith in the Tigers and if they can survive a road trip to Oxford this week, I still don't see them beating Texas A&M at home and then beating probably Alabama in the SEC Championship Game.
Remaining games: Georgia Tech, Citadel, at South Carolina
What needs to happen for Pac-12 teams to stay ahead of them? The Pac-12 teams are probably safe from Clemson with the softness of the ACC and their blowout loss to Florida State as long as they win out, but a closing win over South Carolina could really boost their stock, so Stanford and Oregon should hope that they lose that game.
Chances this happens? Good, I would bet that Stanford and Oregon hold off Clemson even if the Tigers win out.
Oklahoma State 8-1
Remaining games: at Texas, Baylor, Oklahoma
What needs to happen for Pac-12 teams to stay ahead of them? Just like Clemson, I think Stanford and Oregon can hold off the Cowboys as long as they win out, but it would be close as the Cowboys close with three résumé-boosting games so it would be helpful if they lost one of those.
Chances this happens? Good, the Cowboys close with three tough games, so I really doubt that they run the table.