The Week 12 BCS standings were released Sunday, and it has cleared up a bit of the picture of who will be playing for the crystal football in early January. There are still four weeks of games left on most schedules – and considering what college football fans have endured thus far this year, the season is far from over.
A lot of notable movement occurred at the top of the standings. The Oregon Ducks were set to fly by Florida State into the No. 2 slot once again, but the Ducks were utterly manhandled for three quarters against the now-No. 4 Cardinal. Despite a late surge and comeback by Oregon, Stanford handed the Ducks their first loss of the season, 26-20.
It marks the second straight year that Stanford has ruined a perfect season for the Ducks with their physical, game-controlling game plan. The Cardinal defense took on the task of stopping Oregon’s offense and prevailed with flying colors.
The Ducks were averaging more than 55 points per game coming into the contest but were unable to get into any sort of rhythm — they didn’t didn’t record single point on the board until 10:11 left in the fourth quarter. It was the first time Oregon had been held scoreless at half in 55 games, dating back to 2009 at UCLA.
The best defense was their offense. The Cardinal ran 66 times for 274 yards and held the ball for 42-½ minutes, riding behind Tyler Gaffney’s 157 yards and a touchdown, off of a team record 45 carries.
Stanford now is in front of the Ducks in the Pac-12 North and has the inside track toward a Rose Bowl berth. And, if they are lucky, the Cardinal will be the first one-loss team from the Pac-12 to be considered for a national title game if things were to get weird over the next few weeks.
The Alabama Crimson Tide still reign supreme atop the standings, after a punishing 31-17 victory over No. 13 LSU. The Tigers had won five of the last six meetings in Tuscaloosa and were trailing by just a field goal at half time on Saturday. After that, the two-time defending champs dominated. Even Nick Saban commented on how he felt the final 30 minutes of the game was the best his team has played all season.
AJ McCarron threw three touchdown passes and T.J. Yeldon added 133 yards and two scores on the ground, as the champs brushed aside its first challenge since Game 2 of the season against Johnny Manziel and the Texas A&M Aggies. McCarron also overtook John Parker, to become the all-time leading passer in the Crimson Tide record books.
Bama has two more tests before the season ends however, which includes a trip to No. 7 Auburn, in the Iron Bowl, and, presumably, a meeting with the SEC East champion in the conference playoff, to secure the NCG spot.
Sitting behind the champs at No. 2 is Florida State. The Seminoles, who destroyed Wake Forest 59-3 on Saturday, are the eponymous front-runner to a BCS title game match-up with the Tide – with a big thanks to Stanford for knocking off the Ducks – and control their own destiny to Pasadena if they win out. The remaining schedule, though, presents few obstacles, with a struggling Florida team – who seems to have mailed it in for this year – and whatever sacrificial lamb the Coastal Division inserts into the ACC championship game.
The Noles defense forced seven turnovers against the Demon Deacons and allowed a mere 166 total yards. Despite a quiet performance by Jameis Winston, they were still able to dominate and come out on top with the play of their defense and the diverse looks they give out of the backfield. Their composure and poise during games have been comparable to the champs and that is why they are clearly the No. 2 team in the country at this point.
Ohio State climbs to No. 3 this week — but will still be looking for help around the country, because it looks like the 1-2 spots are there to stay as long as they keep winning. They only have one meaningful game left — against Michigan in the season finale — and it wont be enough to push them past an explosive FSU team.
It isn’t that the Buckeyes aren’t good enough; they just don’t have the numbers to show it. They have been undefeated for almost two straight seasons under Urban Meyer, but with a weak schedule, they find their undefeated run unimpressive when matched up with the dominance of both Bama and Florida State have displayed.
Lastly, the Baylor Bears continue their undefeated season, as well, after a 41-12 demolishing of No. 10 Oklahoma. The Bears are 8-0 for the first time and extend a school-record winning streak to 12 games. Both teams started off slow on offense, but Baylor got things started quickly in the second half, after putting up 14 points in the final two minutes of the first half.
Bryce Petty threw for three touchdowns and ran for two more, while third-string running back Shock Linwood ran for 182 yards. They were also able to display the potency of the Bear defense, holding the Sooner offense to just 237 total yards and forcing two turnovers.
It was their first rest of the season and they still find themselves undefeated and climbing in the polls. They get a chance to increase their resume strength over the next few weeks with matchups against Texas Tech, No. 12 Oklahoma State and No. 24 Texas.
November is the month “the contenders are separated from the pretenders.” Stay tuned to FishDuck.com for the latest Duck news — almost as it happens.
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