[The following text appears within a chart. Please see hardcopy or PDF for actual chart]
This is an article from the Oct. 22, 2012 issue
< Low | Ability | High >
< Hard | Circumstances | Easy >
FLORIDA: The Gators are a pleasant surprise, but they must beat South Carolina and Georgia to win the SEC East. Then they have to beat Florida State in Tallahassee to get to the Tide. They have the chops, though, to pull it off.
LSU: The Tigers control their own destiny, but they'll have to beat Alabama on Nov. 3 if they hope to win the SEC West. If they do, they'll probably meet Florida or South Carolina for the SEC championship and a return trip to the BCS title game.
FLORIDA STATE: The Seminoles have to beat Florida, win the ACC title game and pray that voters forget the game they gagged away to N.C. State. Losing early, however, has its advantages, especially with a potential impact victory (Gators) ahead.
SOUTH CAROLINA: The Gamecocks have to beat Florida on the road, then win at Clemson to get their shot. Like the Tide, they control the ball with the run and force turnovers. Against Alabama, the image in the mirror would be bigger and faster.
OREGON: The Ducks are the class of the Pac-12, but they'll have to win at USC, at Oregon State and then likely beat USC again in the Pac-12 title game. They would have a chance in a showdown, but 'Bama's speedy D would turn the gaping holes Oregon is used to into tiny crevices.
KANSAS STATE, NOTRE DAME: The Wildcats and the Irish are in similar spots. K-State has to beat West Virginia, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State and TCU—in consecutive weeks. Notre Dame must beat Oklahoma and USC.
OKLAHOMA: The Sooners need two losses by Kansas State to win the Big 12, but if Oklahoma wins out, its résumé could be the strongest of the one-loss teams.
WEST VIRGINIA: The Mountaineers could win the Big 12 by winning out, but they'll have to beat Kansas State and Oklahoma—and, their Heisman-worthy quarterback notwithstanding, what chance do they really stand with that defense?