College Football National Championship Scenarios: Who Still Has A Chance?


Now that the “Game of the Century” between LSU and Alabama is over, we are beginning to gain a clearer picture on who is still competing for a chance to play in the National Championship in January and what these teams will need to make this happen.  Below you will see that I have ranked the top ten teams who still have a chance with three games remaining.  It is still a very tight race and as you will see it will come down to the final game for most teams.  I currently have four teams who I consider to have the best chance.  These four have yet to lose a game, have beat some formidable opponents and if they can win their remaining three games they should, in my opinion, be the only teams who are given consideration.  I have also ranked six teams who are currently on the bubble but who have the opportunity to make things very interesting if they can win their remaining games- some of which come against teams who are currently undefeated.  If any of these bubble teams can defeat the undefeated, we will be in for a very exciting finale to 2011 college football the season.


If these teams win their remaining games they should be the only teams that are in consideration for the National Championship.  The only exception might be Boise State, a team the BCS might view as only being undefeated due to an inferior schedule in comparison to other teams, regardless of record.

(1) LSU

Overall: 9-0

Remaining Games:  W. Kentucky, @Mississippi, Arkansas

Most Difficult Game: vs. Arkansas on November 25

LSU has a very realistic chance of finishing their season 12-0.  They should have no problem putting themselves in position to do so entering their final weekend when they will face a very tough eighth ranked Arkansas.  That final game could prove to have major National Championship implications for both teams if neither TEAM loses a game between now and then.  LSU has the best chance of reaching the National Championship after beating both Oregon and Alabama.  However, if they have a misstep in their final game it could prove costly.

(2) Oklahoma State

Overall: 9-0

Remaining Games: @Texas Tech, @Iowa State, Oklahoma

Most Difficult Game: vs. Oklahoma December 3

This is a very good football team with a very real chance of playing in the National Championship in January.  And like LSU, Oklahoma State’s fate will be decided when they meet seventh ranked Oklahoma in the season’s final weekend.  This will be a really good game featuring two rivals who both still have a chance to play for the National Championship.

(3) Stanford

Overall: 9-0

Remaining Games: Oregon, California, Notre Dame

Most Difficult Game: vs. Oregon November 12

Stanford has by far the hardest remaining schedule of the current undefeated teams.  They will play a very good Oregon team this weekend whose only losS came in week one against LSU.  Stanford will also play two teams who have underachieved for most of the year, but who have both shown the ability to play with and beat some of the nations top ranked teams.  California is always a difficult match for Stanford and Notre Dame is playing better of late and they will be looking to position themselves for a prime time bowl game during that final weekend.

(4) Boise State

Overall: 8-0

Remaining Games: TCU, @San Diego State, Wyoming, New Mexico

Most Difficult Game: TCU November 12

If Boise can beat TCU this weekend they should have no problem finishing out the year 12-0.  If they do manage to complete a perfect season they could make things very interesting for the BCS and how they recognize Boise’s strength of schedule.  If LSU and Boise State are the only two teams who go undefeated, I am curious to see if the BCS will give Boise the opportunity to play in the title game over other teams like Alabama, who could finish with only one loss.


These six teams will need to win their remaining games and/or receive help from other teams who defeat the elite four.

(5) Alabama

Overall: 8-1 (Lost to LSU)

Remaining Games: @Mississippi State, Georgia Southern, @Auburn

Most Difficult Game: @Auburn November 26

If They Win Out: Will have only lost to number one ranked LSU

(6) Oregon

Overall: 8-1 (Lost to LSU)

Remaining Games: @Stanford, USC, Oregon State

Most Difficult Game: @Stanford

If They Win Out: Will have only lost to number one ranked LSU, but would have beaten undefeated Stanford.


Overall: 8-1

Remaining Games: Tennessee, Mississippi State, @LSU

Most Difficult Game: @LSU November 25

If They Win Out: Will have only lost to Alabama, but would have beaten undefeated LSU

(8) Oklahoma

Overall: 8-1

Remaining Games: @Baylor, Iowa State, @Oklahoma State

Most Difficult Game: @Oklahoma State

If They Win Out: Their only loss came against unranked Texas Tech which will hurt their chance’s, however they will have beaten undefeated Oklahoma State which will force them to be given strong consideration; depending on how other teams finish out.

(9) Penn State

Overall: 8-1

Remaining Games: Nebraska, @Ohio State, @Wisconsin

Most Difficult Game: @Wisconsin November 26

If They Win Out: Will have only lost to Alabama, but they would have beaten some very good opponents coming down the stretch.

(10) Houston

Overall: 9-0

Remaining Games: @Tulane, SMU, @Tulsa

Most Difficult Game: @Tulsa November 25

If They Win Out: Houston should have no problem finishing their season 12-0.  Any time a team in able to complete a perfect season, no matter what conference they play in, they need to receive consideration for the National Championship.  However, even if they do complete this feat I can’t foresee them being considered over teams who will finish with a single loss.  Houston’s strength of schedule is just to weak for them to be placed in the title game.

Notables: Clemson (8-1), Virginia Tech (8-1)