A great man once said, “Son, when you participate in sporting events, it’s not whether you win or lose, it is how drunk you get.”
Actually, that great man is Homer Simpson, and his philosophy unfortunately doesn’t ring true for the duration of the college football season, especially for those teams sitting atop the Top Five in the BCS race. With only three undefeated teams left in the nation (BYU, Miami and Nebraska) and two in the hunt for the Rose Bowl, a loss by any of the Top Five could very well end any chances of making this year’s national-championship game.
Here is a look at how the Top Five stand.
1. Nebraska: Games Left: at No. 16 Colorado. Winning out (including the Big XII title game) puts them in the Rose Bowl, which is easier said than done. The Cornhuskers have a week off before a big Friday night game on Nov. 23 against the Buffaloes. Nebraska really wasn’t impressive last week, coming from behind against a lackluster Kansas State team. You always have to consider the Wildcats to give the Huskers a good game, however. Still, a loss against the Buffs knocks them out of the Big XII title game and the Rose Bowl and likely into the Cotton Bowl .
2. Miami: Games Left: No. 13 Syracuse, No. 14 Washington, at No. 17 Virginia Tech. Despite playing three ranked teams, Miami has arguably the smoothest path to the Rose Bowl. The Canes have home games against Washington, who was embarrassed by Oregon State last weekend, and faces a Virginia Tech team that bounced back from its two consecutive losses to beat lowly Temple a week ago. The Orangemen this weekend will be a huge test, but the Hurricanes have home field to their advantage. This week will show whether or not last week’s near-loss to a William Green-less Boston College team was merely a fluke. Winning out means a trip to Pasadena.
3. Oklahoma: Games Left: at Texas Tech, Oklahoma State. It would be easy to say that the Sooners have the most favorable schedule of the five teams, but don’t forget about the Big XII title game and a possible rematch with Nebraska. Playing at Texas Tech is not an easy win — just ask Texas A&M and K-State. Red Raider quarterback Kliff Kingsbury is having a remarkable season, and a high-scoring game this weekend could spell doom for the defending national champs, putting Texas into the conference title game.
4. Oregon: Games Left: Oregon State. The Beavers have an outside chance at the Rose Bowl, especially with Florida so close behind in the BCS standings. They need every team ahead of them to lose one regular-season game and need to beat the Beavers on Dec. 1. Though Oregon State has had a poor season, the Civil War will be anything but a cakewalk for Oregon. A win against the Beavers, however, would send the Ducks to the Fiesta Bowl as Pac-10 champs.
5. Florida: Games Left: No. 20 Florida State, No. 6 Tennessee. The Gators could very well be the hottest team in America, but they have the hardest schedule remaining of the Top Five. Despite losing to N.C. State last week, the Seminoles will not relent against in-state rival Florida. And the much-anticipated Dec. 1 match-up between the Vols and the Gators could be the game of the year. A win this weekend will very likely result in the Gators leapfrogging the Ducks to the No. 4 spot. Florida has to win out, and Miami needs to lose once. And if Nebraska defeats Oklahoma in the Big XII title game, expect a Gator-Husker national title game — a very possible scenario.