If the season were to end today, LSU would face Kansas for the national championship, and most people would have no problem with that. After all, Kansas is the only legitimate undefeated team (sorry Hawaii, but your signature victory this year over 6-4 Fresno State doesn't do it for me) and LSU is the strongest of the once-beaten squads. However, odds are pretty good that Kansas will trip up either against Missouri or in the Big XII title game, leaving the BCS door wide open again.
Let's entertain the possibility of one or both of the top two teams losing a game in the next couple of weeks. Who would replace them in the championship picture?
1) Missouri (10-1): I could live with this. If the Tigers defeat Kansas and win the Big XII title, it would be hard to discredit their accomplishments. Of course, a Missouri-LSU championship game would be awfully confusing ... Tigers, Tigers everywhere!
2) West Virginia (9-1): If the Mountaineers advance to the title game, with a nonconference schedule consisting of Western Michigan, Marshall, Maryland, East Carolina, and Mississippi State, this would only further bolster my argument from earlier this year. How could this team be ranked ahead of Ohio State or Arizona State? Granted, I'm not impressed with these two teams' out-of-conference schedules, either, but at least their in-conference schedule isn't laughable. I don't care how many Big East teams were ranked at some point this year ... this conference isn't very good. The Top 25 has been a revolving door, anyway. The entire Big East conference has been padding its record and reputation by playing mediocre out-of-conference games, and the media is rewarding them for it. It's thinking like that of Jason Whitlock, who said at the beginning of last year that he was ranking West Virginia #1 because they were the most likely to run the table, that makes the current system so defective.
West Virginia needs to be the sacrificial lamb that saves college football. Vote them out, fellas.
3) Ohio State (11-1): The Big Ten isn't that strong this year, but the Buckeyes almost ran the gauntlet, losing narrowly to a very strong Illinois squad. However, it is unlikely West Virginia will lose to Connecticut or Pittsburgh, so the Buckeyes may have to settle for the Rose Bowl.
4) Arizona State (10-1): The Sun Devils have a huge game against Southern California coming up. Victory over the Trojans might give this program a lift in the polls. ASU was leading WVU in the computer rankings going into this week, so if they could narrow the game in the polls, they might leapfrog the Mountaineers.
Of the four major contenders to supplant LSU or Kansas, three of them would qualify as legitimate, but it is the illegitimate contender who has the best shot at New Orleans. Once again, the BCS is starting to smell rotten as we approach December.