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The unbeaten: Contenders, pretenders, BCS busters
At this point in the season, it looks as if the rest of the country is competing to be the team that plays No. 1 Alabama for the BCS championship in January.
The mere suggestion of that is probably enough to make Nick Saban’s head explode, but between the way the Crimson Tide has played and what’s left on its schedule you have to like Alabama’s chances.
There are 13 other undefeated teams in major college football after a sort’em out weekend in which seven teams took their first loss. As many as eight teams could finish the season unbeaten. That’d make for one big BCS mess, but the odds are it will be far fewer.
So it’s a good time to sort through the contenders and figure out which ones have the best chance to either play Alabama in Miami _ or keep the Tide from getting there.
MIAMI OR BUST
_No. 2 Oregon (6-0)
So far: The Ducks haven’t been challenged yet after facing a weak nonconference schedule and playing only one game away from Autzen Stadium. Coach Chip Kelly’s team is outscoring opponents by 32.
Key remaining games: at No. 11 USC (Nov. 3); No. 17 Stanford (Nov. 17); at No. 10 Oregon State (Nov. 24).
Forecast: That’s a tough road, especially if the Ducks have to play the Trojans again in the Pac-12 title game, but this might be Kelly’s best team yet.
_No. 7 Notre Dame (5-0)
So far: LB Manti Te’o and the Fighting Irish have allowed three touchdowns, fewest in the nation, and while they haven’t faced another elite team, they have faced a bunch of solid ones.
Key remaining games: No. 17 Stanford (Oct. 13); at No. 13 Oklahoma (Oct. 27); at No. 11 USC (Nov. 24).
Forecast: It’s hard to imagine the Irish staying undefeated against that schedule, but if they do they’ll have as good a resume as any team in the country.
By Bob Dole
The industrious island has proved itself worthy of U.S. inclusion
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