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BCS round up: The schedule the rest of the way


With November upon us, it’s time for the speculation about the BCS standings to shift into full gear.

The latest rankings have Florida State moving into No. 2 behind Alabama, but that position seems pretty shaky at the moment.

That’s because it all depends on how the schedule shakes out. Here’s a look at the schedules for the prime BCS contenders the rest of the way:

No. 1 Alabama: No. 13 LSU (7-2), at Mississippi State (4-4), Chattanooga (FCS 7-2), at No. 9 Auburn (8-1), SEC title game (possibly).

The schedule will keep Alabama firmly in the No. 1 spot if it wins out. Even an absurd scheduling of an FCS team in week 13 of the season won’t matter much. Can the Tide rebound in time if it loses to LSU on Saturday? Possibly, but it would need Auburn to keep winning, then it would have to beat the Tigers and hope its foe in the SEC title game was an 11-1 Missouri team. A win in that game would be enough to save Alabama’s quest for a third title if there was only one other undefeated team left.

No. 2 Florida State: at Wake Forest (4-5), Syracuse (4-4), Idaho (1-8), at Florida (4-4), ACC title game (possibly).

The Seminoles may have reached their high water mark with their big win over then-No. 7 Miami. The combined win-loss record of their remaining foes is 13-17 and their likely matchup in the ACC title game with, say, Miami or Virginia Tech wouldn’t impress the computers or the pollsters that much. It looks like FSU needs Oregon to lose to get the BCS title game berth.

No. 3 Oregon: at No. 5 Stanford (7-1), Utah (4-4), at Arizona (6-2), Oregon State (6-3), Pac-12 title game (possibly).

Oregon’s remaining opponents have a combined record of 23-10 and then it would likely play a ranked UCLA or Arizona State team in the Pac-12 title game. Simply put, if the Ducks win out, they’ll finish either first or second in the BCS rankings and make it to the title game for the second time in their history. It’s unlikely that Oregon could rebound from a loss to Stanford in time to leapfrog other teams, unless a bunch of teams screw up — always a possibility in college football.

No. 4 Ohio State: at Illinois (3-5), Indiana (3-5), Michigan (6-2), Big Ten title game (possibly).

Ohio State is playing at a very high level, but its schedule continues to hold it back. It didn’t help that Michigan lost to Michigan State over the weekend and it’s possible the Wolverines could lose a couple more times before the big game against the Buckeyes. Because of the weakness of the Big Ten, OSU could very well win 25 in a row and not make it to the BCS title game. Of course, maybe the reason it could get to 25-straight is because the Big Ten is so weak.

No. 5 Stanford: No. 2 Oregon (8-0), at USC (6-3), California (1-8), No. 23 Notre Dame (7-2), Pac-12 title game (possibly).

It seems like an iffy proposition for Stanford to grind its way into the title game, but since it is the highest-ranked one-loss team, it makes sense to gauge the possibility. Obviously, the Cardinal would make a huge jump with a win over Oregon and beating an improving USC team and Notre Dame would also help. But it seems highly improbable that it would be able to jump an undefeated FSU, Ohio State or Baylor team with a win in the Pac-12 title game. The Cardinal needs all three of those teams to lose a game.

No. 6 Baylor: No. 10 Oklahoma (7-1), No. 25 Texas Tech (7-2), at No. 14 Oklahoma State (7-1), at TCU (3-6), Texas (6-2).

If Baylor is going to make a miracle run to the BCS title game, it will have earned it by getting through a really tough November gauntlet. Its next three opponents are all ranked and have a combined 21-4 record. A win against the suddenly-lifelike Longhorns would serve as a de facto conference championship game for a league that is at a bit of a BCS disadvantage by not having one. I think an undefeated Baylor would jump an undefeated Ohio State. I don’t think it would jump FSU and definitely not Oregon or Alabama. The Bears need some help if they are going to get to Pasadena.

No. 9 Auburn: at Tennessee (4-5), Georgia (5-3), No. 1 Alabama (8-0), SEC title game (possibly).

Auburn would need a slew of miracles to happen for it to get to the title game for the second time in four seasons. Obviously, it must win out. But it would also need Stanford to beat Oregon and for FSU to lose to Florida or in the ACC title game. Baylor and Ohio State would also have to lose. Sounds easy right?

If history has taught us one thing, it’s that college football and the BCS process is never predictable. This time next week, we’ll probably have a completely different calculus. For now, this is the best we’ve got.

Stanford hands keys to offense to QB Keller Chryst

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 30:  Quarterback Keller Chryst #10 of the Stanford Cardinal looks downfield to pass against the Washington Huskies on September 30, 2016 at Husky Stadium in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
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With things not going anywhere close according to plan this season, Stanford head coach David Shaw is in need of a change. This week that change will come at quarterback, where Keller Chryst will get a chance to start his first game with the Cardinal. Chryst will replace Ryan Burns, who has been picked off seven times this season.

”I hate to get to this point,” Shaw said. ”But it’s the best thing for this offense. We need more production at that position. It’s our challenge to support Keller.”

Chryst has attempted 18 passes this season, completing seven for 63 yards with one interception. He has also rushed 11 times for 11 yards.

Stanford’s offensive woes are not to rest squarely on the shoulders of Burns, but one of the biggest ways to spark a struggling offense is to change the quarterback. Shaw hopes this change will turn things around before things get too much worse this season. Stanford’s offensive numbers are down much more than anyone would have expected this season. The Cardinal are averaging just 17.0 points per game and 299.1 yards per game. Stanford has reached the end zone on offense just 10 times. Oklahoma and Texas Tech combined for 17 touchdowns on Saturday.

”I’ve been working with both all year and they’re both great people,” Stanford wide receiver Trent Irwin said. ”Sometimes you just need a change. We’ll see where it goes and have fun with it.”

Stanford takes on Arizona in Tucson this Saturday night.

Mizzou loses LB Mike Scherer and DL Terry Beckner Jr. to torn ACL injuries

COLUMBIA, SC - SEPTEMBER 27:   Tailback Mike Davis #28 of the South Carolina Gamecocks tries to outrun linebacker Michael Scherer #30 of the Missouri Tigers during the second quarter on September 27, 2014 at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, South Carolina.  (Photo by Todd Bennett/GettyImages)
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Missouri’s defensive depth just got hit with a serious injury big. Missouri head coach Barry Odom announced today linebacker Mike Scherer and defensive lineman Terry Beckner Jr. have been lost for the rest of the season due to ACL injuries.

“It rips my heart out that he’s done everything he’s done and it ends for him with that injury,” Odom said when reflecting on the injury to Scherer. The senior also suffered a torn MCL in addition to the ACL injury. Scherer’s season comes to an end after leading the Tiger sin tackles this season.

This is the second season in a row Beckner has injured his ACL. Beckner tore his ACL and MCL last November, but the latest injury was to the opposite knee.

While Scherer will be forced to call it a career, Odom said Beckner will most likely be able to make a return to the team in 2017. It is just a matter of when he will be able to rejoin the team, as his rehab would likely linger into the winter and spring months. As noted by Dave Matter of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Beckner did not miss any preseason camp activities this year.

There was some positive injury news for report from Missouri. Defensive back John Gibson and safety Thomas Wilson each returned to practice on Tuesday after having a strained knee and taking a hit that required a concussion test, respectively. Wilson was not diagnosed with a concussion, allowing him to return to practice.

Navy QB Tago Smith denied extra year of eligibility by Naval Academy

ANNAPOLIS, MD - SEPTEMBER 03:  Quarterback Tago Smith #2 of the Navy Midshipmen celebrates after rushing for a first quarter touchdown against the Fordham Rams at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium on September 3, 2016 in Annapolis, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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It was considered a bit of a long shot for Navy quarterback Tago Smith to receive an extra year of eligibility from the Naval Academy, but today it became official. Smith was denied an extra year of eligibility by the academy, meaning his college football career is over.

Smith suffered a season-ending knee injury in the first game of the season. Had this been almost any other college football program, Smith would have had little problem filing the paperwork to the NCAA to apply for an extra year of eligibility given the circumstances. Things work differently in the service academies, however, and Smith needed to get approval from Vice Admiral Walter Carter, the superintendent of the Naval Academy. After reviewing the situation, Carter’s decision was made, and it was not what Smith had probably hoped.

“The mission of the Naval Academy is to graduate officers for the Navy and the Marine Corps,” Commander David McKinney said in a statement to The Capital Gazette. “This is a four-year academic institution and midshipmen are expected to graduate in that period of time unless the superintendent determines there is a significant reason why they cannot do so.

“Vice Admiral Carter looked at this particular situation and decided that is not the case with Midshipman Smith. While we are sympathetic to Tago’s athletic career, we aren’t an institution that exists to develop professional athletes, we exist to develop leaders.”

Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo could not help but feel for Smith upon learning of the decision. After backing up Keenan Reynolds for three years, Smith’s time as starter could not even last one full game this season.

“I would have loved for Tago to have the opportunity to come back, but I have to support the superintendent’s decision,” Niumatalolo said. “I just feel really bad for the kid. Tago has worked so hard and it’s heartbreaking to see his career end this way.”

Helmet sticker to The Capital Gazette.

Herm Edwards visits Illini to give pep talk

OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 30: Head coach Herm Edwards of the Kansas City Chiefs looks on against the Oakland Raiders during an NFL game on November 30, 2008 at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images
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Former NFL head coach and current ESPN analyst Herm Edwards paid a visit to another former NFL coach on Tuesday. Edwards was in Champaign to visit Lovie Smith and his Illinois football program. While there, Edwards was scheduled to give the Illini a good old-fashioned pep talk. He’s good at that.

This is a reminder that the NFL coaching fraternity remains a strong bond over the years. Smith and Edwards were never a part of the same coaching staff in the NFL, but the two have remained friends over the years. Smith having these types of connections should be exploited at every opportunity to help promote the Illini program and boost it when needed. Edwards has been a vocal supporter of Smith, so it makes sense Smith would have his pal stop by and do what he does best. And he’s done it a number of times…

At Alabama in 2013…

Or the previous year before the Las Vegas Bowl…

Or this past summer with NC State…

Illinois is 2-5 this season and now flirting with the likelihood of not going to a postseason bowl game in Smith’s first season on the job. We’ll see if Edwards is able to give the program the extra juice it needs.

Here’s hoping we get some video footage of Edwards speaking to the Illini.