Conference Title Race Reset: Week 13

By Chip Patterson | College Football/Basketball Writer

Missouri will fight for the SEC East spot in the title game against Ole Miss and Texas A&M. (USATSI)
Missouri will fight for the SEC East spot in the title game against Ole Miss and Texas A&M. (USATSI)

The Conference Title Race Reset narrows down the list of contenders through the final weeks of the regular season, identifying the key games each week and analyzing each team's path to a championship.


CONFERENCE

CONTENDERS

WEEK 13 KEY GAMES

UCF (5-0)

Louisville (5-1)

Cincinnati (5-1)

Houston (4-2)

Rutgers at UCF [Preview]

Memphis at Louisville [Preview]

Cincinnati at Houston [Preview]


Outlook: With wins over Louisville and Houston already, UCF needs just two more wins to clinch a BCS bid unless Cincinnati suddenly leaps up the polls and BCS standings. The Bearcats can earn a share of the title in the event of a Knights loss -- Cincinnati does not play UCF this season, but that would also require a victory against Louisville in the regular season finale. Projected BCS representative: UCF



CONFERENCE

CONTENDERS

WEEK 13 KEY GAMES

Atlantic

Florida State (8-0)

(clinched division)

Coastal

Duke (4-2)

Georgia Tech (5-3)

Virginia Tech (4-3)

Miami (3-3)

Virginia at Miami [Preview]

Duke at Wake Forest [Preview]

Outlook: Florida State is locked into the ACC title game, but the Coastal Division still has 32 possible scenarios that combined produce four different division representatives. Duke is the only team that controls its own destiny, needing two wins to punch a ticket to Charlotte. Virginia Tech has an edge on Miami and Georgia Tech thanks to head-to-head wins, but the Hokies need the Blue Devils to fall next week to North Carolina to take advantage of those tiebreakers. Georgia Tech and Miami have the longest odds of winning the division's bid, but at least they still have a chance! I never thought I'd write this, but Duke at Wake Forest is the most meaningful game of Week 13 in the ACC. Projected BCS representative: Florida State



CONFERENCE

CONTENDERS

WEEK 13 KEY GAMES

Baylor (6-0)

Oklahoma State (6-1)

Texas (6-1)

Oklahoma (5-2)

Oklahoma at Kansas State [Preview]

Baylor at Oklahoma State [Preview]


Outlook: All eyes will be on Stillwater as Baylor faces arguably its road test yet in Big 12 play. The winner of Oklahoma State-Baylor will be one win from clinching a BCS bid. Texas has the advantage of playing Baylor in the regular season finale, while Oklahoma still has the Bedlam game against the Cowboys -- though a loss to Kansas State in Manhattan would erase any BCS hopes before that rivalry game arrives. Projected BCS representative: Baylor



CONFERENCE

CONTENDERS

WEEK 13 KEY GAMES

Legends

Michigan State (6-0)

Minnesota (4-2)

Leaders

Ohio State (6-0)

Wisconsin (5-1)

Michigan State at Northwestern [Preview]

Wisconsin at Minnesota [Preview]

Indiana at Ohio State [Preview]


Outlook: Ohio State and Michigan State are on a collision course for Indianapolis that can only be derailed by Indiana, Northwestern, Minnesota and Michigan -- so we like both teams' chances right now. If the Buckeyes and Spartans win in Week 13, the divisions are clinched and the title game is set. Minnesota needs to win out, which would include a victory over the Spartans next week, to cap the memorable season with a conference title chance. Wisconsin needs two victories and two Ohio State losses to jump the Buckeyes in the Leaders Division. Projected BCS representative: Ohio State



CONFERENCE

CONTENDERS

WEEK 13 KEY GAMES

North

Oregon (6-1)

Stanford (6-2)

South

Arizona State (6-1)

UCLA (5-2)

USC (5-2)

Oregon at Arizona [Preview]

Cal at Stanford [Preview]

USC at Colorado [Preview]

Arizona State at UCLA [Preview]


Outlook: USC shook up the Pac-12 race with its 20-17 upset of Stanford in the Coliseum on Saturday, and the quickly-forgotten Ducks have moved back into pole position of the Pac-12 faster than a Mariota-led touchdown driven. Oregon needs two wins or one Stanford loss to clinch the Pac-12 North, and considering the Cardinal's opponent it would be best to count on two wins. Arizona State has the advantage of a head-to-head win against USC earlier in the season, but needs to get a win at UCLA to clinch the Pac-12 South. Projected BCS representative: Oregon



CONFERENCE

CONTENDERS

WEEK 13 KEY GAMES

East

Missouri (5-1)

South Carolina (6-2)

West

Alabama (7-0)

Auburn (6-1)

Missouri at Ole Miss [Preview]


Outlook: The miracle tip pulled in by Auburn wide receiver Ricardo Louis sets up an Iron Bowl with the SEC West on the line on Nov. 30. Until then, Missouri will fight for its spot in the SEC title game against Ole Miss and Texas A&M. Because South Carolina is in the clubhouse at 6-2, Gary Pinkel's squad will lose its ticket to Atlanta with any loss. Projected BCS representative: Alabama



CONFERENCE

CONTENDERS

WEEK 13 KEY GAMES

East

East Carolina (6-1)

Marshall (5-1)

West

North Texas (5-1)

Rice (5-1)

UTSA (4-2)

Tulane (4-2)

Rice at UAB [Preview]

UTSA at North Texas [Preview]

UTEP at Tulane [Preview]

Marshall at FIU [Preview]


Outlook: If Marshall can beat FIU on the road as a 33-point favorite, the Herd will set up a winner-take-all meeting with East Carolina on Nov. 29 for the Conference USA East title. The race in the West will gain some clarity this week, as North Texas, winners of five straight, can strengthen its hold on first place by eliminating UTSA from competition. The Mean Green hold the head-to-head advantage against Rice but not Tulane; so it will take two wins or one win and a Tulane loss to clinch the West.



CONFERENCE

CONTENDERS

WEEK 13 KEY GAMES

East

Buffalo (5-1)

Bowling Green (5-1)

West

Northern Illinois (6-0)

Ball State (6-1)

Toledo (5-1)

Buffalo at Miami [Preview]

Northern Illinois at Toledo [Preview]

Bowling Green at Eastern Michigan [Preview]


Outlook: Toledo kept its MAC title hopes alive by handing Buffalo its first conference loss in some Glass Bowl #MACtion last week, but can they do it again with Jordan Lynch and Northern Illinois coming to town? A Huskies victory on the road clinches a spot in the MAC title game, but there are BCS implications every time undefeated NIU hits the field. Because Ball State beat Toledo earlier this year, the Cardinals are holding out hope for a Rockets win to force a three-way tie at 6-1 heading into the final week. Bowling Green and Buffalo are both favorites this week, eyeing a meeting on Nov. 29 that will likely decide the MAC East.



CONFERENCE

CONTENDERS

WEEK 13 KEY GAMES

West

Fresno State (6-0)

San Diego State (5-1)

Mountain

Boise State (5-1)

Utah State (5-1)

Colorado State (4-2)

Colorado State at Utah State [Preview]

New Mexico at Fresno State [Preview]

Boise State at San Diego State [Preview]


Outlook: Fresno State is eyeing a BCS bid, but a win on Saturday (or San Diego State loss) will at least clinch a spot for the Bulldogs in the inaugural Mountain West title game on Dec. 7. If Boise State and Colorado State both win on the road this week, the Broncos will clinch a title game bid and set up a rematch with Fresno State. Colorado State needs a win and a Boise State loss to stay alive in the race, while Utah State just needs a win to force another week of uncertainty.



CONFERENCE

CONTENDERS

WEEK 13 KEY GAMES

Louisiana-Lafayette (5-0)

Arkansas State (4-1)

ULM (3-2)

Georgia State at Arkansas State [Preview]

ULM at South Alabama [Preview]


Outlook: The Ragin' Cajuns are off this week; an odd scheduling quirk that leaves a matchup with South Alabama on Dec. 7 as the only Sun Belt contest in Week 15. An Arkansas State loss clinches the conference for Louisiana-Lafayette, while the Red Wolves hold out hope that the conference frontrunner loses both the in-state rivalry game against ULM in Week 14 and the finale in Week 15. Things aren't wrapped up yet, but right now it looks like Mark Hudspeth is in a great position to lead the ULL program to its first conference title since 2005.

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