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13 undefeated teams in BCS picture

Six weeks into the season and there are 13 undefeated teams that are eligible to compete for a BCS Championship. Here’s a look each of them and their chances to reach the title game.

Big 12: Obviously the biggest challenge for Kansas State (6-0) and West Virginia (5-0) will be facing each other on Oct. 20 in Morgantown, W.Va. WVU also hosts Oklahoma on No. 17, while K-State hosts Texas (Nov. 15). If either goes undefeated they’ll have a good shot to play for a title if Alabama or Oregon falter.

Big East: In the much maligned Big East, Rutgers (5-0), Cincinnati (4-0) and Louisville (5-0) all still undefeated. All three face each other, so at most one will emerge unscathed with Louisville the favorite. Each team has one home game and one road game with the other undefeateds. None of them have an outstanding nonconference win, meaning an awful lot would have to happen for a title shot.

Big Ten: Ohio State (6-0) is the only undefeated team in the conference and the Buckeyes are ineligible due to NCAA sanctions. It’s hard to imagine who’ll be representing the Leaders Division in the Big Ten championship game. Ohio State and Penn State are 2-0 in the conference and ineligible for postseason play.

Notre Dame: The Fighting Irish (5-0) continue to clear hurdles with a dominant win over a solid Miami team. There are some tough games ahead starting with Stanford on Saturday, but the Irish have a shot.

Mid-American Conference: Ohio (6-0) looks pretty vulnerable after nears upsets by UMass and Buffalo the last two weeks, respectively. There would have to be mass chaos to get a spot in the title game and Ohio would need a lot of help to get a BCS bid, even if the Bobcats go undefeated. That’s no given either. The MAC championship game will be the toughest obstacle against probably either Toledo or Northern Illinois, but the way Ohio has played lately, it could lose much sooner than that.

Pac 12: Oregon (6-0) has been pretty dominant so far, but the Ducks have a tough path to undefeated. Four of their next six games are on the road, including trips to No. 11 USC and No. 10 Oregon State. But if coach Chip Kelly’s squad goes undefeated, they’ll play for a championship.

SEC: While any undefeated Southeastern Conference team is a lock to play in the BCS championship game, there’s no lock an SEC team will finish undefeated this year.

There’s plenty to sort out with South Carolina (6-0), Florida (5-0), Alabama (5-0) and Mississippi State (5-0) all undefeated. The Gamecocks made a statement by beating Georgia Saturday, but they are at LSU Saturday and Florida next week.

Florida has to host South Carolina and Georgia, and travel to Florida State.

Alabama and Mississippi State play on Oct. 27 in Tuscaloosa, Ala. The Crimson Tide travel to LSU a week later for a rematch of last year’s championship game before hosting Texas A&M on Nov. 10. The Tide are No. 1, but they are not as good as last year. Staying perfect won’t be easy.

Mississippi State’s legitimacy is very much still in question with five soft wins. The Bulldogs will be underdogs against Alabama, Texas A&M and LSU. Going undefeated is a huge long shot.

WAC: Lousiana Tech (5-0) will host Texas A&M Saturday. If the Bulldogs win, they have a remarkably easy path to undefeated. But it’s unlikely if they finish undefeated that they will get a BCS bid.

Texas-San Antonio is also undefeated, but as a transitioning FBS school, it is ineligible for the postseason.

HEISMAN CHASE — West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith’s 268 yards passing and four touchdowns are quiet numbers by his standards, but they came in a win over a good Texas team which will keep him in the driver’s seat in the Heisman race.

GAMES OF THE WEEK: South Carolina at LSU, Saturday, 8 p.m. ESPN — Beating Georgia put the Gamecocks in the championship picture, while losing to Florida, at least temporarily, knocked LSU out of it. Both teams need a victory to have a chance to be in the title race a month from now.

Stanford at Notre Dame, Saturday, 3:30 p.m. NBC — The Cardinal ended Southern Cal’s dreams of an undefeated season. Can they add the Irish to their trophy case?

MAC GAME OF THE WEEK: Miami (Ohio) at Bowling Green, Saturday, 3:30 p.m. — At 2-0, Miami is in the race for the MAC East. The RedHawks will need this one to stay in it.

ON THE ROAD TO — An Alabama vs. Oregon championship game.

Information from personal interviews, newspaper articles and sports information releases was used in this report.

Matt Vautour can be reached at mvautour@gazettenet.com. Follow UMass coverage on Twitter at twitter.com/GazetteUMass. Get UMass coverage delivered in your Facebook news feed at www.facebook.com/GazetteUMassCoverage.

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