Commentary

Sleeper teams with BCS potential

These five programs could still make a BCS bowl despite early-season losses

Updated: October 10, 2011, 1:30 PM ET
By Brian Fremeau | Football Outsiders
Brian Kelly Matt Cashore/US PresswireA season that began in turmoil could still end in triumph for Brian Kelly and the Irish.

The BCS standings for 2011 debut next week, and all eyes will be on the pecking order at the top. The LSU Tigers, Alabama Crimson Tide and Oklahoma Sooners will all be in position for a BCS Championship Game berth if they win out the rest of the season. Beyond those title contenders, a handful of other undefeated teams -- including the Stanford Cardinal and Wisconsin Badgers -- are hoping to be in position to move up if one of the powerhouses falter.

But there's also a handful of teams that won't be among the elite but may still be able to contend for a BCS bowl berth by season's end. One thing most of them have in common: a late-season showdown with one of the elite programs already mentioned and a chance to redeem themselves after early-season hiccups.

The following teams are all ranked among the top 20 in the current FEI ratings and have a chance to make a BCS run this season. Strength of schedule listed is based on the current FEI ratings and includes only remaining regular-season games. The likelihood of winning out the rest of the season is provided, as well.

Brian Fremeau

ESPN Insider
• Has been a contributor to ESPN Insider and ESPN The Magazine since 2009
• Creator of the Fremeau Efficiency Index (FEI), a measure of college football team efficiency
• Contributor to Football Outsiders and his own site, bcftoys.com