Teams that can survive a loss

LSU, UF, UGA, ND and Stanford best positioned to chase BCS title with a defeat

Updated: September 4, 2013, 11:30 AM ET
By Brad Edwards | ESPN Insider

Les MilesRay Carlin/Icon SMIGiven their tough schedule, Les Miles and the Tigers could still play for the BCS title with a loss.

We're one week into the college football season, and some fan bases are already on edge.

If you've watched the sport for even a decade, you know that one loss can end a team's national championship hopes, so even the threat of losing can be tough on the nerves of those who are emotionally invested. The Georgia Bulldogs are the only preseason top 15 team to fall thus far, but some have already shown unexpected vulnerabilities, and a few others have a challenging game in Week 2. There's plenty for fans to be sweating over.

But we also know, as Alabama can recently attest, that one loss doesn't necessarily end title dreams. After all, if everybody loses a game, somebody still has to play for the national championship.

So which teams are best positioned to overcome a loss this season?

Since six of the nine teams to reach the BCS title game with a loss over the last 10 years have been from the SEC, we'll start with that league. Common sense says that Alabama is capable of surviving a loss again this season, and I wouldn't argue with that, but the Crimson Tide aren't one of the prime candidates to do so. Their rivals to the southwest fit the profile much better.

Here's a look at five teams best positioned to survive a loss in 2013.


LSU Tigers

Statistically speaking, teams with a preseason top-10 ranking are the most likely to overcome a loss. But LSU is an exception this year, as were the 2003 Tigers.

• Analyzes college football and the CFB Playoff as part of ESPN's Stats & Information Group
• Analyst for both College GameDay on ESPN Radio and the ESPN College Football app