- Brian Fremeau, ESPN Insider
A monster victory by Florida State over Clemson, an upset win by Central Florida and losses by SEC contenders Texas A&M, LSU and Georgia over the weekend shook up the top of the polls. With the release of the first BCS rankings Sunday, the path to a national championship game berth has been paved for several teams.
A week ago, we projected win likelihoods for the remainder of the season. Of the teams identified as having the best opportunity to finish strong, eight made their debut among the top nine in the BCS rankings.
The likelihood that the BCS National Championship participants will come from this group is very good. The top teams haven't completely separated themselves from the pack, but they are well positioned to be favorites down the stretch. We calculated the likelihood that each of the 10 remaining undefeated teams would be able to run the table the rest of the regular season. Four of the top five teams in the BCS have at least a 33 percent chance to do so.
One of the big surprise teams this year has been Missouri. The Tigers were picked to finish sixth in the SEC East in a media poll before the season. Our Football Outsiders rankings were a bit higher on the Tigers (fourth), but we still expected Missouri to struggle against SEC East favorites Georgia, Florida and South Carolina. The Tigers have already taken down two of those three to take a commanding division lead. They will face the Gamecocks this weekend, and a win could virtually seal up a trip for Missouri to the SEC championship game.
Missouri has been ranked among the top 10 in our drive-based FEI ratings in four of the past five weeks, and the only thing that may hold it back is injuries. Star quarterback James Franklin was injured against Georgia, but backup Maty Mauk passed a big test in his starting debut. The Tigers lit up the Gators defense (No. 9 in our opponent-adjusted ratings) for 500 yards and 36 points Saturday.
Does Missouri have the profile of a national championship contender? We compared the Tigers' statistical profile with recent national championship contenders to find out what might be in store for the remainder of the season.
Brian Fremeau evaluates the chances for Missouri to finish the regular season undefeated and compares the Tigers to past contenders to see whether they can sustain their surprising start to the 2013 season.