Florida State, Oregon hot on the heels of the SEC

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When it comes to college football, the overall consensus is that the Southeastern Conference (SEC) is the most dominant conference in the country. After all, the SEC as a whole has won the last seven Bowl Championship Series(BCS) National Championships; three from Alabama, two from Florida and one each from LSU and Auburn.

The question remains, however, can the SEC continue its run of dominance and win it all again this year? It turns out the current picture is not as rosy as it once appeared earlier this season.

Released on Sunday, the first BCS rankings of the season have undefeated Alabama at No. 1, where they have been perched all year. Outside of the Crimson Tide though, the only other SEC representative in the top 10 is No. 5 Missouri, who despite a slew of impressive victories is currently without starting quarterback James Franklin due to injury.

This is a far cry from just two weeks ago when four SEC teams were ranked in the Associated Press top 10, including No. 7 Georgia who went from national title contender to unranked in this week’s BCS top 25 after two straight losses and crippling injuries on offense.

Two other SEC squads that have fallen off the map are LSU and Texas A&M, who were ranked No. 6 and 7, respectively, just this last week. LSU was upset by Ole Miss on Saturday and A&M by Auburn, as it appears the conference is beginning to cannibalize on itself.

With the SEC more vulnerable than ever, teams from other conferences are beginning to close the gap. Florida State, following their 51-14 mauling of No. 3 Clemson on Saturday, has jumped up to No. 2 in the BCS and their young quarterback Jameis Winston has firmly put himself into the Heisman conversation. Fellow Heisman-frontrunner Marcus Mariota and his No. 3 Oregon Ducks are steamrolling their way through the Pac 12, putting up a whopping 57.6 points per game in their quest to dethrone two-time defending national champion Alabama.

No. 4 Ohio State also poses a threat to a slight degree, as they have a relatively weak remaining schedule in the Big Ten. Despite a struggling secondary, Ohio State’s dynamic rushing attack spearheaded by quarterback Braxton Miller and tailback Carlos Hyde looks to be enough to guide the Buckeyes to another undefeated season and into the BCS championship conversation.

Alabama still controls its own destiny to continue the SEC’s title streak, as they beat down Arkansas this past weekend 52-0. But it is no longer a forgone conclusion that they, or any of their SEC counterparts, will be hoisting the Coaches’ Trophy at season’s end.