The Royal Sampler: Analyzing the national title hunt and links

THE HUNT
A look at the top five teams in the BCS standings:

1. Alabama (7-0)
Up next: Mississippi State. This is a matchup of undefeated teams, but no one is expecting it to be a close game. The Crimson Tide is favored by 23 points.
Remaining schedule: at LSU, Texas A&M, Western Carolina, Auburn.
Analysis: The next three weeks could be interesting. Mississippi State, LSU and Texas A&M are all quality teams. But are they good enough to challenge Alabama? If the Crimson Tide get by those three games, the last two are basically byes. Then comes the SEC championship game.

2. Florida (7-0)
Up next: Georgia. The Bulldogs are one of the SEC’s best teams, and are always ready to play their rivals on a neutral field. The Gators are favored by a touchdown.
Remaining schedule: Missouri, Louisiana-Lafayette, Jacksonville State, at Florida State.
Analysis: Florida only has two remaining stumbling blocks before the SEC championship game, where odds favor a must-see matchup against Alabama. Georgia and Florida State have been impressive at times this season, and should challenge it. The Gators’ other three games will be easy wins.

3. Kansas State (7-0)
Up next: Texas Tech. The Red Raiders only loss came at home to Oklahoma. Seth Doege and crew have looked good in their six other victories.
Remaining schedule: Oklahoma State, at TCU, at Baylor, Texas.
Analysis: The Wildcats can strengthen their lead over Oregon with a win over Texas Tech, but the rest of the schedule won’t impress voters. TCU, because of its defense, seems like the toughest game down the stretch.

4. Oregon (7-0)
Up next: Colorado. The Buffaloes are one of the worst teams in college football. The Ducks will beat them easily.
Remaining schedule: at USC, at California, Stanford, at Oregon State.
Analysis: Oregon’s schedule is loaded late. USC, Stanford and Oregon State are all ranked and the Ducks might face USC a second time in the Pac-12 title game. If Oregon goes undefeated, its strength of schedule could allow it to jump up in the rankings. But the risk of a loss is high.

5. Notre Dame (7-0)
Up next: at Oklahoma. The Sooners are playing fantastic football at the moment and are 10-point favorites in this game.
Remaining schedule: Pittsburgh, at Boston College, Wake Forest, at USC.
Analysis: If Notre Dame can beat Oklahoma and USC, it will force its way into consideration for the BCS championship game regardless of what everyone else does. That’s just what Notre Dame does. But the Fighting Irish will be underdogs in both games. Going undefeated won’t be easy.

LINKS
– All these reputable websites predict that K-State will face Alabama in the national championship game:
The Dallas Morning News, ESPN.com, CBSSports.com and the KC Star.

– Though CBSSports.com says Oregon fans have nothing to worry about. If the Ducks win out, they will be in the national title game.

– Collin Klein is a runaway favorite in the latest HeismanPundit.com straw poll.

– At least one man still thinks Geno Smith should be the Heisman front-runner, though.

– After causing problems all over the Big 12 conference, the Longhorn Network is now causing problems at … Texas. Crazy, right?

– Texas Tech beat TCU last week, but not everyone was happy with coach Tommy Tuberville’s play-calling at the end of the game.