Division I-A’s seven one-loss teams, the almost-Magnificent Seven, face a quandary: celebrate their success, or dwell on the bad day (or night) keeping them out of the national championship race. Whatever the perspective, they’ve got us curious. So implementing the same statistical analysis used in last week’s ranking of the seven unbeaten teams (turnover margin, run defense, third-down performance, red-zone efficiency and a strength-of-schedule component), Sporting News ranks them from best to worst, by the numbers. And now, the Second Seven:
1. Georgia Tech (8-1, 5-1 ACC)
Why here: A plus-seven turnover margin and great offensive efficiency on third down have helped the Yellow Jackets beat five top-50 teams in the Sagarin ratings.
Odds of reaching a BCS bowl: 5-to-1. Tech looks great to win the Coastal, but the ACC title game will be no layup.
Curtis’ prediction: 12-2, with loss to Pittsburgh in the Orange Bowl
Next game: Saturday vs. Wake Forest
2. Oregon (7-1, 5-0 Pac-10)
Why here: Victories over three top-20 Sagarin teams and an automatic red-zone offense help. “We’re building a lot of confidence with these wins,” safety T.J. Ward said.
Odds of reaching a BCS bowl: 2-to-1. Ducks can take a league loss, provided it’s not at Arizona should the Wildcats win out, and still reach the Rose Bowl.
Curtis’ prediction: 12-1, Rose Bowl champs
Next game: Saturday at Stanford
3. LSU (7-1, 4-1 SEC)
Why here: Only four teams have committed fewer than LSU’s seven turnovers.
Odds of reaching a BCS bowl: 6-to-1. The SEC championship remains a possibility. Tigers also could sneak into a BCS bowl with two losses if the loser of a Florida-Alabama SEC title game falls in a blowout.
Curtis’ prediction: 10-3, with losses to Alabama and Ohio State in Capital One Bowl
Next game: Saturday at Alabama