For the third time in five years, Stanford stunned an Oregon team with legitimate national championship aspirations. For the second consecutive year, the Cardinal might have knocked the Ducks out of a Rose Bowl berth as well. And as a result, the Pac-12 won't be playing for the national championship for the seventh time in the BCS's final eight years.
Stanford's upset victory, coupled with Baylor's pasting of Oklahoma in a pair of Thursday night Top 10 showdowns, sent a shockwave through the top of the BCS even before the weekend. (They might have to cancel classes in Tallahassee and Columbus on Friday.)
This much is clear: Alabama and Florida State, atop the Week 11 BCS standings, will control their respective destinies. If either team wins out, it'll be playing in Pasadena on Jan. 6. Then, after that, it gets a bit messy.
Ohio State is expected to move up to No. 3, but it can't comfortably count on being there as if it's in the on-deck circle, waiting for an Alabama or FSU loss to move into the BCS title game. There is a possibility that the Buckeyes might get jumped by Baylor, though it's a small one.
What won't happen is Stanford jumping an undefeated Ohio State. The Buckeyes won't cede their position in the polls to any one-loss team and, with that (despite their relatively weak schedule), are still very much in the hunt for their fourth appearance in the BCS title game.
The wild card is Baylor, which passed its first major test of the season with flying colors in a 41-12 win over Oklahoma. But the Bears' work has just begun. They will face Texas Tech (No. 25) and Oklahoma State (No. 14) the next two weeks, plus a date with resurgent Texas in the regular-season finale. If they can get through all those games unscathed, there's an outside shot for them to jump over Ohio State, and an even longer shot to get into the BCS title game.
Stanford will continue its stranglehold on the top spot among one-loss teams. But, for now, the Cardinal will have to set their sights on a second consecutive Rose Bowl berth. They haven't clinched the Pac-12 North yet, and to do that, they must defeat an also-rebounding USC team at the L.A. Coliseum. Oregon, on the other hand, likely will still land a fifth consecutive BCS bowl berth. But once again it won't be for the biggest prize.
|BCS Contenders' Remaining Schedule|
|1||Alabama||LSU, @Miss. St., Chattanooga, @Auburn, SEC Champ*|
|2||Florida State||@Wake Forest, Syracuse, Idaho, @Florida, ACC Champ*|
|4||Ohio State||@Illinois, Indiana, @Michigan, B1G Champ*|
|6||Baylor||Texas Tech, @Okla. St., @TCU, Texas|
|3||Oregon||Utah, @Arizona, Oregon State, P12 Champ*|
|5||Stanford||@USC, Cal, Notre Dame, P12 Champ*|
|7||Clemson||Ga. Tech, Citadel, @So. Carolina|
|8||Missouri||@Kentucky, @Ole Miss, Texas A&M, SEC Champ*|
|9||Auburn||@Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, SEC Champ*|
|11||Miami (Fla.)||Va. Tech, @Duke, Virginia, @Pitt, ACC Champ*|
|14||Okla. State||Kansas, @Texas, Baylor, Oklahoma|
|* If qualified, opponent TBA|
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