If you woke up this morning and were shocked to see that Oregon State, yes Oregon State (2-2), upset the mighty USC Trojans, you are not alone. Shockingly though, I think this loss will be blown out of proportion.
In the past few days, we have heard how USC would be left out of the BCS title game even if they went undefeated due to their weak schedule. This loss officially ends that side conversation.
Who benefits the most from this loss?
1. Missouri Tigers - The Chase Daniel-led Tigers trail conference foe Oklahoma in the standings and stood no chance to overtake Oklahoma due to Missouri's incredibly spongy non-conference schedule.
However, with the possibility of a two or three ranking when Missouri squares off with the Sooners in the Big XII title game, Missouri now can be assured of a title birth if they go undefeated. Missouri would have had a tougher road trailing USC in the polls. Now, that is a mute point.
2. LSU Tigers - There probably aren't a ton of people that believe LSU can go undefeated through the brutal SEC, but should that happen, the Tigers are virtually guaranteed a spot in the BCS title game if they win the SEC championship.
3. BCS Party Crasher- BYU, Utah, South Florida, Boise State, TCU...While it is highly unlikely more than one of these squads will go undefeated, several of these teams may jump USC in next week's poll, giving them a leg up in the chase for a BCS game.
4. Wisconsin Badgers- Yes, Wisconsin always starts off undefeated before losing a classic Big 10 rivalry game, but this could be the year Wisconsin sneaks into the national title conversation.
Wisconsin had no chance to pass USC if each team had won out, but Wisconsin will now move ahead of the Trojans, and no one expects them to have much difficulty against a struggling Michigan squad this weekend.
Bottom Line- If you look at the current top 10, virtually all the teams will square off against at least one other top 10 opponent. Logic dictates that whichever two teams come out unscathed will battle for it all.
Could USC claw their way back into the title conversation? They may get back into the top 5, but do not expect them to merit serious consideration due to the Pac 10 being regarded as a down conference this season.
It is this writer's opinion that the winner of the Big XII title game (Missouri-Oklahoma) and the SEC title game (Florida/Georgia vs. Alabama/LSU) will be playing for all the marbles come January. But if one of these conference champions slip along the way, Wisconsin, Penn State, or even (gulp) Ohio State could wiggle their way into the national title game.