BCS Rankings: How Stanford and Oklahoma State Could Challenge LSU or Alabama

Jayson LoveCorrespondent IOctober 30, 2011

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 29:  Defensive end Wes Horton #96 of the USC Trojans sacks quarterback Andrew Luck #12 of the Stanford Cardinal at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on October 29, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. Stanford won 56-48 in three overtimes.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

LSU and Alabama face off in a titanic game next week, and one of those teams is guaranteed to lose.

In the end, the two teams may rematch for the title in January.

But there is an opportunity for a third team to challenge for the title game, particularly if Alabama loses.

It would be easier to justify a rematch if Alabama, as the hosting team Saturday night, is able to get by LSU.  If the game is close, the home-field advantage may cause voters to want to see the rematch on a neutral field. 

Should a third team enter the fray, Stanford and Oklahoma State are the two most likely candidates to challenge LSU and Alabama.

OSU came into this week's slate of games ranked No. 3 in the BCS, just eight points ahead of Stanford.

They handled their business, hanging 59 points on Baylor in a blowout win. 

Stanford went on the road and survived a three-OT epic at USC, winning 56-48. 

The teams should keep their No. 3 and No. 4 spots when the polls come out this week, but who is most likely to remain in title contention and challenge for the BCS title?

You see a game like Stanford's with USC and figure time may catch up with the Cardinal.  But looking at the schedule, they are set up for a title run after Saturday's nail-biter.

OSU has mostly home games remaining, but their challenge comes on the back end. They still have games remaining with Kansas State and Oklahoma at home, and Texas Tech on the road.

OK State whipped Baylor this week.
OK State whipped Baylor this week.Brett Deering/Getty Images

Kansas State showed their weaknesses in a blowout loss against Oklahoma this week. OSU's offense ought to be able to score enough to survive the Wildcats at home.

Playing at Texas Tech will be no walk in the park, and a date with Oklahoma will also be difficult.

Although OSU are the hosts, Oklahoma may have the Cowboys outclassed in talent as the season draws to a close.

Stanford has four games remaining on their schedule.

Of those, only Oregon is ranked in the BCS, AP or Coaches' poll. The Cardinal however, host the Ducks, which should give Stanford the advantage.

The other challenging game for Stanford is the season closer against Notre Dame. 

As luck would have it, (no pun intended) the Cardinal host that game also.

The other challenge Stanford faces is a conference championship game. Stanford's should be easier, as they will either face USC or Arizona State. 

Arizona State is a solid football team but not in the class of teams like Oklahoma or Oklahoma State. 

OSU, however, gets a break this year. 

With Nebraska's departure, there is no Big 12 championship game this year.

Both teams still must navigate the slate undefeated to end up in the BCS title game.

Stanford's schedule from here on in is much easier than OSU's, making Stanford much more likely a threat to LSU or Alabama for the championship.