David Shaw, Andrew Luck and the Stanford Cardinal have shown throughout the season that they have what it takes to play in the BCS title game.
Stanford has been of the most entertaining teams in college football. Its offense has been unstoppable, and its defense has been incredibly solid.
With teams like Alabama, Oklahoma State and LSU fighting for a spot in the BCS title game, the Cardinal have some stiff competition. Nonetheless, Stanford has a legitimate shot at playing for a title this season.
Andrew Luck is having a career season.
He's completed 71 percent of his passes, which is the eighth best completion percentage in the nation. He's tied for the fifth best touchdown total in the nation with 26.
Luck has thrown at least two touchdowns in every game this season, which is an absolutely incredible record.
Aside from his amazing stats, Luck possesses an uncanny football intellect. His vision and understanding of the game are well beyond his years.
With Luck behind center, Stanford will always have a chance. This is exactly why Andrew Luck will help lead the Stanford Cardinal to the BCS title game.
The Stanford offense has been as prolific as any offense in the nation. Stanford has yet to face an opponent that has held them to 36 points or fewer.
The Cardinal have failed to score 44 points on just two occasions this season, and it would take a defense of pure quality to keep this team from competing.
Andrew Luck has had a Heisman-quality season. He's helped Stanford's offense average 281.1 yards per game, which is the 23rd best total in the nation.
Even more impressive is the Cardinal rushing game.
Stepfan Taylor has 891 yards and eight touchdowns on the season. He has led the Stanford rushing game, which is ranked the 17th best in the nation.
Such a balanced offense is sure to give any defense trouble. It is the offense of champions, and it has set them up nicely for a BCS title challenge.
Matt Barkley is the only quarter that has led a team to score more than 21 points against Stanford this season.
The Stanford defense has been instrumental in the team's success this season.
Stanford allows an average of 16.6 points per game to its opponents. More impressive is the fact that the Cardinal have only allowed 21 points or more twice this season.
They have recorded 28 sacks this season, the sixth most in the nation.
Surely a solid defense is as important as a prolific offense. The Stanford defense is solid in every sense of the word.
The tough Cardinal defense, coupled with the prolific Cardinal offense, is what makes this Stanford team such a legitimate title contender.
Stanford's remaining fixtures are all winnable games. All three of their remaining games will be played in Palo Alto, and they are all against teams that Stanford can beat.
The most difficult game will undoubtedly be against the Oregon Ducks. Chip Kelly's squad is currently ranked seventh in the nation.
It's fair to say that Oregon are not the same that they were last year. In 2010, we saw an Oregon side that was annihilating any and every team that they faced. The same cannot be said for this season's squad.
Stanford will be hosting the Oregon Ducks in a game that, while difficult, is very winnable.
After that, Stanford will play host to California and Notre Dame.
It's really difficult to imagine Stanford falling to anyone but the Oregon Ducks for the rest of the regular season.
The Cardinal should not have difficulty winning out, and this will be a huge boost once the final BCS rankings are set to come out.
David Shaw has been a great coach for this Stanford team.
Andrew Luck is a born leader. He's determined, talented and intelligent. That is a deadly combination that no team in the nation would want to compete against.
This Stanford team is not complacent. The Cardinal love to run up the score. They love annihilating teams. They don't just love winning, but they love crushing their opponents.
This is the mentality that every team aspiring to play for a BCS title needs to have.
Team mentality is an important characteristic in college football. Belief and confidence are almost as important as talent.
This Stanford Cardinal team has as good a team mentality as you will find in the nation. That is a huge factor that will help the Cardinal get to the BCS title game.
The Pac-12 is not a strong conference when it comes to football. There are some times that this can help the good Pac-12 teams, and there are some times that this can hurt the good Pac-12 teams.
Stanford is a team that will benefit from this. Since Stanford essentially has just one difficult game remaining due to their weak conference, the Cardinal are in prime position to make a run to the BCS title game.
Much like last year's team, this Stanford team is one that gets better as the season progresses. The fact that they play in a weaker conference has not helped the Cardinal up to this point.
The critics complain about the Cardinal's weak schedule. However, now Stanford is preparing to face the Oregon Ducks.
This game could not have come at a better time in the season. Stanford already has nine weeks of football under its belt.
This is a huge advantage, and I believe it will be enough to propel Stanford into the BCS title game—if they can find a way to win out.
The Tigers of LSU are fresh off of a 9-6 win over the Alabama Crimson Tide. Both teams went into the game undefeated at 8-0, but LSU came out on top to preserve their first-place ranking.
I believe that LSU is going to be the team that will face Stanford in the BCS title game.
Les Miles and his team know what it takes to get to a BCS title game.
Just four years ago Miles helped the Tigers secure their second BCS trophy in four years, by beating the No. 1 ranked Ohio State Buckeyes.
After an arduous overtime win in Tuscaloosa this past weekend, it is really difficult to imagine anyone taking down LSU. I'll be surprised if they don't end up in the BCS title game.
Trent Richardson has been fantastic this season.
Alabama is fresh off a 9-6 loss to the Tigers of LSU. Despite the quality of their opposition, I think that this loss is going to derail the Crimson Tide's BCS title aspirations.
Even with their loss, Alabama is still ranked one spot above Stanford in the latest BCS poll.
Should Stanford beat Oregon in the upcoming weekend, one would imagine that Stanford would pull ahead of Alabama.
Brandon Weeden has led Oklahoma State to a 9-0 start.
Oklahoma State look to be the team most likely to take Stanford's spot against LSU in the BCS title game.
Oklahoma State has built an impressive record this season. The Cowboys have already beat three ranked teams.
Unfortunately, the Cowboys still have one game on their schedule that I don't think they'll be able to win.
In the last week of the season, Oklahoma State will play host to the in-state rival Sooners of Oklahoma.
If the Cowboys manage to win out on the season, then they will, no doubt, be the team facing LSU in the BCS title game.
Don't count on the Cowboys being able to win out, though. They're going to have a much more difficult time than the Stanford Cardinal will.
If Stanford really wants to play for the BCS title, there are a few things that the Cardinal must do.
First, they'll have to find a way to navigate past the Oregon Ducks. The Ducks will be the Cardinal's biggest test of the season.
The reigning Pac-10 champions have recovered from their opening-day loss to the LSU Tigers by winning eight games in a row. However, the Ducks still don't look like the team that finished second in the nation last year.
If they can find away to get past Oregon, which I believe they will do, the Cardinal will then have to win out the season. This won't be too difficult, as their most difficult game will be Notre Dame at home.
After they win out, they will need to make sure that they stay fired up for the Pac-12 Championship game. This will be their biggest banana peel.
If the Cardinal find a way to do all of these things, then they'll have done all that they can. The rest would be out of their control.
It would be unfathomable to think that an undefeated Pac-12 team would fail to make the BCS title game, but we've seen stranger things.
Still, it appears to be the year of the Cardinal, and the year for Stanford.