Only in a sport as wild and wacky as college football, a sport that determines its champion with a system of ballots and computer calculations known to most as the BCS, could a 37-31 regular-season result throw the whole darn thing into chaos.
Yet, that's exactly where we find ourselves after Oklahoma State, No. 2 in the BCS and on track to play LSU for the crystal football in New Orleans, coughed up its chance at a national championship and incited up a firestorm of conversation, confusion and controversy in the process.
If ever there were a textbook example of a top-flight team looking ahead, this is it. The Cowboys, one of three undefeated teams in the country, needed only to beat lowly Iowa State, a squad with a 2-4 record in Big 12 play coming into the evening, before welcoming arch rival Oklahoma to Stillwater for the annual Bedlam Game.
Which team benefits most from Oklahoma State's shocking loss?
But the Pokes just couldn't seem to do much of anything right at key moments in the game. Five turnovers, including three interceptions by Heisman Trophy front-runner Brandon Weeden, along with a mere 54 yards proved to be too much for OK State to overcome, even though the Cyclones seemingly gave Mike Gundy's squad every opportunity to do so.
Now, the Pokes find themselves back with the one-loss pack, alongside the likes of Alabama, Oregon, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Clemson, Virginia Tech and Stanford. The timing of the loss couldn't be much worse, either, considering OK State has only one opportunity remaining to redeem itself and push this loss into the recesses of its own memory as well as that of the pollsters.
That one opportunity, as mentioned previously, will come against the Sooners, who've had the Pokes' number in each of their last eight meetings. Of course, if OK State manages to beat Oklahoma, it could find itself right back in the thick of the championship chase with a marquee win under its belt.
In the meantime, though, the Pokes will have two weeks to ponder a field full of coulda's, woulda's and shoulda's back in Stillwater, while the powers that be in college football will be faced with the prospect of putting together a rematch between either LSU and Alabama or LSU and Oregon for the national title.