3-point stance: History on Spartans' side

1. BCS history says that No. 10 Michigan State could lose to No. 2 Ohio State and have a good chance of remaining in the top 14 and eligible for a BCS at-large berth. In the last seven seasons, seven top-14 teams have lost to a higher-rated team in the last weekend. Though the margins of defeat ranged from 3 to 34 points, only one of the seven dropped more than four places (in 2010, No. 13 Nebraska lost to No. 9 Oklahoma, 23-20, and fell to No. 18).

2. If Michigan State loses and remains in the top 14, the Rose Bowl will take the Spartans, even if it means passing up a top-five Alabama team. For one thing, it's the 100th Rose Bowl, and the game is tradition-bound enough that it would prefer a Pac-12/Big Ten matchup. For another, Michigan State hasn't played in Pasadena since 1988, the eighth longest drought among the original Big 10 teams (Minnesota last played in 1962, Indiana in 1968).

3. Steve Sarkisian's in-conference move from Washington to USC isn't the only one this week. Missouri hired Texas A&M outgoing president R. Bowen Loftin, he of the bow tie, to be its chancellor (CEO) on Thursday. In Loftin's four-plus years in College Station, the Aggies pulled off the stunning move from the Big 12 to the SEC, hired Kevin Sumlin, secured funding for the $450 million renovation of Kyle Field, and got pushed out of his job. There's no pleasing some people. Missouri was smart to hire him.