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Sooners' BCS title hopes now look bleak

NORMAN, Okla. -- Bad news struck Oklahoma on Saturday when All-American receiver Ryan Broyles was lost for the season with a knee injury.

More bad news hit the Sooners on Sunday during the unveiling of the BCS standings. After defeating Texas A&M on the weekend, OU stayed at No. 6. But Alabama, despite losing at home to LSU, fell only to No. 3.

The Sooners already needed Stanford to lose to have a chance of sneaking into the national championship game. Now, OU needs the Crimson Tide to lose again, too.

The best case for the Sooners would have been either LSU or Alabama routing the other, sending the loser tumbling in the standings. Instead, the worst occurred. The game was evenly matched throughout and came down to an overtime field goal. As a result, the Tide only dropped one spot.

With only a month to go, the Sooners are fighting on several fronts to reach the title game.

Out west, OU needs Oregon to knock off the Cardinal. To the east, Alabama has to go down at either Mississippi State or Auburn (unfortunately, neither suits up Cam Newton).

Of course, that's also assuming Boise State doesn't stay ranked ahead of the Sooners, and Oregon and Arkansas don't pass the Broncos. A tenuous assumption. Especially considering the Broncos figure to go undefeated, and the lone defeats of both Oregon (LSU) and Arkansas (Alabama) look immensely better than OU's loss to Texas Tech, which evidently decided to call it a season after knocking off the Sooners three weeks ago.

Of course, Stanford and Alabama losing alone won't be enough. OU must also win out. Without its leading rusher. And now, without its leading receiver, too. Last week, running back Dominique Whaley suffered a season-ending ankle injury. Saturday, Broyles tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.

The Sooners, who are off this week, should still get by Baylor and Iowa State. But in its last two trips to Stillwater, OU has had to outscore Oklahoma State, 61-41 and 47-41. Outgunning the No. 2 Cowboys again without Broyles will be a monumental task.

"Obviously Ryan is a big piece that's not there," coach Bob Stoops said Saturday night. "But our expectations and what we expect won't change."

The Sooners still have a shot of advancing to the national title game. But after a weekend of bad news, the odds of that aren't looking so good.

Jake Trotter covers University of Oklahoma football for SoonerNation. He can be reached at trotterjake@gmail.com. and look for answers every Friday.

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