I didn't expect much more. But I honestly didn't expect less, which is what Stanford received from the computers. The Cardinal moved up two positions, from No. 8 to No. 6, in the latest BCS standings, despite a blowout victory over a ranked team. What we learned is that even though they are No. 4 in the Harris Poll and No. 3 in the Coaches poll, which combined counts for two-thirds of the BCS formula, the computers are not going to be friendly to the Cardinal.
I'm not going to pretend to know a ton about the algorithms that go into the computer rankings. I can wax poetic about a lot of things. I can work my cell phone and make my iPad spit out pretty stats and charts. But in the language of computers, I bring little to the table.
Stanford actually dropped -- DROPPED-- in the computer averages this week, falling from No. 8 to No. 9. In the Sagarin ranking, they fell from No. 15 to No. 21. They stayed even in one computer poll and moved up in the rest.
I don't care what the rest of their previous opponents did, or what the rest of their upcoming opponents did. While I might not know a lot about the science behind the math, I know a lot about football. I know what my eyes tells me.
So Stanford is going to have to do it the hard way. First, they have to keep winning. Second, they are going to need help -- which they received this weekend when Wisconsin and Oklahoma, both previously undefeated, fell.
I'm not saying Stanford belongs in one of those top two spots ... yet. Or even the three hole. But I know what I saw on Saturday night -- a balanced team that ran crazy over a top-20 rushing defense. I saw the best player in college football take a backseat to his running backs and they still won by 44 points. That's like Phil Mickelson scrapping his driver at Torrey Pines and shooting a 63 with just the irons. The Cardinal kept the driver in the bag and they still drove away with the win.
Even a lot of BCS pollsters and prognosticators had Stanford at No. 3 or No. 4 this week.
We always knew that Nov. 12 was going to be high noon for Stanford. But after seeing the numbers, I'm really starting to think that a win over Oregon isn't going to be enough.
Without realizing it at the time, coach David Shaw might have had the quote of the year three weeks ago when he said "I don't know how you impress a computer."
Apparently 44-point victories aren't the way to go.