This changes nothing.
Most probably thought Stanford would move up to No. 3. We also knew there was a chance that the Cardinal might stay at No. 4 in the latest BCS standings depending on how, both electric- and pulse-powered, voters reacted to Saturday night’s 9-6 baseball game between LSU and Alabama.
If Stanford wants to get into the national championship game, it’s going to have to keep winning, plus it needs some help from one of the teams remaining on Oklahoma State’s or LSU’s schedule.
If the Cowboys and Tigers hold serve, Stanford can’t catch either one.
Nothing new since last week.
Stanford remained at No. 4, behind No. 1 LSU -- the victor of the aforementioned baseball game -- No. 2 Oklahoma State, which dodged a bullet against Kansas State Saturday night, and No. 3 Alabama.
As all eyes were on the SEC last week, the eyes of a college football nation now look West this week for Stanford’s showdown with No. 7 Oregon in Palo Alto.
If Stanford wins, it will have a legitimate claim to college football’s red carpet contest. And the Cardinal will all but certainly pass Alabama in the computer rankings -- the only thing holding them back (ranked No. 7). The human voters like the Cardinal (No. 3 in the Harris Poll, No. 2 in the coaches’ poll).
If Stanford loses, Oregon will join a list of one-loss contenders that can argue they are deserving. Like Alabama, the Ducks only loss would be to LSU.
A one-loss Stanford team doesn’t have the schedule to muscle its way back into the conversation.
So, this changes nothing. Win, and hope someone beats either Oklahoma State or LSU. Lose, and it’s no longer an issue.
Saturday’s game is shaping up to be what we all hoped it would back in September -- a high-profile contest between two BCS top-10 teams with national title implications. Saturday is without a doubt the biggest game for Stanford in the modern football era.
The outcome -- regardless of the winner -- will send shockwaves throughout the college football landscape.