BCS Landscape Shifts Once Again Out West

The Cardinal defense once again found a way to handle the Ducks' offense.

You win and some and you lose some I guess and I experienced that first-hand with Oregon once again going down to defeat to Stanford this past Thursday night. I wrote prior to the game that I just couldn’t see the Ducks falling into another defensive battle like last year despite the fact that they had a pretty good defense going in.

Today, Oregon finds itself licking the wounds once again inflicted by a physical Cardinal team and worse yet, finds itself on the outside looking in in terms of the BCS National Title game. Quarterback Marcus Mariota reportedly entered the game with an MCL sprain and wore a brace throughout the game.

What Stanford has done the last two years to thwart the Ducks’ drive to the national championship is play defense by playing offense. The Cardinal held the ball for over 42 minutes and running back Tyler Gaffney carried the ball 45 times for 157 yards. Look at his average per carry though and you’ll see it was just 3.5 yards per carry.

What that does is give credence to the old “three yards and a cloud of dust” mentality which is exactly what the Cardinal deployed on Thursday.

What Now for Both Teams?

Oregon will clearly need Stanford to lose while winning their last three games. Even if that happens, Oregon will need help in the name Ohio State, Baylor and Florida State losing. Alabama would probably need to lose twice because even with one loss I think Bama could still get in.

Stanford would also need a similar scenario to unfold but the one thing hanging over their head is the loss to Utah. That loss could ultimately be the one thing holding them back when compared to other one-loss teams if it comes to that at the end of the season.

Looking Ahead to Today

Can Miles' Tigers pull of the upset on the road against the Crimson Tide?

Obviously the big game in college football today is in Tuscaloosa where the top-ranked Crimson Tide will host SEC West rival LSU. Can the Tigers pull off the upset? Yes they can because they have a big time QB in Zach Mettenberger and he has a group of NFL-talent level receivers as well.

The problem for LSU is on defense where they are not nearly as impressive as they have been in previous years. Alabama’s offense is incredibly balanced and will ultimately be the difference. Alabama will ‘Roll’ on to next week.

Florida State is a heavy favorite today at Wake Forest and should come away with a fairly easy victory. The Demon Deacons have had FSU’s number in recent years though and with the Seminoles coming off some big games is a letdown coming? The best cure for a letdown came on Thursday night when the ‘Noles saw Oregon lose. I expect a focused FSU team today.

And Looking Back to Thursday Again

Somewhat over-shadowed by the Stanford win was the fact that unbeaten Baylor put a whipping on Oklahoma by a score of 41-12. This was the first game of a gauntlet for the Bears that will prove just how good they really are. Next week they get Texas Tech before two straight road games at Oklahoma State and TCU. The finale is at home against Texas.

Should the Bears run that table; will it be enough to get ahead of Ohio State or Florida State? That’s the ultimate question. Getting ahead of the Buckeyes is possible but I don’t see them jumping the Seminoles. I’m just hoping it gets there because it will create even more to talk about.