The Stanford Cardinal had little trouble manhandling the Cal Golden Bears and it should only help Stanford's 2010 BCS bowl game chances. Cal was coming off an impressive defensive performance and Stanford came in to Memorial stadium and absolutely decimated that defense. That kind of performance often weighs on voters' minds. A few votes here and there could give Stanford a necessary boost.
Stanford's BCS chances also may have benefited by on key loss tonight. Nebraska went into College Station and was upset 9-6 by the Texas A&M Aggies. Nebraska is two spots back of the Cardinal, but ranked ahead of them in two computer polls. The Cornhuskers loss will benefit Stanford in those two computer rankings. It might not be enough to move them past LSU, but it's a step in the right direction.
So, given that Stanford is really just battling for an at-large berth, why is working to climb one spot in the BCS standings of any consequence? Well, I figure the higher they are ranked at the end of the regular season, the greater the pressure to slot them into a BCS bowl. The big problem thus far has been complaints about Stanford's ability to bring enough fans on the road to a neutral site and also how they might affect ratings.
I'm not concerned about the ratings issue because I think they play an entertaining brand of football that will draw people in. Throw in a Heisman candidate in Andrew Luck and a notable head coach in Jim Harbaugh and I think the ratings argument would be a bit bogus. The same can't necessarily be said about the attendance factor. If the concerns are significant enough it's entirely possible they'll be left out in the cold when it comes to a BCS bowl.
If the Cardinal do not get a BCS nod, at 10-1 (7-1 in conference) they would be a lock to go to the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio. If that is the case, they would play the third choice from the BIg-12, which would probably be Oklahoma or Missouri at this point.