PALO ALTO CA - NOVEMBER 27: Head coach Jim Harbaugh of the Stanford Cardinal reacts after Delano Howell #26 of the Stanford Cardinal made an interception on a pass intended for Joe Halahuni #87 of the Oregon State Beavers at Stanford Stadium on November 27 2010 in Palo Alto California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Stanford Shuts Out Oregon State; On Verge Of Potential BCS Bowl Bid

Stanford hosts Oregon State in its regular season finale, looking to get to 11-1 and a possible BCS berth. We'll be providing updates leading up to the game. For more details check out Rule of Tree.

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Stanford Pummels Oregon State 38-0, Wraps Up 11-1 Regular Season

Stanford, CA (Sports Network) - Andrew Luck threw for 305 yards with four touchdowns, and No. 7 Stanford dominated Oregon State, 38-0.

Thanks to their third shutout of the season, the Cardinal (11-1, 8-1 Pac-10) concluded their first 11-win season and a good chance at a BCS bowl game.

Luck completed 21-of-30 passes, including five to Doug Baldwin, who logged 97 yards and two scores in the Stanford's seventh straight win. Stepfan Taylor ran for 115 yards and a TD on 14 carries in the rout.

Ryan Katz was intercepted three times, finishing with 183 yards on 19-of-36 efficiency for the Beavers (5-6, 4-4), who need a win next week against top- ranked Oregon to become bowl eligible.

Luck was a perfect 6-for-6 on the game's opening drive with 21 of his 60 yards coming on a scoring strike to Zach Ertz less than 5 1/2 minutes in.

Oregon State punted in Stanford territory on its first touch, and the Cardinal responded by going 91 yards in 10 plays, the last a 42-yard hookup from Luck to Baldwin with 2:21 remaining in the first.

A Katz fumble set up Nate Whitaker's 20-yard field goal seven minutes into the second frame, and Baldwin was at it again later in the half, taking a short pass over the middle and running free for a 29-yard TD with 1:56 to go before halftime.

Early in the third, the Beavers had a promising drive thwarted when Katz threw behind his intended receiver and into the waiting arms of Barry Browning at the Stanford 24.

With just over five minutes left in the third, Taylor took a draw right up the middle and went untouched 62 yards for a 31-0 cushion.

Oregon State turned the ball over on downs on its next touch, and Tyler Gaffney was on the opposite end of a 52-yard pass from Luck on the first play of the fourth quarter to put the finishing touches on the blowout.

Luck's pass to Gaffney broke John Elway and Steve Stenstrom's school record of 27 TD passes...Stanford, which set a school record with 484 points this season, had won 10 games three times previously (1926, 1940, 1993)...Stanford holds a 49-25-3 lead in the series...Jacquizz Rodgers was held to 76 yards on 17 carries for the Beavers.


BCS Standings and Scores: Arkansas Upsets LSU; Stanford In Position To Claim BCS Bowl Bid

The Arkansas Razorbacks just completed a somewhat surprising 31-23 upset of the No. 4 team in the recent BCS standings, the LSU Tigers. The Razorbacks led or were tied the entire game as they had little trouble with a good LSU Tigers team. LSU had no answer for Ryan Mallett or Knile Davis and it cost them big time, as they are on the edge of BCS bowl contention at this point.

More importantly for our purposes, the Stanford Cardinal are now in a position to potentially clinch a BCS berth with a victory over the Oregon State Beavers, which just started at Stanford Stadium. The LSU loss, combined with Nevada’s monster upset of Boise State will move Stanford past both teams in tomorrow’s new BCS rankings. In that situation, Stanford would be fourth in the BCS standings. As Avinash discussed earlier, the rule instituted after Cal was hosed out of the Rose Bowl would require Stanford be selected for a BCS bowl, even if it’s not the Rose Bowl.

One possible hiccup would be if Wisconsin leap-frogged Stanford after their beatdown of Northwestern. Based on the computers a Stanford win over Oregon State should be more valuable, but Wisconsin solidly claiming the Big Ten Title with a beatdown of Northwestern could influence the Coaches and Harris poll. I’d hope that doesn’t happen, but crazier things have happened.

Stanford obviously has to handle their business first tonight against Oregon State. Consider it a possible “win and you’re in” scenario.


BCS Schedule, Scores And Standings: Stanford Watching TCU, LSU And Wisconsin

Although Stanford has no control over the other teams in the BCS standings at this point, it’s still difficult to not do a little scoreboard-watching in advance of their matchup with the Oregon State Beavers this after at 4:30pm pacific. Time is running out for everybody, so any loss would be absolutely crushing to their particular hopes for a BCS bowl berth.

Avinash discussed the LSU situation earlier this morning. If LSU were to lose, the Cardinal would climb above them in the standings and potentially secure that all important fourth position, thus guaranteeing themselves a BCS bowl berth (even if it’s not the Rose Bowl). This of course factors in last night’s epic Nevada upset of current No. 4 Boise State, thus moving Stanford up one spot already. And if you missed the Boise State-Nevada game, check for a replay of it on ESPN Classic. It might have been the game of the year.

However, even if Stanford wins and LSU loses, the Cardinal are not guaranteed that fourth spot. Wisconsin is currently one spot back of Stanford and trails them by .0075 points in the BCS rankings. This is significant because Wisconsin trailed them the week before by .0295. Wisconsin’s blowout of Michigan last week was valuable enough to slice right through that lead. Wisconsin hosts a solid 7-4 Northwestern team this week, while Stanford hosts 5-5 Oregon State. In looking at one computer ranking (Sagarin), OSU is 27th, while Northwestern is 56th. One would imagine a Stanford win would keep them ahead of Wisconsin, but you never know with all the different rankings involved. So, Stanford will likely keep an eye on Wisconsin this afternoon.

The other game to watch will be TCU versus New Mexico. TCU should destroy the 1-10 Lobos, but crazier things have happened. A TCU loss would likely ensure Stanford goes to the Rose Bowl. Personally I’m rooting for TCU to finish undefeated and not get into the title game as I think that would lead to some change in the BCS. I’m not holding my breath for change, but you never what will happen.

Whatever the case, today is an exciting day of football and scoreboard-watching.


Stanford Cardinal Fans Should Root For LSU To Lose To Arkansas

In 2004, the California Golden Bears were screwed by the BCS despite finishing with the fourth best record in the BCS and didn’t get to go to the Rose Bowl (that honor went to Mack Brown and his Texas Longhorns instead). Jeff Tedford’s 2004 squad is the highest ever ranked team to be snubbed from a BCS bowl.

The BCS has these rules in place.

5. If any of the 10 slots remain open after application of provisions 1 through 4, and an at-large team from a conference with an annual automatic berth for its champion is ranked No. 3 in the final BCS Standings, that team will become an automatic qualifier, provided that no at-large team from the same conference qualifies for the national championship game.

6. If any of the 10 slots remain open after application of provisions 1 through 5, and if no team qualifies under paragraph No. 5 and an at-large team from a conference with an annual automatic berth for its champion is ranked No. 4 in the final BCS Standings, that team will become an automatic qualifier provided that no at-large team from the same conference qualifies for the national championship game.

Currently, the Stanford Cardinal are sitting at sixth in the BCS standings and are sure to rise up with Boise’s defeat to Nevada. If Stanford can hold serve they are guaranteed to finish in the top five in the BCS, which would leave them one bid short.

So they need someone ahead of them to lose. Oregon, Auburn and TCU are all likely to be heavy favorites in their remaining games, which leaves Les Miles and his LSU Tigers standing in the way between Stanford and the top four. And LSU has a tough road date in Fayetteville against Ryan Mallett and the Arkansas Razorbacks this afternoon; a loss puts Stanford in the driver’s seat to a BCS bowl of some sort.

I’m sure Cal fans are choking on the irony. Literally. Bring the respirators out. They can’t breathe right now.


CBS Sports Projects Stanford Cardinal Playing Oklahoma State Cowboys In The Fiesta Bowl

Boise State losing to Nevada does not assure that the Stanford Cardinal are headed to a BCS bowl bid. Not being an automatic qualifier really puts Jim Harbaugh’s team in a quandary. Their ticket sales aren’t the best (the Cardinal continue to struggle selling out their games despite being a top 10 team), and they don’t really light up the eyes of bowl sponsors when considering who.

That being said, Boise losing opens up an extra at-large bid for Stanford to keep an eye on. There are four at-large bids, and with the Broncos gone, the TCU Horned Frogs have the inside track to the Rose Bowl (a victory against 1-10 New Mexico today seems assured). The BCS runner-ups from the SEC and the Big Ten should get their automatic bids because teams like LSU, Arkansas, and Ohio State, Wisconsin and Michigan State all have great fanbases that’ll ensure maximum ticket sales at their BCS bowl game.

But now there’s one bid left, and the Fiesta Bowl will likely be given the option of who to take last. Given the choice between a Big 12 at-large and a Pac-10 at-large, CBS Sports believes the Cardinal are the choice (also the weirdness of two Big 12 teams facing each other is probably illegal under some NCAA rule).

The Big 12 champion automatically goes to the Fiesta Bowl, so the way I see it playing out is Oklahoma State beats Oklahoma and then knocks off Nebraska in the in the Big 12 title game and lands here. The Fiesta Bowl gets the last at-large pick, so it will either be the Big East champion or a one-loss Stanford. The Orange Bowl is expected to pass on Stanford, so good news for the folks in Glendale because the Cardinal land here.

Here’s the methodology (presuming everyone wins out from this point on).
(1) If the Rose Bowl picks TCU as they are expected to do, the Sugar Bowl gets the next pick. They will almost certainly select the SEC runner-up considering the likely SEC Champion is headed to the BCS title game. They will also take the Big Ten at-large bid to ensure the best possible crowd at their game.
(2) The Orange Bowl will get the next selection. They’re obligated to take the ACC champion. Given the choice between Stanford (who are about 3000 miles away from Miami), the Big 12 runner-up (if they somehow make the top 12 of the BCS as they need to do) and the Big East champ, it seems pretty elementary to keep the East Coast bias flowing.
(3) The Fiesta Bowl has to take the Big 12 champion. That would leave the door open for Stanford, as they’d be the only team left that satisfies the at-large requirements.

Of course, all of this means nothing if the Cardinal don’t take care of business and beat the Oregon St. Beavers tomorrow. But Stanford’s prospects are looking brighter as they move further up the totem pole.


2010 BCS Scores and Standings: Nevada Busts Boise State's BCS Bowl Hopes; Stanford Situation Changes Slightly

After several weeks of the status quo, we finally had another big upset in the 2010 BCS standings. On an exciting Friday of top-ranked college football, No. 4 Boise State met their match at the hands of No. 19 Nevada in a game that might go down as the best one of the season. The loss blows up the Broncos BCS bowl chances more than likely, but it also benefits the Stanford Cardinal in their bid for some kind of BCS bowl.

Boise State jumped out to a 17-0 lead and lead 24-7 at the half. However, they could not put Nevada away and the Wolfpack stormed back to tie the game at 24 with 5:14 left in the fourth quarter. The Broncos quickly responded with a short pass from Kellen Moore to Doug Martin that turned into a 79 yard touchdown reception for Martin.

Nevada responded in kind with a 14 play drive that covered 79 yards in four minutes and forty seconds. QB Colin Kaepernick found Rishard Mathews on a little out pattern and evened up the game with 13 seconds left. As if that wasn’t crazy enough, Boise State fired a Hail Mary on their one chance and Titus Young made an amazing diving catch at the Nevada 9. After Boise State called timeout and the play was reviewed, Broncos kicker Kyle Brotzman was lined up for a 26-yard field goal to end things. If it were only that easy. Brotzman pushed the kick wide right and the game went into overtime.

In overtime, Boise State lost the toss and started on offense. They moved down to first and goal at the Nevada 8 but were stopped on four short plays. Brotzman came back out for the 29 yard field goal to give the Broncos a three point lead and he missed that one too, pulling it wide left.

Nevada came on the field and it became a mere formality as Nevada got in line for a 34-yard field goal. After the Brotzman misses I’d imagine Nevada fans were on edge, but kicker Anthony Martinez drilled the game-winner through the middle of the uprights. The fans poured onto the field and it’s safe to say there’s a wild party going on in Reno right now. It’s a shame that Brotzman missed those kicks, but sometimes it’s just not your night.

Although Nevada is a very solid team, the pollsters will likely drop Boise State a decent amount in the upcoming BCS rankings, coming out on Sunday. I’m curious to see how far they drop, but I’d imagine they’ll definitely drop behind the Stanford Cardinal. If that’s the case, and assuming all other parties win tomorrow, Stanford would climb one spot and likely become the No. 5 team in the 2010 BCS rankings.

The ranking itself looks good but doesn’t guarantee them anything at this point. As long as Oregon, Auburn, and TCU remain undefeated, Stanford will likely be locked out of the Rose Bowl. However, they remain alive for an at-large berth in another BCS bowl. Seven BCS bowl bids are either already locked up or will likely be locked up in the coming weeks between the six major conference winners and TCU if the Horned Frogs win out. That leaves three berths between a handful of teams, including Stanford. Boise State losing seemingly knocks one of that handful out of process, which only helps Stanford.

Of course, all of this is moot if the Cardinal don’t handle their business tomorrow afternoon against Oregon State. Stanford can’t control what the voters do so they might as well just focus on the task at hand and get the victory against OSU.


BCS No. 1 Oregon vs. Arizona: Ducks Outlast Wildcats; Stanford Rose Bowl Bid Alive

The No. 1 Oregon Ducks used a strong second half to blow out the Arizona Wildcats 48-29, solidifying their own spot in the BCS standings and avoiding unnecessary damage to the Stanford Cardinal bid for a BCS bowl bid. The Ducks trailed most of the first half and went into halftime down 19-14. However, as most likely expected, the Oregon offense caught fire and blew past Arizona in the second half.

Although Oregon’s win does not change the BCS rankings, it probably benefits the Stanford Cardinal as much as any win could. Oregon’s win will keep them in the No. 1 spot in the BCS standings and in line for the BCS National Title game. If Oregon had lost to Arizona there would have been absolute chaos in the BCS. I bring all this up because Oregon still has to win the Civil War next week against Oregon State, and thus this could all still happen.

An Oregon loss to Arizona (and now Oregon State next week) would have dropped the Ducks out of first place in the BCS, but the question is how far they’d drop. Anti-BCS folks would love to see a 1-loss team end up ahead of Boise State and TCU because that would go to show the little guys can’t get into the title game. If Oregon held on to the No. 2 position, Stanford would be no worse for wear. However, if Oregon were to lose and drop out of the top two positions, they would automatically slot into the Rose Bowl because of their Pac-10 championship. If that happened, it would be all the more difficult for the Cardinal to land an at large bid in one of the other BCS bowls, thus sending Stanford to the Alamo Bowl.

It’s fairly unlikely Oregon loses next week, but it’s something worth considering given some of the crazy upsets this week in college football. In the meantime, No. 4 Boise State is currently up 10-0 at No. 19 Nevada. The Broncos have one more game next week but this is their last real challenge of the regular season. A win could be enough to move them past TCU into the No. 3 spot in the BCS standings. If that happens, they would then slot into the Rose Bowl.


Auburn vs. Alabama, 2010 Iron Bowl: Tigers Escape, Do Not Help Stanford BCS Rose Bowl Chances

The Alabama Crimson Tide did everything in their power in the first quarter of the 2010 Iron Bowl to help the Stanford Cardinal get into the Rose Bowl, but came up short in a tough 28-27 loss to the Auburn Tigers. Alabama took a 24-0 lead early in the second quarter but squandered numerous scoring opportunities and blew the game late.

While the Auburn win didn’t deal a huge blow to Stanford’s Rose Bowl chances, it certainly did not help them. In a nutshell, the BCS bowl rules based on the current BCS standings would require the Rose Bowl take either Boise State or TCU to face the Big Ten champion. Stanford could get another at-large bid but the odds are not great on that front. Had Auburn lost, Boise State or TCU would have potentially moved into the No. 2 spot and the national title game. If Boise or TCU is in the national title game, the Rose Bowl would not be required to take the other one, and they could go with a traditional Pac-10/Big Ten matchup.

This is all of course assuming Stanford wins tomorrow when they host Oregon State at Stanford Stadium. The Beavers are coming off a beat down of the USC Trojans and will look to get an even bigger notch in their belt tomorrow in Palo Alto.

There are two big games remaining this afternoon and this evening. The No. 1 Oregon Ducks host the No. 21 Arizona Wildcats, while the No. 4 Boise State Broncos travel to No. 19 Nevada. Stanford might actually prefer an Oregon win at this point. If Oregon were to lose to Arizona, they’d likely drop out of the national title game. However, they’d get the Rose Bowl bid no matter what else happens. Stanford could still get an at-large bid, but the odds would likely be even smaller if Oregon is in the Rose Bowl. I doubt Oregon loses this afternoon, but it’s something to keep in mind.


NCAA Schedule, Week 13: BCS Standings Impact Galore!

The day after Thanksgiving might be Black Friday at the shopping malls, but it’s “Fantastic Friday” in the world of college football. Maybe that doesn’t have the same ring as Separation Saturday, but whatever the case, today is a fantastic day of college football. And more importantly, the Stanford football team has a chance to gain ground in the 2010 BCS standings before they even step on the field tomorrow afternoon.

The BCS rankings could see solidification of current positioning or a huge shakeup courtesy of some intriguing matchups today. There are four college football games involved ranked opponents. I’ll let you guess which three are of the most significance (all times pacific):

No. 1 Oregon vs. No. 21 Arizona – 4:00pm
No. 2 Auburn @ No. 11 Alabama – 11:30am
No. 4 Boise State @ No. 19 Nevada – 7:15pm
No. 15 Nebraska vs. Colorado – 12:30pm

The Nebraska-Colorado game should be a fun game to watch, but its impact is almost non-existent on the top of the BCS and Stanford’s BCS bowl chances in particular. A Nebraska loss would have a big impact on the Big 12 title game and the Big 12’s automatic BCS berth, but that’s about it.

However the other three games involve teams ranked ahead of Stanford and all three games are rather dangerous for those teams. If I had to rank them in order of likelihood of upset with most likely to be upset at the top, I’d go:

1. Auburn-Alabama
2. Boise State-Nevada
3. Oregon-Arizona

The Wildcats have been inconsistent and certainly could surprise folks, but I don’t see Oregon doing anything but squashing Arizona. Boise State travels to a Nevada team that blew a shot at undefeated when they lost at Hawaii but remains incredibly tough to beat. That pistol offense could give Boise State’s defense some trouble. Of course the Broncos are tough across the board so I don’t see the upset happening. But we can always hope.

That brings us to the 2010 edition of the Iron Bowl. Alabama and Auburn have long had an intense rivalry, and this year’s edition has a whole lot riding on it. While Auburn is guaranteed a spot in the SEC title game, losing today would likely end their BCS title chances. It’s certainly possible they could still sneak into the title game with one loss, but TCU and Boise both have momentum on their side.

Rivalry games are always hard to figure out and seem to even the playing field a little bit (unless we’re talking about Cal last week). Alabama had a chance to potentially get back into the national title picture but lost a tough one at LSU. They can’t get to the national title game or even into the SEC title game, but with enough good things happening to them they could end up in a BCS bowl. It’s not a highly likely scenario, but beating Auburn would certainly be a step in the right direction. And even if Alabama was not even going to a bowl this year, the motivation would still be there to be the Tigers. It should be a fun Iron Bowl

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