Jim Harbaugh has his Stanford Cardinal in the driver's seat after an astonishing 11-1 season. The new BCS rankings have been released, and they've held off Wisconsin for that all-important fourth spot that could send them to one of the big money bowls. Click HERE for the new BCS rankings..
With Stanford, Wisconsin, Ohio State, Arkansas and Michigan State's seasons all but concluded, it's hard to imagine the Cardinal will be any lower than fourth in the final BCS rankings. Thus, this little-known rule will come into effect:
The fifth rule states that 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.
The sixth rule states that 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.
Thus after the TCU Horned Frogs get picked as the non-automatic qualifier school, the Cardinal will be next in line and will have to be picked due to the sixth rule. Stanford will be an automatic qualifier, and will head to a BCS bowl regardless of whether any bowls want to take them (due to the serious concerns of attendance issues by the Cardinal fans). At this moment, a few bowls are looking likelier than others...but more on that in a bit.