STANFORD, CA - OCTOBER 01: Andrew Luck #12 of the Stanford Cardinal hands the ball off to Stepfan Taylor #33 of the Stanford Cardinal during their game against the UCLA Bruins at Stanford Stadium on October 1, 2011 in Stanford, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
The Cardinal and Fighting Irish both hope to improve their BCS bowl game prospects with a win in Saturday's regular season finale.
Andrew Luck and the Stanford Cardinal bounced back from a 53-30 loss to the Oregon Ducks with a narrow 31-28 victory over the Cal Golden Bears at home last weekend. This week, the one-loss Cardinal host the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the 2011 regular season finale. The game could prove to have major BCS bowl implications for both squads.
The one-loss Cardinal are No. 6 in the BCS standings heading into the season's final week and have their eyes set on an at-large berth in a BCS bowl game. A win over the Fighting Irish would allow the Cardinal to sustain their relative ranking and would likely enable them to increase their chances at claiming one of the two or three at-large berths. A loss, on the other hand, would drop the Cardinal into the class of other two-loss teams such as the Oklahoma Sooners, Kansas St. Wildcats and Georgia Bulldogs while complicating their quest for a BCS berth.
The Irish, meanwhile, have an outside shot of qualifying for a BCS bowl game themselves. The 8-3 Fighting Irish are currently No. 22 in the BCS standings and need to jump up eight spots in order to become BCS bowl eligible. A win over top-10 Stanford, on the road and in the final week of the season, could be enough to give the Irish that boost.
Both teams have a lot at stake in Saturday's regular season finale. The seniors on both squads will hope to close out the last part of their college careers on a strong note while improving their team's BCS bowl chances.