The Stanford Cardinal wrapped up their 2011 regular season on Saturday with a 28-14 victory over the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Although Notre Dame has had a bit of an up and down season, the Irish had put together a solid computer profile that had them No. 23 in the Week 13 BCS rankings. Stanford was able to benefit quite a bit from their victory as they saw their ranking move up two spots from No. 6 to No. 4 in the Week 14 BCS Rankings.
Stanford was looking for a jump of one spot following Arkansas' loss to LSU, but the second move past Virginia Tech was a bit of a surprise. The reason for the significant jump was because Stanford saw their computer rankings increase from an average of ninth to an average of fourth. They now have a firm grasp on the fourth position heading into conference championship week.
If Stanford can maintain the fourth position through the coming week, they will be guaranteed a BCS bowl berth. Virginia Tech could climb past them with a win over Clemson in the ACC title game, but it will depend on how much respect Tech gets in the computers following that game. And, of course, assuming they actually win the game.
Stanford will be rooting for a loss just to be safe, although a drop to fifth does not necessarily mean Stanford will not go to a BCS bowl. They are a sufficiently high profile team that they would likely earn an at-large bid. Nonetheless, the financial windfall involved makes it easy to root against Virginia Tech and Oklahoma State (facing Oklahoma) next weekend.
The BCS formula combines human and computer rankings to devise the standings. The USA Today/Coaches Poll and the Harris Poll are voted on by humans each Sunday. The computer ratings include the Sagarin Ratings, Anderson & Hester, Billingsley Report, Colley Matrix, Massey Ratings, and Wolfe Ratings. Stanford rates as follows according to the computers:
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