The 2011 college football regular season is rapidly coming to a close, which means we are close to having the final pairing setup for the 2011 BCS National Championship Game in New Orleans. Right now LSU and Alabama would square off in a rematch of their defensive battle a couple weeks back. However, there are enough big games left this weekend and next week that big changes could still happen.
Each weekend it seems like we shouldn't expect huge changes, but in recent weeks we have seen crazy upsets throw the top ten into turmoil. The top ten will be busy this weekend with the chance for some significant changes if we get any more upsets like last week.
The Stanford Cardinal host Notre Dame on Saturday and if they can get that victory, they will find themselves hoping for the upsets to continue. They have a modest chance of still getting a crack at the Rose Bowl, and they have a small, but still existing chance at getting back into the national title picture. They are working their way into at least a BCS at-large berth, but they can always hope for more.
The big game across the country on Friday will be No. 1 LSU hosting No. 3 Arkansas. An Arkansas win would leave huge question marks for the next BCS rankings given LSU's win over Alabama. Arkansas would likely pass Alabama, but there are no guarantees. Throw in the fact that Alabama has to play Auburn on Saturday in the annual Iron Bowl and nothing is guaranteed for anybody in the top three. LSU likely remains one of the top two even with a loss, but that's no sure thing.
For Stanford, the big game this weekend is Oregon-Oregon State. The Civil War has high stakes as an Oregon win secures their spot in the Pac-12 title game, while a monster Oregon State upset would move Stanford into the Pac-12 title game. We know who the Cardinal are rooting for Saturday afternoon.
Stanford's BCS bowl opportunities are actually rather numerous. The Rose Bowl and national title game are hanging by a thread, but they have a much better shot at the Fiesta Bowl or one of the other BCS bowls. If Stanford can climb into the BCS top four and get Arkansas behind them, they likely qualify for an automatic bid based on the various BCS selection procedures.
There is one game that could still impact that process and is intriguing for the BCS. Virginia Tech travels to Virginia for their annual rivalry game and faces a Cavaliers team that earned their first ever win on the road against Florida State last week. Now, Virginia hosts Tech in a game that sends the winner to the ACC Championship Game. Virginia is only a four-point underdog and looking to make a name for themselves. A Hokies loss moves the Cardinal up one more spot in their bizarre BCS quest.
We'll be here through the weekend tracking how Stanford's BCS chances ebb and flow with each of the games.