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2011 Bowl Projections: Stanford Looking At Fiesta Bowl Versus Oklahoma State

The Stanford Cardinal wrapped up their 2011 regular season a week ago and spent this weekend waiting to see what various conference championship games would bring to the BCS. Stanford entered the weekend ranked fourth in the BCS, which would set them up as automatic qualifiers even without having won the Pac-12. The various title games were not going to have a huge impact on them, but there were still some possibilities.

The most pressing example was if Virginia Tech could beat Clemson. The Hokies entered the weekend ranked No. 5 but were unable to defeat Clemson in the ACC title game. The loss ensured Stanford would remain in the top four, thus qualifying for a BCS bowl berth.

The general belief is that Stanford will end up in the 2012 Fiesta Bowl. If that is the case, they would likely matchup against the Big 12 champion. Although the Big 12 did not have an official title game this year, Saturday night's Oklahoma-Oklahoma State game acted as such since the winner won the conference and accompanying BCS berth. Oklahoma State handled their business with ruthless efficiency.

The big question for Oklahoma State is if it will be enough to move them ahead of Alabama. The odds are slim, but the Cowboys thrashing of the Sooners gave the voters something to think about. Their best bet for movement would be if the two human polls moved them up sufficiently to leapfrog Alabama. They will climb at least one spot in each with Virginia Tech's loss, but it remains to be seen if they will move past Stanford or Alabama. Of course, conspiracy theorists will call shenanigans if Oklahoma State does climb further up, but we will just have to wait and see.

If Oklahoma State did somehow move up to No. 2, the BCS selection procedure dictates Alabama would get Stanford's automatic bid. Stanford would be added to the at-large pool of candidates and would suddenly have to wait until Sunday evening to find out if they get a BCS berth. They would seem a likely candidate given the ratings Andrew Luck could bring, but there are no guarantees.