COLUMN: Upsets open the door for Sooner BCS title shot
Week three of the most incompetent postseason system in the history of sports took an interesting turn thanks to a couple of upsets Saturday.
The top three teams in the latest BCS rankings remained the same as last week, with LSU, Alabama and Oklahoma State holding on to those spots with a vice-like grip. However, the gap between No. 1 LSU and No. 2 Alabama widened slightly even though neither team played Saturday.
You know the system is bad when that happens. I mean, how is that possible?
It happened because the computer rating fluctuated slightly because of the success, or lack thereof, of the Tigers’ and Crimson Tide’s opponents.
Ah yes. The inanimate pieces of technology that control the postseason more than the players on the field are to blame. Gotcha.
The Oklahoma Sooners found themselves right back in the national title race with a 58-17 drubbing of previously No. 8 Kansas State. OU moved up to No. 7 in both the Harris Poll and the Coaches’ Poll after being No. 8 in the Harris and No. 9 in the Coaches’ Poll a week ago.
The Sooners’ computer ranking also jumped from No. 7 to No. 5.
Those three rankings were good enough for a No. 6 BCS ranking and a comfortable one at that. OU is more than seven-hundredths of a point ahead of No. 7 Arkansas and about seven-hundredths of a point behind No. 5 Boise State.
Oklahoma was aided by Georgia Tech’s upset of previously No. 5 Clemson. The loss pushed the Tigers down to No. 11 in this week’s standings, effectively ending Clemson’s national championship hopes.
Thanks for playing, ACC. Come back again when you’re relevant. Now go join the Big 10 on the national championship race bench.
Oklahoma jumped Oregon this week, which was ranked No. 7 last week. The Ducks defeated Washington State, but not by a considerable margin. Their terrible computer ranking of No. 13 also hurt the Ducks.
The Sooners could have benefitted greatly from a USC upset of Stanford, but the Trojan defense couldn’t contain the Cardinal offense, most notably, senior quarterback Andrew Luck.
Then again, USC never has been good at keeping things under control (read: Reggie Bush).
Obviously, the Sooners can’t afford to lose another game, but they also still need some help from other teams across the country.
The biggest obstacle for OU is Stanford, which passed a difficult test Saturday and has smooth sailing the rest of the way, sans a Nov. 12 matchup with Oregon in Palo Alto, Calif.
Oregon needs to win that game, but at the same time, Sooner fans might be concerned that a Ducks win could propel them back over the Sooners in the standings.
No need to worry. Oregon has already been passed, and the margin between the two teams is as wide as the Grand Canyon by BCS standards, more than eight-hundredths of a point. Also, the Ducks still have to face a solid Washington team on the road Saturday as well as USC in Eugene on Nov. 19.
OU, in a way, still controls its own destiny, but it can’t get to New Orleans without an assist from one of Stanford’s remaining opponents.
Just a reminder though, if there were a playoff, there would be no concern. The concerns instead, would be about seeding and how many playoff games OU would host in Norman.
Much better concerns to have.
Luke McConnell is a journalism senior. You can follow him on Twitter at @lukemcconnell1.