<
>

Maisel: Clemson fails Week 9 test

ATLANTA -- If you're an Oklahoma State fan, then you'll wake up Sunday feeling good about your BCS championship hopes, and rightfully so.

If you're a Stanford fan, then you'll wake up Sunday feeling good about beating your second biggest rival, even if the Cardinal's 16th consecutive victory revealed some heretofore unseen flaws that won't help your team in the BCS beauty contest.

And if you're a Clemson fan, then you'll wake up Sunday no longer concerned about the BCS at all.

Three national championship contenders who don't play in the Southeastern Conference had similar challenges Saturday. No. 3 Oklahoma State, No. 5 Clemson and No. 6 Stanford all had to play good, if not quite elite quality, conference opponents. Baylor, Georgia Tech and USC, respectively, had combined records of 16-5.

The Cowboys, the only one of the three contenders to play at home, routed the Bears, 59-24, in a game not as close as the one-sided score indicated.

The Cardinal fell behind by at least a touchdown on three occasions after halftime, but outlasted the Trojans, 56-48, by forcing a turnover in the third overtime.

And the Tigers? They played like the Clemson of old for nearly three quarters. That's not a compliment. The Tigers, plus-nine in turnovers coming into the game, coughed up the ball four times Saturday night. Georgia Tech rebounded from two consecutive losses to beat Clemson, 31-17, at Bobby Dodd Stadium.

For Ivan Maisel's full story, click here.