- Mark Schlabach, ESPN Senior Writer
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Stanford is the biggest beneficiary of Clemson's first loss.
The Cardinal, who needed three overtimes to beat USC 56-48 at the Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday night, jumped two spots to No. 4 in the BCS standings released on Sunday night.
The Cardinal moved past Clemson, which fell at Georgia Tech 31-17 on Saturday night, its first defeat of the season. Stanford also moved ahead of No. 5 Boise State, which was idle this weekend.
Stanford's next big test comes on Nov. 12, when the Cardinal play host to No. 8 Oregon in a game that might decide which team wins the Pac-12 North Division. First, the Cardinal play at struggling Oregon State on Nov. 5.
The top two teams in the final BCS standings released on Dec. 4 will play in the Jan. 9 Allstate BCS National Championship Game at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans.
Right now, SEC West rivals LSU and Alabama and surprising Oklahoma State are in the driver's seat in the BCS championship race. The No. 1 Tigers play the No. 2 Crimson Tide at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on Saturday.
Both SEC West teams were idle this past weekend, but LSU saw its lead over Alabama in the BCS standings increase from .0075 points last week to .0143 points this week.
While Saturday's game between LSU and Alabama is being billed as another "Game of the Century," it's becoming increasingly clear that Oklahoma's Dec. 3 trip to rival Oklahoma State for the Bedlam game will also be very important in the BCS championship race, as long as those teams keep winning.
Oklahoma, which saw its BCS title hopes take a serious hit with last week's 41-38 loss to Texas Tech, didn't need long to rebound. The Sooners blasted then-No. 8 Kansas State 58-17 on the road on Saturday.
As a result, the Sooners are in the best position among one-loss teams, jumping to No. 6 in the BCS standings.
The No. 3 Pokes still play Kansas State (home), Texas Tech (road) and Iowa State (road) before playing the Sooners. Oklahoma State is ranked No. 1 in five of the six computer rankings used in the BCS formula (the computers make up one-third of the formula; the Harris Poll is one-third; and USA Today coaches' poll is one-third), so an upset of the Pokes would do wonders for Oklahoma's BCS ranking.
A few other observations from the latest BCS standings:
I'm not sure if an 8-1 team has ever gotten less respect than Penn State. I know the Nittany Lions are offensively challenged, but their only loss came against No. 2 Alabama. I thought they'd be higher than No. 16 after defeating Illinois 10-7 on Saturday. There's something to be said for playing defense, which the Nittany Lions can do.
Clemson's loss to Georgia Tech dropped the Tigers six spots from No. 5 to No. 11 in the BCS standings. Kansas State (No. 8 to No. 14) and Michigan State (No. 11 to No. 17) also fell a half-dozen spots after losing games on Saturday.
Arkansas moved up three spots to No. 7, after beating Vanderbilt 31-28 on the road on Saturday. The Hogs fell behind 28-17 and won only after Commodores kicker Casey Spear missed a 27-yard field goal with eight seconds to play. The Hogs also looked bad in a 29-24 win at Ole Miss the week before.
2hSharon Katz, ESPN Stats & Information
1dTom VanHaaren and Erik McKinney