Print and Go Back ESPN.com: NCF Nation [Print without images]

Sunday, October 16, 2011
Road to BCS title is paved for Big 12

By David Ubben

BCS standings reaction: ACC | Big 12 | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-12 | SEC

Five games.

Forget style points. Forget arguing over rankings. None of it matters.

Oklahoma is No. 3. Oklahoma State is No. 4.

Win.

Win, and each team's loftiest goals will become reality. No. 1 LSU and No. 2 Alabama will play on Nov. 4. The reasonable assumption is that the game's loser will be eliminated from the national title race.

That leaves two titans from the (sorry, Pokes) Sooner State.

Five games stand between Oklahoma State and Oklahoma meeting for a de facto Big 12 title game in Stillwater, the same place that hosted a de facto Big 12 South title game a year ago. That dramatic classic ended the same way the seven games before it did: with Oklahoma on top.

For now, the BCS standings look the same. Scoreboard watching and rooting for upsets and flat showings is unnecessary.

Both teams should be favored in every game leading up to what could be a Bedlam for the ages. All that's left now is to get the job done. Go out every Saturday (and one Friday for you, OSU) and win. By how much? Who cares?

The computers won't. Even if a team somehow leapfrogs Oklahoma State in the rankings, what's better than knocking off a top-three team to end the season? That will be plenty to put OSU into the BCS title game.

For Oklahoma, it's the same deal. Dates await with Texas A&M, Baylor and Kansas State, among others.

Oklahoma State will meet Missouri, Baylor and Kansas State before trips to Texas Tech and Iowa State.

Losses for each loom with one bad week.

So does a gigantic reward at the end of the road.

All they have to do is win.

Here are a couple of notes from the first BCS standings of the 2011 season.