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Sunday, November 27, 2011
History shows nothing settled in BCS yet


The latest BCS standings lead to some interesting scenarios for the final week of the regular season. Let’s take a quick look from a historical perspective for each of the top four teams in the standings.

Be wary, LSU
LSU enters the final week of the regular season at No. 1 with some under the impression that no matter the result of Saturday’s SEC Championship Game, the Tigers will be headed to the BCS Championship game.

LSU should beware of an upset though. Over the past four seasons, three of the four teams at No. 1 in the BCS standings lost in their conference championship game. None of the teams to lose ended up making the championship game.

However there is precedent for the top team in the BCS standings losing in its conference championship game, but still making the BCS Championship game.

In 2003, Oklahoma lost in the Big 12 title game to Kansas State. However, the Sooners stayed at No. 1 in the next releasing of the BCS standings and played in the BCS Championship Game.

This season LSU will face No. 14 Georgia. That season Oklahoma faced No. 15 Kansas State.

LSU is in good position to go wire-to-wire as BCS No. 1. They are the sixth team to go through the first seven weeks as No. 1 in the standings. Five teams have gone all the way through all eight releases, the last being Ohio State in 2006.

Being idle is OK for Alabama
Though Alabama is idle next weekend and Oklahoma State has a chance to make a statement in a top-10 BCS matchup against Oklahoma, don’t expect the Tide to be lower than No. 2 in the BCS next weekend.

Since the BCS began in 1998, five previous teams have been ranked in the top two of the BCS and not played the last week of the regular season. All five went on to play for the BCS title game, meaning none were “jumped” while idle.

If Alabama reaches the title game as expected, the Tide would be just the third team to do so despite not winning their conference in the BCS era. The other two to do so: Nebraska in 2001 and Oklahoma in 2003. Both lost in the BCS Championship Game.

Oklahoma State move still possible
It is unlikely, but not unprecedented, that Oklahoma State could move up from its No. 3 position. Four times the No. 3 team entering the final week went on to play in the BCS Championship Game, most recently with Texas in 2009. The Longhorns jumped because of a loss by No. 1 Florida.

Oklahoma State has a chance to make a statement with a win over rival Oklahoma, which is No. 10 in the BCS standings. This will mark the sixth regular-season BCS top-10 matchup this season, the second-most in any season in the BCS era. The only season featuring more BCS top-10 regular-season matchups was 2008 (seven).

Stanford’s chances slim-to-none
Does Stanford have a chance to enter the BCS National Championship Game picture despite having finished its regular season?

Three idle teams ranked outside the top two of the BCS entering the last week of the regular season moved into the top two without playing. None won the national title: Florida State in 1998 (ranked No. 4), Nebraska in 2001 (ranked No. 3) and Ohio State in 2007 (ranked No. 3).