Earlier in the college football season, my colleague Allen Kenney and I were discussing the merits of an undefeated Oklahoma State on the Crystal Ball Run podcast. I don’t remember exactly what week it was, or exactly the context, but I do know this: We spent a solid five minutes trying to figure out if Oklahoma State was going to lose prior to their matchup with Oklahoma, and if so, where it would happen.
We discussed whether Baylor could put up enough points to beat them in Stillwater. The probability that Kansas State might be able to do the same a week later on the road as well. Then, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a weird quirk in the schedule that saw the Cowboys visit Iowa State for a bizarrely scheduled Friday night game in Ames at the end of November. My comment at the time (and this is paraphrased): “Even that Iowa State game is in a weird spot.”
Now, did I think the Pokes would actually lose to Iowa State when they got together November 19? Of course not. But I have watched enough college football in my life to know that when the season starts winding down, and the pressure builds, funny things seem to happen. A lot of those funny things especially seem to happen on Thursday and Friday nights when there’s only game in town, and the pressure is that much more intensified.
And apparently, that pressure has cracked someone once again.
On Friday afternoon the Cowboys entered Ames an undefeated favorite to face off with LSU in the BCS National Championship Game in early January. Had they won out, it would’ve set up a potential winner-take-all title game against their long-standing rivals the Oklahoma Sooners in two weeks.
Instead, we now have insanity. Oklahoma State blew a 24-7 lead late, missed a field goal attempt with just minutes to go in regulation, and lost to Iowa State in double overtime 37-31.
BCS meet Chaos.
It wasn’t supposed to be this way for the Pokes, which entered this game 10-0 thanks to one of the most explosive offenses in college football, and a defense which turned the over team over at a clip virtually unseen in college football. Only on Friday night- above all- it was turnovers which did Oklahoma State in. The Cowboys coughed the ball up five times, including a Brandon Weeden interception in the second overtime which was recovered by Iowa State, and inadvertently sealed the win for the Cyclones. Three plays later Jeff Woody piled into the end zone for the winning touchdown. Just like that, Oklahoma State’s season is effectively over.
Or is it?
Well, a lot depends on what happens from here on out, and if the remaining one-loss teams (as well as LSU) beat their remaining opponents.
(These are the most recent BCS standings)
For sake of clarity, it seems as though both Stanford and Boise State eliminated themselves from real National Championship discussion with losses last Saturday. They are now ranked ninth and 10th respectively in the standings, but each has next to no shot to even with their conferences (not that that’s necessarily mattered towards the BCS standings in the past). With the loss to Oregon last week, the Ducks clinched the Pac-12 North title, eliminating Stanford from a shot the Pac-12 title overall. As things stand, Stanford’s BCS case rests on the shoulders of wins against umm, USC and Washington; two teams that aren’t exactly college football juggernauts this season. Boise meanwhile is one-game behind TCU in the Mountain West loss column, meaning the Horned Frogs would have to lose to both Colorado State and UNLV (each at home), for the Broncos to get back into the mix. Not that it necessarily matters toward the BCS standings anyway.
As for everyone else, Clemson and Virginia Tech sit at No.’s 7 and 8 respectively, and will meet in the ACC Championship Game, with each first facing an out-of-conference rivalry game next week. Of all teams in this one-loss mix, Clemson has the toughest remaining schedule (and the easiest to make up ground), with a game today against NC State, before South Carolina next week (No. 14 in the BCS Standings) and Virginia Tech in that ACC Title Game. Win out, and I suspect the Tigers would make up quite a bit of ground.
In an interesting twist, the team that may actually been most directly impacted by Oklahoma State’s loss was the Pokes rival, Oklahoma. Of all the top one-loss teams, the Sooners have by far the worst loss (at home against Texas Tech), and should they run the table, their biggest negotiating chip at the BCS table would’ve been a win over an undefeated Oklahoma State team in Bedlam. That obviously is no longer there.
And finally, the two teams that seem to have gained the most by Friday night’s affair are Alabama and Oregon. Both boast a 9-1 record entering Saturday, with the only loss of each coming to LSU. Alabama should take over the No. 2 spot when the new poll is released Sunday, and the Ducks will likely be No. 3. That is if Oregon can get by USC tonight.
Oh, and of course, don’t forget this: LSU still has two games against teams that are ranked in the Top 15 and is hardly out of the dark yet either.
They play Arkansas the day after Thanksgiving, a club which traditionally has given them a lot of trouble and nearly ended their BCS run in 2007 with a win at Tiger Stadium. Should LSU hold on, it’d set up a showdown with a deceptively hot Georgia team in the SEC title game. Georgia has won eight straight after losing their first two, and would clinch the SEC East with a win over Kentucky today. They’re one of the more underrated teams in college football at this point in the season.
In the end, there is still a lot to figure out, and in the opinion of this one writer, this is just the beginning of what I believe to be another three weeks of sheer madness.
What seemed like such a certainty a few days ago- a matchup between undefeated teams in the title- game is no more.
And all we’ve got left is chaos. With more to come.
For all insights, opinions and articles on college football Aaron on Twitter @Aaron_Torres.