Well, once again, it’s proven to be a good idea to let the season play out before making rash assumptions. Kansas State went down like a cement zeppelin at Baylor, 52-24, just a little before Oregon fell to Stanford in a shocking overtime thriller, 17-14.
So what do we make of it? Well, that leaves a single unbeaten team not on probation, Notre Dame, which is in position to make the BCS national title game if it can beat USC — probably without injured Matt Barkley — next week against, most likely, the SEC champion.
More fallout from a crazy night at the top:
— Oregon appears almost boxed out of the national title game, if you believe ESPN’s BCS projections that have Notre Dame, Alabama, Georgia, Florida and Kansas State in the top five when it’s released Sunday. The Ducks would seem to need UCLA to beat Stanford so Oregon can get into the Pac-12 title game and have a game against UCLA that would help its strength-of-schedule component. Then it would need Notre Dame to lose to USC, and if those projections are accurate, Florida probably would have to lose to Florida State and Kansas State to Texas. What would also help the Ducks (but this is getting farfetched) is a Georgia Tech win over Georgia next week, and then a Georgia win over Alabama in the SEC title game.
— The Bruins are in an odd position: Beat Stanford next week, and they set themselves up for a trip to Oregon for the Pac-12 title game (and a rematch of last year). Lose it, and they get a rematch with Stanford the next week.
— An all-SEC title game, which repulsed so many people last year, isn’t out of the question. Florida is sitting there at No. 6 in the BCS with one loss and won’t play in the SEC championship game, having lost earlier to Georgia. If USC were to knock off Notre Dame, Florida could join the Alabama-Georgia winner (again, assuming a Georgia win over Georgia Tech) in an all-SEC national championship. By the way, if those BCS projections are correct, you’d have to say that’s a pretty heavy penalty for Oregon — which lost a tight game (granted, at home) to a high-quality team, while Kansas State got drubbed (granted, on the road) by a 4-5 Baylor team allowing 39 points a game.
— In any case, it seems a near-lock that the BCS title game will have an SEC team in it, so the chance remains that league will have a seventh straight national champion.