As we get closer to the Second Game of the Century, I've spent a considerable amount of time imagining different BCS scenarios that could play out over the next few weeks. Thanks to the implosion of the Big-10 over the past two weeks, I think Stanford is almost assured of a BCS bid even with a loss to Oregon. My thought process below the jump.
Let's look at how those spots would fall out in a few different scenarios:
Stanford goes 13-0:
We're in the national championship or the Rose Bowl, guaranteed. This is the nightmare scenario for Oregon, who is in competition with multiple 2-loss Big 10 teams, Virginia Tech/Clemson, and possibly Oklahoma for an at-large bid.
Stanford goes 12-1, dropping a game to either Cal or Notre Dame:
In this scenario, we get the Pac-12 autobid for the Rose Bowl, and possibly still a shot at the NC if Oklahoma State loses.
Stanford goes 12-1, losing the Pac-12 Championship Game:
This is the most crowded scenario, because we'd fill a spot with 10-3 Arizona State. The five other conference champs and Boise State take six spots. An SEC team (Bama/Arkansas) takes the eighth spot. The ninth spot is likely taken by 10-2 Oklahoma or 11-1 Oklahoma State. That leaves us in competition with a 2-loss ACC runner-up, a 2-loss (at least) Big-10 runner-up and Houston for the tenth spot. I say we get the bid.
Stanford goes 11-1, losing to Oregon:
Oregon or Arizona State goes to the Rose Bowl. If Arizona State somehow beats Oregon, we are in trouble, because then Oregon becomes the tenth team picked in the scenario above. That is the only way I can see a one-loss Stanford not getting a bid. If Oregon wins the Pac-12 championship, I suspect we'd be snapped up with the ninth or tenth pick, again over 2-loss ACC or Big10 also-rans.
If we lose 2 or more games in any combination:
We don't get a bid barring extraordinary circumstances, and frankly, we wouldn't deserve to.
In sum: With the way the team is playing, and the quality of our remaining non-Oregon opponents, it's hard to imagine a scenario where we don't end up in a BCS game. The only exception that rule is if Oregon loses to Arizona State in Autzen....which seems unlikely, since a LMJ-less Oregon handled them pretty thoroughly a few weeks ago.