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BCS Watch: Stanford Could Play in National Championship Game

Where will Stanford celebrate next? We'll have to wait and see.
Where will Stanford celebrate next? We'll have to wait and see.

So you're telling me there's a chance?

Yes, albeit a small one, and you don't have to take my word for it.

I'm getting ahead of myself, I know. There's no guarantee that Stanford will be in the top four when the updated BCS standings are released tonight. The Cardinal, which is sixth in the most recent standings, should move ahead of Boise State and LSU. The Broncos and Tigers are currently fourth and fifth, respectively, but both teams lost this weekend. The only threat to Stanford moving into the top four--behind Oregon, Auburn, and TCU--and guaranteeing itself a BCS bid is the Big Red Score Scoring Machine in its rear-view window.

Wisconsin, which has put up 83, 48, and 70 points in the last three games, is within .075 points of the Cardinal in this week's BCS standings. It would be criminal if the Badgers jumped Stanford (they needed a blocked extra point to beat Arizona State and that win at Iowa is looking less and less impressive), but this is the BCS, and more ridiculous things have happened.

Wilner weighs in on the possibility, however slim, of Stanford being left out of the top four and outlines Stanford's BCS bowl scenarios. The synopsis:

  • If Oregon and Auburn win next week, they will meet in the National Championship Game and TCU will play in the Rose Bowl.
  • If Stanford finishes outside of the top four, it could wind up in the Alamo Bowl. (Worst. Case. Scenario. DIE, BCS. DIE!)
  • Assuming Stanford finishes in the top four, it is guaranteed to play in the Sugar Bowl, Orange Bowl, or Fiesta Bowl.
  • The Sugar Bowl appears likely to pick Arkansas and Ohio State.
  • The Orange Bowl has the next at-large selection to match against the ACC champion (Florida State or Virginia Tech). The Orange Bowl could take the Big East champion (West Virginia or Connecticut) instead of Stanford if it thinks the Big East champ would attract a bigger crowd. As Wilner mentions, a West Virginia vs. Virginia Tech matchup would be tough to turn down.
  • If the Orange Bowl takes the Big East champ, Stanford will play in the Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Ariz., on Jan. 1 against the Big 12 champion, which could be one of four teams depending on today's updated BCS standings.

Stanford could still play in the Rose Bowl if Auburn loses to South Carolina in next week's SEC Championship game and TCU moves into the National Championship Game. If Auburn loses to South Carolina and Oregon loses to Oregon State, there's a chance Stanford could play TCU for the BCS title. Yes, I'm telling you there's a chance. Stay tuned.