Sixth-ranked Oregon did much to simplify the BCS title game picture — or did it? — with its 53-30 win at No. 3 Stanford on Saturday night.
Led by running back LaMichael James (touchdown runs of one, four and 58 yards), quarterback Darron Thomas (three touchdown passes) and a defense that picked off Cardinal quarterback Andrew Luck twice and recovered one of his fumbles, the Ducks simply were too fast for the Cardinal.
Oregon’s win — and Boise State’s loss to TCU earlier in the day — put No.1 LSU and No. 2 Oklahoma State squarely in the BCS driver’s seat, though both have tough games left on the schedule: The Tigers still must play Arkansas and its high-powered offense on Nov. 25 and then likely face Georgia in the SEC title game on Dec. 3, while the Cowboys host rival Oklahoma in the annual Bedlam game on Dec. 3.
But what if LSU or Oklahoma State lose? Two words: BCS chaos. Which one-loss team would get a shot? Would we see an LSU-Alabama rematch? Would we see an LSU-Oregon rematch? The Ducks still have a game against No. 18 USC Saturday, the annual Civil War game against Oregon State (a game Oregon should win handily) and possibly the Pac-12 title game against one of three very middling teams (Ariz. State, UCLA or Utah).
The most thrilling game of the night was one probably seen by very few people: No. 25 Southern Mississippi held on for a 30-29 win over Central Florida when the Golden Eagles’ Jacorious Cotton knocked down Blake Bortles’s two-point conversion pass with no time left. Southern Miss, 9-1 for the first time since 1962, can clinch the Conference USA East title with one more win, likely setting up a battle with No. 11 Houston in the C-USA title game.
— Matt Bonesteel