So I realize that Kevin just blogged about our bowl situation. But that was before BCS standings came out. And frankly, this is an amazing year for Stanford football. We are #5 in the AP Poll, 11-1 for the first time ever, Luck just set a single season school touchdown record, and we have had 3 shut outs this season. We have the best quarterback, arguably the best player (HEISMAN!), in college football. We are in my mind the best one loss team in the country. IN THE COUNTRY. In fact right now our football team is nationally ranked higher than our academic program…and we are Stanford. We have created one of the most dynamic football teams in the nation without jeopardizing the high academic standards that make Stanford the incredible school we know it to be. Just a little while ago when we were 1-11, the idea of a BCS bowl seemed impossibly far off, yet here we are, thanks to our amazing players and astounding coaching staff. In fact, this season has been so amazing that I think it deserves, not one, but TWO bowl articles.
Now that I am done gushing, let’s get down to business. I will try and make this as simple as possible, but keep in mind that this involves the BCS, so it can’t really be all that simple.
First thing first. In case you didn’t know, we are #4 in the BCS rankings this week. Those ranked in the top four get an automatic invite to a BCS bowl game (in BCS speak, an automatic berth). The schools closest behind us have already finished their regular season, as have we. With a .0228 lead on Wisconsin, we can comfortably say, unless the voters go insane before their next vote, we should remain ahead. This essentially means STANFORD WILL PLAY IN A BCS BOWL! “Which BCS bowl?” you ask. Here is where things get tricky.
Situation 1: Next weekend Oregon wins against Oregon St. in the Civil War. Auburn wins against S. Carolina in the SEC Championship. Big East title goes to Pittsburg.
BCS Championship: Auburn v. Oregon (We root for Oregon to beat Auburn’s butt and get the Pac-10 the respect it deserves.)
Rose Bowl: Wisconsin v. TCU (SIGH) Why is TCU playing in the Rose Bowl? Isn’t the Rose Bowl a Pac-10/ Big 10 thing? The answer is…kinda…usually. There is a pesky little rule that essentially says that if the Pac-10 champ or the Big 10 champ is in the national championship, and there is a team from an non-AQ conference (ex. WAC, MAC, Conference USA, etc.) in the top 12, the Rose Bowl is obligated to take them. Yeah, I know, it sucks. We can argue about strength of conference and how one of TCU’s most credible wins was against Oregon St. (30-21) and how we just blew Oregon St. out of the water. But what it comes down to is that they are undefeated. And we aren’t.
Sugar Bowl: Usually SEC champ v. at-large, this year it would be Arkansas v. Ohio St. This is pretty much widely agreed upon. Having the SEC champ in the national championship makes the way for another SEC team, and Ohio State’s huge fan base makes it an attractive pick.
Orange Bowl: Virginia Tech/Florida St v. STANFORD. With next pick, the Orange Bowl has some options. It is the ACC Champ v. whomever the Orange Bowl chooses. It could take the Big East champ or an at-large team. Honestly, the Big East sucks as a conference. Their champ will probably not even be ranked. But regardless, the conference champ automatically qualifies for a BCS berth. Bummer. However the Big East champ isn’t tied to a specific bowl, sooooo it is really up to the Orange Bowl . If Pittsburg wins the Big East, the Orange Bowl will probably take Stanford. At 11-1, Stanford is an infinitely better team than whomever the Big East champ will be, but when it gets down to bowl games, money and ticket sales matter. There is this nasty little rumor that Stanford will not travel well (based off of our home game attendance), which in all honestly hurts us. BUT Pittsburg isn’t know for traveling well either. So if it comes down to Stanford or Pittsburg, the Orange Bowl will take the better team aka us. The ACC champ is either Virginia Tech or Florida St.
Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma/Nebraska v. Pittsburg. The Big 12 champ is tied to the Fiesta Bowl. With the Big East champ still untaken, the Fiesta Bowl would be forced to take them.
Situation 2: Oregon wins. Auburn wins. UConn/West Virginia is the Big East Champ.
BCS Championship: Auburn v. Oregon
Rose Bowl: Wisconsin v. TCU
Sugar Bowl: Arkansas v. Ohio St.
Orange Bowl: Virginia Tech/ Florida St v. UConn/ West Virginia. If West Virginia wins the Big East, in all likelihood, they will go to the Orange Bowl. They are known to travel well. They are also closer, and a Virginia Tech v. West Virginia game would draw regional interest. UConn is a little bit more iffy. They aren’t know for traveling well. But (sigh) neither are we. And they are closer. So I am guessing that the Orange Bowl would take UConn. But who really knows.
Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma/ Nebraska v. STANFORD. This pushes us to the Fiesta Bowl. WHOOOO Glendale, Arizona! This is the most probable option at the moment, because UConn controls its own fate right now. If they lose and West Virginia wins, West Virginia gets the Big East title. Only if they both lose is Pittsburg Big East champ. And if they all lose (hey, it is the Big East, so it is a genuine possibility), then Connecticut gets it.
Situation 3: Oregon wins. South Carolina beats Auburn. Who cares who is Big East champ.
BCS championship: Oregon v. TCU. Auburn gets bumped down to #3 (probably). TCU moves up a spot. Though, there could be a weird situation in which Auburn loses and only moves down one spot (they are #1 right now). This would have SEC bias and non-AQ conference bias playing a big role in the voting process, so big that it outweighs the computers. It would lead to a lot of drama. Let us pray that this is not a possibility, because Auburn getting kicked out of the BCS championship game benefits us. But I had to mention it. Cuz the BCS is cray-cray.
Rose Bowl: Wisconsin v. STANFORD. YAY! We get to go to the Rose Bowl. All is right with the world.
Sugar Bowl: S. Carolina v. Ohio State. Cuz South Carolina would be the SEC champs…
Orange Bowl: Virginia Tech/ Florida St. v. Auburn. Auburn at three would get an automatic berth. And anything is more attractive than the Big East and Auburn travels. So naturally the Orange Bowl would pick them.
Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma/ Nebraska v. Pittsburg/ West Virginia/UConn.
Situation 4: Oregon St. beats Oregon. Auburn wins. Pittsburg wins.
BCS Championship: Auburn v. TCU. Oregon drops to #3. Though like I said with Auburn, there is very, very slim chance (even slimmer with Oregon than TCU) that Oregon plays for the national championship anyway. Slimmer because TCU beat Oregon St., and Oregon would have just lost to them. It would be a travesty.
Rose Bowl: Wisconsin v. Oregon.
Sugar Bowl: Arkansas v. Ohio St.
Orange Bowl: Virginia Tech/ Florida St. v. STANFORD
Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma/ Nebraska v. Pittsburg
Situation 5: Oregon St wins. Auburn wins. UConn/ West Virginia wins.
BCS Championship: Auburn v. TCU.
Rose Bowl: Wisconsin v. Oregon.
Sugar Bowl: Arkansas v. Ohio St.
Orange Bowl: Virginia Tech/ Florida St. v. UConn/West Virginia. (Explained in sitch 3)
Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma/ Nebraska v. STANFORD.
Situation 6: Oregon St. wins. South Carolina wins. Again who cares about the Big East?
HELL BREAKS LOSE. BCS VOTERS CRAZED AND CONFUSED. WHO KNOWS? If this happens, not only will I (and the rest of the nation for that matter) be shocked, but I also will have no idea whatsoever what bowl game we will get. We will get something. We could even get BCS Championship game. Odds are slim, being that in the head to head Oregon wins, because they beat us. But this would mean that they lost to Oregon St., who we just whooped. If Oregon got beaten badly (which I really, really, really, really, really, really doubt), there would be precedent for us to overtake them in the ranking. But it would still be very unlikely. Don’t get your hopes up. It would all depend on by how much Auburn and Oregon lost by. Anyways, that would be so much craziness, I cannot even contemplate it, and I would be a fool to try. So I will leave the predictions open to the imagination. Just be glad we get a BCS bowl. I know I am.
Random ending football musings that have little to do with bowl games but that I wanted to write about anyway:
I want to take this time to address the attendance issue that, unfortunately, has gotten so much press. As anyone will point out, Stanford only sold out its stadium once this year. I agree that this is sad and stinky and that our incredible team deserves more. What I disagree about is whose fault it is. Definitely not Stanford undergrads. We fill the Red Zone (with the exception of last game, but everyone was gone on break…except for me. You should have been there. It was glorious). But in all seriousness, a super-majority of us show up. I wouldn’t even blame it on the alumnae. Press has pointed out the younger alumnae have a poor showing at the games. While this may/may not be true, it is also true that the Stanford grad base scatters to all over the country for jobs/grad programs/etc. I am a die hard Stanford fan, and unless I had an endless supply of money and lots of free time and no worries about radiation/global warming, I would not FLY BACK to attend every home game. That is a ridiculous expectation. The people that should be coming to games are Bay Area residents. The Stanford football program is far superior to any in the Bay Area (that is right, Cal). Why you would choose to go to a Raiders/49ers game over a Stanford game is puzzling. And I’m a Niners fan. But the Stanford program has not been that good for that long at all and building a fan base takes time. Apparently national media expects us to whip one up overnight. But more than anything, I take issue with the idea that home game attendance will predict bowl game attendance. Last year we sold out our allotment of Sun Bowl tickets. And it was the Sun Bowl. Stanford fans/alumnae are hungry for a BCS bowl game and ready to go anywhere to witness it. Hopefully there will be many more to come, but this one will be the first in a very, very long time. We will go to your bowl game, and more than that, as Stanford alumnae, we will hobknob at the expensive restaurants near the arena and stay in nice hotels. We will drop the money. SO GIVE US THE OPPORTUNITY! Okay, I am done. Hopefully after reading this, you understand the bowl sitch a bit better. Or at the very least have a better sense of the awesomeness of this Stanford season.