It's likely a moot point for the BCS title game if LSU and Alabama take care of business this week, but the Oklahoma St. Cowboys are the team in position to capitalize if either falter.
The big question for many in the Pac-12: Should they be? David Shaw and the Stanford Cardinal certainly believe not.
"It's flawed, and they know it themselves, which is why they've proposed changes," Shaw said Tuesday. "It's to the point that I had to say something."
Shaw took issue with Stanford's No. 6 ranking in the BCS standings -- two spots behind Oklahoma State and one behind Virginia Tech.
"To have a one-loss Pac-12 team behind a one-loss ACC team (Virginia Tech) means the computers value the ACC more than the Pac-12 ... which I don't believe is accurate," Shaw said.
When the topic turned to Oklahoma State, Shaw noted that the Cowboys' loss came to an unranked team (Iowa State), whereas Stanford lost to then-No. 7 Oregon.
"The computers don't program themselves," he said.
David Shaw finally stood up to the BCS and made it quite clear he disagreed with a system that rates Oklahoma State's loss to a middling Iowa State team less severely than Stanford's loss to Oregon and any system that has the Hokies placed over the Cardinal. The case for Stanford over Virginia Tech is pretty easy to make.
- Virginia Tech has a common game with Stanford in a common setting: Duke. The Cardinal thumped the Blue Devils by several touchdowns. Va Tech squeaked by with a four point win.
- Stanford has beaten six conference teams by three scores or more. Virginia Tech has done that once, and has had three of those contests go down to the final minutes.
- Stanford's most impressive win was a triple overtime thriller against a potential top ten squad in USC. Virginia Tech's most impressive win was against a barely top 25 team in Georgia Tech.
- Didn't Stanford and Virginia Tech just play a game against each other? Only about a year ago I think. That didn't go so well. Pretty sure one team beat down the other.
Stanford-Oklahoma State is a little less clearcut. The Cowboys probably have the worse loss of the two, but everything else seems to tilt OSU 's way.
- The Cowboys have beaten two quality opponents in two-loss Kansas State and three-loss Baylor. Stanford can only claim a victory over two-loss USC; they've beaten no one else on their schedule with three losses or less.
- Oklahoma State is in a conference with four ranked teams--Oklahoma, Kansas State and Baylor the other three--and four others are bowl eligible. Stanford is in a conference that's more top-heavy, with three top ten teams and five ranked opponents. So the Big 12 is perceived as a little bit more stronger than the Pac-12, even though this measurement is hardly a reflection of anything.
It's easy to understand why Shaw would be furious about having the Cardinal having such unfavorable circumstances to try and get back to the BCS title game. But all they can control now is beating Notre Dame and take care of their own business before worrying about all of that. They're just going to have hope other teams lose in front of them to get to that prominent position.