Oregon's stock is rising after a big win at Stanford, but LSU, Oklahoma State, and Alabama still stand in their way. Meanwhile, Houston keeps winning.
Boise State and Stanford both fell Saturday, and suddenly Oregon is back in the college football title race. Suddenly, two of the three teams most likely to face LSU in the BCS Championship have already lost to the Tigers. Here's a look at who's left and what's ahead:
1. LSU (10-0)
Head coach Les Miles is doing something right, because his Tigers have cruised tough competition without the offensive firepower of an Oklahoma State or an Oregon. In fact, the Tigers have the 99th best passing attack in the nation. That may hurt them eventually, but it hasn't so far. The defense continues bails them out. LSU gives up the second least points in college football, and that's while playing in the SEC. The one major hurdle left on the schedule is a dangerous Arkansas team, which LSU hosts on November 25.
2. Oklahoma State (10-0)
Along with LSU, Oklahoma State is the only team that controls its own destiny. Two more wins and the Cowboys should own the rights to a slot in the BCS championship against LSU. Led by quarterback Brandon Weeden and the top-scoring offense in the country, the Cowboys pummelled the same Texas Tech team that beat Oklahoma, 66-6. But does that mean they can beat the Sooners? We will see in a few weeks.
3. Alabama (9-1)
The Crimson Tide can only hope wins over Georgia Southern and Auburn somehow catipults them into the BCS championship. Truthfully, they looked a little sluggish in Saturday's 24-7 win over Mississippi State. Heisman candidate Trent Richardson carried the ball a blue-collar 32 times for 127 yards and a score. Like LSU, Alabama relies on its defense, which has given up the fewest points in college football.
4. Oregon (9-1)
The Ducks made a major splash Saturday night with a 53-30 shellacking at previously-unbeaten and Andrew-Luck-led Stanford. Junior running back LaMichael James, who may be the most dangerous player in the country right now, reeled off 146 yards on 20 carries and 3 touchdowns. Doesn't it seem like Oregon is always the one-win team you don't want to play at this time of the year? They cannot bask too long in their big victory, however, because a potent USC team comes to town this weekend. To have any shot at the BCS Championship, the Ducks will need to win out and get some help from OSU and Alabama in the form of losses down the stretch. Maybe not likely, but certainly possible.
5. Oklahoma (8-1)
Like Oregon, Oklahoma will need big wins and some help from teams in front of them to have any prayer. A December 3 date with cross-state rival Oklahoma State looms as a huge opportunity. But even winning that game may not be enough. The Sooners also cannot afford to overlook a dangerous Baylor offense that they have to play on the road this Saturday. After a bye this past weekend, Oklahoma is the only team in the top five that has three regular season games left.
11. Houston (10-0)
Fairly or unfairly, eight teams with one loss rank ahead of Houston with three weeks to go in the regular season. The Cougars need all those teams to lose plus two losses from either Oklahoma State or LSU for the Cougars to play in the final. It's not going to happen. Which means Houston is basically playing for an at-large bid in another BCS game at this point. Their final game of the season, at Tulsa (7-3), could be an upset risk.
Still in the mix: #6 Arkansas (9-1), #7 Clemson (9-1), #8 Virginia Tech (9-1), #9 Stanford (9-1), #10 Boise State (8-1)