Stanford's chances of a BCS bowl berth are slightly better than they were this time last week.
That's because the Cardinal took care of business against Oregon State after watching two teams ahead of them fall over the weekend, and those losses by Boise State and LSU may be enough to get Stanford up to fourth in tonight's BCS rankings. That spot is crucial, because without it, the Cardinal won't earn an automatic BCS bowl berth — and might not go to a BCS bowl.
They do have a good chance of making that jump. Stanford was sixth inlast week's BCS rankings, and ahead of Wisconsin, which bodes well for their hopes of staying ahead of the Badgers tonight.
That automatic berth would likely take the Cardinal across the country to the Orange Bowl, unless the Orange Bowl takes the Big East champion.
That's a better fate than relying on the Orange Bowl to select Stanford before a closer, better-supported Big 12 team, which is exactly what Stanford will have to hope for if the final BCS rankings don't have the Cardinal at fourth or above. In that case, the Cardinal could end up at the Orange Bowl, the Fiesta Bowl, or the non-BCS Holiday Bowl.
There is also, conceivably, a scenario in which Oregon and Auburn lose by huge margins, elevating Stanford to second in the BCS rankings and a BCS National Championship Game showdown with TCU. But "conceivable" and "likely" are very different things.