BCS Rankings Projections, Week 12: Bye Bye Boise State, And The Rematch Still Looms

This week's BCS standings are now out. Fellow frequent insurgent TCU may have kicked Boise State all the way out of a BCS appearance, while teams that have lost to LSU are piling up behind Oklahoma State.

All that stands between the BCS and rematch hell is an Oklahoma State loss to Oklahoma in their Bedlam showdown.

At least that's how it looks after Saturday's bloodletting. Both Stanford and Boise State went down against familiar foes, and as a result, there are only three unbeaten FBS teams left. Only two of them have a shot at the BCS national title game.

Projected BCS Standings: 1. LSU, 2. Oklahoma State, 3. Alabama, 4. Oregon, 5. Oklahoma, 6. Arkansas, 7. Stanford, 8. Clemson, 9. Boise State, 10. Virginia Tech, 11. Houston, 12. South Carolina, 13. Georgia, 14. Michigan State, 15. Kansas State.


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Both Stanford and Boise State ran into their respective kryptonite: The Cardinal have lost just twice in their last 23 games, and both of those were to Oregon. Last year, it was a 52-31 beatdown in Eugene. This time, it was a 53-30 meltdown on the Farm.

But it's far worse for Boise. At least Stanford just flat-out got beat. The Broncos had several opportunities to close out a victory that surely would've sent them to yet another perfect regular season, but failed to do so. The crushing 36-35 loss to TCU not only destroyed their hopes of a BCS title game berth, it also all but extinguished their chances for a third BCS bowl in six years. Boise has lost just three times in its last 49 games - two of those came against TCU, each by a point.

At least Stanford has a BCS bowl as a fallback, as the Cardinal now are likely headed to the Fiesta Bowl, their second consecutive BCS bowl appearance. And quarterback Andrew Luck, despite a less-than-stellar performance, is still the Heisman frontrunner and a lock for the top pick in next April's NFL Draft.

As for Boise State, well, its entire season might've just gone to waste.

The Broncos no longer control their own destiny for a BCS bowl berth after the loss to TCU, even if they stay ahead of Houston, their main competitor for the non-AQ conference BCS bowl berth. Here's why: In order to qualify for that berth, a team has to win its conference, according to the rather convoluted BCS selection process. In order for Boise State to qualify even as the Mountain West co-champions, it'll need TCU to drop one of its remaining two games: both at home, against Colorado State (3-6) and UNLV (2-7).

If TCU wins both games, then a BCS berth will be handed to undefeated Houston on a platter as long as it can a) beat SMU and Tulsa to finish the regular season - but neither is a gimme; b) beat 9-1 Southern Miss in the Conference USA title game - definitely not a gimme; and c) stay ahead of the Big East champion in the BCS Standings - now, that's a gimme.

As for the BCS title game, it looks pretty clear-cut, though the possibility of a rematch now looms large. LSU and Oklahoma State are safely perched at the top, each headed to New Orleans if it can win out. But should OSU lose to OU, then it could be LSU-Alabama or LSU-Oregon. We have seen both of those movies before.

And LSU isn't out of the woods yet by any means, either, with a home game against Arkansas and a likely SEC title game against resurgent Georgia left. If you want to see BCS armageddon, losses on the last day of the season, Dec. 3, by BOTH of those teams should pretty much produce a prodigious mushroom cloud.

Until then, here are this week's ...

Big Winners

Conference USA - Boise State's loss puts Houston in position for the conference's first BCS bowl berth, and with it a payday of over $17 million to be shared evenly by the conference's 12 members. Will the windfall of nearly $1.5 million to each athletic department stem the tide of an exodus to the Big East? Only time will tell.

Wisconsin - While the Badgers took care of business against Minnesota, they got a huge assist when Nebraska won at Penn Sate. Now Wisconsin controls its own destiny in the Big Ten's Leaders Division, with the season finale against the Nittany Lions on Nov. 26 at Camp Randall likely a winner-take-all for a spot in the inaugural Big Ten title game.

Penn State - Even though the Nittany Lions lost, the players acquitted themselves valiantly on the field and the crowd comported itself well off the field. Penn State fell into a 17-0 hole but fought back to make a game of it. Given what's transpired the last few days, including the abrupt coaching change mid-week, the Penn State football team has nothing to be ashamed of.

Big Losers

Mountain West Conference - Boise State's loss was a bitter pill, with all that aforementioned cash disappearing into the ether. What made things worse is that the team administering this hurt is the one that's fleeing the conference after the season - TCU, who'll soon have the luxury of millions of guaranteed money every season, even if it goes 0-12. This may give pause to all those schools that've been tempted by the Big East of late (Boise State, Air Force, San Diego State, Beijing University ... uh, never mind that last one).

Big Ten - Since every team in the conference now has at least two losses, it's nearly assured that the Big Ten won't get a BCS at-large bid as it did in each of the last six seasons. The loser in the Big Ten title game will have at least three losses and most likely will not beat out the Bedlam loser for the final at-large spot in the BCS (it's safe to assume the SEC, Pac-12 and a non-AQ conference team will claim the other three at-large berths).

Arizona State - In this weekend's final game, the Sun Devils laid a giant egg by losing at Washington State, thus losing control of the Pac-12 South race once again. UCLA had handed the reins back to ASU after its own debacle against Utah earlier in the day, but now the Bruins can win the division by beating Colorado and USC. And Utah, with a 3-4 conference record, amazingly is still in this race as well.

Samuel Chi is the proprietor of BCSGuru.com and managing editor of RealClearSports. Sam's college football and BCS analysis, exclusively for SB Nation, will appear on Sundays and Mondays throughout the season. Follow him on Twitter at BCSGuru.

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