BCS: Oregon is No. 2
Before this year, the Pac-12 hadn't placed five teams in the BCS standings since the end of the 2009 season. Well, the Pac now has six teams in, tying with the SEC for most teams in the standings.
Oregon kicks off the festivities by moving up one spot to No. 2, thanks to Alabama's loss to Texas A&M and the Ducks' very own 59-17 win at Cal. While many thought Oregon would usurp Kansas State and take the No. 2 spot should the top undefeated teams stay perfect, the guess work has been thrown out of the window: If the Ducks win out, they are going to play in the BCS national championship game. It's not going to be easy, though; Oregon must face three ranked opponents (Stanford, Oregon State and either USC or UCLA, assuming it beats Stanford this Saturday) to play in the national championship game for the second time in three years.
[Related: Oregon can do no wrong]
There's also a new No. 2 in terms of which Pac-12 squad is the second highest-ranked team in the conference. That's Stanford, which beat Oregon State 27-23 on The Farm in the Cardinal's final regular-season home game. If the Cardinal wins out, it will get one more game at Stanford Stadium - the Pac-12 Championship game on Nov. 30. Oregon and UCLA stand in the way of that happening; for now, the Cardinal will have to settle for the No. 13 slot in the BCS standings, up one place from last week and getting a little buffer in staying in the picture for a BCS at-large bid.
The Beavers didn't fall too far with that loss in Palo Alto, and they shouldn't have been penalized much for a close loss on the road against a ranked opponent. A 7-2 Oregon State squad is now No. 16 according to the BCS, being passed up by Stanford, Clemson, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Texas while passing up a previously-undefeated Louisville squad that lost at Syracuse. Up next for Oregon State is a home date with California in a battle of the two longest-tenured head coaches in the Pac-12.
UCLA just keeps winning. Like the Cardinal, the Bruins have come out victorious four games in a row. In fact, the two teams have mirrored each other in terms of won-loss results throughout the whole season - win the first three, lose two of the next three, win four straight. And, like the Cardinal, the Bruins were able to move up one notch in the BCS standings, coming in at No. 17 after beating Washington State 44-36 in Pullman on Saturday night. The eight wins in a season are the most for UCLA since 2005.
USC got back on track with a 38-17 triumph over Arizona State thanks to a dominant second-half performance. Like their SoCal rivals, the Trojans moved up one spot to No. 18. It hasn't been the type of season USC fans were hoping for heading into the 2012 campaign, but the Trojans can earn a trip to the Pac-12 Championship game with a win over UCLA next weekend.
Also, let's welcome Washington to the party. With a 34-15 win over visiting Utah, the Huskies just slipped in at No. 25. Steve Sarkisian and Co. have now won three straight and are bowl eligible for the third consecutive year. It is the Huskies' first foray into the BCS standings since the first BCS release of the 2011 season.
Here are the BCS standings in their entirety:
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