(The Guru's Note: If you just found this post, be sure to read this also. Thank you.)
The BCS ought to cut Nevada a fat check, seeing the upset of Boise State saved it untold millions, not to mention a potential public relations nightmare. That, coupled with Auburn's Lazarus-like comeback against Alabama, is setting up a relatively controversy-free postseason.
The deal for the main event is now pretty cut-and-dried. It will be Oregon vs. Auburn. If either is upset next week, TCU, which has locked up at worst a Rose Bowl berth, will be the stand-in. The only potential for chaos now is if both teams go down next week - Oregon plays at Oregon State in the Civil War game and Auburn faces South Carolina in the SEC championship game.
The Cameron Newton saga actually isn't in play now. Even if the NCAA rules him ineligible, Auburn's victory will not be vacated by next week. Whatever the Tigers achieve this season may be erased later, but not before this season is over.
On the undercard, however, there's a whole lot going on ...
1) TCU: With its rout of New Mexico, TCU becomes the first team to complete an undefeated season. At worst, the Frogs will earn a Rose Bowl berth against the Big Ten champion. And with LSU's loss to Arkansas, their spot in the top three will not be threatened no matter what happens next week.
2) Rose Bowl: LSU's loss made the Wisconsin-Ohio State race much closer, because the Tigers were wedged between these two teams in the polls. So close that the Guru is calling Ohio State to edge slightly in front. Keep in mind that the Big Ten will send the highest ranked team in the final BCS standings to the Rose Bowl, so this won't be decided until next week even though the Big Ten schedule is done. The Rose Bowl will be rooting for an Auburn loss, because then it will be free to pick Stanford to replace Oregon.
3) Stanford: Losses by LSU and Boise State also have enormous meaning for Stanford, which is now in position to be guaranteed a BCS bowl berth. The Cardinal will be No. 4 in the new BCS standings, and by BCS rule, it will have to be chosen by one of the BCS bowls. It remains to be seen whether Jim Harbaugh will be coaching that game.
4) Big 12: Oklahoma's bedlam of a victory over Oklahoma State produced the dreaded three-way tie in the Big 12 South for the second time in three years. OU will gain enough ground to take the division but it just boggles the mind why conferences would choose to use a ranking system that's so easily manipulated by outside influences, or even the participants themselves. In the Big Ten's case, all three head coaches have a vote in the coaches poll; but in the Big 12's case, Mike Sherman has a vote but Bob Stoops and Mike Gundy don't. It's pure insanity.
5) The Biggest Loser: If it wasn't so important to the Broncos you'd think that they lost to Nevada just to spite the WAC, which stands to lose nearly $10 million by missing out on a BCS bowl. But Boise State lost its chance to play in its third BCS bowl, probably the Rose Bowl, and possibly a shot at the national championship. They won't even win the conference outright, and will be consigned to play in either the Kraft Fight Hunger or Humanitarian Bowl against some 6-6 team.
6) The Biggest Winner: Meanwhile, UConn, a team that was manhandled by a second-division Big Ten team (Michigan) and a fifth-place team in the MAC (Temple), is one win away from a BCS Bowl berth. The Big East is committing grand larceny.
7) Bowl picture: The Guru will have a complete breakdown on all the bowls next week, but on a quick count, we now have exactly 70 bowl eligible teams, filling all 35 bowl games, with four teams (Washington, Oregon State, Middle Tennessee State and Louisiana Tech) can still play their way in by winning their final game. Of those four, only UW is likely to win and get a bowl bid, and if it does, then Western Michigan is out.
This week's projected BCS standings: 1. Oregon, 2. Auburn, 3. TCU, 4. Stanford, 5. Ohio State, 6. Wisconsin, 7. Arkansas, 8. Michigan State, 9. LSU, 10. Oklahoma, 11. Boise State, 12. Oklahoma State, 13. Nebraska, 14. Missouri, 15. Nevada.