You've been hearing it all Sunday. You've been hearing it in the paper. "USC's loss was bad for Oregon." "It will ensure that Oregon/USC is not a marquee game." "It will hurt Oregon in the rankings." Yada, yada, yada.
I'm here to tell you, don't believe a word of it.
You see, the journalists out there, who are ill-equipped to handle change because it means that its harder to write a story, are getting it all wrong. They're assuming that Cal is going to run the table, or that LSU is going to run the table, etc. However, all the evidence is to the contrary. Sure, there is nobody on the schedule that LSU should lose to. But, remember, USC shouldn't have lost to Stanford, either. Nobody saw that coming. Nobody saw Appalachian State beating Michigan. Nobody saw Syracuse beating Lousiville. But they happened. And its going to happen again.
You see, Stanford beating USC was great for Oregon.
Nobody is getting out of the Pac-10 unscathed. Likely, nobody is getting out with two losses. So, while it would have been cool for an undefeated SC to roll into Autzen and suffer their first loss, the truth of the matter is that its not likely that Oregon is going to run the table, either. Which means that SC needed to lose to other teams.
The truth of the matter is that Cal still has to play SC and ASU. And, with the way things have been going this year, OSU, UW, or Stanford could jump up and surprise them. SC still has to play us, Cal, and ASU. ASU's looks good, but is unproven. We still have tough games, but the toughest ones are at home.
With this loss, running the table makes us a lock for the BCS. If we run the table and Cal loses twice, that means Rose Bowl. If we run the table and Cal does, too, that means that Cal is in the NC game, and we go to the Rose Bowl. But here is the kicker with the SC loss. If we win all our remaing games except one, and that one game is NOT against SC, we likely go to the BCS as an at-large because they would take two teams from a tough Pac-10, and they would have to take us over SC (remember, unlike '05, there are five BCS bowls now, and there is no chance that ND steals one). For now, I'm assuming that ASU isn't in the hunt, although that could change.
So ignore the polls for a second. Only two teams from one conference can get into the BCS. And SC losing to Stanford severely cripples a major competitor for one of those spots. If we manage to get the head-to-head matchup, they have to finish a game ahead of us to get a potential spot over us. That's a major advantage.
The other problem, however, is that due to the crazy nature of the upsets this year, its hard to predict what's going to happen. Parity is as strong as it's ever been. I'm not going to deal with other conference scenarios or what it would take to put us in the NC game, but I will venture to bet that teams like BC, SF, and Cincy aren't going undefeated. But here is what you need to know for the Pac-10 championship picture:
IF the Ducks win out:
Ducks hold a tiebreaker with every team EXCEPT Cal. If Cal goes undefeated, Cal goes to NC game, and Ducks likely to Rose Bowl. If Cal has one loss, its a co-championship, but Cal goes to Rose Bowl via tiebreaker. Ducks likely get at-large to other BCS bowl. Cal with two losses means Ducks to Rose Bowl.
IF the Ducks lose one more:
As long as its not ASU or USC, we're still in pretty good shape. We'd hold tiebreaker with SC, and ASU if they lost somewhere else. In a tough conference, BCS at large likely, Holiday a lock at minimum. If that loss is to SC, and SC finished with one or two losses, Holiday becomes best possibility. Rose still possible if Cal completely blows it down the strech.
IF the Ducks lose two more:
No Pac-10 title or BCS hopes. Holiday not likely. Crappy minor bowl like Sun or Vegas (and we better win a bowl game this year).
These are my thoughts right now, but in this crazy year, who knows what will actually happen?
PS, congrats to SnoConeGod for the Vols demolishing Georgia. Sorry about the Cubbies, though.