Weekend Review: With undefeated ranks thinning, get ready for chaos

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Remember way back on Oct. 16 when there were 10 undefeated teams in the first BCS Standings? We wondered what the heck we were going to do with all of them.

Well, here we are only one month later and we're down to only three (LSU, Oklahoma State, Houston). If Oklahoma State loses to Oklahoma on Dec. 3, we are going to have the mother of all arguments.

So what did we learn on Saturday?

1. The Big Winner No. 1 is those who want to see an Alabama-LSU rematch: This time last week there were calls for an Alabama-LSU rematch for the national championship but there was also the realization that it probably wouldn't happen. But if Oklahoma State loses to Oklahoma, the voters have a choice of once-beaten Alabama, Oregon, or Oklahoma (please don't send me any letters about Houston) to play No. 1 LSU. It will be a very interesting debate.

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If you're philosophically opposed to the idea of a rematch, then you have to pick Oklahoma because Alabama and Oregon already have played LSU.

But of the three teams, Oklahoma will have by far the worst loss, to Texas Tech. The Red Raiders have been outscored 159-33 in their past three games.

What if you're not opposed to a rematch? Which is more deserving of that chance, Alabama or Oregon?

Do the voters pass on Alabama because the Crimson Tide didn't even win their division of the SEC? Alabama lost in overtime to LSU at home. Oregon lost to LSU 40-27 on a neutral site on Sept. 3. Do voters pick Oregon because they scored more points (27) on LSU than did Alabama (6)?

Boise State was kind of a fallback position for the voters if they couldn't decide among a lot of good one-loss teams. Now what do they do? And let's not even think about what happens if No. 6 Arkansas beats No. 1 LSU on Nov. 25. Now THAT would be the mother of all arguments.

2. The Big Winner No. 2 is Houston and Conference USA: With Boise State's loss to TCU, Houston (10-0) and Case Keenum are now in the driver's seat for an at-large BCS bid. A non-AQ conference winner has to finish in the Top 12 to get an automatic bid. Houston has three games left with Southern Methodist, Tulsa and probably Southern Mississippi in the Conference USA championship game. Conference USA has never had a team in a BCS game. Six non-AQ winners have reached the BCS and all have come from the WAC or the Mountain West. Now there is a little pressure on Houston for the first time this season. Houston goes to Tulsa (6-0 in C-USA) on Nov. 25. Win that one and the Cougars will host a 9-1 Southern Mississippi team that is pretty good. Lose one of those and the non-AQs may get shut out of the BCS bowls. That would cost the five non-AQ conferences $9 million that they would share. Houston is No. 11 in the BCS behind No. 10 Boise State, but that won't last if the Cougars keep winning.

3. The biggest loser? Boise State: Football can be a very cruel game. A year ago Boise State field goal kicker Kyle Brotzman missed a 26-yard field goal with two seconds left in regulation. Brotzman then missed a 29-yard field goal in overtime and the Broncos lost to Nevada 34-31. That game cost Boise State a spot in a BCS Bowl, and the Broncos went to the Las Vegas Bowl at 11-1.

Last Saturday Dan Goodale's 39-yard field goal sailed wide right on the last play of the game and the No. 5 Broncos lost 36-35. That loss likely will cost Boise State a spot in another BCS bowl as well as an outside shot of playing for the national championship.

It had to be a devastating blow to Kellen Moore. He had a chance to leave Boise not only as college football's all-time winner at quarterback (46-3 and counting) but to play in three BCS bowls in four seasons. Moore lost for the first time at home in his career.

The loss snapped Boise State's 35-game home winning streak.

By the way, when the history of this season is written, one of the all-time gut checks will be coach Gary Patterson's decision to go for two when TCU closed to within 35-34 with 1:05 remaining. He knew that overtime on the blue rug would favor Boise.

4. The Heisman Trophy race is now officially wide open: Stanford's Andrew Luck had a chance to slam the door shut on the Heisman Trophy on Saturday night against Oregon. He couldn't do it. Now players like running back Trent Richardson, who was limited to fewer than 100 yards in the 9-6 OT loss to LSU, are very much back in it. Richardson had 127 yards rushing against Mississippi State to put him over 1,000 for the season. He can be expected to put up pretty good numbers in Alabama's last two games against Georgia Southern, the Southern Conference champion, and against Auburn, which gave up 301 yards rushing on Saturday against Georgia. And with ESPN taking its College Game Day show to Houston on Saturday, look for Case Keenum, the NCAA's all-time leading passer, to start picking up some votes. The voters might also take a look at Oklahoma State's Brandon Weeden, who completed 31 of 37 for 423 yards and five touchdowns against Texas Tech. Weeden has completed 73 percent of his passes for 3,635 yards and 31 touchdowns.

And did we mention that LaMichael James is pretty good? After posting 146 yards against Stanford, James lead the nation in rushing with 150.88 yards per game and 7.89 yards per carry.

5. Nobody wants to win the Pac-12 South: Southern California (8-2, 5-2) cannot win the Pac-12 South because the Trojans are on double-secret probation from the NCAA. So it looks like somebody is just going to back into a berth in the first Pac-12 championship game on Dec. 2. UCLA was living large and in control of its own destiny in the Pac-12 South after last week's 29-28 win over Arizona State. But the Bruins (5-5, 4-3) could not stand prosperity and just got hammered at Utah 31-6. Not to worry because Arizona State (6-4, 4-3) went on the road and lost to Washington State 37-27. Washington State was 1-5 in the conference before Saturday. So UCLA still controls its destiny with Colorado at home this Saturday. The Bruins finish with a trip across town to USC on Nov. 26.

Watch The Tony Barnhart Show Wednesday at 8 p.m. on The CBS Sports Network.


Tony Barnhart is in his fifth season as a contributor to CBSSports.com. He is a college football analyst for CBS Sports and The CBS Sports Network. Prior to joining CBS he was the national college football writer for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution for 24 years. He has written five books on college football.
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