Top teams fell across the country, from the Big East favorite West Virginia to a national title contender and Big 12 perennial powerhouse in Oklahoma.
And, let’s not forget the impressive and improbable way in which Michigan State removed Wisconsin from the ranks of the unbeaten.
Where do the teams who lost land? Or are they out of the picture completely? Only time will tell, but for now, the BCS slate has certainly felt its first major shake.
Is there more to come?
For reference, the at-large selection order for the 2012 bowl slate (after hosting contracts have been filled and the NCG is filled) is: Fiesta, Sugar, Orange.
BCS National Championship Game: LSU Tigers (BCS No. 1) vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys (BCS No. 2)
Comment: Yes, that’s Oklahoma State in the BCS national championship game. With tough meetings remaining against Kansas State and Oklahoma at home, the Cowboys are now in a seriously strong position in a chase to the title game. Could the loser of the epic Nov. 5 battle between LSU and Alabama make its way to the title game with the correct help instead? Of course, but for now, Oklahoma State seems like the smart choice moving forward to take on the LSU/Alabama survivor.
Rose Bowl: Stanford Cardinal (Pac-12 Champion) vs. Wisconsin Badgers (Big Ten Champion)
Comment: Wisconsin did suffer its first loss of the season against a gritty Michigan State team that fended off the furious fourth quarter comeback and then delivered a knockout punch on a prayer of a Hail Mary. With little seemingly stading in the way of Wisconsin getting to the Big Ten Championship Game however, we’ll place out lot with the Badgers taking care of business the rest of the way, and still making a run at the Rose Bowl.
Stanford, on the other hand, had an easy time with Washington, and still looks like the team to beat in the conference.
Sugar Bowl: Alabama Crimson Tide (At-large selection) vs. Boise State Broncos (At-large selection)
Comment: Neither team’s victory was “easy” but both got what they needed to get done, especially Alabama’s important second-half surge, and both continue to look like solid at-large picks if neither make their way to the BCS title game.
Orange Bowl: Clemson Tigers (ACC Champion) vs. West Virginia Mountaineers (Big East Champion)
Comment: The Mountaineers also suffered their first loss of the season Friday night against a surprisingly effective Syracuse squad. Stuck in the middle of the Big East pack at 1-1 the Mountaineers must now fight past squads still left on their schedule to make it back to the BCS this year. For now, we’ll stick with the gut feeling that they’ll actually do just that, and keep them as the pick that sticks them in the Orange Bowl.
Clemson’s Taj Boyd had a great day Saturday, and the Tigers continue to look like the class of the ACC, as teams around the conference struggled to get going Saturday, even in eventual victories.
Fiesta Bowl: Oregon Ducks (At-large selection) vs. Oklahoma Sooners (At-large selection)
Comment: Oklahoma and Oklahoma State switch spots with the Sooners’ shocking loss. The Fiesta Bowl, losing Big 12 champ Oklahoma State to the title game, gets to pick its first replacement, and we think they’d be inclined to choose the Sooners, a classic BCS team and a team that travels well, especially to Arizona and the Fiesta Bowl.
Oregon now becomes the at-large team with the most to lose with the shakeup at the top of the BCS. The Ducks spot at the BCS table is threatened by the emergence of a second Big Ten contender in Michigan State, although for now, the Ducks look secure, as the Spartans could easily lose a second game (and to a lower ranked squad than an undefeated Stanford) whether it be to an unexpected team or a one-loss Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship Game.