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Stanford over Oregon: You kind of heard it here first

National college football writer Chris Dufresne takes time off each Friday during the season to respond to letters about college football. You can write to him at

November 09, 2013|Chris Dufresne
  • Stanford linebacker Shayne Skov encourages the crowd to make noise during the fourth quarter of the Cardinal's 26-20 upset over Pac-12 rival Oregon on Thursday.
Stanford linebacker Shayne Skov encourages the crowd to make noise during… (Ezra Shaw / Getty Images )

Hindsight is 20/20. Stanford "could" beat Oregon. Really went out on a limb. Shower yourself in Gatorade podcast.

Kyle Ahlf

I was asked in my weekly Monday podcast on whether I would be shocked if Stanford beat Oregon. I said "no." Stanford beat Oregon last year, I said, and was the defending Pac-12 and Rose Bowl champion. Why would it be a shock?

And I sort of picked Stanford to beat Oregon in August when I made Stanford my preseason No. 1. Yet, after Thursday night's ESPN broadcast, analyst Jesse Palmer said no one thought Stanford could win.

I suggested Palmer should have called my home.

Also, right before the game, Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News predicted Stanford would win, 23-21.

Wilner blew it. His prediction was way off. The score was 26-20.

You must be very sad today, but that's the way the ball bounces in the Pac-12. If you and I live long enough, we might witness a team from the Pac-12 win college football's national championship. I will continue to pray that God grants you more college football wisdom.

David Tyler

Unless I died in 2003, and have been covering college football the last 10 years as a ghost, I saw a Pac-12 team win national titles in 2003 and 2004.

I also lived through all of USC's national titles in the 1960s and '70s and Washington's 1991 title too!

Why would I be sad? I picked Stanford as my preseason No. 1 and there is still a chance the one-loss Cardinal can get to the national title game.

I'm sort of feeling vindicated after Stanford's unfortunate loss at Utah.

Thanks for your prayers, but you can go ahead and redirect them toward world peace.

Way to jinx Stanford earlier this year, cause the Utah loss, and treat us to another 'Bama title.

Twitter: @NotJerryDipoto

My pleasure. It's funny how many little mistakes or brain cramps can affect a national title race. Ah yes, the loss at Utah and a botched goal-line sequence that could end up costing Stanford the national title.

Stanford was third and two at the Utah six and decided to pass twice. Two incomplete passes and the game was over. The team that ran all over Oregon didn't think it could run for two yards in two tries against Utah? Tyler Gaffney carried 45 times against Oregon and 16 times against Utah?

Go figure.

Only Southeastern Conference teams can afford losses and still win BCS titles. In fact, the nine SEC champions have 15 total losses. Every non-SEC BCS champion had to go undefeated.

Stanford and Alabama have almost exactly the same record the last four seasons. Alabama is 43-5 since 2009 and Stanford is 43-6. Stanford has not played Chattanooga once, yet Alabama has two national titles in that span while Stanford has none.

In the end, in an imperfect system, that's just the way it goes. Alabama lost when it had to, won when it had to, and always closed the deal with an emphatic BCS performance.

No one will concede Stanford football greatness so we have to grab it and then stomp all over the hate.

Jenna Reback

I know one team not conceding it: Utah.

Is there any realistic shot of UCLA getting a BCS bowl bid outside the Rose Bowl? Or the Rose Bowl if Oregon goes to the title game?


If by realistic you mean "farfetched," the answer is yes. Actually, the answers to your questions are no and yes.

And, of course, after Thursday's game, you mean now "if Stanford goes to the title game."

There is really no path for UCLA to get to any other major bowl except the Rose. If UCLA wins out and captures the Pac-12 title, the Bruins are contractually obligated to the Rose Bowl.

A school is eligible for an at-large BCS berth if it finishes with nine wins and a top-14 ranking in the final standings. UCLA is currently No.19 in the BCS standings, so it's possible the Bruins could get to No. 14 in the next few weeks.

Stanford getting to the BCS title game, though, means it would have handed UCLA a third loss in the Pac-12 championship game. No other BCS bowl is taking three-loss UCLA.

However, if the Rose Bowl loses Stanford to the BCS title game, it will take another league school so long as it is in the top 14.

If three-loss UCLA somehow was the highest eligible Pac-12 team left in the poll, the Rose Bowl would take the Bruins.

In 2007, remember, the Rose Bowl passed over better teams to pair 9-3 Illinois against USC. The Rose Bowl's first priority is to keep the game Pac-12 vs. Big Ten. Illinois narrowly qualified at No. 13 in the BCS.

This season, it seems likely Oregon would replace the Pac-12 champion if it is lost to the title game.

With all due respect, I don't think it was fair to conflate Oregon's scheduling of Virginia and Tennessee with Alabama's scheduling of Georgia State and Chattanooga.

David Macaray

After looking up the definition of conflate, I would have to agree. Schedules are made years in advance and schools should not get punished if they book a quality program that happens to be having an off year.

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