Quarterback Bryce Petty and Baylor have are No. 4 in the BCS standings, right… (Tom Fox / MCClatchy-Tribune )
Maybe the last season of the Bowl Championship Series was supposed to end this way.
There are four undefeated contenders left, three weekends to play and only two spots for the Jan. 6 title game at the Rose Bowl.
One-loss Stanford, which muddled up the standings last week with its No. 4 ranking ahead of undefeated Baylor, lost a second game to clear out the top four spots.
Alabama struggled to a 20-7 victory over Mississippi State on Saturday but remained affixed on top in Sunday's latest BCS standings with an average of .991.
Florida State is lock-solid second at .966 while Ohio State is clinging to No. 3 over Baylor by the margin of .887 to .886.
Oregon is No. 5, followed by Auburn, Clemson, Missouri, Stanford and Oklahoma State.
UCLA is No. 14 while USC, after its win over Stanford, enters the BCS this week at No. 23.
If the top four undefeated teams win out, the order won't matter.
Alabama and Florida State will play for the BCS title, undefeated Big 12 champion Baylor would go to the Fiesta Bowl with Big Ten champion Ohio State contracted to the Rose Bowl.
Florida State has the easiest path to an undefeated season with a remaining schedule of Idaho, six-loss Florida and the ACC title game.
Alabama plays 1-AA Chattanooga on Saturday before traveling to Auburn on Nov. 30 for the Iron Bowl showdown and then, presumably, the Southeastern Conference championship game.
Ohio State closes with Indiana, Michigan and the Big Ten title game, probably against Michigan State.
Baylor plays at Oklahoma State and Texas Christian before closing at home against Texas.
Auburn, thanks to its miraculous win over Georgia, is 10-1 and has the best title chance among the one-loss schools, with a win over Alabama putting the Tigers in the SEC title game.
Oregon moves back into control of the Pac-12 Conference North Division with Stanford's loss but needs help to get back in the national-title picture. The Ducks could be headed for a pretty good Rose Bowl matchup against Ohio State.
The final BCS standings will be released Dec. 8.
Next year, a four-team playoff replaces the 16-year-old BCS system. A 13-member selection committee will choose the top four teams.
The Rose and Sugar bowls will host the semifinal games with the inaugural playoff title game scheduled for AT&T Stadium in Texas.