The University of Notre Dame is poised to grab the No. 1 spot in the Bowl Championship Series rankings after losses by college football’s top two teams -- Kansas State and the University of Oregon.
No. 1 Kansas State was upset 52-24 at Baylor last night while second-ranked Oregon lost 17-14 in overtime to Stanford. It was the third time the top two teams were beaten on the same day since the BCS rankings began in 1998.
Notre Dame, ranked third in the BCS entering the week, routed Wake Forest 38-0 yesterday to improve its record to 11-0 for the first time since its 1988 national championship season. The Fighting Irish, who finish their regular season next week at the University of Southern California, will probably claim the No. 1 spot when updated BCS rankings are released today.
Fourth-ranked Alabama may also be a beneficiary of the losses by Kansas State and Oregon. Alabama, which routed Western Carolina 49-0 yesterday, had been No. 1 for the first four weeks of the BCS standings before losing 29-24 last week to Texas A&M. This is the first time since 2007 that the No. 1 team in the BCS has lost in consecutive weeks.
The top two teams in the final BCS standings on Dec. 2 will play for the national championship Jan. 7 in Miami.
Notre Dame has never been No. 1 in the BCS rankings and last sat atop the national polls in 1993. Quarterback Everett Golson threw three touchdown passes as the Irish opened a 31-0 halftime lead on Wake Forest yesterday in South Bend, Indiana.
Kansas State (10-1) fell behind 28-7 in the second quarter in Waco, Texas, and never got closer than nine points the rest of the way. Baylor (5-5) rolled up 580 yards of offense, as Lache Seastrunk rushed for 185 yards and a touchdown, and Glasco Martin ran for 113 yards and three scores.
“They took the fight to us and I didn’t have them well- enough prepared for it,” Kansas State coach Bill Snyder told reporters. “We struggled on both sides of the ball.”
Oregon (10-1) lost at home as Stanford scored the tying touchdown with one minute, 35 seconds left in the fourth quarter and Jordan Williamson made a 37-yard field goal in overtime. The Ducks missed a 41-yard field goal on the first possession in extra time, as Alejandro Maldonado’s kick bounced off the left upright.
No. 13 Stanford (9-2) overcame three turnovers and limited an Oregon offense that entered the game averaging 54.8 points, the most at college football’s top level. The Ducks hadn’t scored fewer than 42 points in any of their first 10 games.
“We’re proud to survive our mistakes and in the end pull it out,” said Stanford freshman quarterback Ken Hogan, who was making his first road start.
Hogan ran for a touchdown and threw the tying 10-yard scoring pass to tight end Zach Ertz in the closing minutes. Officials initially ruled Ertz landed out of bounds before the call was reversed by instant replay.
“It’s tough, but I told them things don’t always go your way,” Oregon coach Chip Kelly said at a news conference. “It hurts so bad because they’ve invested so much.”
Ohio State improved to 11-0 yesterday with a 21-14 overtime victory against Wisconsin, yet the Buckeyes are ineligible for the postseason because of National Collegiate Athletic Association violations that occurred under former coach Jim Tressel. Ohio State can’t be ranked in the BCS standings or play for the Big Ten or national titles.
No. 5 Georgia (10-1), No. 6 Florida (10-1), No. 8 Texas A&M (9-2) and No. 9 South Carolina (9-2) all won yesterday against schools in the Football Championship Subdivision, the sport’s second level. Seventh-ranked Louisiana State (9-2) beat Mississippi 41-35 on a one-yard touchdown run by Jeremy Hill with 15 seconds left, while No. 10 Florida State is 10-1 after a 41-14 win over Maryland.
UCLA, which entered the weekend ranked 17th, beat No. 18 USC 38-28 to claim a spot in the Pacific-12 championship game as the conference’s South Division winner. UCLA (9-2) also knocked USC quarterback Matt Barkley out of the game with a shoulder injury, putting his status for the Trojans’ Nov. 24 matchup against Notre Dame in question.
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