The final day of the college football season brought a handful of surprising results but nothing that should change the bowl trajectory for Stanford or Cal.
The fourth-ranked Cardinal remains on track for a berth in the Fiesta Bowl while Cal seems destined for the Holiday Bowl (if not the Holiday, then the Sun).
Postseason bids will be announced Sunday at 5:15 p.m., in conjunction with the release of the final Bowl Championship Series standings.
Top-ranked Louisiana State is a lock for a spot in the national championship game, but there is some question as to the identity of its opponent.
Oklahoma State's resounding victory over Oklahoma creates the potential for No. 3 OSU to jump over No. 2 Alabama and earn a berth in the title game, which matches the top-two teams in the standings.
If that happens, Stanford would likely play Kansas State in the Fiesta on Jan. 2.
If Oklahoma State doesn't jump into the title game, then OSU would face Stanford. Fiesta officials are believed to be excited about inviting Stanford regardless of its opponent.
In addition to its lofty ranking, the Cardinal possesses one of the most recognizable players in the country in quarterback Andrew Luck and one of the cleanest images in college football. (The Fiesta Bowl is under state and federal investigation for illegal contributions to political campaigns.)
What's more, the bowl's new executive director, Robert Shelton, is a
However, there is a remote chance that Stanford could get knocked out of the BCS. As the No. 4 team in the BCS standings, the Cardinal would be guaranteed a berth in all scenarios except one — the one that could become reality Sunday.
If Oklahoma State jumps Alabama, then the Crimson Tide would fall into the No. 3 spot and receive BCS protection as an at-large team.
In that case, Stanford would not be guaranteed a berth, and the Fiesta, under the letter of the BCS law, could invite someone else (best bet: Michigan). But would it? It seems highly unlikely that the Fiesta would pass on the No. 4 team in order to take a team ranked 8-10 spots lower. Never in the 13-year history of the BCS has the No. 4 team been left out.
Meanwhile, Cal is considered a strong contender for the Holiday Bowl in San Diego, where the Bears would face an opponent from the Big 12 on Dec. 28. If the Holiday passes on Cal in favor of Utah -- the bowl has that option even though Cal won the head-to-head matchup -- then the Bears would land in the Sun Bowl in El Paso on New Year's Eve.