If you've been in a Giants haze, note that Stanford jumped three spots in the BCS standings, to No. 14.

Also note that it doesn't matter.

If the Cardinal runs the table, it wins the Pac-12 and plays in the Rose Bowl.

Anything short of that means three losses -- and Stanford with three losses is probably* not a candidate to fill one of the at-large positions, even if it's in the pool of available teams (top 14 teams) and even with the B1G in such disarray.

(* = It's the BCS. Never say never.)

So it's the Rose Bowl or bust for the Cardinal* ... if you consider the Alamo/Holiday/Sun busts for a program that until three years ago had a seven-year bowl-less streak.

  • Result: Beat Washington State 24-17

  • Grade: C-

  • Comment: I'm always hesitant to give anything less than a C- for a victory, even when the winner is a 24-point favorite and the loser is, well, Washington State.

    It's shouldn't have been close, but the Cougars deserve credit: They had a sound game plan and played hard.

    At the same time, Stanford deserves criticism, especially with the unit that is not defense or special teams.

  • Coach David Shaw said his team "can play so much better, and we're going to need to" in coming weeks.

    That's putting it mildly.

    If Stanford plays like that the rest of the way, it loses to Oregon State (despite current QB issues), get humiliated in Eugene and loses to UCLA, as well.

  • The defense suffered a few breakdowns but was otherwise stout -- albeit against the worst rushing team in creation.

    But that offense: Yikes!

    The performance reminded me of Stanford's inept showing in Seattle, except the game wasn't in Seattle and the opponent wasn't Washington.

    I'm not sure what went wrong in Stanford's pass protection and run blocking -- Shaw needed to see the tape before he could provide specifics -- but something went wrong.

    Stepfan Taylor should not average 2.8 yards per carry against a defense that was yielding 175.1 yards per game on the ground.

    Josh Nunes has been very good on occasion, mediocre for large portions of the season and below standard a few times.

    Saturday was below standard. Way below standard.

  • That said: Don't read anything into the increased number of snaps for backup Kevin Hogan.

    The package of gun-read plays was built into the game plan ahead of time and will be used throughout the stretch run as a change of pace.

  • Next up: at Colorado

  • The matchup: What Shaw said about Stanford having to play better in coming weeks — that doesn't apply in Boulder.

    I'm still not sure how Colorado won in Pullman, but the Buffs are demonstrably worse than Washington State.

    They have lost four league games in a row (UCLA, ASU, USC and Oregon) by a combined ... wait for it ... wait for it ... 213-51.

    Or 40.5 points per game.

    They are terrible on the defensive line, terrible on the offensive line, woefully short on playmakers and have a quarterback (Jordan Webb) who has thrown more INTs than TDs in conference games.

    If Stanford plays like it did Saturday, it wins by 20. If it plays anywhere close to its best, it wins by 40.

    It's favored by 28.