STILLWATER — In an age where polls, computers and formulas still determine which two teams will play for the college football national championship, the only thing Oklahoma State can control is winning the remaining four games on its regular season schedule.
And according to BCS guru Jerry Palm, that will be enough for the Cowboys to reach the BCS title game.
If No. 3 OSU wins out, Palm does not expect the Cowboys to be passed in the BCS standings at any point. Not by an undefeated Stanford. Not by an undefeated Boise State. Not by the loser of the matchup between No. 1 LSU and No. 2 Alabama that will be played Saturday.
“They're in control of their own destiny,” said Palm, who owns and operates CollegeBCS.com. “Everybody else is chasing them.”
That's because the computers, which make up one-third of the BCS formula, have loved both the Big 12 and the Cowboys since the initial BCS standings were released almost three weeks ago.
Five of the six computer rankings currently have OSU at No. 1. The one that does not is Richard Billingsley's Report on Major College Football, which has the Cowboys ranked second behind LSU because of the Tigers' slight edge in strength of schedule.
But Billingsley said OSU will not fall out of the top 2 of his rankings if the Cowboys finish the season undefeated. And in the 13 seasons of the BCS' existence, Billingsley's top 2 teams at the end of the season have played for the national title 12 times.
“Everything seems to have just come together for (OSU) at the right time,” said Billingsley, who lives in Hugo. “They've got a great team in the same season that they're playing a difficult schedule. That's the key to winning national championships.”
The current gap between OSU (.9310) and No. 4 Stanford (.8615) is fairly significant by BCS standards. And even though the Cardinal still has No. 8 Oregon and potentially the Pac-12 championship game on the schedule, Palm said the computers will never put Stanford ahead of OSU if both teams remain unbeaten because the Cowboys still have two ranked teams to play in No. 14 Kansas State and No. 6 Oklahoma.