LSU, Oklahoma State take lead in BCS race

By Ralph D. Russo/The Associated Press

LSU and Oklahoma State took control of the race to the BCS championship game — but don’t count out Alabama yet.

The day after the Tigers and Cowboys stayed unbeaten with their most difficult victories of the season, they also took the top two spots in the BCS standings.

First-place LSU beat Alabama 9-6 in overtime Saturday night in Tuscaloosa, Ala., right about the time second-place Oklahoma State held off Kansas State 52-45 in Stillwater, Okla.

The Crimson Tide only slipped one spot to third.

If the Tigers (9-0) and Cowboys (9-0) remain unbeaten, they should meet in the New Orleans on Jan. 9.

If either slip up, Alabama or fourth-place Stanford are in position to reach the title game as long as they keep winning.

Unbeaten Boise State was fifth and again seems to be a long shot to reach the BCS championship game, though another perfect regular season should get the Broncos into one of the four other marquee games.

Oklahoma is sixth. Oregon, which plays Stanford on Saturday, is seventh.

But from this point on the focus will be on LSU and Oklahoma State.

Coach Les Miles’ Tigers were No. 1 in both the Harris poll and the coaches’ poll, and they were tied with Oklahoma State for the best computer rating.

LSU has an easy nonconference game against Western Kentucky on Saturday, followed by game at Mississippi, which is last in the SEC West. The Tigers finish the regular season at home against Arkansas, which is eighth in the BCS standings and not out of the running in the West.

If LSU wins the West, it will face either South Carolina or Georgia. Win them all and LSU will play for its third BCS title in the Superdome, where it won its first two.

Quarterback Brandon Weeden and the Cowboys, who have never played for a BCS title or in any other BCS game, were second in the Harris poll and third in the coaches’ poll, behind Stanford. But playing in the Big 12 has bolstered Oklahoma State’s strength of schedule and made the Cowboys virtually impossible to catch — unless they lose.

The next two weeks, Oklahoma State is on the road, at Texas Tech and Iowa State. The Cowboys have a week off before playing rival Oklahoma at home on Dec. 3, the same day as the SEC title game, to finish their regular season.

Alabama has games at Mississippi State and at Auburn sandwiched around a home game against Georgia Southern.

Unbeaten Stanford is getting into the toughest part of its schedule with Oregon, California and Notre Dame left, as well as a possibly Pac-12 championship game.