Tight end Zach Ertz caught Kevin Hogan’s pass, juggled it on the way down, landed on an Oregon defender, and rolled out of bounds. Incomplete was the ruling on the field. After video review, the call was overturned. TD Stanford, 14-all.
In overtime, Oregon missed a field goal try, Stanford made one, and the upset was complete: Stanford 17, Oregon 14.
If they listened hard, Stanford players might have heard the Alabama fans yelling and screaming from clear across the country.
Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper tweeted as the dominoes were falling: “I don’t think I’ve ever been this excited before haha.”
The Crimson Tide wasn’t the only SEC team lifted by the upset, but Bama benefited most. A week after giving up control of the national championship race, the Tide is back in charge, looking for a third BCS title in four seasons. A win would be seven in a row for the Southeastern Conference.
If Alabama can get past lowly Auburn on Saturday, and Georgia can avoid a K-State-like loss to Georgia Tech (6-5), the Tide and Bulldogs game will essentially be a national semifinal, with the winner advancing to the BCS title game.
No. 6 Florida (10-1), another SEC team, has a chance now, too. The Gators play No. 10 Florida State (10-1) in Tallahassee on Saturday, and the Seminoles think they have a shot to reach the BCS title game as well.
Oregon slipped to No. 5 in the rankings, and probably believes it can still get a second chance, the way Alabama did, but time is running out. Same goes for No. 7 Kansas State.
A Notre Dame-Alabama BCS championship game would mark the first meeting between the storied programs since 1987, and the biggest since the 1973 Sugar Bowl.
That year, coach Bear Bryant’s Crimson Tide was No. 1 and Ara Parseghian’s Irish were No. 3 when they met in New Orleans. The lead changed hands six times and Notre Dame won it 24-23 and was voted No. 1 in the poll to win the national championship.
Now the question is: With two more weeks to go in college football’s regular season, can the Irish and Tide calm the chaos and set up what could be the most-hyped national championship game in history?
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