After man-handling the Oregon Ducks on Thursday night, there are few teams with as impressive a resume as the Stanford Cardinal. They now have three wins against teams currently ranked in the top-25, more than any other team currently in the hunt for the BCS. Despite those strong wins on their resume, however, it’s the one loss that they suffered against the Utah Utes that continues to haunt them and will likely keep them out of being a serious contender for the BCS National Championship as they sit at No. 4 in the latest BCS standings.
Looking out of sorts and perhaps suffering from a hangover from their physical win over the Washington Huskies the week prior, Stanford had no answer when pushed by the Utes in Salt Lake City. That 27-21 victory over the Cardinal remains Utah’s only Pac 12 victory this season which makes the loss look even worse for Stanford. With such an ugly loss on the books, it doesn’t seem like any number of quality wins can make up the difference for Stanford.
Especially when you consider the high level of play from the other contenders. The Alabama Crimson Tide and Florida State Seminoles have obviously been great this season and separated themselves as the top two teams in the country right now, but the Ohio State Buckeyes have also been perfect since Urban Meyer took over before the 2012 season and the Baylor Bears proved they were for real last week with an explosive performance against the Oklahoma Sooners. None of those teams have the quantity of quality wins that Stanford does, but they also don’t have the albatross of a bad loss like Stanford does.
As the BCS title race continues to heat up down the stretch, Stanford may be forced to watch from the sidelines because they failed to take care of business against Utah. Even as they march towards their second straight Pac 12 title and a berth in the Rose Bowl game, they won’t be able to shrug off the stigma of their loss to the Utes in the national title conversation.