Southern Cal's surprising loss to Oregon State, 27-21, last night certainly gashed the Trojans' hopes of cruising to the national championship game but it may not be fatal.
Certainly, there are teams that control their own destinies at this point much more than USC – Georgia, Florida, Oklahoma, LSU, Alabama, Texas, Missouri, just to name a handful. But you have probably noticed something. All those teams are in either the SEC or the Big 12. And as a result, some of them have to play each other. Now, if one or even two run the table, forget about it. In fact, any team that comes out of the SEC gantlet with one loss has to be a strong candidate for the No. 1 game.
But last year, LSU was able to win a national championship with two losses. The last team to run the table in college football was Vince Young's Texas Longhorns in 2005 and in that championship game, USC also came in undefeated.
So this year, with what figured to be a much easier conference road in the Pac-10, USC was supposed to breeze into January unblemished. Well, the Trojans are no longer California cruisin', courtesy of the unranked Oregon State Beavers, so there is no margin for error the rest of the way. But if they stay perfect and the rest of the field beats up on each other, the Trojans could still sneak into the Big Game.