By Mike Corasaniti
Nine minutes is an eternity in football.
With a little more than nine minutes to go in the fourth quarter, Collin Klein and his Kansas State Wildcats were down 52-24 to Baylor. After a cool little first down pass to his tight end, K-State was primed for another Collin Klein touchdown run.
On first and goal, Klein gets tripped up just before the end zone on the one yard line. And on three more successive plays, Baylor stops three more sneaks from Klein, ending any form of a Kansas State comeback and any form of a national championship in Manhattan, Kansas.
Then, about nine minutes later, the No. 2 team in the country decided to follow suit.
Oregon, who hadn't scored less than 43 points in a game all season long, was held to just 14 points over four whole quarters, blew a late touchdown, and was headed to overtime with Stanford. Shortly after, Oregon came up short to start off overtime, and Stanford responded with a 37-yard field goal. So long Oregon. So long national championship.
So now, the unfortunate question has to be asked.
You don't want to ask it to Kansas State, the team that took down not one, not two, but four ranked teams. You don't want to ask it to Oregon, who put up 70, 62, and 59 points respectively in their last three games, only to hit the ultimate brick wall. And you certainly don't want to ask it to the Heisman hopefuls, especially Collin Klein, who's presence on this week's jinx-inducing Sports Illustrated may just haunt his dreams for the rest of his life.
But in order to move forward, it has to be asked: What next?
Well, there are a few obvious answers. First off, if the rest of the season goes somewhat according to plan, the national title road should run through still undefeated Notre Dame and whoever ends up coming out of the SEC.
Second, just to reaffirm that last point, we're going to have to accept the fact that once again, an SEC team will probably be national champion again this year.
Third, Kansas State and Oregon will fall down in the BCS rankings to as low as about No. 5 and No. 6. Officially, neither team is really eliminated from playing for the national championship. But more realistically, we'll probably be seeing Kansas State in the Fiesta Bowl and Oregon playing for the Rose Bowl. It really is unfortunate considering the kind of seasons both teams put together. But with as many good and exciting teams as there are right now, I'm expecting a few good match-ups similar to the caliber of Stanford-Oklahoma St. last year.
A whole lot of crazy is about to unfold this week with the new BCS rankings, new debates, and the next match-ups that will figure out the course of the rest of the season. But as the top teams fall and the world continues to melt down around us, we should just keep in mind that this is probably far from the last piece of crazy the college football world will face this season.