For the four undefeated college football teams vying for this year's national title, winning for now was good enough.
The Bowl Championship Series standings Sunday gurgled out the same Fab Four, with Oregon jumping into the No. 3 spot ahead of Notre Dame.
Alabama, despite its near-loss experience at Louisiana State, remained a solid BCS No.1, followed by Kansas State, Oregon and Notre Dame.
Let's break from serious BCS news, however, to acknowledge a major ripple at border-skirmish level, with UCLA springboarding to No. 18 ahead of … No. 19 USC.
This was about as thinkable in August as Stephen Colbert becoming president.
UCLA, the first No.1 in BCS history back in 1998, is leading USC by the margin of .2533 to .1706.
In the BCS, that's almost like 50-0.
Only a few weeks ago, USC (6-3) was a national title contender. Now the Trojans are trying to hold off Louisiana Tech.
Three of the four national title contenders — Alabama, Oregon and Notre Dame — all survived and advanced. All were poked, prodded and tested in some form or fashion.
Notre Dame nearly flunked its low bar exam. The Irish needed three overtime periods to outlast Pittsburgh, a team that lost to Youngstown State in September.
This was the weekend, though, to get away with it. Notre Dame paid a BCS poll tax, but it was still way better than losing to Pitt.
Oregon scored 62 against USC but gave up 51, sparking the old "they-don't-play-defense" refrain.
Even almighty Alabama was not immune to criticism after nearly blowing a 14-3 halftime lead in Baton Rouge.
The Crimson Tide clearly did not know how to react to trailing in the second half for the first time in two seasons.
"We didn't execute anything until the last 50 seconds of the game," center Barrett Jones said of his team's last-minute win. "Sometimes you have to win them like this, especially in a place like this. This is a great environment. What a night, something I'll never forget."
LSU needed one first down to put Alabama away, yet the Crimson Tide woke up Sunday to find it was still everybody's sweetheart.
Kansas State's victory over Oklahoma State was the most emphatic of the four contenders, but the Wildcats have a more pressing issue: the possible injury to quarterback Collin Klein.
It would be sad if Kansas State, facing a tough trip to Texas Christian, would lose Klein in the midst of a title run while he was also the leading Heisman Trophy candidate.
It would be creepy if it helped Oregon, denied a legitimate BCS title shot in 2007 after a knee injury to quarterback Dennis Dixon.
This year's BCS title race is hurtling toward a thrilling conclusion as coaches scour history for inspiration.
Alabama Coach Nick Saban raised motivation to the next level when he compared his team's resolve against LSU to the raid in Pakistan to kill Osama bin Laden.
Saban last week showed his team a video about the SEAL Team 6 assault on Bin Laden's compound.
He figured it might come in handy if his team ever found itself down, 17-14, in the last minute at LSU's "Death Valley."
Saban's message was that things don't always go as planned, and preparation is the key to avoiding disaster.
In Pakistan, a helicopter crash almost derailed the mission to get Bin Laden.
In Baton Rouge, it was a freshman tailback fumbling deep in enemy territory.
"They had trained to be adaptable," Saban said of SEAL Team 6. "I think there was a lot of that out there today for us."
Thank goodness Saban had the decency not to say "both teams got out alive."
It is acceptable to suggest Alabama "survived" at LSU and understandable Saban is so focused right now he probably doesn't know the price of gasoline.
Football isn't war, but it can seem that way when you are so embedded in a cause and your sport has verbiage that emphasizes counterattacks and territory seizing.
It's only the BCS, of course, but also the time of year when our football gets dangerously serious.
—Update on a story only we are tracking: the highest point totals scored on LSU's defense this year: Towson (22), Alabama and South Carolina (21) and Texas A&M (19).
—Still flawless: Louisiana Tech quarterback Colby Cameron had three more touchdown passes in Saturday's 51-27 win over Texas San Antonio and now has 24 for the season with no interceptions. More remarkable is that the senior from Newbury Park has attempted more passes, 358, than anyone in the top 15 of this week's NCAA efficiency ratings. Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron has 19 touchdowns with no interceptions but on only 204 attempts.
—Boise State's late-night loss to San Diego State officially eliminates the Broncos from BCS consideration. The only "non-AQ" with a remote chance now appears to be one-loss Louisiana Tech, although congratulations to Toledo for checking in this week at No. 25.
—Alabama is still No.1 in the polls but lost its top ranking in total defense after giving up 435 yards to LSU. Florida State is the new No.1 with its average of 227.1 yards yielded per game. Alabama is second at 228.89. Alabama still leads in scoring defense with its average of 9.11 allowed. Notre Dame is second at 11.67.