November 23, 2008

On the BCS: Texas in position - for now

MORE: Full BCS standings | BCS components: Where the numbers come from

The Jan. 8 national title game still looks as if it will match a Big 12 South team against an SEC team. The big question is which teams will be in Miami to play for the title.

Alabama remained in the top spot of this week's BCS standings, with Texas moving up one spot, to second. Oklahoma got a big push from its rout of Texas Tech, moving from fifth to third. Florida remained fourth.

Here is the BCS top 12, with the school, its spot last week (LW), its spot in the coaches' poll, its spot in the Harris poll and its BCS computer average. A bonus: We've included NCAA strength of schedule (SOS), which is not part of the BCS formula..
Team (LW) HarrisCoachesComp.SOS
1. Alabama (1) 1st 1st 1st 85th
2. Texas (3) 4th 4th 2nd 1st
3. Oklahoma (5) 3rd 2nd 3rd T-5th
4. Florida (4) 4th 3rd 6th 13th
5. USC (6) 5th 5th 8th 59th
6. Utah (7) 8th 7th 5th 63rd
7. Texas Tech (2) 7th 8th 4th T-5th
8. Penn State (8) 6th 6th 7th 62nd
9. Boise St. (9) 9th 9th 10th 87th
10. Ohio St. (11) 10th 10th 12th 12th
11. Georgia (10) 13th 13th 9th 2nd
12. Okla. St. (13) 12th 12th 11th T-44th
Texas leads Oklahoma by .0084 points in the standings. The Longhorns owe their narrow lead to the computer polls. OU is ahead of Texas in both sets of human polls used by the BCS, but Texas is ahead of the Sooners in the computers.

The Sooners are second in the coaches' poll and third in the Harris poll, and the Longhorns who beat the Sooners in October by 10 on a neutral field are fourth in both. But Texas' average computer ranking is second, while OU's is third.

OU figures to get a bump this week if it can win Saturday at Oklahoma State (9-2), which is 12th in the BCS standings. Texas plays host to Texas A&M (4-7), and even a victory over the Aggies may not be enough for Texas to stay ahead of the Sooners in the computers.

Texas' computer rankings range from first to third. OU's range from first to fifth. Oklahoma State's range from sixth to 15th.

The BCS standings could be used as a tiebreaker to determine the Big 12 South representative in the league's championship game. The rule is such that if Oklahoma, Texas and Texas Tech all finish 7-1 in the division, it's likely it will go to the fifth tiebreaker and that is the team ranked highest in the BCS when the next-to-last set of standings is released. Because the Big 12 title game is played Dec. 6, next Sunday's standings would be the determining factor.

Missouri already has won the Big 12 North and will be in the conference title game.

If Oklahoma State were to upset OU, and Texas and Texas Tech (over Baylor) win their final games, Texas Tech wins the division by virtue of its win over Texas. And if OU and Texas finish tied, the Longhorns win the tiebreaker because they beat the Sooners.

Meanwhile, Alabama and Florida will meet for the SEC title Dec. 6, but each has a rivalry game this weekend. Alabama plays host to Auburn, while Florida plays at Florida State. If the Tide and Gators get past their in-state foes, the SEC championship game winner would head to Miami for the national title game.

Hoping the Tide and/or Gators slip up is USC, which moved up one spot, to fifth, in this week's BCS standings. The Trojans have two games left against Notre Dame and UCLA and will be prohibitive favorites in both. But if Oregon State beats Oregon this weekend, USC won't even be assured of the Pac-10's Rose Bowl berth. Oregon State beat the Trojans earlier this season, and thus owns the tiebreaker if each finishes 8-1 in the league.

Utah, which finished its regular season 12-0, is No. 6 in this week's standings. The Utes are one spot ahead of Texas Tech, which fell five spots after it was routed by Oklahoma.

Utah is the highest-ranked non-"Big Six" team in the standings. A non-"Big Six" team is guaranteed a BCS spot in two ways. One is if it finishes in the top 12; the other is if it is ranked in the top 16 and its ranking is higher than that of a conference champion that has an automatic berth. The highest-ranked Big East team is Cincinnati, at 16th. The highest-ranked ACC team is Florida State, at 20th.

Other non-"Big Sixers" in the BCS top 25 are No. 9 Boise State, No. 14 TCU, No. 15 Ball State and No. 18 BYU. Under BCS rules, only one non-"Big Six" team is guaranteed a spot if it meets the criteria. Any others would be at-large candidates.

The three components of the BCS standings are the coaches' poll; the Harris poll, voted on by media members and by former players, coaches and administrators; and six computers. Each of the components counts one-third. The best and worst computer rankings are thrown out, and the sum total of the remaining four is divided by 100 (the maximum possible points) to come up with the BCS' computer rankings percentage.

While strength of schedule isn't a BCS component, all six computers have a strength-of-schedule factor in their rankings.

The final BCS standings will be released Dec. 7. Teams first and second in the final standings meet in the Jan. 8 championship game at Dolphin Stadium in Miami.

Some other items of interest from the sixth set of standings:

Alabama is No. 1 in three computer rankings, Texas is first in two and Oklahoma is first in one.

Kenneth Massey's computer has Oklahoma first, Texas second, Texas Tech third and Alabama fourth.

Texas Tech's average computer ranking is fourth, but the Red Raiders are seventh in the Harris Poll and eighth in the coaches' poll.

Florida's computer rankings range from fourth to seventh. USC's range from fifth to 10th. Utah's range from second to sixth.

For the third week in a row, USC's average computer ranking is eighth. That's one spot behind Penn State, two behind Florida, three behind Utah and four behind Texas Tech.

Unbeaten Boise State's computer rankings range from eighth to 12th. Unbeaten Ball State's range from 14th to 18th.

Once again, five Big 12 teams are in the top 13.

Ohio State is the highest two-loss team in the standings, at 10th. That's two spots behind Penn State, which is the highest-ranked Big Ten team.

Florida State, No. 21 Boston College, No. 22 Georgia Tech and No. 24 Northwestern moved in. No. 18 LSU, No. 22 North Carolina, No. 23 Miami and No. 25 Maryland fell out this week.

BCS Standings

MORE: BCS components: Where the numbers come from

Mike Huguenin is the college sports editor for He can be reached at

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