See, Oregon fans, was that such a long wait?
Even as Florida State and Ohio State demolished their Week 9 opponents, Oregon still took the leap up to the No. 2 spot in the second BCS standings as expected. Oregon defeated UCLA 42-14 to begin a stretch that will give the Ducks an opportunity to build a national title resume, no matter what the Seminoles and Buckeyes do to finish the season.
The second BCS standings were released with few surprises other than perhaps a host of SEC teams jockeying for position for an at-large bid and two non-automatic qualifying teams creeping up the rankings.
Oregon. The predicted move up the rankings began in the second BCS standings as Oregon moved from No. 3 to No. 2 thanks to a win over a top-20 UCLA team. Oregon remained No. 2 in the coaches’ and Harris polls but predictably jumped two spots due to the computer rankings. Oregon moved from fourth in the computer rankings to give the Ducks a 0.0306 edge over Florida State.
South Carolina. The Gamecocks are still in the SEC East hunt after defeating Missouri in overtime, but they also moved from No. 21 to No. 14, the threshold for an at-large BCS bid. Missouri can still win the East, but South Carolina may end up the big winner as far as bowl selection is concerned. If Carolina has only two losses and defeats Clemson to finish the regular season, the Gamecocks would be a nice option for the Sugar Bowl if it loses Alabama to the title game.
Texas Tech. Not a shock, but Texas Tech dropped five spots from No. 10 to No. 15 after a loss at Oklahoma. The Red Raiders remain in the BCS hunt with the Big 12’s automatic bid. Otherwise, Texas Tech would head to the Cotton Bowl at best.
Key Games This Week
No. 7 Miami at No. 3 Florida State. Ohio State will root for Miami to knock off one of the teams blocking the Buckeyes from the top two in the BCS. Miami isn’t the strongest top-10 we’ve ever seen after the Hurricanes needed second-half comebacks to beat North Carolina and Wake Forest, but this will be the last chance for a big FSU win during the ACC season.
No. 21 Michigan at No. 22 Michigan State. Think an Ohio State Big Ten title is a given? Last year an unranked Wisconsin team won the conference title game. The two Michigan rivals are securely in the top-25, but one could become a Legends Division frontrunner Saturday.
No. 18 Oklahoma State at No. 15 Texas Tech. This is probably a Big 12 elimination game with both the Cowboys and Red Raiders sitting on a conference loss.
• Despite close calls — including Saturday against San Diego State — Fresno State would be an automatic BCS bid if the season ended today. The Bulldogs are ranked 16th and ahead of No. 23 UCF, which would claim the American’s automatic bid. Northern Illinois is just one spot behind at No. 17.
• Baylor continues to be hammered by the computer rankings. The Bears are fifth in the coaches’ poll and Harris poll but rank 10th or lower in four of six computers.
• Alabama has a sizable lead from the No. 1 spot, a lead that will only grow if the Crimson Tide win upcoming games against No. 11 Auburn and No. 13 LSU.
• No team ranked lower than eighth in the second BCS standings has reached the national title game. That’s at least a sign of hope for the two one-loss teams in the top eight: Stanford and Clemson.
Notes on BCS selection:
• Automatic BCS bids go to the top two for the title game, the champions of the ACC (Orange Bowl), Big 12 (Fiesta), Big Ten (Rose), Pac-12 (Rose) and SEC (Sugar). The American’s automatic bid is not tied to a particular bowl.
• Notre Dame receives an automatic bid if it finishes in the top eight.
• A champion from a non-automatic qualifying league (Conference USA, MAC, Mountain West, Sun Belt and non-Notre Dame independents) receive an automatic bid if it finishes in the top 12 of the standings or if it finishes in the top 16 and ahead of a champion from a non-AQ conference.
• To be eligible for an at-large BCS bid, a team must have nine or more wins and finish in the top 14 of the BCS standings.
• Once automatic tie-ins are placed, the selection order for BCS bids goes as follows: 1. The bowl losing the BCS No. 1 team to the championship game, 2. The bowl losing the BCS No. 2 team, 3. The Orange Bowl, 4. The Sugar, 5. The Fiesta.