Florida State, Ohio State 1-2 in BCS
No. 1 Florida State and No. 2 Ohio State have taken over the top spots in the BCS standings with just one week to go before the final pairing for the VIZIO BCS National Championship Game is announced.
The Seminoles and Buckeyes are the only two remaining undefeated teams from the automatic qualifying conferences and have the inside track to play for the title.
Auburn moved up to No. 3 by winning the Iron Bowl, while Alabama dropped to No. 4, barely ahead of No. 5 Missouri.
Auburn will play Missouri on Saturday in the SEC Championship Game, but both teams will likely need either Florida State or Ohio State to lose in order to move into the top two.
Florida State is ranked first in both polls used by the BCS and is also first in the computer ratings. The Seminoles need only beat No. 20 Duke in the ACC Championship Game to remain at the top of the standings.
Ohio State needed to stop Michigan on a two-point conversion in the final minute to stay unbeaten, but the Buckeyes' ugly win doesn't seem to have hurt them too badly. They are second in both polls as well as the computers.
The BCS standings are made up by combining the averages of three factors: the USA Today coaches' poll, the Harris poll, and an average of six computer ratings. Each factor counts for one-third in the BCS calculations.
Auburn is third in all three factors, and trails Ohio State by .027 for the second spot. The 11-1 Tigers did gain some ground on the Buckeyes by beating the No. 1 team last week, but it wasn't enough to push them past a 12-0 Ohio State.
Auburn did close the gap on Ohio State in the coaches' poll points by 84 percent from last week, and by 74 percent in the Harris poll points. Auburn received three first- place votes in the Harris poll, but none in the coaches' poll.
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Auburn also cut the deficit in the computer ratings from .09 to .04.
Ohio State leads Missouri, which won the SEC East without playing Alabama, by a comfortable .1075.
The SEC champion -- whether it's Auburn or Missouri -- will gain a boost by beating such a highly ranked team on Saturday, but the Buckeyes play a strong opponent in the Big Ten Championship Game and will receive their own bump with a win.
Ohio State will face No. 10 Michigan State on Saturday night in Indianapolis to decide the Big Ten champion.
The SEC has won the past seven national championships, and an argument can be made for a one-loss SEC team deserving a chance to play for the title.
According to the Sagarin strength of schedule ratings, Auburn's schedule rates as the 26th-best in Division I, while Missouri's is 41st, Ohio State's 61st and Florida State's 66th.
Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs started lobbying for the SEC's one-loss champion moments after the Tigers' 34-28 Iron Bowl victory. He told reporters it would be "a disservice to college football" if a one-loss SEC champion did not play for the national title.
"That has to happen," Jacobs was quoted as saying by al.com.
Alabama's last hope to play for its third straight national title would be if both Ohio State and Florida State lost their games this week.
No. 6 Oklahoma State can win the Big 12 and earn a spot in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl by beating No. 17 Oklahoma on Saturday, but the Cowboys trail Alabama by .091 and will not be able to improve their rating enough to get in the national title discussion. If the Sooners win, the winner of the Baylor-Texas game will go the Fiesta Bowl.
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Win or lose, the Spartans look set to play in the Rose Bowl as long as they stay in the top 14 of the BCS. They will qualify automatically as the Big Ten champions with a win, and they'll also play in Pasadena with a loss if Ohio State is chosen for the national title game.
No. 13 Clemson must stay in the top 14 to be eligible to play in the Discover Orange Bowl if Florida State is chosen for the BCS title game.
No. 14 Northern Illinois is still one win away from busting into the BCS. The Huskies must stay ahead in the top 16 and ahead of the American Athletic Conference champion -- No. 16 UCF, No. 19 Louisville or unranked Cincinnati -- to earn a BCS spot.
Northern Illinois leads UCF by .0954 and is rated 10th by the computers. The Huskies received a boost when the other BCS buster hopeful, Fresno State, lost Friday to San Jose State and fell to No. 23.
Next week's BCS standings will be the final edition before the four-team College Football Playoff begins next season.
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