Michigan was impressive enough in a 42-39 loss to the Buckeyes
to retain second place in the Bowl Championship Series standings
released Sunday. But the Wolverines' margin is so slim that it'll
be tough for them to get another shot at Ohio State in the national
title game if the Trojans keep winning.
Michigan's BCS average was .926. The Trojans, who have two games
left, were at .919.
"I'm not surprised," Ohio State coach Jim Tressel said of
Michigan retaining second place. "The pollsters had to be
impressed with the way [Michigan] has played."
"It'll be interesting to see how it comes out," he told Fox
The No. 1 Buckeyes locked up a spot in the BCS title game Jan. 8
in Arizona with their victory over the Wolverines on Saturday,
their 19th straight overall. They also became the first team to
have a perfect score (1.000) under the BCS formula introduced in
2004. Ohio State is a unanimous No. 1 in the polls and the best
team in the country according to the BCS computer ratings.
Florida was in fourth place in the BCS standings with an average
of .884, followed by Notre Dame (.820), which plays at USC on
Saturday. Arkansas (.807) was sixth. The Razorbacks and Gators meet
in the Southeastern Conference title game on Dec. 2.
Florida coach Urban Meyer said Sunday a rematch between Michigan
and Ohio State would be cause for immediate change to the BCS.
"If that does happen, all the [university] presidents need to
get together immediately and put together a playoff system," he
said. "I mean like now, January or whenever to get that done."
Michigan's regular season is complete, so the Wolverines can do
nothing but watch what happens to USC and the other contenders over
the next two weeks.
The Trojans, who beat Cal 23-9 on Saturday to lock up the
Pac-10's automatic BCS bid, passed Michigan and moved up to No. 2
in both the coaches' poll and the Harris poll. The polls count for
two-thirds of a team's BCS average. Michigan remained second in the
computer ratings that account for the other third of the BCS
USC is third in the computers, a mark that should get a boost if
the Trojans can knock off a highly rated Notre Dame team and
crosstown rival UCLA the following week.
A USC loss would help Michigan, but it could also give the SEC
champion a chance to pass Michigan if either the Gators or
Razorbacks win their final two games.
If Michigan doesn't get into the championship game, the
Wolverines are a lock to at least get into the BCS as an at-large
team. The Rose Bowl would seem to be the Wolverines likely
fallback, but there's no guarantee.
Unbeaten Boise State moved up to 11th place. With one more
victory in their season finale at WAC rival Nevada, the Broncos
will become the second team from a conference without an automatic
bid to reach the BCS. Boise State would likely be headed for the
Fiesta Bowl to play the Big 12 champ.
Notre Dame can also lock up an automatic bid by finishing in the
top eight. A win at USC would do the trick, but even with a loss
the Irish should be eligible for selection.
If the Rose Bowl loses both its Pac-10 champ (USC) and Big Ten
champ (Ohio State) to the championship game, it will have the first
two selections among the remaining BCS at-large pool.
A Michigan-Notre Dame rematch in Pasadena, Calif., on Jan. 1
would then be possible. The Wolverines beat the Fighting Irish
47-21 in September at South Bend, Ind.
With Boise State, Michigan and Notre Dame all with bids in their
sights, it looks like only one of the four at-large bids is still
The SEC champion plays in the Sugar Bowl if it doesn't qualify
for the BCS championship.
The Atlantic Coast Conference champ will play in the Orange
Bowl, and the Big East champ also gets an automatic bid.