Missouri's double-overtime loss to South Carolina reduced the ranks of BCS contenders by one, and to some extent it solidified the pecking order for the teams vying for a shot at the national championship.
With Texas Tech also losing, there are now eight undefeated teams—and just six from BCS conferences. Only the ACC still has multiple unbeaten teams, but that will change next week when Florida State hosts Miami in the biggest game in this rivalry since 2000, when the Hurricanes were still in the Big East.
Florida State will come into the game ranked No. 3 in the BCS standings, having ceded the second spot to Oregon based on our projections. Thanks to a 42-14 victory over UCLA, the Ducks will gain enough in the computer rankings to overtake the Seminoles but won't surpass No. 1 Alabama.
|Projected BCS Standings|
|4||Ohio State||Big Ten||4|
|13||Texas Tech||Big 12||10|
|19||Oklahoma State||Big 12||19|
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* Other teams likely to be ranked in the Top 25: Michigan, Central Florida, Notre Dame, Wisconsin, Michigan State.
Other important observations from the BCS projections:
* Stanford held off Oregon State to maintain its status as the highest-ranked one-loss team, at No. 5. But there is a significant gap between the Cardinal and No. 4 Ohio State, and it's extremely unlikely any team with a loss would be able to jump the Buckeyes.
* Baylor and Miami will be very close at Nos. 6 and 7, depending on how much the voters will be swayed by Miami's lackluster victory over Wake Forest. The 'Canes can make a quantum leap with a win over the Seminoles next week, while the Bears will have less of a chance to make a statement now that the Big 12's only other remaining unbeaten team—Texas Tech—has lost.
* Fresno State survived a scare at San Diego State, blocking a late game-winning field-goal attempt before winning in overtime. But thanks to the movement in the polls, Northern Illinois will jump over the Bulldogs in the all-important BCS Buster race.
* Notre Dame should reappear in the Top 25, lurking to snatch a BCS at-large berth. The Irish's toughest remaining opponents will be BYU and Stanford in their final two regular-season games. If they arrive at Stanford Stadium with a 9-2 record, that game itself might determine a BCS bowl berth. Notre Dame needs to be in the final Top 14 in order to be eligible for a BCS at-large bid.
|Projected BCS Bowl Matchups|
|BCS Championship||Alabama vs. Oregon|
|Rose Bowl||Stanford vs. Ohio State|
|Orange Bowl||Florida State vs. Central Florida|
|Sugar Bowl||Texas A&M vs. Clemson|
|Fiesta Bowl||Baylor vs. Northern Illinois|
|Projected as at end of season|
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