Ohio State's quest for a shot at the BCS title just got a little more difficult.
After a lackluster victory over lowly Illinois, in which the Buckeyes led by just 12 at one point in the fourth quarter, they will be passed by surging Baylor in the upcoming BCS standings. The Bears pulled away from Texas Tech in the second half, winning 63-34 in a game played at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.
As a result, the Bears will gain enough in both the polls and computers to leapfrog the Buckeyes for the No. 3 spot. Alabama and Florida State will keep their tight grip on the top two spots, as both won without much of a struggle.
With Stanford's upset loss to USC, Oregon will be the highest-ranked one-loss team after regaining control of the Pac-12 North race. The Ducks should check in at No. 5, ahead of the other one-loss teams Clemson, Auburn and Missouri.
|Projected BCS Standings|
|4||Ohio State||10-0||Big Ten||3|
|12||Oklahoma State||9-1||Big 12||12|
|16||Michigan State||9-1||Big Ten||16|
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Northern Illinois, after scoring three late touchdowns to beat Ball State in a Wednesday night game, will move a bit closer to Fresno State in the race for the non-AQ BCS spot. But the Bulldogs, who were idle in Week 12, should still be ahead of NIU in the BCS standings and in the driver's seat for possibly a Fiesta Bowl berth.
With the conference races taking shape as there are just three more regular-season weeks remaining, the possible choices for BCS bowls are also narrowing. The Big Ten, much maligned throughout the season, is surprisingly getting two potential BCS at-large candidates back into the picture. Both Michigan State and Wisconsin are now possible picks for the Orange Bowl.
Stanford, however, is the biggest loser of the week. Aside from being the only team to lose among the top 22 teams in the BCS standings, the Cardinal have lost control of the Pac-12 North race. In addition, they're now likely squeezed out of a BCS bowl berth because of their spotty travel record and lack of a marquee player.
|Projected BCS Bowl Matchups|
|BCS Championship||Alabama vs. Florida State|
|Rose Bowl||Oregon vs. Ohio State|
|Orange Bowl||Clemson vs. Michigan State|
|Sugar Bowl||Texas A&M vs. Central Florida|
|Fiesta Bowl||Baylor vs. Fresno State|
|Projected as at end of season|
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