BCS standings feature a four-team race among unbeatens

Following a weekend in which seven of the top 15 teams in the BCS standings lost, the national title race has narrowed to four elite undefeated teams and a few one-loss schools looking for help.

Alabama, not shockingly, remained No. 1 for the third consecutive week in Sunday’s release of the BCS standings. The Crimson Tide leads with a BCS average of .976.

Kansas State, third last week, moved to the No. 2 spot vacated by weekend loser Florida. The Wildcats are at .940. Next, at Nos. 3 and 4, are Notre Dame and Oregon.

Oregon is fourth for the second week in a row despite being No. 2 in the two polls used in the BCS formula — USA Today and Harris.

The Ducks continue to lag in the BCS computer index and were jumped this week by Notre Dame by the razor-thin BCS margin of .915 to .914.

Louisiana State is the highest one-loss team at No. 5, with an average of .816, followed by Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, Florida State and Louisville.

Louisville is one of only six undefeated teams left at the FBS level along with Ohio State, which is ineligible for postseason play this year because of NCAA probation.

The race to the final BCS standings on Dec. 2 is made more interesting by the fact none of the top four teams will meet in head-to-head matchups.

Oregon probably has the toughest closing schedule, although it did not help the Ducks that November opponents USC and Oregon Stateboth lost over the weekend. USC fell from No. 10 to No. 17 while Oregon State dropped four positions to No. 11 in the BCS standings.

Here’s what the contenders have left:

--Alabama plays at Louisiana State on Saturday and then hosts Texas A&M;, Western Carolina and Auburn in advance of the SEC title game.

--Kansas State hosts Oklahoma State this week and then plays at Texas Christian and Baylor before closing at home against Texas.

--Notre Dame alternates home and away games the next four weeks with Pittsburgh, Boston College, Wake Forest and USC.

--Oregon plays at USC and California the next two weeks and hosts Stanford before closing at Oregon State in advance of the Pac 12 title game.

In the race for a possible guaranteed BCS berth, Boise State moved up two spots this week to No. 19. If the Broncos win the Mountain West, a non-automatic qualifying conference, they would earn an automatic BCS bid with a top-12 finish. Boise State could also earn a bid if it finishes in the top 16 ahead of a champion from a so-called “AQ” league.

Right now, the highest ranked BCS team from the Big Ten is No. 20 Nebraska.


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