Big win should put USC in BCS game
A big win against Notre Dame has all but guaranteed Southern California a berth in a Bowl Championship Series game. And the loss left the Irish needing a little luck to make it that far.
The Trojans (10-2) moved up two spots to No. 4 in the latest BCS standings, released Monday. Miami (11-0) and Ohio State (13-0) remained the top two teams, and Georgia (11-1) moved up one spot to No. 3.
Miami has 3.53 points, and win against Virginia Tech (9-3) at home Saturday gives it a berth in the Fiesta Bowl to play Ohio State for the national championship on Jan. 3.
Ohio State has 4.01 points and Georgia has 9.03 points. Oklahoma (10-2) dropped four spots to No. 7 after losing 38-28 to Oklahoma State. If Miami loses and Georgia beats Arkansas (9-3) in the SEC Championship game Saturday, the Bulldogs would play the Buckeyes for the national title.
The final BCS standings will be released Sunday.
Iowa (11-1), which remained No. 5, needs help to guarantee itself a BCS spot.
The Trojans beat Notre Dame 44-13 and moved up for several reasons. Their poll average went down one point from 6 to 5, and their computer average was lowered from 5.33 to 3.0 this week. USC also has the No. 1 strength of schedule in the country and received a 0.2 bonus-point deduction for the win over Notre Dame.
USC looks like it will make a BCS bowl in any situation. The top three BCS teams automatically receive a BCS berth. The top four BCS teams are guaranteed a BCS berth if the first three are automatic qualifiers. Miami and Ohio State already have qualified automatically after winning the Big East and Big Ten, respectively.
Here are several scenarios, assuming Miami beats Virginia Tech. If Georgia defeats Arkansas, the Bulldogs would win the SEC and USC would then receive an at-large BCS selection. If Georgia loses, USC would move up to No. 3 and be guaranteed a spot.
Regardless of what happens with Georgia, USC also would automatically qualify for the BCS as the Pac-10 champion if Washington State loses to UCLA.
It gets a bit more complicated for Iowa. If Georgia loses and Washington State loses to give USC the Pac-10 title, Iowa would receive an at-large BCS berth. If Georgia loses and Washington State wins the Pac-10, Iowa would not be guaranteed an at-large berth even though it would be ranked No. 4 because USC would not be an automatic qualifier.
Notre Dame also is alive for a BCS selection, but barely. The Fighting Irish are No. 10 in the latest standings. In order to be eligible for a major bowl, they have to stay in the top 12.
To improve their chances, the Irish need Georgia and Washington State to lose. Or, they need a bowl selection committee to rely on the Notre Dame factor -- to pick the Irish over a more highly ranked team.
The BCS formula uses the AP media and coaches' polls, computer polls, strength of schedule, won-loss record and a bonus-point system.
Miami has 3.53 points -- 1 for poll average, 1.33 for computer-rank average, 1.20 for strength of schedule, no losses and no bonus-point deduction.
Ohio State has 4.01 points -- 2 for poll average, 1.67 for computer-rank average, 0.84 for strength of schedule, no losses and a 0.5 bonus-point deduction.
Bowl Championship Series standings
2. Ohio State4.01
4. Southern Cal9.84
6. Washington St.17.67
8. Kansas St.20.05
10. Notre Dame20.73
13. Penn St.27.69
14. Florida St.36.12
15. West Virginia 38.43