Commentary

Cardinal fly into guaranteed spot

Originally Published: November 28, 2010
By Mark Schlabach | ESPN.com

Auburn passed Oregon by the narrowest of margins for No. 1 in the race for the BCS National Championship, but that wasn't even the biggest news in the BCS standings released on Sunday.

After then-No. 3 Boise State was stunned 34-31 in overtime at Nevada on Friday night, there was a handful of big developments in the BCS standings released on Sunday:

• Stanford, which routed Oregon State 38-0 on Saturday to finish the regular season with an 11-1 record, climbed from No. 6 to No. 4 in the BCS standings. If the Cardinal stay there when the final BCS standings are released on Dec. 5, it will be guaranteed a spot in a BCS bowl game.

Under BCS rules, the top four teams in the final BCS standings are guaranteed spots in one of the five BCS bowl games.

• Wisconsin, which blitzed Northwestern 70-23 on Saturday to finish 11-1, is the highest-rated Big Ten team in the BCS standings at No. 5. The Badgers shared the Big Ten championship with No. 6 Ohio State and No. 8 Michigan State.

If Wisconsin stays ahead of the Buckeyes and Spartans in the final BCS standings, the Badgers will be the league's representative in the Rose Bowl Game presented by Vizio on New Year's Day.

• Oklahoma, which defeated Oklahoma State 47-41 on Saturday night, is the highest-rated team from the Big 12 South in the BCS standings at No. 9. As a result, the Sooners will play No. 13 Nebraska in Saturday's Big 12 championship game in Dallas.

Oklahoma State and Texas A&M, which tied the Sooners for first place in the Big 12 South standings, are No. 14 and No. 18 in the BCS standings, respectively.

• Arkansas, which finished 10-2 after upsetting then-No. 5 LSU 31-23 on Saturday, climbed to No. 7 in the BCS standings. If Auburn defeats No. 19 South Carolina in Saturday's SEC championship game in Atlanta's Georgia Dome and finishes in the top two of the final BCS standings, there is a good chance the Razorbacks will be selected to play in the Sugar Bowl.

Auburn and Oregon remain on track to meet each other in the Jan. 10 BCS National Championship Game in Glendale, Ariz. The Tigers passed the Ducks -- by .0002 points -- after defeating a ranked team for the fourth time this season.

Oregon, which plays at Oregon State in Saturday's Civil War game, is still ranked No. 1 in the Harris Interactive poll and USA Today coaches' poll. But Auburn is now ranked No. 1 in each of the six computers poll used in the BCS formula.

Auburn has a .0612 advantage over No. 3 TCU in the BCS standings, so the Tigers will probably have to defeat the Gamecocks to advance to the BCS National Championship Game.

Mark Schlabach covers college sports for ESPN.com. He co-authored Bobby Bowden's memoir, "Called To Coach," which was published by Simon & Schuster. The book is available in stores and can be ordered here. You can contact him at schlabachma@yahoo.com.

Mark Schlabach | email

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