For now, Utes outside looking in on BCS games

Updated: November 8, 2004, 1:24 PM ET
Associated Press

Utah slipped one spot to seventh in the Bowl Championship Series Standings on Monday, a drop that could cost the unbeaten Utes a berth in one of the four big-money bowl games.

The top five in the BCS stayed the same, with Southern California, Oklahoma and Auburn leading the way, followed by California and Wisconsin.

The first- and second-place teams in the final BCS Standings brought to you by Allstate will play in the Orange Bowl on Jan. 4 for the BCS national title.

Utah is trying to become the first team from a non-BCS conference (Mountain West) to play in a BCS game. The Utes can guarantee a spot in what probably would be the Fiesta Bowl -- which delivers a payout of about $14 million -- by finishing in the top six. A top-12 finish makes the Utes eligible for consideration, but guarantees nothing.

Texas jumped over Utah this week to take sixth place.

The Longhorns' 56-35 comeback victory over Oklahoma State on Saturday -- Texas rallied from a 35-7 deficit -- boosted its BCS grade to .7904. Utah's grade (.7511) went up slightly after another lopsided victory -- 63-31 over Colorado State. Utah maintained its positions in both The Associated Press Top 25 (seventh) and ESPN/USA Today coaches' poll (eighth) this week, but the Utes dropped in the computer rankings from sixth to eighth, while the Longhorns moved up to No. 5 in that category.

The AP media poll and coaches' poll each account for one-third of a team's BCS grade. A compilation of six computer rankings make up the other third of a team's grade.

Utah is one of six unbeaten teams in Division I-A, along with USC, Oklahoma, Auburn, Wisconsin and Boise State.

The Sooners increased their lead on the idle Tigers, by moving into the No. 1 spot in the computer rankings.

USC, No. 1 in both polls and second in the computer rankings, has a grade of .9847. Oklahoma's grade is .9664, and Auburn's is .9097. The Tigers are third in each poll and according to the computers.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press