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Baylor in position to make another move up BCS standings


Alabama and Florida State remained one-two in the BCS standings, but the margin between No. 3 Ohio State and No. 4 Baylor bears watching in case one of the top two slips up.

Alabama, which has won the past two BCS national titles, remained No. 1 for the fifth week in a row; Florida State is No. 2 for the third week in a row and Ohio State is third for the second week in a row. But Stanford's loss to USC caused the Cardinal to drop from fourth to ninth and Baylor moved into fourth from fifth. But the margin between the Buckeyes and Bears is razor-thin: .0013 points.

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Baylor's average computer ranking is tied for third; Ohio State's is fifth. The only reason the Buckeyes are ahead of Baylor in the BCS is that Ohio State is third -- one spot ahead of Baylor -- in both human polls used by the BCS.

Considering that the Buckeyes play a mediocre Indiana team and Baylor plays No. 10 Oklahoma State this week, Baylor seems likely to pass Ohio State if both win. Baylor is tied with Auburn in the computers, but the Tigers play a FCS foe this week, meaning Baylor almost certainly would move ahead of Auburn in the computers with a win.

Ohio State was .0693 points out of second last week and is .0792 back this week.

The highest one-loss team in the standings is No. 5 Oregon, which is almost a full point behind Baylor.

Here is the fifth BCS top 14 of the season, with the school, its spot in the Harris poll, its spot in the coaches' poll and its BCS computer average. We've also included the NCAA's schedule strength, which is not part of the BCS formula.

Only three times in the 15-season history of the BCS has the No. 1 team in the fifth set of BCS standings not played for the national title. But all three occurrences have come in the past five seasons, including last season (Kansas State was No. 1 a year ago at this time). Seven times, the teams in first and second in the fifth set of standings have gone on to play in the national championship game.

The lowest-ranked team in the fifth edition of the BCS standings to play for the title was No. 7 Ohio State in 2007; the Buckeyes moved their way to No. 1 by the end of the season. Remember, though, that there were no unbeaten teams that season, and two-loss LSU won it all.

Three times (1998, 2003 and 2006), the No. 4 team in Week 5 ended up in the title game, and twice that team won it all (2003 with LSU and 2006 with Florida).

No. 15 Fresno State, which is unbeaten, is the highest-ranked non-Big Six (or non-automatic qualifying, if you prefer) conference team this week. A non-Big Six team is guaranteed a BCS spot in two ways. One is if it finishes in the top 12; the other is if it is ranked in the top 16 and its ranking is higher than that of a conference champion with an automatic berth. This week, the Bulldogs (and unbeaten No. 16 Northern Illinois) are higher than any team from the AAC (UCF is 18th and Louisville 21st). Under BCS rules, only one non-Big Six team is guaranteed a spot if it meets the criteria. Any others would be at-large candidates. At-large candidates must have at least nine victories and finish in the top 14 in the final BCS standings.

NIU has a much better computer ranking than Fresno State (12th, to the Bulldogs' 16th), but Fresno is 14th and 16th in the polls and NIU is 18th and 21st. NIU was in the BCS last season, losing to Florida State in the Orange Bowl.

Since the BCS expanded to five games in the 2006 season, seven non-Big Six teams have earned berths (we're not including Notre Dame in that category). There has been at least one non-Big Six school in every one of those seasons except 2011; there were two in 2010.

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The final BCS standings will be released Dec. 8. Teams first and second in the final standings meet in the BCS national championship game on Jan. 6 in Pasadena, Calif.

The three components of the BCS standings are the coaches' poll; the Harris poll, voted on by media members and by former players, coaches and administrators; and six computers. Each of the components counts one-third. The best and worst computer rankings are thrown out, and the sum total of the remaining four is divided by 100 (the maximum possible points) to come up with the BCS' computer rankings percentage.

While strength of schedule isn't a separate BCS standings component, as it was from 1998-2003, all six computers have a strength-of-schedule factor in their rankings.

Some other items of interest from the fourth set of standings:

Alabama and Florida State are tied for first in the computer rankings. Each is first in three computers and each is second in three computers.

Oklahoma State is getting far more respect from the pollsters than from the computers. The Cowboys are ninth in both polls, but their average computer ranking is just 14th; one computer has the Cowboys 20th.

No. 11 Texas A&M is another team that is unloved by the computers. The Aggies are 10th in both polls, but their average computer ranking is 17th.

No. 17 Arizona State, which plays No. 14 UCLA this week, has the opposite problem of Oklahoma State and Texas A&M. The Sun Devils' average computer ranking is 11th, but they are 22nd in both polls.

The SEC leads the way with seven teams in the top 25. The Pac-12 has five, the Big Ten four, the Big 12 three, the AAC and ACC two each and the Mid-American and Mountain West one each.

New to the standings this week are No. 23 USC, No. 24 Ole Miss and No. 25 Minnesota. Dropping out were No. 23 Miami (Fla.), No. 24 Texas and No. 25 Georgia. Minnesota is in the standings for the first time since 2008, and Ole Miss is in for the first time since 2009.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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