Florida State leapfrogs Oregon in latest BCS standings


The flip-flopping at the top of the BCS standings continued with the release of the third set, with Florida State moving back into second and Oregon dropping one spot to third.

Alabama, which has won the past two BCS national titles, remained No. 1, and FSU and Oregon are back in the spots they were in during the first set of standings. Oregon was .0306 points ahead of FSU last week, but this week, the Seminoles are .0090 ahead of the Ducks, who were idle Saturday.

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But fear not, Ducks fans: Oregon will move back ahead of FSU in the fourth set of standings -- assuming Oregon wins Thursday at Stanford, which is fifth this week. FSU, meanwhile, plays at Wake Forest.

Oregon's remaining schedule is tougher than FSU's, so if both win out, the flip-flopping likely ends next week. That's because FSU is not going to have the computer numbers to get back past the Ducks. In that scenario, the only thing that would help the Seminoles is if the voters in the two human polls change their minds and put the Seminoles ahead of the Ducks.

FSU is third in both polls, but its average computer ranking is first. Alabama is atop both polls and its computer ranking is second. Oregon is second in both polls and third in the computers.

Ohio State remains fourth. The Buckeyes were .0371 points out of third last week, but that margin increased to .0715 this week. The Buckeyes are almost as close to No. 5 Stanford, which has one loss, as they are to Oregon; Stanford is .0790 behind Ohio State.

Unbeaten Baylor is sixth, and each of the Bears' next three games is against a team currently in the BCS top 25. They play host to No. 10 Oklahoma on Thursday night, play No. 25 Texas Tech in Arlington, Texas, on Nov. 16 and travel to No. 14 Oklahoma State on Nov. 23. Baylor's remaining schedule is much tougher than Ohio State's, and if both continue winning, Baylor could pass Ohio State.

Here is the third 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 once in the history of the BCS has neither No. 1 nor No. 2 in the third set of standings played in the BCS national championship game. Alabama and Texas Tech were first and second, respectively, in the third standings in 2008; Florida beat Oklahoma for the national title that season.

The team ranked first in the third BCS standings has gone on to play for the national title 12 times in the previous 15 seasons of the BCS. The only times it didn't: 2002, '08 and '09.

No team ranked lower than seventh in the third installment of the BCS standings has gone on to play for the national title. LSU was No. 7 in 2003.

No. 16 Fresno State 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 No. 18 Northern Illinois) are higher than any team from the AAC (Louisville is 20th and UCF 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.

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.

The final BCS standings will be released Dec. 8. Teams first and second in the final standings meet in the BCS national championship game 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.

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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 third set of standings:

Florida State is ranked No. 1 by five computers; the Seminoles are fourth in the other. Alabama is atop one computer poll.

Baylor is fifth in both polls, but just ninth in the computers. The tougher schedule will help Baylor in the computers in the next few weeks.

No. 8 Missouri is getting more respect from the computers than from the pollsters. The Tigers are eighth and ninth in the polls, but their average computer ranking is fifth.

No. 17 Michigan State is another team getting more love from the computers than from the pollsters. The Spartans are 18th and 19th in the polls, but their average computer ranking is No. 13.

No. 24 Wisconsin isn't in the top 25 of any of the six computers. The Badgers are 22nd in both polls.

No. 13 LSU also has interesting computer numbers. The Tigers are 11th and 12th in the polls, but their average computer ranking is 18th and they are out of the top 25 in one of the computers and ranked between 19th and 21st in four others. But LSU also is No. 10 in one computer's rankings.

The SEC leads the way with six teams in the top 25 (all in the top 15), followed by the Big 12 and Pac-12 with four each, the ACC and Big Ten with three each, the AAC with two and the Mid-American, Mountain West and independent ranks with one each.

New to the standings this week is No. 22 Arizona State. Dropping out was No. 21 Michigan.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at mike.huguenin@nfl.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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