For the third time in as many weeks, there’s been a change at the No. 2 spot in the BCS.
Florida State was ranked second in the initial standings after a blowout victory at then-No. 3 Clemson. But Oregon leapfrogged the Seminoles one week later after beating up a top-15 opponent in UCLA. Well, Florida State was back to humiliating highly ranked teams Saturday night with a 41-14 drubbing of rival and No. 7 Miami. It earned the Seminoles a berth in the national championship game – if the season ended this week.
The gap between Nos. 2 and 3 is just one hundredth of a point. A win over fifth-ranked Stanford on Thursday would once again propel the Ducks in front of Florida State.
Alabama is first and Ohio State remained No. 4, losing ground on the third position. The Buckeyes’ scenarios have not changed — to reach the Rose Bowl on Jan. 6, teams ahead of them must lose.
And this is the week everything could fall in place. Thursday is home to two top-10 showdowns: Oregon-Stanford and Oklahoma-Baylor. On Saturday, Alabama hosts LSU. It’s possible Ohio State could be ranked No. 2 when they next take the field Nov. 16 at Illinois.
Stanford is still the highest-ranked one-loss team, even after Baylor vaulted over them in both human polls. The computers remain the Bears’ biggest nemesis, with their average ranking more than five spots lower than the Cardinal’s. Long term, Jerry Palm doesn’t believe Stanford would stay ahead of Ohio State if it were to beat Oregon.
Michigan State, the most likely Big Ten title game opponent for the Buckeyes, is ranked 17th and Wisconsin checks in at 24th.
Fresno State and Northern Illinois remain poised to grab BCS-busting bids to college football’s big party – the Bulldogs are 16th, the Huskies 18th. Both are slotted head of AAC-leading Central Florida.