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Broncos a team that won't go away

Image: Boise State football coach Chris Petersen (© Troy Babbitt/US Presswire)
Chris Petersen again has Boise State contending for a BCS bowl.
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Sam Gardner

Sam Gardner is a general assignment writer for FOXSports.com. Originally from Orlando, Fla., he previously covered the Orlando Magic for FOX Sports Florida and has also covered the NBA Finals, Stanley Cup Finals and MLB playoffs. Follow him on Twitter.

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It seems that those hoping a new team would crash the BCS party will be forced to wait another year.

After Ohio’s undefeated run ended with a loss to in-state rival Miami (Ohio) on Saturday, only two teams from non-BCS conferences (or, in Notre Dame’s case, no conference) still have a legitimate shot at breaking into the BCS. As it stands right now, it looks as if they might both get in.

The Bobcats are out of the most recent BCS rankings and fighting for position in their own conference. And though Louisiana Tech has climbed back into the standings, at No. 25, it’s tough to see the Bulldogs moving into the top 16 or passing Boise State in the standings — much less both, which is what they need to do to get in.

So from here on out, it will just be familiar faces, with the Fighting Irish looking for their fourth trip to a BCS bowl and Boise State looking for its third. Here’s a full look at the BCS Busters after Week 9:

The favorites

Notre Dame: Notre Dame (8-0) is looking more and more like a BCS lock with each passing week. A 30-13 victory over Oklahoma on Saturday in Norman also might have given the Irish a legitimate shot at playing in their first BCS Championship Game.

Notre Dame is No. 3 in the latest standings, behind No. 1 Alabama and No. 2 Kansas State. 'Bama still has to visit No. 5 LSU (Saturday) and host No. 16 Texas A&M (Nov. 10). The Crimson Tide also would have to win a conference championship game to maintain their ranking. K-State still has to play No. 24 Oklahoma State (Saturday), TCU (Nov. 10) and No. 23 Texas (Dec. 1).

Meanwhile, Notre Dame has faced the brunt of its schedule and will be heavily favored against Pittsburgh, Boston College and Wake Forest. The Irish should be 11-0 as they head into their regular-season finale against No. 17 USC on Nov. 24.

Boise State: The Broncos (7-1) have been on a steady climb toward the BCS top 16 since their opening-week loss to Michigan State. After a 45-14 win over Mountain West doormat Wyoming on Saturday, Boise State is No. 19 in the latest BCS rankings.

Moving up three more spots in the standings and potentially guaranteeing a BCS bid seems likely if the Broncos win out against San Diego State, Hawaii, Colorado State and Nevada — and winning out seems reasonable.

At this point, the biggest roadblock between the Broncos and the BCS would be the lowest-ranked BCS conference champion passing them and forcing them to finish in the top 12 to guarantee a BCS bid. You can bet that Boise State fans will be rooting against No. 20 Nebraska — and, to a degree, No. 10 Louisville — in the coming weeks.

Out of the picture

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Ohio: The Bobcats (7-1) already found their BCS dream in serious jeopardy after spending most of the past month barely scraping by against subpar competition. (Ohio’s first three Mid-American Conference opponents are a combined 0-13 in conference play entering this week, and the Bobcats won each of those games by a touchdown or less.) This week, Ohio saw its dream officially come to an end with a 23-20 road loss to Miami (Ohio).

Trailing by three points with nine seconds left to play and the ball at the RedHawks’ 7-yard line, the Bobcats decided to forgo a game-tying field-goal attempt in favor of a failed try for the win. Now Ohio is not only out of the BCS picture, but the team also has dropped into a three-way tie for second place in the MAC East.

Once hopeful that they could be the next Boise State, the Bobcats will need to get their act together the next few weeks just to avoid making a return trip to Boise’s stadium for another mid-December bowl game.

You can follow Sam Gardner on Twitter or e-mail him at samgardnerfox@gmail.com.

Tagged: Boise State, Ohio, Notre Dame

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