COLUMBUS, Ohio — The new BCS standings have Ohio State at No. 2 with one week left.
Some really big games are left, too, and nothing is settled — not even if Ohio State can beat Michigan State in Saturday’s Big Ten Championship Game.
The new standings have Ohio State with a BCS score of .9503 and No. 3 Auburn at .9233. That margin is small enough to think that Auburn could pass Ohio State and claim the second spot in the BCS National Championship Game if Auburn beats No. 5 Missouri in Saturday’s SEC Championship Game.
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The BCS standings are based on three criteria: The Harris poll, the coaches poll and a computer poll score based on the average of six computer rankings. Ohio State ranks No. 2 across the board in the newest polls Sunday. Florida State is the new unanimous No. 1 and is a prohibitive favorite over Duke in the ACC Championship Game Saturday.
The Buckeyes got five first-place votes and were 66 points ahead of Auburn in Sunday’s Harris poll. In the coaches poll, Ohio State got four first-place votes and was 25 points ahead of Auburn. It would take quite a turn in the Harris and coaches poll voting for Auburn to pass Ohio State next week should both win, but a week of politicking and a weekend of games could change perceptions.
In the BCS era there is no precedent for a one-loss team passing an undefeated major conference team to play in the national championship game. There have been three occasions when a team ranked in the top two of the coaches and Harris polls didn’t finish in the top two of the BCS standings, but the last time that happened (2003) all three teams involved had a loss.
Ohio State is ahead of Auburn in five of the six computer rankings. The computer average is calculated by dropping each team’s highest and lowest computer rank, and with 11-1 Michigan State on tap, an Ohio State win should allow the Buckeyes to keep their current standing — one No. 1, four No. 2 and one No. 3 — in the computer rankings, which are based on strength of schedule and number of quality wins.
That’s not certain, though. With a week left, nothing is. Ohio State needs to win, and only next Sunday night will we have any final answers.