Auburn Takes 3rd Place Behind USC, Okla.

Monday, November 1st 2004, 11:19 am
By: News On 6

Auburn moved into third place in the Bowl Championship Series on Monday while Southern California and Oklahoma held firmly to the top two spots.

The Tigers had been in fourth place in the first two BCS standings, but they took advantage of Miami's upset loss on Saturday to creep closer to the front-runners.

California moved up four spots to fourth, and is followed by Wisconsin and Utah.

Miami and Florida State, which was also upset on the road Saturday, fell out of the BCS top five for the first time this season.

The top two teams in the BCS standings after the regular season will meet in the Orange Bowl on Jan. 4.

USC, which has been in first place since the initial BCS standings three weeks ago, has a grade of .9895. The Trojans are No. 1 in The Associated Press Top 25 and the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll. They are also tied with Oklahoma for the best computer ranking this week.

The Sooners, No. 2 in both polls all season, have a grade of .9648. Auburn's grade is .9238, placing third in each poll and the computer rankings.

The AP media poll and coaches poll each count for one-third of a team's BCS grade. Total points received in the polls are taken into account. A compilation of six computer rankings make up the other third of a grade, with the highest and lowest computer rankings for each team thrown out.

There are six unbeaten teams in Division I-A _ USC, Oklahoma, Auburn, Wisconsin, Utah and Boise State.

Auburn's BCS ranking is the highest in school history, but the Tigers may not have their national title hopes in their own hands. Even if they finish the season unbeaten with a victory in the Southeastern Conference championship game, the Tigers might need a loss by either USC or Oklahoma to reach the Orange Bowl.

A difficult remaining schedule could work in Auburn's favor, if the Tigers can survive it. They're off this week before playing Georgia (ninth in the BCS) at home on Nov. 13; at Alabama on the No. 20; and the SEC title game against either Georgia or Tennessee (eighth in the BCS) on Dec. 4.

A separate strength of schedule component was removed from the BCS standings this season, but the computer rankings still take schedule strength into account, as do most poll voters.

Utah, from the Mountain West Conference, could become the first team from a mid-major league to earn a bid to one of the four BCS games by finishing in the top six.

The Utes have a grade of .7429. Texas (.7370) is seventh.