Louisville looking good to make a run at berth in BCS title game

Monday, November 6th 2006, 6:15 am
By: News On 6

NEW YORK (AP) _ Louisville is looking good.

The Cardinals (8-0) surged into third place in the Bowl Championship Series standings Sunday, putting some distance between themselves and the other title contenders.

Louisville has four games left, three against teams with winning records, and it looks as if the Cardinals are a good bet to earn a spot in the national championship game if they stay unbeaten _ though not quite a lock.

Ohio State (10-0) and Michigan (10-0) remained at the top of the BCS standings, despite ugly wins on Saturday, and on course to meet Nov. 18 in Columbus with a bid to the Jan. 8 title game in Glendale, Ariz., on the line.

But the Cardinals were the big winners this week. Their 44-34 victory over West Virginia, last week's third-place team, gave them the necessary boost to jump over fourth-place Florida. And with another big game Thursday night at undefeated Rutgers, the Cardinals are in position to get another bump up with a victory.

Louisville was third in the latest Harris poll, fourth in the coaches' poll and third in the computer rankings for a BCS average of .8907. Each of those components account for one-third of a BCS average.

``I wouldn't go so far as to say (the Cardinals) control their own destiny because you never know what the voters do,'' BCS analyst Jerry Palm said.

Ohio State is an overwhelming No. 1 in the polls and second in the computers. Michigan is second in the polls but first in the computers.

Once-beaten Florida stayed in fourth with an average of .8017, and Texas (.7998) made a big jump from seventh to fifth, just a shade behind the Gators.

Auburn (.7814) is not far behind in sixth, followed by USC, California, Notre Dame and West Virginia.

``I don't think the race for No. 2 is done yet,'' Palm said.

In The Associated Press Top 25, Ohio State is No. 1 followed by Michigan, Louisville, Texas and Auburn.

The Fighting Irish are still one spot behind where they need to be in the BCS standings at the end of the regular season to earn automatic entry into the five multimillion dollar bowl games.

Boise State is 14th for a second consecutive week, two spots behind the top 12 that would give the Broncos an automatic BCS bid. But if the season ended today, Boise State would be in because it ranks in the top 16 and has a better BCS average than any Atlantic Coast Conference team.

If the unbeaten Broncos stay in the top 16 and finish ahead of the ACC champion, they'll become the first Western Athletic Conference team to earn a BCS bid.

Georgia Tech is currently the highest rated ACC team in the BCS standings in 18th place.

The champions of the Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, ACC, Southeastern Conference and Pac-10 receive automatic bids to the BCS.