LSU, Oregon Top BCS, But For How Long?

The SEC has a couple of teams now in position to gain a spot in the Sugar Bowl if LSU vacates that position by advancing to the BCS National Championship Game. Georgia will be a strong candidate if Tennessee wins the SEC East and the Bulldogs beat Kentucky and Georgia Tech to end the season. If Georgia stumbles, Florida could be available to the Sugar (or Orange) by finishing 9-3.

Ohio State's loss probably eliminated any chance of the Big Ten getting a second team into the BCS this season. It appears the only way the conference will have an at-large qualifier is if OSU loses to Michigan, and the odds of the Buckeyes being selected after consecutive losses are extremely slim.

The Big East also seems unlikely to produce an at-large candidate, unless Cincinnati wins the conference and West Virginia finishes 10-2. The ACC's best chance is for Virginia Tech to lose the conference title game, but that wouldn't make the Hokies an exactly desirable option.

That leaves Hawaii and Boise State, ranked 16th and 18th, respectively, in this week's BCS standings. Hawaii's potential to qualify automatically (by reaching the top 12) seems to be dwindling with every week that it fails to gain respect in the computers. Boise State has even less of a shot at the top 12 but should crack the top 16 if it wins out.

Translation: Both teams could be relying on the provision that allows a non-automatic-qualifying conference champion to earn an at-large bid by finishing in the top 16 AND ranking higher than an automatic-qualifying conference champion. For that to happen, the Warriors and Broncos need help this weekend. If Michigan beats Ohio State or Cincinnati beats West Virginia, the opportunity could be there. If neither of those take place, Cinderella might be at home scrubbing the floors during the BCS ball.

Brad Edwards is a college football researcher at ESPN. His "Road to the BCS" appears weekly during the season.

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