Plenty of questions outside of title hunt

College Football

November 30, 2009|By Andrea Adelson | Tribune Newspapers

The college football season is finally headed to the conclusion many predicted when the season began: Florida, Alabama and Texas all control their own destiny to reach the national championship game.

Not much changed at the top in the latest Bowl Championship Series standings, released Sunday night. The Gators (12-0) remained No. 1, as they have since the first rankings were released in October. Alabama (12-0) is No. 2 and Texas (12-0) is No. 3. The order of the teams is inconsequential, really.

The winner of the SEC championship game Saturday between the Gators and Crimson Tide plays for the national championship in Pasadena, Calif., on Jan. 7. If Texas beats Nebraska in the Big 12 championship on Saturday, the Longhorns will be in the game too.

It is just that simple.

As for No. 4 TCU, the Horned Frogs (12-0) closed out their first undefeated season since 1938 with a 51-10 win over New Mexico on Saturday. TCU gets the lone guaranteed spot given to a nonautomatic qualifying conference because it is the highest ranked.

No. 5 Cincinnati (11-0) can clinch the Big East title and a BCS berth with a win over Pittsburgh on Saturday. Ohio State already has a spot in the Rose Bowl. The winner between No. 7 Oregon and Oregon State on Thursday will clinch the Pac-10 and play the Buckeyes.

Though Georgia Tech lost to Georgia on Saturday and dropped three spots to No. 10, the Yellow Jackets will clinch a spot in the Orange Bowl with a win over Clemson in the ACC championship game this weekend.

Where does all this leave No. 6 Boise State (12-0)? The Broncos closed out their season with a 44-33 win over Nevada on Friday with executives from the Orange, Sugar and Fiesta bowls watching.

"In South Florida, there's a lot of buzz over TCU and Boise," Orange Bowl executive director Eric Poms told the AP at halftime of the game.

Boise State got a ton of help when Oklahoma beat Oklahoma State 27-0, essentially opening the door for the Broncos to get a second at-large berth for a non-BCS team. To gain an at-large berth a team must finish ranked in the top 14 of the final standings.

That would count out schools like LSU because conferences are allowed a maximum of two BCS berths.

Though it would seem hard to justify taking a two- or three-loss team over Boise State, there is no way to predict what will happen until the final standings and BCS matchups are released next Sunday.

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