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Auburn No. 4 in BCS standings

The SportsXchange

Alabama and Florida State held onto the top two spots in the BCS standings released Sunday evening, but No. 3 Ohio State picked up some ground on the two leaders, and Auburn moved up to the No. 4 spot.

The Crimson Tide remained No. 1 in the BCS, thanks to its No. 1 ranking in both polls used in the BCS formula - the USA Today coaches poll and the Harris poll. However, No. 2 Florida State has the highest ranking among the BCS computers, which is the third component of the BCS formula.

Those two teams figure to meet for the national championship of they continue to win. However, Alabama faces a stern test on Saturday against archrival Auburn, with the winner of that game advancing to the Southeastern Conference title game.

The undefeated Buckeyes got more respect from the BCS computers this week than they did last week, earning a No. 3 ranking in both polls as well as with the computers.

Auburn moved up from No. 6 to No. 4 in the BCS standings this week, but the Tigers' .8326 BCS average puts in a long way behind Ohio State's .9200 average.

It remains to be seen whether the Tigers can make up that large deficit by beating Alabama, then winning the SEC title game against either Missouri or South Carolina.

The battle between Auburn and Ohio State becomes critical if either Alabama or Florida State loses a game, leaving the second spot in the BCS national title game up for grabs.

Just as significant is the fact that Northern Illinois has passed Fresno State in the BCS standings. Northern Illinois is now No. 14 and Fresno State No. 16. Although neither is from a conference that receives an automatic BCS game berth, Fresno State or Northern Illinois can guarantee itself a spot in a BCS game if it finishes in the top 12 of the BCS standings or if it finishes ranked among the top 16 and ahead of a champion from one of the automatic qualifying conferences. Both are currently ahead of American Athletic Conference leader Central Florida, which is No. 19.

However, Fresno State and Northern Illinois both cannot play in a BCS game. If both finish high enough in the standings to qualify for a BCS berth, only the higher ranked one will get the BCS bid. Fresno State had been ranked ahead of Northern Illinois in the BCS standings in past weeks.
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