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Michigan now No. 2 behind the Buckeyes



Published: Mon, October 23, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.



Southern California is still a solid No. 3 in the Bowl Championship Standings.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Michigan slipped in front of Southern California into second-place in the Bowl Championship Standings Sunday, but there's no reason for the Trojans to worry.

USC is still a solid No. 3 behind first-place Ohio State and Michigan. And with the Buckeyes and Wolverines slated to meet on Nov. 18 in Columbus, the Trojans remained in good shape to secure a spot in the BCS championship game with an undefeated regular season.

The Buckeyes, who have been No. 1 in the polls all season by a wide margin, have a BCS average of .9764 out of a possible 1.000. The Wolverines' .9451 gives them a slight edge over the Trojans (.9430).

What is more important for the Trojans is their wide margin over fourth-place West Virginia. The unbeaten Mountaineers moved up a spot this week, switching places with Auburn. But West Virginia's .7551 average leaves it with loads of ground to make up on the top three.

The BCS title game will played Jan. 8 in Glendale, Ariz.

Three in control of race

Ohio State, USC and Michigan are in control of the national championship race. If two of those teams finish the regular season unbeaten, it probably won't matter what goes on with the teams behind them.

USC and Michigan are tied for the top spot in the computer ratings with Ohio State third. The Trojans are second in the coaches' poll and Michigan is a close third. In the Harris poll, the positions are reversed.

In the AP poll, Ohio State is No. 1 with Michigan second and USC No. 3.

The BCS average is determined by a team's standing in the coaches' poll and the Harris Interactive poll. Each poll counts for a third of a team's grade. The other third is determined by a compilation of six computer ratings.

West Virginia does not grade out well in the computers. The Mountaineers are fourth in both polls, but only the 14th-best team in the country according to the computers.

WVU's schedule stronger

West Virginia's schedule is about to get much tougher and that should give its computer rating a boost over the final month of the season.

The Mountaineers next play unbeaten Big East rival Louisville on Nov. 2. The Cardinals are in eighth place in the BCS standings, after Auburn, Florida and Texas. All of those teams have lost once.

Notre Dame is in ninth place. The Fighting Irish are guaranteed a spot in one of the five BCS games by finishing eighth in the final standings.

California is in 10th place, followed by Tennessee and Clemson.

Unbeaten Boise State of the Western Athletic Conference remained in 15th place. The Broncos -- or any other team playing in a conference without an automatic bid -- need to reach the top 12 in the final standings to secure a bid to either the Rose, Fiesta, Sugar or Orange bowls.




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