BCS favors Wisconsin in Big Ten
NEW YORK -- Wisconsin and Stanford were the big winners in the latest BCS standings.
The Badgers and Cardinal all but locked up bids to the Bowl Championship Series on Sunday, and Oklahoma earned a spot in the Big 12 title game by outpointing Oklahoma State and Texas A&M.
The BCS standings broke the Big Ten's three-way tie at the top in favor of Wisconsin, which is fifth in the standings, a spot ahead of Ohio State. Unless some strange voting takes place in the Harris and coaches' polls, the Badgers are headed to the Rose Bowl.
The Buckeyes are a good bet to land an at-large bid, but the Big Ten's other tri-champion, Michigan State, will have to settle for a second-tier game. The Spartans were eighth in the standings.
Auburn and Oregon switched places atop the standings, with the Tigers slipping by the Ducks into first place -- but that hardly matters. Both are on track to play for the national championship Jan. 10 in Glendale, Ariz. Auburn needs to beat South Carolina in the SEC title game Saturday to lock up its spot, and Oregon needs a victory at rival Oregon State.
TCU is third and in position to grab an automatic bid -- possibly to the Rose Bowl -- now that Boise State is no threat to swipe it from the Horned Frogs. The Broncos lost in overtime, 34-31, to Nevada on Friday night. TCU is on deck for a spot in the national championship game if one of the top two teams trip up.
Stanford made the most important jump, taking the fourth spot after completing its season 11-1 with a 38-0 victory against Oregon State. BCS rules ensure the top four teams in the final standings a bid to the five big-money games.
Stanford was in danger of getting left out altogether because its fans don't flock to long-distance bowl sites. As long as the Cardinal don't fall when the final standings are released next week -- and there's no good reason why they would -- one of the bowls will be forced to take them.
Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M finished tied at 6-2 in the Big 12 South, but the BCS tiebreaker went the Sooners' way. Oklahoma was ninth in the standings, Oklahoma State 14th and Texas A&M 18th. The Sooners beat Oklahoma State, 47-41, on Saturday.
The Sooners will play Nebraska in the conference championship game, and the winner lands a Fiesta Bowl bid. Virginia Tech and Florida State will play for the ACC championship, with the winner getting an Orange Bowl bid.
Arkansas was seventh in the standings, and the Razorbacks seem to be in good shape to receive their first BCS bid after beating LSU, 31-23, on Saturday. If Auburn goes to the BCS title game, Arkansas is a likely candidate for the Sugar Bowl.