Cincinnati fifth in first BCS standings

Posted by ESPN.com's Brian Bennett

Cincinnati is clearly a contender for the BCS title game.

In the first official BCS standings that were released Sunday, the Bearcats are No. 5. They're one spot higher than they are in either the Harris or coaches' Top 25, which make up two-thirds of the BCS formula, because the computers rank Cincinnati No. 4.

The Bearcats are one spot behind Boise State. But since the Broncos' schedule will be weak down the stretch, and Cincinnati will play Pitt and West Virginia (Nos. 20 and 23 in the BCS standings, respectively), the Bearcats have a good shot at jumping ahead of the Broncos.

The tough climb will be to get all the way to one of the top two spots and secure a BCS title-game bid. Texas (No. 3) won't slip unless it loses, while Florida (No. 1) and Alabama (No. 2) look like they will be unbeaten heading to an SEC title-game showdown. And Iowa and USC lurk right behind Cincinnati. The Bearcats have better computer numbers than Texas and much better ones than USC but trail Iowa in that department. Iowa and Cincinnati are in a virtual BCS dead heat.

The Bearcats need to win out and hope for a couple of upsets. But they couldn't ask to be in a much better position at this point of the season