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TCU lands historic spot in BCS standings

TCU moved a big step closer to busting up the BCS.

The Horned Frogs jumped up to sixth place in the Bowl
Championship Series standings Monday, the highest ranking ever for
an outsider to the system.

"We understand those things are in the hands of other people,"
TCU coach Gary Patterson said. "We feel privileged to be where
we're at. We really appreciate the respect around the country."

TCU needs to remain in the top six to guarantee a bid to one of
the four most lucrative bowls.

Oklahoma remained the runaway leader in the standings that will
determine which two teams will play for the national championship
in the Sugar Bowl.

The Sooners (10-0) are No. 1 in both polls and the seven
computers used in the BCS.

Southern California leads the three one-loss teams hoping to
challenge Oklahoma for the title, followed by Ohio State and LSU.

The formula uses the AP media and USA Today/ESPN coaches' polls,
seven computer rankings, strength of schedule, losses and a
bonus-point system for quality wins.

The Sooners have a 1.0 for poll average, 1.0 for computer-rank
average, 0.28 for strength of schedule, zero for losses and 0.6
bonus points for beating fifth-place Texas for a 1.68.

USC was second with 6.27 points, followed by Ohio State at 7.73
and LSU at 13.17.

"With all this BCS and ranking stuff I really don't even know
how they figure it out or how they come up with it," LSU defensive
end Marcus Spears said. "For us it's just beat Alabama, Ole Miss
and Arkansas and that's what we're focused on."

The Buckeyes could pass the Trojans for the No. 2 spot even if
neither team loses because of their tougher schedule down the
stretch.

Ohio State finishes the season against No. 11 Purdue and No. 5
Michigan, while USC has games left against Arizona, UCLA and Oregon
State -- who have a combined record of 14-15.

The BCS was started five years ago to create a national title
game without playoffs. Champions of six conferences -- the ACC, Big
East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-10 and SEC -- qualify for a BCS game, and
two at-large teams are selected to fill out the field.

No team from the five other Division I-A conferences --
Conference USA, the Mid-American, Mountain West, Sun Belt and
Western Athletic -- has earned that berth.

The Horned Frogs will be eligible if they finish in the top 12
and will clinch a spot by being in the top six.

"A lot of teams have won all their ballgames, a lot of teams
win their conference. But very few times are you able to do
something to make history," Patterson said. "We have a chance to
do that."

However, even if they win out they could drop because of their
weak schedule, ranked 87th among the 117 teams.

There has been pressure from schools outside the big six
conferences to improve access to the BCS bowls -- Orange, Sugar,
Fiesta and Rose.

TCU, a member of Conference USA, hopes that helps its cause.

"The story stands on its own," Conference USA commissioner
Britton Banowsky said. "They have a great football team. If they
remain undefeated they will be an unbelievably strong candidate. I
will do anything I possibly can to assure they get maximum
consideration for BCS participation."

In the other noteworthy development, Tennessee moved past
Georgia into seventh place. The Bulldogs are ninth and Florida was
14th.

If the three teams finished tied for first in the SEC East, the
highest-ranked team in the BCS would play in the conference title
game. However, if the second-place team is within five places and
won the head-to-head matchup, it would get the bid.

That puts Georgia in the best position because of its win at
Tennessee earlier this year.

The other teams in the top 10 are eighth-place Michigan and
10th-place Washington State.

The BCS standings will be released each week for the remainder
of the season.

The seven computer rankings are operated by Anderson & Hester,
Billingsley, Colley Matrix, Kenneth Massey, The New York Times,
Jeff Sagarin's USA Today and Peter Wolfe.