LSU narrowed Southern California's lead for second place in the BCS standings Monday but still needs some help to play for the national championship in the Sugar Bowl.
The Trojans (11-1) hold a 1.43-point lead over the Tigers (11-1)
going into the final week of the regular season, down from 2.15 a
The top two teams in the final Bowl Championship Series
standings Sunday will play for the title in New Orleans on Jan. 4.
Oklahoma (12-0) maintained its grip on the top spot with a
nearly five-point lead over USC and would likely remain in the top
two even with a loss Saturday to Kansas State in the Big 12
The Sooners are a unanimous No. 1 in The Associated Press media
and USA Today/ESPN coaches' polls and the top team in all seven BCS
computers. They have a 1.0 for poll average, 1.0 for computer-rank
average, 0.56 for strength of schedule, zero for losses and 0.5
bonus points for beating sixth-place Texas for a 2.06.
USC has a one-point lead in the polls over LSU, has a 0.25
advantage in the computers and a 0.68 lead in strength of schedule.
The Tigers have a 0.4 bonus for a quality win over Georgia.
While LSU would gain in the computers and strength of schedule
by beating the Bulldogs (10-2), the Tigers would also be penalized
because Georgia would drop, costing them quality-win points.
A win by Syracuse over Notre Dame would be a big help for the
Tigers, likely moving them to second in the Colley Matrix computer
if they can beat Georgia. USC beat Notre Dame earlier this year.
"I think our focus needs to be on the game that we are playing
and what is in front of us and nothing else," LSU coach Nick Saban
said. "I think that when you start thinking of those other things,
which I have referred to on occasion as clutter, it affects your
ability to perform like you need to."
USC finishes the season at home against Oregon State (7-4) on
Michigan remained fourth and is in the best position to move up
to second if USC and LSU both lose. Ohio State is fifth, followed
by Texas, Georgia, Florida State, Tennessee and Miami.
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.
The BCS 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 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.