Even a Pac-10 road loss can't seem to stop the Trojans these days.
Two weeks after a crippling 33-31 loss to Oregon State seemed to doom USC's BCS title hopes, the Trojans are right back in the thick of things after four of the top eight teams lost their games this week.
With a 35-10 win over No. 20 Oregon on Saturday, the Trojans jumped four spots to No. 3. Ohio State and Michigan, both easy winners, retained the No. 1 and No. 2 spots, respectively.
Rounding out the top 5 are Florida, which needed a last-minute blocked field goal to hang on against South Carolina, and Notre Dame, a 39-17 winner over Air Force.
The Fighting Irish are now in position to secure an
automatic bid to one of the five BCS games, even if they don't
reach the title game. Notre Dame needs to finish in the top eight
in the final BCS standings for automatic entry. A top-12 finish
makes the Irish eligible for selection.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the week belongs to the new No. 6 -- Rutgers. The unbeaten Scarlet Knights shocked many observers with a 28-25 comeback win over former-No. 3 Louisville. Rutgers was down 25-7 at one point in the second quarter before rallying with 21 unanswered points.
The computer rankings seem to love the Knights. The computers have
Rutgers second behind Michigan and ahead of Ohio State.
The rest of the top 10 includes four one-loss teams from major conferences: Arkansas, which thumped No. 16 Tennessee 31-14, West Virgina, Wisconsin, and Louisville. The Razorbacks can clinch the SEC West division by beating
Mississippi State on Saturday.
With as many as three games left for the nation's top teams, there should be plenty more shake-ups at the top before the BCS bowl bids are handed out. Six top-8 teams are scheduled to play each other, and all of the top-8 teams could end up playing another top-8 opponent.
Ohio State plays Michigan this Saturday in one of the most anticipated matchups in recent history. The winner of that game will virtually clinch a spot in the BCS title game on Jan. 8 in Glendale, Ariz. Also, USC plays Notre Dame on Nov. 25. Rutgers travels to West Virginia on Dec. 2. And Florida and Arkansas could well meet in the SEC title game.
What does all that mean? That even teams with two losses could find themselves getting a BCS invite.
Meanwhile, outside of the top 10, LSU jumped one spot to No. 11 with a 28-14 win over Alabama, while Boise State climbed two places to No. 12 by rallying late to beat San Jose State.
Texas, Auburn and Cal, formerly the No. 5, 6 and 8 teams, respectively, all lost on Saturday. The Longhorns came in this week at No. 13, with the Tigers at No. 14 and the Bears at No. 15.
One-loss Wake Forest, which shut out Florida State in Tallahassee -- the first time a Seminoles team has been shut out at home during Bobby Bowden's 31-year tenure -- rose three spots to No. 16.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.