K1788 BC-FBC-BCS 11-09 0577

Iowa’s upset opens possibilities

The one-loss teams in the Big 12 and the Southeastern Conference can send their thanks to the Iowa Hawkeyes.

Iowa’s 24-23 victory over previously unbeaten Penn State on Saturday left the SEC’s Alabama (10-0) and Texas Tech (10-0) of the Big 12 as the two undefeated teams atop the Bowl Championship Series standings.

If both win out, the debate about the teams following them in the rankings becomes moot. But if one of those teams slips, SEC East champion Florida (8-1) is among the teams in position to sneak into the BCS National Championship Game on Jan. 8 at Dolphin Stadium.

For that to happen, the Gators, who clinched the SEC East with a 42-14 victory at Vanderbilt, almost certainly would have to win out with a victory over Alabama in the SEC Championship Game. Florida is No. 4 behind Texas (9-1) in the BCS standings.


Even if Florida wins out, there’s no guarantee it will earn a BCS title-game berth. That’s because of what’s happening in the Big 12, where three teams have a realistic shot to make it.

Oklahoma (9-1) is in the BCS mix along with Texas Tech and Texas. Texas beat Oklahoma and lost to Texas Tech, which plays at Oklahoma next week.

An Oklahoma victory over Texas Tech could mean the three teams will finish in a tie atop the Big 12 South. In that case, the team with the highest BCS ranking among the group would earn a berth in the Big 12 Championship Game.

So Texas, Oklahoma or Texas Tech could end up in the BCS Championship Game even if the Gators beat Alabama in the SEC Championship Game. That’s particularly true if Oklahoma wins out with victories over ranked opponents Texas Tech and Oklahoma State and Texas finishes the season with its only loss to Texas Tech and boasting of its victory over the Sooners.

Florida is gaining momentum with BCS voters with each blowout victory. The Gators have pounded Arkansas, LSU, Georgia and Vanderbilt since losing at home to Mississippi.

But that upset loss to Ole Miss is pulling down Florida’s computer average. The Gators rank ahead of Texas in both human polls that are part of the BCS formula but trail the Longhorns .920 to .820 in the computer average.

Gators fans know they need their team to win out with a victory over the Crimson Tide in Atlanta. But what should the Gators hope for in the Big 12?

Probably the best scenario for Florida would be for Oklahoma to beat Texas Tech on Nov. 22 and then lose the next week at Oklahoma State. Texas Tech still could recover by beating Baylor and then winning the Big 12 title game, but at least Oklahoma would be eliminated as a BCS title contender.


Florida then would like to see Texas lose at Kansas on Saturday, eliminating another one-loss contender from the Big 12. No. 6 USC (8-1), which finishes with Stanford, Notre Dame and UCLA, probably can’t get enough quality victories to get back in the discussion.

Penn State’s loss to Iowa has the Nittany Lions bringing up the rear among one-loss BCS conference teams at No. 8. Penn State still is ahead of Boise State of the Western Athletic Conference, which is seeking a BCS berth along with No. 8 Utah of the Mountain West.


(c) 2008, Sun Sentinel.

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Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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