AU Still In Running For BCS Berth

Dallas, Tex.—-While the list is getting shorter and shorter each week, it was announced on Tuesday that Auburn is one of 16 teams remain under consideration to participate in the four games that comprise the Bowl Championship Series (BCS).

The teams were identified during a teleconference among the 11 Division I-A conference commissioners, the Notre Dame athletics director, and representatives from ABC Television, the FedEx Orange Bowl, Nokia Sugar Bowl, Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, and Rose Bowl. The Rose Bowl will will be the host for the national championship game, matching the No. 1 and 2 teams in the final BCS standings.

While many of the teams are hoping to close out the season strong and earn a berth in the BCS by being a conference champion, several schools are hoping for one of the two at-large berths into the series. One of those that is hoping for that is Auburn, which finished the season at 9-2 and is 10th in the latest BCS standings. That means the Tigers are longshots to make the BCS as an at-large team and will likley be playing in the Capital One Bowl in Orlando barring an Arkansas upset of LSU Friday afternoon in Baton Rouge that would give the Tigers a chance to go to the Sugar Bowl as the SEC champion.

The champions of the Atlantic Coast, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-10 and Southestern Conferences automatically qualify for a BCS game. In addition, there are two at-large berths available. To be eligible for at-large selection, a team must have nine regular-season victories and be ranked in the top 12 of the final BCS standings on December 4. Any Division I-A independent institution or team from Conference USA, the Mid-American, Mountain West, Sun Belt or Western Athletic Conference earns a guaranteed slot in one of the BCS games should that team be ranked sixth or better in the final BCS Standings.

Penn State (10-1) has clinched a berth in the BCS. The Nittany Lions are co-champions of the Big Ten with Ohio State (9-2), but possesses the tie-breaker by having defeated the Buckeyes. USC (11-0) will be the Pac-10 representative in the BCS. The Trojans are at least the league's co-champion and hold the conference tie-breaker should it need to be applied. The only way that happens is by a loss to UCLA (9-1) this Saturday.

The representatives from the four other participating conferences which receive automatic spots in the BCS have not been determined. The following is a list of teams still in contention for their conference titles: ACC: Florida State (7-3), Miami (8-2), Virginia Tech (9-1); Big East: Pittsburgh (5-5), South Florida (6-3), West Virginia (8-1); Big 12: Colorado (7-3), Iowa State (7-3), Texas (10-0); SEC: Auburn (9-2), Georgia (8-2), LSU (9-1).

The pool of teams remaining under consideration for the two at-large berths consists of those 12 teams, plus four others that were also identified: Notre Dame (8-2), Ohio State, Oregon (10-1), UCLA. All other institutions have been released from BCS consideration.

Following is the schedule of the BCS games (all televised by ABC Sports):
January 2 – Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, 4:30 p.m., ET
January 2 – Nokia Sugar Bowl, 8:30 p.m., ET
January 3 – FedEx Orange Bowl, 8 p.m., ET
January 4 – Rose Bowl (national championship game), 8 p.m. ET

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