If OSU can finish the season ranked first or second, it will have a chance to defend its national championship at the Sugar Bowl, likely against top-ranked and unbeaten Oklahoma.
OSU's advantage over USC appears to be in strength of schedule. OSU is now 13th in SOS, while USC is 37th.
The new rankings are:
1, Oklahoma, 1.80
2, Ohio State, 7.52
3, Southern California, 7.71
4, LSU, 12.21
5, Texas, 16.35
OSU wraps up the regular season Saturday at Michigan with an outright Big Ten championship at stake.
OSU coach Jim Tressel issued the following statement on his team's rise in the BCS standings: "What is most important at this time is the Ohio State-Michigan rivalry and the Big Ten championship. Right now, the BCS rankings are secondary."