Trio of teams spell BCS for Sooners

NORMAN, Okla. — The Sooners could win next Saturday against TCU, finish the regular season 10-2 and sit firmly inside the top 14 required for BCS at-large selection but still might need major help in getting into one of the big bowls. Three teams could shore up that problem for the Sooners, however.

1. Texas beats Kansas State:

First, their most hated rival of all, the 18th-ranked Texas Longhorns, could 100 percent assure the Sooners the automatic bid as Big 12 Conference Champions should they storm into Manhattan and return a set of past favors with an upset of No. 6 Kansas State. Though OU lost to Kansas State earlier in the season, the Wildcats would finish with a pair of Big 12 losses at 7-2, while the Sooners' lone loss that came to Kansas State leaves them as the outright champions with their 8-1 record. No ifs, ands or buts: the Sooners would be headed to the Fiesta Bowl unless desert officials struck a deal with another BCS bowl. Either way, OU is guaranteed into one under this scenario.

2. UCLA defeats Stanford and wins the Pac 12 Title:

The 16th-ranked (and that's a very important number) Bruins, who lost to the No. 8 Cardinal last week at home, could win the Pac 12 Championship and provide a sort of lock hold on the one team that could steal OU's at-large BCS spot away. Because they're currently No. 16--that's where a non-automatic-qualifying conference champion must be ahead of a BCS automatic qualifier league champion in order to automatically snag a BCS berth--a win would keep any of those non-automatic vying teams and the only real threat, No. 17 Kent State, below that spot. It's almost certain Stanford would be able to sustain a loss to the Bruins and remain inside the Top 16, ensuring that the Golden Flashes would remain below them.

3. Northern Illinois knocks off Kent State in the MAC Championship:

At No. 21, the Huskies are one of the mathematical threats to the Sooners, but they're not a realistic threat. The computers don't like them nearly enough, and it's virtually impossible that they'll climb five spots, even with a victory over the Golden Flashes when the two meet Friday in Detroit for their conference title game. They'll at most be able to rise a couple spots in the human polls, so in this sense they're clearly an ally to the Sooners. A NIU victory over Kent State would effectively eliminate both of these teams and leave Boise State as the only one with a chance. The computers absolutely hate Boise State's resume, and it's extremely unlikely they'd be able to rise all four spots in the final BCS Standings. Bottom line: NIU knocks off Kent State and it's three teams chasing a No. 16 spot they can't get to.

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