Texas Close To BCS Promised Land At No. 5

If the season ended today, Texas would probably be in its first-ever BCS Bowl during head coach <B>Mack Brown&#146;s </B>tenure. That&#146;s because the Horns are surging at a time when college football&#146;s Top 10 is shaking, checking in at No. 5 in the latest BCS ratings released Monday.

The BCS formula (based on both major wire service polls, strength of schedule, quality wins and the opinion of seven computers named HAL) not only determines the matchup for college football’s national championship game but also those teams that are eligible for at-large bids. Teams that finish in the BCS Top 4 are guaranteed a BCS Bowl (non-BCS conference teams are guaranteed a berth if they are in the top 6). That’s why Texas’ No. 5 ranking is HUGE. One slip-up from Nos. 2-4 and the Horns are staring at a guaranteed bid.

"We were talking about the BCS last year when we went to Tech," Brown said. "We’ve been around long enough. We ought to understand that stuff. You get what you deserve in the end. Right now, it’s just barbershop talk. And there were four Top 10 teams last week (Miami, Florida State, Virginia Tech, Iowa) that were probably talking about it some."

Even with just three weekends left in the regular season, a BCS rating remains tentative. It’s possible (and even likely) for teams to drop in the ratings without even losing a game. And teams like Texas can leapfrog previously higher rated programs (such as Michigan and Georgia). The Horns jumped seven spots from last week’s ratings. That’s why Brown wants his team to leave all the BCS talk in the barbershop and concentrate on improving the next couple of weeks. Oh, and winning, too.

"If we don’t win the next two, we don’t have a chance," Brown said. "It’s about the next two. And if we don’t win this one, you don’t have a chance at the next one. What they (team) have got to do is be mature enough that they understand that you get what you’re supposed to get in the end. You don’t get it by talking about it; you get it by playing for it. We’ve been in this position three years in a row so they ought to understand that by now."

The real party crasher is overrated TCU. While I have a fondness for the Frogs, they have no business being listed as a BCS No. 6. Don’t be impressed by the undefeated record. It came against a slate of weaklings (the toughest opponents would be Louisville and Navy). As I mentioned yesterday, TCU would have five losses if it had Texas’ schedule. For now, the Frogs are just .6 of a percentage point behind Texas for the No. 5 spot.


1. OKLAHOMA: Baylor, at Texas Tech, Big 12 Game

2. USC: at Arizona, UCLA, Oregon State

3. OHIO STATE: Purdue, at Michigan

4. LSU: at Alabama, at Ole Miss, Arkansas, (probable SEC Game)

5. TEXAS: Texas Tech, at Texas A&M

6. TCU: Cincinnati, at So. Miss, SMU

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