Texas sixth in first BCS rankings

The Bowl Championship Series released the first of its eight weekly rankings Monday, and Texas came in at No. 6, the highest ranking of any one-loss team.

As expected, undefeated defending national champ Oklahoma (3.06 poll points -- lower is better) topped the rankings, far out-pacing second-place Nebraska (6.40). The Sooners and Huskers square off this weekend in Lincoln. UCLA (8.34) is No. 3, followed by Miami (12.01), Virginia Tech (13.88) and UT (15.35). Michigan (15.91), Maryland (21.29), Tennessee (22.07) and Washington State (23.05) round out the top 10, while Florida (23.48), Washington (26.90), Oregon (28.96), Stanford (29.86) and South Carolina (35.31) occupy the Nos. 11-15 spots.

Of the teams in the top 10, UT has the least difficult closing stretch, on paper at least. The Horns finish the season with Missouri, Baylor, Kansas and Texas A&M. That schedule is a double-edged sword. Wins in all four will certainly help the Horns in the writers' and coaches' polls, but the weak competition could cause Texas to lose ground in the computer polls. And barring a season-ending four game winning streak by Colorado and a similar run by the Aggies leading up to the day-after-Thanksgiving game, the Horns are probably shut out from any potential bonus points from defeating highly ranked opponents (unless North Carolina extends by several games its current five-game streak), points that several other teams are likely to have.

Texas, of course, must win all four of its remaining games to have any hope of finishing in the BCS top two and playing in Pasadena for the national championship, but its No. 6 position is far better than one would have expected just two short weeks ago after the 14-3 loss to OU in the Cotton Bowl. The most realistic scenario for the Horns, if they take care of their business, is a top four BCS finish and a guaranteed berth in a BCS games other than the Rose.

"We talked to the team on Sunday at length about the top 10, the BCS and the schedule and we told them the only thing they can do about any of it is win Saturday," Mack Brown said Monday before the release of the rankings. "We told them, if you are one of the top teams you won't have a letdown. We've just got to win and look at (the BCS rankings) at the end of the season."

[Editor's note: For a team-by-team rundown of the BCS top 15, including games remaining for each, see ESPN.com's A look at the top 15.]

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