BCS: Texas Stays At No. 5, Gains On No. 4 Cal

The top six spots in the BCS rankings remained the same this week, but Texas (9-1) inched closer to Cal (9-1) for the coveted No. 4 spot in the rankings, which along with it brings the possibility for an automatic at-large berth in a BCS bowl.

The Golden Bears BCS average slipped to .8504 from last week's .8522 while the Horns rose from .8140 to .8301. Despite the off weekend, Texas gained points in both human polls and the computer component of the rankings to make the slight but potentially critical move on Cal. UT closes its regular season on Friday in Austin vs. A&M and the Bears travel to Southern Miss on Dec. 4.

USC (10-0), Oklahoma (11-0) and Auburn (11-0) earned the top three spots and Utah (11-0) stayed at No. 6, a spot that if held will guarantee the Utes an at-large berth.

But along with the good news for Texas vis a vis Cal, there's also trouble looming on the horizon with undefeated Boise State's ascension to the No. 7 spot in the rankings. Like Utah, the Broncos (10-0) of the non-BCS WAC can earn a guaranteed at-large berth in the BCS by finishing in the top six of the final rankings. If both of these non-BCS conference teams earn berths, no other teams aside from the six conference champions would join the BCS party. That could leave a Cal or Texas team ranked as high as No. 3 or 4 in the BCS on the outside looking in.

Like last week, if the BCS selection were held today, Texas would be out. There is still hope, although it is dwindling.

UT's most realistic shot at a BCS berth is for an impressive performance vs. the Aggies and then an unimpressive Cal win over Southern Miss in two weeks (along with wins by the top three in their remaining games). That could be the bump the Horns need to overtake the Golden Bears for the No. 4 spot and thus a guaranteed at-large berth (the other going to No. 6 Utah, with No. 5 Cal shut out).

Rounding out the top 10 are No. 8 Georgia (8-2), No. 9 Miami (8-2) and No. 10 Louisville (8-1).

The second 10 consists of Iowa, Michigan, LSU, Virginia Tech, Tennessee, Arizona State, Virginia, Florida State, Texas A&M and Wisconsin.

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The top two teams in the final BCS rankings will play for the national title in the Orange Bowl. The champions of six leagues -- the ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-10 and the SEC -- receive automatic berths in one of the four BCS bowls (Orange, Sugar, Rose and Fiesta). There are also two at-large berths available to non-league champion teams from BCS conferences, to independents and to teams from non-BCS leagues. Utah, of the non-BCS Mountain West, will earn one of those at-large berths if it finishes at or above No. 6. So, if the season ended today, the Trojans and Sooners would play for the title, with Auburn (SEC), Michigan (Big 10), Virginia Tech (ACC) and Boston College (Big East) the other automatic conference champion berths. The two at-large berths, as things currently stand, would go to Cal and Utah.

Match-ups this week with top level BCS implications:

USC (1) vs. Notre Dame

Texas (5) vs. Texas A&M (19)

Boise State (7) at Nevada

Georgia (8) vs. Georgia Tech

Louisville (10) vs. Cincinnati

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