By Ralph D. Russo
Florida State is back in second place in the BCS standings, edging past Oregon behind first-place Alabama.
The Seminoles’ lead is thin and their stay at No. 2 could be short again.
Third-place Oregon plays Stanford on Thursday night and a win is likely to push the Ducks back into second. The Seminoles and Ducks have exchanged positions in the BCS standings the last two weeks.
The top two in the final standings play in the BCS championship game.
Florida State (.9525 BCS average) is third in both the USA Today coaches’ poll and Harris poll, though the Seminoles gained ground on the Ducks after a 41-14 victory over Miami on Saturday night. Florida State is No. 1 in the computer ratings.
Oregon is second in the polls and third in the computers.
Alabama is first in the polls by a hefty margin and second in the computers with five weeks left in the regular season. The Crimson Tide remains on course for a fourth trip to the BCS title game in five seasons. Alabama was won three of the last four national championships, including the last two.
Though it’s a big week coming up for the Tide, with LSU coming to Tuscaloosa on Saturday.
Unbeaten Ohio State is fourth in the standings, followed by Stanford and unbeaten Baylor. The rest of the top 10 is Clemson, Missouri, Auburn and Oklahoma.
Baylor hosts Oklahoma on Thursday night, in the other huge game of the week.
Of the potential BCS busters, teams from non-automatic qualifying conferences looking to earn an automatic bid, Fresno State from the Mountain West is in 16th place and Northern Illinois from the Mid-American Conference is 18th. Both the Bulldogs and Huskies are unbeaten. The highest-rated team from the non-AQ conferences earns an automatic bid by finishing in the top 12 of the final BCS standings or by finishing in the top 16 ahead of a champion from an automatic qualifying conference.
Louisville (20th) and Central Florida (21st) are the highest-ranked teams from the American Athletic Conference, which gets an automatic bid.