The Seminoles were third in the Bowl Championship Series standings released Monday, trailing only undefeated Oklahoma and Miami in the race to play for the national championship. The Sooners, the top team in the polls all season, have been in first place in the first two BCS standings. Oklahoma will have to keep winning to guarantee itself a spot in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 4, starting with a showdown against Oklahoma State on Saturday.
The Cowboys, 14th in the AP poll and the BCS standings, have beaten the Sooners the past two years.
''It's another very important game this week,'' Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said Monday. ''The more you win, the more important they get. We've got to be on top of our game to stay undefeated and stay after the championships that we're after.''
The BCS standings are used to determine which teams play in a national title game. The teams that finish 1-2 in the final BCS standings on Dec. 7, will play for the title in New Orleans on Jan. 4. The formula uses the AP media and coaches' polls, seven computer rankings, strength of schedule, losses and a bonus-point system for quality wins.
The Sooners (8-0) have a 1.0 for poll average, 1.17 for computer-rank average, 0.28 for strength of schedule and zero for losses for a 2.45 total.
Oklahoma is ranked first in five of the computers with Miami the top team in the other two. The Hurricanes (7-0), who play at Virginia Tech on Saturday, are second with 3.87 points, ahead of four tightly packed one-loss teams.
The Seminoles are at the top of that group with 10.34 points based on their strong computer rankings. Florida State, which moved up one spot this week, is third in three computers and fourth in three others. The lowest ranking seventh in Richard Billingsley's computer is discarded.
Southern California, third in both the AP and coaches polls, is next at 11.07, followed by Georgia (11.15) and Ohio State (12.60).
TCU, major college football's only other undefeated team, is in 12th place, in part because of the 99th toughest schedule out of 117 teams.
TCU will need to be in the top 12 to be eligible for one of the lucrative BCS games and the top six to guarantee a bid. There has been pressure from schools outside the big six conferences to improve access to the BCS bowls Orange, Sugar, Fiesta and Rose.
The BCS was started five years ago to create a national title game without playoffs. Champions of six conferences the ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-10 and SEC qualify for a BCS game, and two at-large teams are selected to fill out the field.
Following Ohio State in the standings are LSU, Washington State, Nebraska, Michigan State, Iowa, TCU, Michigan, Oklahoma State and Tennessee.
Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois had steep falls after losing for the first time last week. The Hokies went from third to 16th and the Huskies dropped from 10th to 23rd.
The BCS standings will be released each week for the remainder of the season.
The seven computer rankings are operated by Anderson & Hester, Billingsley, Colley Matrix, Kenneth Massey, The New York Times, Jeff Sagarin's USA Today and Peter Wolfe.
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