BCS Contestants (NOV. 26, 2006)
1. Ohio State: The Buckeyes will be playing for their second national championship in five years, and most likely they'll meet an old nemesis that they used to see in the Rose Bowl. USC has the speed on offense and defense to give Ohio State a run for its money. So the Buckeyes might have to beat a second-ranked team for a third time this season. What's left: BCS national championship game.
2. USC: The Trojans just need to clear one more hurdle -- beating crosstown rival UCLA for the eighth consecutive year. Between 1991-98, the Bruins did that to USC, but now the Trojans can turn the table. The reward is a biggie -- a third straight BCS championship appearance in what was considered a "rebuilding year" at Troy. What's left: @ UCLA.
3. Michigan: The Wolverines' best shot would be to kidnap the entire UCLA team and then sneak into the Bruins uniforms to face USC. Otherwise, Michigan will not get the rematch against Ohio State for the national championship. It might get a rematch that it doesn't really care for: Notre Dame in the Rose Bowl. What's left: Waiting.
4. Florida: Unless Florida beats Arkansas by something like 70-0 -- or USC loses -- the Gators will have a hard time making it to the national championship game. The gulf between No. 3 Michigan and No. 4 Florida is wide enough; it's insurmountable between Florida and USC. What's left: SEC championship vs. Arkansas.
ALREADY CLINCHED BCS BERTHS: Ohio State (No. 1, Big Ten champ), USC (No. 2, Pac-10 champ), Michigan (Top 3 or 4), Boise State (Top 12).
LOCK FOR AT-LARGE BERTH: Notre Dame (Top 14).
STILL IN LINE FOR AUTOMATIC BERTHS: ACC champion (Wake Forest or Georgia Teach), Big 12 champion (Oklahoma or Nebraska), SEC champion (Florida or Arkansas), Big East champion (Rutgers, Louisville or West Virginia).
FAVORITES FOR AT-LARGE BERTH: LSU (10-2), Louisville (10-1, vs. Connecticut), Auburn (10-2), Florida (11-1, if it loses to Arkansas).
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