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Archive for Monday, November 12, 2007

LSU, Oregon, KU big three in BCS

November 12, 2007

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— Beware of Kansas.

LSU moved into the first place in the Bowl Championship Series standings Sunday and Oregon jumped into second place, a day after previous No. 1 Ohio State was upset by Illinois.

But third-place Kansas is the only remaining unbeaten team in the six conferences with an automatic bid to the BCS and history suggests the Jayhawks will play for a national title if they stay perfect.

An undefeated team from a major conference has never been left out of the BCS national championship game in favor of a one-loss team.

Kansas has a home game against Iowa State on Saturday, then plays Missouri at Kansas City on Nov. 24. Win that one and Kansas goes to the Big 12 championship game, where the most likely opponent will be Oklahoma.

Those games could give the Jayhawks the boost they need in the polls to overtake the Ducks, regardless of how Oregon finishes.

"I think they might even catch LSU," said Jerry Palm, a BCS analyst who runs www.collegebcs.com. "Why not? You're undefeated in a major conference and beat two top-five teams in your final two games."

LSU can rest easier than Oregon. With three games remaining, including the Southeastern Conference championship game on Dec. 1, LSU will likely reach the BCS title game in New Orleans by winning out.

"I don't see LSU doing worse than No. 2 if they win the way they're supposed to," Palm said. "A 10-7 over Mississippi (on Saturday) could change things, because margins matter to voters."

The Ducks also have three games left, but they're past the toughest part of their schedule. The Ducks play at Arizona on Thursday night, have a road game against UCLA on Nov. 24 and finish the season against rival Oregon State at home on Dec. 1.

None of those teams is ranked, so if the Ducks struggle to a victory it could open up an opportunity for not only Kansas, but fourth-place Oklahoma or fifth-place Missouri.

Palm said it will be difficult for the Sooners or Tigers to reach the top two without LSU or Oregon losing.

"I wouldn't expect them to get the same kind of juice an undefeated team would get," he said.

LSU is No. 1 in both the Harris and coaches' polls and top-rated by the computers. The Tigers have a BCS average of .980.

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