Wednesday, November 25, 2015         


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A loss from Auburn or Oregon could reward TCU's season

By Ralph D. Russo / Associated Press


TCU coach Gary Patterson was in the same position last year, with nothing to do on championship Saturday except watch the games and hope for a result that could send his Horned Frogs to the national title game.

TCU is third in the BCS standings and done with its regular season. Oregon and Auburn, the top two teams, each need one more victory to complete perfect regular seasons and lock up spots in the national championship game on Jan. 10 in Glendale, Ariz.

But what if Oregon State pulls off an upset in Corvallis and beats the top-ranked Ducks in the Civil War? Or South Carolina and the head ball coach Steve Spurrier spring a surprise and knock off Cam Newton and the second-ranked Tigers?

Let's explore the possibilities.

» Oregon loses, Auburn wins. This is easy. TCU would be a lock to move into Oregon's No. 2 spot, despite the objections of teams like Stanford (fourth in the BCS standings) and Wisconsin (fifth). Oregon would land in the Rose Bowl, essentially switching places with TCU.

» Auburn loses, Oregon wins. TCU (or Boise State) were never going to jump ahead of undefeated teams from the power conferences. The real question is: Does a one-loss Southeastern Conference team belong in the title game instead of an unbeaten BCS buster?

» Auburn and Oregon both lose. TCU would be a lock, but who would the Frogs play? Stanford is fourth in the BCS standings, but the Cardinal lost to the Ducks. Instead of choosing between the two Pac-10 teams with the same record, voters could be inclined to go with fifth-place Wisconsin, which has been crushing their opponents lately.

The picks:



» No. 24 Northern Illinois (minus 17 1/2 ) vs. Miami, Ohio, at Detroit: Huskies ran for 544 yards against Eastern Michigan last week ... N. ILLINOIS 35-21.



» No. 1 Oregon (minus 16 1/2 ) at Oregon State: Ducks sprint to the finish line ... OREGON 45-21.

» No. 2 Auburn (minus 4 1/2 ) vs. No. 18 South Carolina at Atlanta for SEC Championship: Tigers better not have an Iron Bowl hangover ... AUBURN 35-24.

» Utah State (plus 39 1/2 ) at No. 9 Boise State: Dashed BCS hopes won't cause Broncos to mope .... BOISE STATE 55-10.

» No. 10 Oklahoma (minus 3 1/2 ) vs. No. 13 Nebraska at Arlington, Texas, for Big 12 Championship: Sooners have won six Big 12 title games, Huskers have won two ... OKLAHOMA 24-17.

» No. 12 Virginia Tech (minus 4 1/2 ) vs. No. 20 Florida State at Charlotte, N.C., for ACC Championship: Seminoles upset Hokies in first ACC title game in 2005 ... VIRGINIA TECH 31-28.

» No. 14 Nevada (minus 10) at Louisiana Tech: Tricky spot for Wolf Pack, coming off huge win ... NEVADA 34-21.

» Rutgers (plus 20) at No. 23 West Virginia: Mountaineers are 15-0 vs. Scarlet Knights in Morgantown ... BEST BET: WEST VIRGINIA 41-14.

» UNLV (plus 35) at No. 25 Hawaii: Warriors QB Bryant Moniz leads nation in total offense ... HAWAII 58-21.

» SMU (plus 9) at UCF for Conference USA Championship: Winner gets Liberty Bowl bid ... UCF 27-21.

» Connecticut (plus 1 1/2 ) at South Florida: Huskies are win away from first BCS bid ... SOUTH FLORIDA 23-20.



Last week: 17-5 (straight); 17-5 (vs. points).
Season: 184-57 (straight); 121-111-4 (vs. points).

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