Oklahoma and Utah moved into premium positions in the Bowl
Championship Series standings that were released yesterday.

Janna Hutz

The Sooners are in second place, jumping ahead of Miami after
the BCS standings debuted last week with Oklahoma surprisingly in
third.

Southern Cal. remains in first place with a grade of .9843.
Oklahoma’s grade is .9325 and Miami is now third at
.9239.

The top two teams in the final BCS standings will meet in the
Orange Bowl on Jan. 4.

Utah is now sixth, a position that would guarantee the Utes a
spot in one of the other three big-money bowls if they can hold on
to it.

“I think it’s great,” Utes coach Urban Meyer
said.

He found out about his team’s small but important jump
from seventh to sixth from his wife, who left him a phone
message.

“Her comment on this message — I didn’t get to
talk to her — was ‘Hey you’re No. 6. Make sure
you stay there. That’s really great coaching,’ ”
he said. “I’m glad she’s cleared that up.

“Honestly, if we were eight or nine, it’s,
let’s go. Let’s go play.”

A top-six finish in the BCS standings guarantees a spot in
either the Orange, Fiesta, Rose or Sugar bowls, each with payouts
of over $14 million. To even be considered for a BCS bid, a top-12
finish is required.

Utah is trying to become the first team to play in a BCS game
from a conference outside the six leagues — Atlantic Coast
Conference, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-10, Southeastern
Conference — that have automatic berths.

The Utes (7-0) are one of seven Division I-A teams with perfect
records. They beat Mountain West Conference rival UNLV 63-28 on
Saturday.

Boise State, the other unbeaten from a mid-major conference,
moved up a spot from last week to 13th.

The BCS is using a new formula that relies more on The
Associated Press Top 25 and ESPN/USA Today coaches poll than ever
before. The Sooners have been No. 2 in both polls all season but
trailed close behind Miami last week in the BCS standings because
of their relatively weak computer ranking.

A compilation of six computers are used to determine one-third
of a team’s BCS grade, with a team’s highest and lowest
computer rankings thrown out.

Oklahoma beat Kansas 41-10 last Saturday, which helped improve
its ranking in the computers from fifth to fourth.

Miami has the top computer ranking, just ahead of Southern Cal.,
which is No. 1 in both polls by a large margin. The Hurricanes are
No. 4 in the AP media poll and No. 3 in the coaches poll.

“There’s a lot of football left. We do not have a
lot of control over it, other than winning, and we feel the BCS
formula will take care of itself,” Miami coach Larry Coker
said. “We will continue to play as hard as we can to win our
games, and that’s all we can really do.”

Auburn (.8983) is fourth in the BCS standings and Florida State
(.7759) is fifth.

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