Michigan’s hopes for a long-shot bid to the BCS National Championship game took a big hit this weekend.

Morgan Morel
The Buckeyes are assured a spot in the BCS National Championship Game to be played Jan. 8 in Glendale, Ariz. (ALEX DZIADOSZ/Daily)

Riding Saturday’s dominating 44-24 victory over Notre Dame, Southern Cal is now one win away from the national title game.

On Sunday, the Trojans leapfrogged Michigan in the BCS rankings, settling into the coveted No. 2 spot behind undefeated Ohio State. The switch dealt Michigan’s national championship hopes a serious blow.

Southern Cal also moved to No. 2 in the AP Poll, which does not factor into the BCS rankings.

A win over UCLA on Saturday would almost surely punch Southern Cal’s ticket to the BCS National Championship game in Glendale, Ariz.

“I think we’re a pretty good team right now,” Southern Cal coach Pete Carroll said after the Trojans beat Notre Dame. “We’ll play anybody, anywhere.”

Southern Cal currently boasts a .9460 BCS average, compared to Michigan’s .9216. This week, the Trojans substantially increased their margin over Michigan in the Harris and ESPN/USA Today Coaches’ polls. They also took over the advantage in the BCS computer rankings.

Even a Trojan loss on Saturday wouldn’t guarantee the Wolverines a rematch with Ohio State. No. 4 Florida’s .8897 BCS average could improve significantly if the Gators knock off Arkansas in Saturday’s Southeastern Conference Championship game.

If the Wolverines fall short of the title game, they will likely earn a bid to the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1.

No. 5 Lousiana State, No. 6 Louisville, No. 7 Wisconsin, No. 8 Boise State, No. 9 Arkansas and No. 10 Notre Dame round out the BCS Top 10, but none is considered a national title contender.

– The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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