TCU moved a big step closer to busting up the BCS.
The Horned Frogs jumped up to sixth place in the Bowl Championship Series standings Monday, the highest ranking ever for an outsider to the system.
"We understand those things are in the hands of other people," TCU coach Gary Patterson said. "We feel privileged to be where we're at. We really appreciate the respect around the country."
TCU needs to remain in the top six to guarantee a bid to one of the four most lucrative bowls.
Oklahoma remained the runaway leader in the standings that will determine which two teams will play for the national championship in the Sugar Bowl.
The Sooners (10-0) are No. 1 in both polls and the seven computers used in the BCS.
Southern California leads the three one-loss teams hoping to challenge Oklahoma for the title, followed by Ohio State and LSU.
The formula uses the AP media and USA Today/ESPN coaches' polls, seven computer rankings, strength of schedule, losses and a bonus-point system for quality wins.
The Sooners have a 1.0 for poll average, 1.0 for computer-rank average, 0.28 for strength of schedule, zero for losses and 0.6 bonus points for beating fifth-place Texas for a 1.68.
USC was second with 6.27 points, followed by Ohio State at 7.73 and LSU at 13.17.
"With all this BCS and ranking stuff I really don't even know how they figure it out or how they come up with it," LSU defensive end Marcus Spears said. "For us it's just beat Alabama, Ole Miss and Arkansas and that's what we're focused on."
The Buckeyes could pass the Trojans for the No. 2 spot even if neither team loses because of their tougher schedule down the stretch.
Ohio State finishes the season against No. 11 Purdue and No. 5 Michigan, while USC has games left against Arizona, UCLA and Oregon State - who have a combined record of 14-15.
The BCS was started five years ago to create a national title game without playoffs. Champions of six conferences - the ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-10 and SEC - qualify for a BCS game, and two at-large teams are selected to fill out the field.
No team from the five other Division I-A conferences - Conference USA, the Mid-American, Mountain West, Sun Belt and Western Athletic - has earned that berth.
The Horned Frogs will be eligible if they finish in the top 12 and will clinch a spot by being in the top six.
"A lot of teams have won all their ballgames, a lot of teams win their conference. But very few times are you able to do something to make history," Patterson said. "We have a chance to do that."
However, even if they win out they could drop because of their weak schedule, ranked 87th among the 117 teams.
There has been pressure from schools outside the big six conferences to improve access to the BCS bowls - Orange, Sugar, Fiesta and Rose.
TCU, a member of Conference USA, hopes that helps its cause.
"The story stands on its own," Conference USA commissioner Britton Banowsky said. "They have a great football team. If they remain undefeated they will be an unbelievably strong candidate. I will do anything I possibly can to assure they get maximum consideration for BCS participation."
In the other noteworthy development, Tennessee moved past Georgia into seventh place. The Bulldogs are ninth and Florida was 14th.
If the three teams finished tied for first in the SEC East, the highest-ranked team in the BCS would play in the conference title game. However, if the second-place team is within five places and won the head-to-head matchup, it would get the bid.
That puts Georgia in the best position because of its win at Tennessee earlier this year.
The other teams in the top 10 are eighth-place Michigan and 10th-place Washington State.
The BCS standings will be released each week for the remainder of the season.
The seven computer rankings are operated by Anderson & Hester, Billingsley, Colley Matrix, Kenneth Massey, The New York Times, Jeff Sagarin's USA Today and Peter Wolfe.
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