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CHRIS DUFRESNE / ON COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Horned Frogs could leap into the title picture

Unbeaten Texas Christian is in great shape for no worse than the Rose Bowl, and could wind up playing for the BCS championship.

November 27, 2010|Chris Dufresne

Texas Christian is the first team in the Bowl Championship Series clubhouse, at 12-and-O under, closing out a perfect season Saturday with a 66-17 victory over New Mexico's Lost Lobos.

Now let's see, Horned Frogs, if the system croaks.

TCU was up only 31-17 at the half when cable channel Versus invited America to listen in on Coach Gary Patterson's sideline address to his players.

With no viewer discretion warning, the cameras caught Patterson using words that would make a librarian blush.

The edited-for-family-newspaper translation: "Are you guys kooky? Boise State lost last night, paving our way to no worse than the Rose Bowl, with maybe a shot at the national title, and you guys are trying to blow it all in Albuquerque?"

It worked.

Despite playing much of the game without starting quarterback Andy Dalton, who wacked his funny bone and lost feeling in his throwing arm, TCU came out and made the final score what it should have been.

Fort Worth is now primed for a prized BCS trip to Pasadena or, with a little help, the BCS title game in Glendale, Ariz.

Despite what you heard, this is not going to be the weekend Boise State passes TCU in the BCS standings.

The Broncos' stunning Friday night loss at Nevada turned TCU's attitude around.

The Horned Frogs should retain their precocious No. 3 BCS spot as they focus now on a couch-potato next weekend that will include jeering for Oregon and Auburn to lose.

Some Southeastern Conference folks would argue one-loss Auburn would still deserve the title bid even if the Tigers lose to South Carolina.

That will be determined by things TCU has no control over: voters, politicians, computer operators and CBS announcers.

If Oregon beats Oregon State and Auburn wins the SEC, it's a done deal: TCU will go to the Rose Bowl and play the Big Ten champion.

If Oregon or Auburn slips up, TCU could be headed for the title game. And if both teams lose, well, look out. It could be TCU vs. Stanford or Wisconsin.

A snapshot of the major conference situations:

Pacific 10

It was a big day for Stanford, which closed its regular season with a blowout win over Oregon State. The Cardinal (11-1) started the weekend at No. 6 in the BCS standings but could move up two spots with No. 4 Boise State and No. 5 Louisiana State losing. Finishing No. 4 would guarantee Stanford an automatic BCS berth.

If an Auburn loss puts TCU in the title game, Stanford is Rose Bowl bound. Otherwise, Stanford would have to be taken by the Orange, Fiesta or Sugar bowls.

If Oregon loses next week, the Ducks drop to the Rose but Stanford could still be a "must take."

Big Ten

Wisconsin, Michigan State and Ohio State ended in a three-way tie, meaning the highest-ranked team in the final BCS standings on Dec. 5 will earn at least a Rose Bowl bid. Wisconsin is ahead of both schools in the standings and showed it was intent on staying there with Saturday's 70-23 win over Northwestern.

SEC

Auburn plays South Carolina for the conference title next Saturday in Atlanta. With a win, Auburn earns a national title bid. A South Carolina wins sends the Gamecocks to the Sugar Bowl.

Big 12

Oklahoma's 47-41 win over Oklahoma State created a three-way tie with Texas A&M in the South division, meaning Nebraska's opponent for next week's Big 12 title game will be determined by Sunday's BCS standings. It appears Oklahoma will prevail.

Atlantic Coast

Maryland's win over North Carolina State on Saturday puts Florida State in next week's title game against Virginia Tech. The Seminoles celebrated by defeating archrival Florida.

Big East

Who cares? Yeah, we know, but in case you have a relative in the league: Connecticut wins the BCS bid, and a probable Fiesta Bowl bid, with a win at South Florida next week. West Virginia wins if it beats Rutgers and Connecticut loses. Pittsburgh needs a win over Cincinnati and West Virginia and Connecticut to lose.

chris.dufresne@latimes.com

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