As "Rivalry Saturday" approaches, Kansas State is battling its schedule in an effort to move into one of the coveted spots in the Bowl Championship Series standings.
The Wildcats (10-0) remained third in the BCS rankings released Monday. The rest of the top five remained the same as well, with Tennessee (9-0) and UCLA (9-0) holding down the top two spots and Florida State (10-1) and Florida (9-1) staying fourth and fifth, respectively.
Where lower numbers are best, Tennessee has 3.77 points. UCLA has 5.81 and Kansas State 6.55, but there is a big drop-off to Florida State (10.33) and Florida (11.56).
The top two teams in the BCS rankings will play for the national championship in the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 4. Right now, that means Tennessee would face UCLA, but that could change, depending on how teams fare in their remaining games and how their strength of schedule might change.
Kansas State's schedule ranks 68th, but that will dramatically improve with its next two games. The Wildcats, coming off an emotional 40-30 victory over nemesis Nebraska, finish the regular season Saturday at Missouri (7-3) and against Texas A&M (10-1) in the Big 12 championship game Dec. 5. Missouri is 19th in the BCS and Texas A&M sixth.
Tennessee faces Kentucky and Tim Couch before ending the regular season at lowly Vanderbilt. Then comes the Southeastern Conference championship game -- possibly a rematch against Arkansas, which let the Volunteers off the hook in Saturday's clash of unbeaten teams.
Tennessee trailed 24-22 when Arkansas quarterback Clin Stoerner fumbled away the ball without getting hit, leading to a 28-24 Tennessee victory.
Ranked ninth in the BCS, Arkansas (8-1) could clinch the SEC West Division with a triumph over Mississippi State this weekend.
UCLA hosts Southern California on Saturday in the annual grudge match between the hated archrivals and then has a tough road game Dec. 5 at Miami (6-2), which is the 24th and final team in the BCS poll.
Florida State hosts Florida on Saturday, with the loser falling out of contention for the national title. The Seminoles have the home-field advantage, but quarterback Marcus Outzen will be making just his second start.
Florida flirted with a perfect season, with its only loss a 20-17 overtime decision at Tennessee on Sept. 19. As long as Tennessee averts a two-game losing streak, Florida also will avoid the potential pitfall of the SEC championship game.
Ohio State (9-1) is seventh in the BCS, followed by Arizona (10-1), Arkansas and Notre Dame (8-1). Oregon (8-2) is 11th, ahead of Michigan (8-2), Wisconsin (9-1), Nebraska (8-3) and Georgia (7-2).
At No. 16 is Tulane (9-0), the lowest-ranked of four unbeaten teams. Penn State (7-2), Air Force (9-1), Missouri, USC (7-3), Virginia (8-2), Georgia Tech (7-2), Texas (7-3) and Miami round out the rankings.
The top six schools in the final BCS rankings in December are guaranteed a trip to the Fiesta Bowl or one of the other BCS bowls -- the Orange, Rose and Sugar.
The BCS weighs the old-fashioned subjective polls of the media and coaches, and the ratings of the three respective computers, in addition to an index to determine strength of schedule, and win-loss record.
The BCS bowls -- formerly the Bowl Alliance or Super Alliance games -- each will continue to have their respective conference ties. When applicable, the Rose Bowl will get the Pac-10 and Big Ten winners. The Orange Bowl deals with the Atlantic Coast and Big East and the Sugar with the Southeastern Conference.
The poll component is determined on the simple average ranking between the USA Today/ESPN coaches' poll and the Associated Press media poll. The average ranking is the number of points awarded in the BCS.
The computer ratings will be averaged to make the second component of the formula, though there is a built-in safety net should a team be ranked considerably lower by one of the machines.
To reach the adjusted number, the average of the two highest rankings is determined first. Then 50 percent of that number is taken and added to the average of the two highest, creating a new, third number. The average of the top two computer numbers and the new third number are averaged to create the value taken into account in the BCS formula.
Strength of schedule takes into account the win-loss record of a school's opponents and the marks of the opposition's opponents at the end of the season. The opponents' record is two-thirds of the BCS mark and the opposition's opponets comprise the other third.
When the national strength of schedule placing is determined, it is divided by 25 to give the BCS point total, which favors low numbers.
The final component is win-loss record, where a loss results in the addition of a BCS standings point.
All four of the individual component numbers are added together to come up with the final BCS standings number. The team with the lowest number in the BCS index is the top team.
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