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Sooners, Utes jump ahead in BCS rankings

USC remains at No. 1, just in front of Oklahoma

Oklahoma and Utah moved into premium positions in the Bowl Championship Series standings Monday.

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

Deseret Morning News graphicDNews graphicBCS standingsRequires Adobe Acrobat.

Southern California 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.

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, and jumped ahead of unbeaten Wisconsin (.7180) in the rankings.

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.

But Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops remains unfazed.

" . . . It just doesn't matter much yet," he said Monday. "We have to play Oklahoma State this week. That's the only thing we're focused on."

Miami has the top computer ranking, just ahead of USC, 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. Utah (.7217) moved up one spot to sixth, jumping ahead of unbeaten Wisconsin (.7180).